You look at the calendar and it is December already. While the streets are decked and ready for the festive cheer, the Christmas spirit is still far from your home.

Fret not. It’s still not too late to get your house Christmas-ready. Five days is all you need if you follow our easy guide.

Day 1: Assess Your Mess

Don’t go on a panic buying spree. Take stock of what you have first.

Measure your spaceIf a Christmas tree is a must-have, you will need somewhere with low traffic (so people won’t have to walk around the tree or bump into it) yet high visibility (a tree is, after all, the focal point of your Christmas décor) and away from heat sources (for safety reasons). Your tree also has to be at least a foot shorter than your ceiling.

Check old decorationsMake sure old lights and decorations are still usable. That way you will know what else you might need to buy this year.

Day 2: Get the Basics Right

Buy your treeWhen buying a live Christmas tree, run your fingers along the needles and give the tree a good shake. A fresh tree will have pliable needles that do not fall off easily.

For fake trees, look out for density or tip count. This tells you how full the tree is. Check also that the branches can hold your heavier ornaments.

Make your ownIf you don’t have the space for a full-sized tree, make your own mini one. Invert a party hat; glue layers of shredded paper to it, wind wool or colourful baubles around it; then decorate accordingly.

Paper can be a good friend when making your mini tree. Get Christmas-themed paper and cut out Christmas tree shapes to stick on windows and walls. Thicker paper can be used to make standing trees.

Select your décorPick a colour scheme. It helps pull your décor ideas together and guides you when you are buying your Christmas decorations.

Day 3: Create Focal Points

Instead of decorating every available space, which can make your home look like a Christmas store, create focal points in each room.

Trim the treeThe tree is a natural focal point. When trimming the tree, lights should be the first things that go up so that you can use them to play up the depth of your tree. Start from the bottom, wrapping the lights around every major branch till you reach the top.

Next comes the decorations. Work layer by layer beginning with garlands. These are draped top down. Thin beaded garlands look best hung from branch to branch. Thicker paper or ribbon ones are best wrapped loosely around the entire tree.

Now comes the decorations. Begin with the prime ones that you want prominently displayed. Larger ornaments should be evenly spaced at the back to create a backdrop. Antique or fragile ornaments go near the top where they will less likely be knocked off by people brushing against them. Finally, fill in the tree with medium-sized and small decorations.

Look for other focal pointsShelves and ledges can also be turned into focal points. They make perfect places for hanging Christmas stockings.

Table tops – coffee tables, side tables, dinning tables – is another place you can create a focal point. As a rule of thumb, round centerpieces work well for round or square tables. Table runners work better with longer tables. If all else fails, throw a Christmas-themed table cloth over the table and you immediately add a festive touch to the space

Day 4: Make a Grand Entrance

Once you are done with the living room, head for the front door. You want to spread the festive cheer to anyone who walks by so. A wreath is your best option. Store bought wreaths are fine. But you can make your own as well and customise it to match your décor theme and colour. Something as simple as ring of rope with Christmas decorations – mistletoe, poinsettia, bells, baubles – tied to it can become a wreath.

Day 5: Kitchen Comforts

Congratulations! Most of your major decorating is done. If you are too tired or strapped for time, you can stop now. But if you want to go the extra mile, just spend another day.

Turn kitchen ware into decorationThe kitchen and dining area can be the next stop. Kitchen-inspired decorations are particularly inspired. Clear cookie and jam jars can be filled with Christmas-related decorations – candles, baubles, mistletoe. Cake holders can be filled with pine cones. White gravy bowls can be stuffed with stringed beads and Christmas ornaments. Let your imagination be your guide.

Make edible artRaid the kitchen for food that can be turned into decoration. Uncooked pastas can be used to make angels and bowtie pastas can be spray-painted and turned into decorations. Fill different jars with Christmas edibles like candy cane, sugar cookies, gingerbread men and line them on the shelf. Lemons and oranges can be turned into table or tree ornaments with artfully placed clovers.

Let your walls speakNow comes the nitty-gritty details. Walls are white spaces that can come in handy when decorating. If you don’t want to put a nail into your wall just for the holidays, consider putting a line across the wall and clipping decorations onto those lines with wooden clothes pegs. Christmas cards, holiday snap shots, stockings, Christmas ornaments can all be strung across the wall to add a festive touch.

Add lights to your decorationsFew things say festive fun like a string of lights. As a crowning glory to your Christmas home décor efforts, take a look at your home both inside and out and consider how lights can brighten up your decoration when the sun goes down.

So, there you go - a transformed home in less than a week. This Christmas, not only will you be home for Christmas, you have brought Christmas home.

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