Top 10 Holiday Decorating Must-Haves + Win American Express Gift Card!


It’s time to decorate for the holidays – my favorite time of year! This year is the first year I’ll be enjoying Christmas in Nashville so I’m very excited to decorate my home with lots of holiday decor. I know lots of young couples that are also enjoying Christmas in new apartments or homes or are on the search for a new home (I’m in this category!).

You’ll find lots of tips in this post for decorating your first home or looking for a new home thanks to Apartment Guide. They are also giving one lucky reader a $50 American Express gift card to use to decorate your home for the holidays.{enter below}

1.  Modern Red Candle Holders ($10.95, Crate and Barrel) – I love these for a pop of color in a neutral room. If you’re decorating a first home, these are affordable and great for year-round decorating as well. If modern is your style, check out these other tips for decorating modern-style!
2. Velvet Stockings ($16, Pottery Barn) – I ordered these velvet red stockings this year for my fiance and puppy dog too! They’re soft, gorgeous, and I love the monogram!
3. Fresh Cider Monogram Wreath ($39, Ballard Designs) – Add a touch of greenery to your door (or wall!) with this monogram wreath! {More front-door decor from Moving Today}
4. Frost 2-Tier Beaded Server ($29.99, Target) – I bought this holiday server last year at Target and I’m THRILLED that they have it again this year. I use it all-year round which is great for apartments or homes with little storage! This server is perfect for entertaining (more tips for throwing an apartment holiday party). Or enjoy the season with family and save the party-throwing for New Years – here are a few tips for Apartment NYE parties!
5. Novoli Holiday Pillow ($119.95, Z Gallerie) – Choose a fun graphic print for throw pillows to decorate your couches! These can be pulled out for the holidays but are suitable for year-round decorating as well!
6. Triangle Red Plates ($3.95, Crate & Barrel) – Chic and simple, these red and white triangle plates are perfect for enjoying those holiday cookies and cakes! For more tips on adding pops of color to your decor, check out this article on Moving Today!
7. Pinecone Candles ($7.98, World Market) – Candles add a glowing ambiance to small spaces and these pinecone candles double as festive holiday decor as well. Leave these candles on the mantle throughout the winter!
8. Pinecone Topiary ($39.98, Martha Stewart for Home Depot) – If you’re decorating an apartment or small space, opt for a smaller tree or topiary like this one by Martha Stewart! It’s perfectly suited for a corner or front door step too.
9. Dasher Candleholder ($17.95, Crate & Barrel) – This cute reindeer candle holder adds a touch of one of my favorite childhood stories – Rudolph + the reindeers!
10. Apothecary Jars ($29.99, Amazon) – Apothecary jars aren’t just for candy buffets! Use this filled with pinecones, extra sparkling ornaments, potpourri, cinnamon sticks, or other holiday decor!

1. Leave a comment below telling us YOUR favorite way to decorate for the holidays!
2. Earn an EXTRA entry by following @AptGuide on Twitter!



Congrats to our winner: Tiffany W!  Happy decorating!!!!

And when all the presents have been opened and Christmas has passed, use these tips for recycling your holiday decorations (great tips for apartment-living)!
Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “Decorating Your First Place” Collection.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “Decorating Your First Place” Collection. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


  1. 1
    Michelle Keraus says:

    I love decorating for the holidays…but for me, it’s not just about sight, but smell as well. I need fresh wreaths and yummy holiday scented candles to really get into the holiday spirit.

  2. 2

    My snowmen make my decorating complete. My favorite? My cute little snowman couple salt & pepper shakers. And my tree skirt…I love it!

  3. 3

    I put up several trees, with lots of lights. I am all about the lights!

  4. 4

    My decorating is very minimal – I love getting out my treasurers from past Christmases & retelling their story. I do have a small collection of Peggy Carr glass – love it!!!

  5. 5

    Cute cute things!!! And affordable too!! My very favorite thing is the tree. I love buying a new ornament (or two) every year and trying to fill it with as much stuff as I can! My husband told me this year I had too much stuff on the tree and I said “impossible!!!!” ;-)

  6. 6
    Debbie woods says:

    M favorite thing is when we turn all the lights on at night and light all the candles. The glow is what makes it special!

  7. 7

    I love your style!!

