christmas decorations

20 Popular Christmas Decorations: Ranked (List-cember #1)

It’s officially December! Which means it’s also officially List-cember!

In case you have no idea what that means, List-cember is an annual blogging tradition I have where all the posts in December are centered around lists!

It’s fun. It’s organized. It’s has pictures. I love it!

Let’s jump right in.

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For the true purists out there who wait alllll the way until December 1st to embrace the Christmas spirit, I can imagine you spent your weekend pulling down boxes and putting up decorations.

My roommates and I decorated a little early these year. We didn’t even wait until Thanksgiving…but SHH don’t tell my mom, she didn’t raise me like that.

After decorating our house, and then my grandpa’s house, and then my parents’ house, you could say I’m well-versed in the world of decorations, though I’ve never really taken the time to choose a favorite. I usually just say, “pretty!” over and over again until everything is hung up.

So this year I decided dig deep into my psyche and figure out which decorations are the best decorations. Because nothing says “holiday spirit” like pitting inanimate objects against each other, am I right?

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20) Nutcracker Dolls

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Let’s be real, these things are creepy. Are they traditional? Sure. But are they comforting to look at when it’s cold outside and you’re snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate? Absolutely not.

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19) Elf on a Shelf

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These also fall into the creepy category for me. I know it’s a tradition in some families and I mean no disrespect, but as an adult who already has a hard enough time pretending she’s not scared to be home alone, the concept of having a doll watch me and wander around my house at night while I’m sleeping is a hard pass.

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18) Lawn Inflatables

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Photo credit: Walmart

I’ll admit, these are fun to look at for like, a minute, but then they just turn into hazards. With the wind and rain (and snow for you non-Southern Californians), these guys are just waiting for the right gust to send them soaring through the neighborhood.

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17) Nativity Scene

This is probably asking for trouble, seeing as this showcases (at least what I believe to be) the actual purpose of Christmas. It’s main reason for being so low on the list is its breakability. Some years the pieces simply weren’t wrapped good enough, so when you pull them down in the fall the stable’s roof is falling apart or the donkey is missing a leg. There’s also the chance you’ll have someone like me put in charge of setting it up, who takes advantage of that responsibility by making everyone look as if they are worshipping one of my baby pictures.

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16) Poinsettias

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Photo credit: The Home Depot

Bottom line: no one pronounces these the same and it’s frustrating and confusing.

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15) Scented Candles

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Photo credit: Yankee Candle

I have what my family calls a “pregnant nose”, meaning it’s as sensitive to smells in its everyday life as an average nose would only be during months of, you know, baby growing. So stepping into houses during the holiday season and being assaulted by smells of Cinnamon or Holiday Frost or Wooded Cottage or Rudolph’s Kitchen is just a bit much for me.

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14) Garland

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One of the decoration staples in my parents’ house is a long strand of garland that sits on top of the fireplace. I think it looks great, but it’s heavy duty and has a mind of its own and sometimes decides to jump off the ledge for no apparent reason, taking anything and everything else on the ledge with it. Points deducted, my friend.

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13) Mistletoe

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To be honest, I rarely see mistletoe outside of Hallmark movies. And while I love a cheesy well well well looks like you have to kiss and fall in love movie moment, I can’t say I’ve seen or would overly enjoy being placed in that situation in real life.

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12) Snowmen

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Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Frosty. But I feel like snowmen are quite possibly the most overdone decoration of the holiday season. People make snowmen out of EVERYTHING. Sometimes a jar just wants to be a jar, you know?

Also, I’m bitter because I hardly ever get to see snow…

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11) Wreath

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I feel bad for placing these so low on the list because I genuinely love wreaths and think they add so much holiday spirit. But man, are they a HASSLE. (At least in my experience.) They always make the door hard to close and then if you have a screen door it just kind of leans there, awkwardly open. I don’t know, unless you hang them inside or have giant front doors that make average sized humans feel small to walk through, I think they might be more trouble than they’re worth.

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10) Bells

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I love the sound of bells, both the ding and jingle type—because that’s how they’re categorized right? I mean, have you ever watched people play the hand bells? It’s incredible. So really my only reason to mark them down is that I think they shouldn’t be restricted to holiday months. #justiceforbells

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9) Angels

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I think angels take the place of Santa in our eyes when we grow up. They become the source of Christmas miracles after we’re told that a grown man doesn’t actually climb down our chimney and leave us gifts. I like this transition, since I sincerely believe in angels and their capability to perform miracles, and I like that the Christmas season displays them in abundance.

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8) Advent Calendars

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When my siblings and I were little, our aunts used to put together advent calendars to open during the month of December. They wrapped little gifts in tissue paper and tied them to pretty gold rope that we hung up in the living room. The three of us then took turns opening gifts each day. It was fun and magical and remains to be one of my favorite Christmas memories growing up.

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7) Santa

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If you ever want to see a fantastic collection of Santas, you need not look any farther than my grandpa’s house. He has a western Santa that moves his hips like Luke Bryan, he has one that raps, he has one that is attached to a serving tray that is always filled with chocolates. So honestly, I’m here for whatever portrayal you’re willing to give me.

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6) Tree Topper

I think this would have less of a special place in my heart if my roommates and I didn’t have the greatest topper of all time.

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Yes, that’s right, folks, it is a cheeseburger with legs and it cannot and will not…be topped.

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5) Snow Globes

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My sister collects snow globes, something she got from my parents who also have more than a few to display every holiday season. To me, snow globes are one of those undeniably charming things, always ready to give you a little taste of magic whenever you pick one up and shake it.

