For many, there is one aspect of Christmas that is the greatest source of joy and overwhelming stress: decorating. A few families adorn their home with a handful of expertly-placed, modest decorative items. On the other hand, there are some that treat decorating their home like a blood sport and cover every square inch of flat space with a representation of the holiday season. If you can relate to individuals that live by the “More is More” philosophy on Christmas decorations, there are several ways to save money, while keeping your favorite seasonal pastime as stress-free as possible.Pack Your Christmas Decorations Carefully
By far, one few the most effective ways to reduce holiday-related stress and save money on unnecessary replacement decorations, is to pack your tree, ornaments, candles, wreaths and garland correctly in the first place. You don't need to spend a small fortune on this endeavor. Simply wrap everything in newspaper, lower the items gently into a plastic storage container and keep every box away from moisture and heat.Start Shopping VERY Early
If you're the type of person that enjoys adding new pieces to your overall Christmas scheme each year, never try to purchase new ornaments, candles or other decorative pieces in the months of October, November or December. Instead, shop in the off-season, particularly the first few weeks after Christmas or just before fall. Many times department stores will put out last year's decorations at a massive discount in an attempt to make room for the present year's stock. If the decorative items have been sitting in a backroom or warehouse for several months, examine them closely and don't be afraid to ask for an additional discount if you notice a small scratch or other imperfection.Hit Those Yard Sales
No matter if you call them “estate,” “yard,” “thrift” or “junk” sales; the Christmas items you snag are often in great shape and cost far less than anything you can find in any department store's clearance aisle. Once again, it's critical to closely examine the items to ensure they're in good shape and will mesh with our overall decorative scheme. As you become a savvier and seasoned yard sale aficionado, you'll quickly discover that there is one word you should acquaint yourself with quickly: bartering. Don't be afraid to ask if the homeowner will knock off a few dollars from the price tag, because you'll never know how much money you can save if you don't ask!Become a DIY Guru
There are a multitude of websites and crafting magazines that feature do-it-yourself Christmas ornaments and decorations. Not only will these save you money, constructing an adorable Popsicle stick reindeer or cotton ball snowman is an excellent opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your children or grandchildren. Sit down as a family and craft an addition to your arsenal of holiday decorations. You'll treasure these simple ornaments and the time spent with your family during the Christmas season.Pace Yourself
Instead of putting off decorating your home or yard until midnight on Christmas Eve, pace yourself and begin as early as you want. If it means your stress level is low, go right ahead and be “that family” on the street that begins hanging outdoor Christmas lights the day after Halloween. When it comes to Christmas cards, fill out a few each weekend and take your time writing personalized notes in each. Your friends and family will appreciate the extra sentiment and you might even actually enjoy this otherwise laborious chore.Don't Turn Decorating into a Competition
Lastly, one of the biggest sources of unnecessary Christmas stress is turning this enjoyable opportunity to create lasting memories into a competition with your friends and neighbors. Instead, change your mindset and look at decorating your home as a way to highlight your personal style and love of the season. When visiting other people's homes, instead of finding fault or reasons to be jealous, ask how your friend made that elaborate wreath or delicious pumpkin cookies.
A final way to cut down on a major source of holiday stress is to purchase a pre-lit Christmas tree. Assembly is a breeze and you won't spend hours untangling the mess you created last year.
About the Author: Janice Stillman is a guest blogger that writes a blog dealing with the rigors of Christmas. She uses http://www.balsamhill.com/ for her holiday needs.