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4) Christmas Lights

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There’s nothing like a decoration that brings literal light into the world! Last year my sister and I spent an entire evening driving aimlessly around our neighborhood looking at lights. They never fail to make me smile.

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3) Christmas Tree

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Come on, you know this guy has to be near the top. There’s almost nothing more Christmassy than a tree—unless maybe…

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2) Ornaments

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…THE ORNAMENTS YOU HANG ON ITS MAJESTIC BRANCHES. Y’all know I love ornaments and may or may not be surprised that they didn’t top out this list. I mean, ornaments can be anything (as demonstrated by my family’s ever growing collection) and they are some of the best memory keepers. That being said, the only thing that could have possibly beaten them out for the top spot are…

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1) Stockings

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I don’t know if you can tell, but one of these stockings is homemade.

It’s also our favorite stocking.

Stockings are just so homey and I love seeing them hanging above the fireplace, showcasing all of the members of a family—be that human and/or animal members. And in my opinion, finding the smallest little gift in your stocking, even if it’s just candy or a fuzzy pair of socks, can be more magical than opening the biggest present under the tree.

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However you decorate your house during the holiday season, I hope it makes you smile and brings you all the joy that this month is made of.

Merry Christmas and Happy List-cember everyone!

 


 

You can check out last year’s List-cember posts here.

How to Keep Your Christmas Decorations Up All Year Round (List-cember #7)

My least favorite part of Christmas is the moment it ends. Right after that clock strikes midnight, everything is over. All the planning, all the stress and anxiety, (probably) all the Christmas cookies. Like the day itself, they vanish into thin air, leaving only the memories behind.

Tonight, as I wrapped presents for my family and friends, I sat on my couch, basking in the season. I took a good look around my house, marveling at all the decorations we’ve hung up, dreading the day we’ll have to take them down and leave the walls plain again.

Decorations have always been one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love the lights and the sparkles and all the red. I love the pride people take in filling their houses/cars/desks/etc. with Christmas spirit and the tradition of strangers coming together to marvel at that pride. It makes me wish Christmas lasted all year long. Though I suppose that would take away the novelty of it all, wouldn’t it? Then again, should we really need to consider pride, spirit and community a novelty? Shouldn’t these actually last all year long?

This got me thinking. What if when we took down our decorations, we took what they represent with us? For example:

1) Christmas Lights

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These quite simply make people look and awe. Whether it be with their colors, their arrangement, or their uniqueness. In many ways, even though we look at Christmas lights our whole lives, every year it feels like we’re seeing them for the first time. This is the same way I feel about people when they show unwarranted kindness or unthinkable bravery. It’s not that I forget these qualities exist, it’s just a pleasant and inspiring surprise when I come across them. So in this upcoming year, what if we made an effort to be these displays of light? I think it’s safe to say, especially in today’s society, the world could always use some more light.

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2) Ornaments

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I love ornaments. (So much so that I hand out superlatives every year.) I love that—at least the way my family does it—they are all unique and have a different story and memory associated with them, and that after all this time we still tell them. Pictures have this same quality. Unfortunately in this digital age we so often exile photos to the Internet and never think of them again. We need to print more pictures. We need to put them on display and remember the memories they capture. That way, in the moments we’re feeling low or nostalgic, we don’t have to scroll through our phones and try to dodge the pressures of comparison, we can simply look up at our wall or on our desk or bedside table and remember a moment that meant a lot to us.

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3) Paper Chains

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By now this might be a rather outdated decoration, but I still love me some paper chains. More than anything, they remind me that I can make things with my hands and they don’t have to be perfect. These days with the constant access to websites and services that will do practically everything for you, it’s easy to forget that we have hands of our own built for crafting. Then again, with all the Pinterest wizards dominating the Internet, it’s easy to get discouraged when we try. But, like a paper chain, things we make by hand, whether it be home improvement projects, gifts, or a hot meal from scratch, it feels good to sit back and realize that you made it; that you put in the time and did it yourself.

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4) Snow Globes

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My sister collects Christmas snow globes and is always one to walk over and shake them in a store. I think they give her, and me, and most of the general population a minute or two just to breathe. With a few shakes we stand and watch the snow or glitter fall, listening to the song that winds down, and for a moment we’re transported somewhere far away. While this might be harder to do in the general chaos of life, we can always take a second to stop and breathe; to take in the sights and sounds and smells around us and just be in that moment, completely as it is, just as we would until the song ended and we put the snow globe back on the shelf.

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5) Christmas Music

I know, I know, this isn’t technically a decoration. But when you consider that Christmas music is playing from every speaker, everywhere you go, for almost two straight months, it kind of turns into one. Call it an atmosphere decoration if you will. Granted, this “atmosphere decoration” technically exists all year round, chameleoning to fit the designated atmosphere (i.e. “elevator music”). But there seems to be this general agreement that in November and December you only listen to Christmas music and in January-October you listen to everything but. As I elaborated in this post however, I say listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. Decorate your atmosphere with music that makes you feel good no matter what time of year it is and no matter what anyone else thinks.

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So, as you start to de-decorate your house in the coming weeks, try to remember what it is about the decorations that draw you to them. Is it the light? Is it the color? Is it the associated memories? Then go out and find it in the confines of an average day, or create it yourself. Magic is not dictated by a calendar, and neither is goodness or glitter for that matter. So spread it around and soak it in, no matter the season.