  8. 8
    Debbie woods says:

    Following @aptguite on twitter. :)

  9. 9
    tiffany woodfn says:

    One of my favorite parts of the holiday is maintaining traditions that were started when i was a kis like having sugar cookies and christmas music on when decorating cookies. I love passing down ornaments and making new traditions with my husband. It looks like our newest tradition is that he sits and watches while i decorate the tree. Lol

  10. 10

    I love the christmas lights and seeing all the houses decked out!

  11. 11

    Since we don’t get a tree, I decorate in blues and silver. Stars are a main part of my theme. I have a HUGE star in the LR window that is illuminated. I decorate the bannister and place little vignettes around the house in the same colors. It looks better than I’m making it sound.

  12. 12

    I love the decorate with natural & rustic items!

  13. 13

    My favorite is burning my Scentsy, cinnamon and cloves smell. But if I had that gorgeous tiered server, that would be a close fave! Love it.

  14. 14

    I love to decorate for the holidays, music, cookies, fresh pine tree around the house, family and friends reunions, is the most wonderful time of the year!!!

  15. 15

    Once my tree comes up with all the lights and ornaments then it starts to feel like Christmas.

  16. 16

    One of my favorite ways to decorate is a small 3 ft tree we put on a corner table in the dining room. On it are Xmas decorations picked up on vacations. Maple leaf from Canada, Puerto Rican girl from San Juan, cable car from San Francisco, Chinese boy and girl from China Town in San Francisco, etc. As I hang each one, it brings back a memory from that vacation.

  17. 17

    Add sparkle! I love glittery ornaments!

  18. 18
    Tracy Robertson says:

    I love to look at everyone’s decorations and lights, but I live in a small apartment and don’t have kids, so my decorating is pretty minimal. I put something cute on the door and lay about a few Christmas knick-knacks.

  19. 19
    Tracy Robertson says:

    I follow Apartment Guide on twitter @tracylr233

  20. 20

    I love putting up the tree. There’s something about looking at all the ornaments and all the memories that go with them that really gets me in the holiday spirit.

  21. 21

    I love to do something different every year. This year I hung ornaments above our dining room table.

  22. 22

    We made life-size victorian silhouettes of a man and woman ice dancing (skating) that we painted white. Put a red scarf on him, a velvet bow on her, and shine a spot light on them in our yard. Neighbors look forward to the ‘skaters’ every year to mark the beginning of the holiday season!

  23. 23

    decorating the Christmas tree, hanging stockings and lighted garland/wreath.

  24. 24

    i liked aptguide and facebook: Alyssa F
    and i follow them on twitter: pandaxaly

  25. 25

    My favorite way to decorate forthe holidays is laceing my whole stair case with reeth and pretty glitter string!

  26. 26

    I love the whimsy spark that my candy themed tree adds to my holiday decor. So much fun!

  27. 27

    I decorate in the color scheme of my husband’s favorite sports team – The Ohio St. Buckeyes – which I love because of the classic look of white, grey, silver & red together, and we’re both happy!

  28. 28

    I’m following Apartment Guide on Twitter!

  29. 29
    Tami Miller says:

    I love to decorate the outside of our house with lights and we have a palm tree which my husband decorates with white and green led lights to kind of make a “Florida” touch to our yard. Our inside is made up of Santas and our tree is decorated with all of the school homemade decorations our kids, ages 13, 17 18 1nd 21 have brought home through the years. That is very warm and home to us! Thanks very much!

  30. 30

    I LOVE Christmas and decorating!!! It just makes my heart HAPPY! I love putting lighted garland on the mantel and around the staircase. Ahhh it just makes it have such a “homey” feeling! I also love decorating wreaths for the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


  31. 31

    I love decorating in simple colors, like sticking to silver, white, and blue.

  32. 32

    I love a Gold & Green theme. Looks amazing!

  33. 33

    I love hanging our friends and families’ holiday cards around the house as decoration. And looking at all of them reminds me how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life!

  34. 34

    Well, I love to decorate with the ornaments that my 4 kiddos have made over the years, as well as those we give them each year to remember a special accomplishment or event.

  35. 35

    I love rustic decorations for the holidays; lots of burlap and pinecones.

  36. 36

    I love festive colors like teal, apple green and fuchsia!

  37. 37

    I try to make something every year. I’ve made ornaments and fresh arrangements in the past. This year I made an advent calendar.

  38. 38

    I love styrofoam wreaths and decorating them with yarn and pinecones

  39. 39

    following @AptGuide on Twitterr

  40. 40

    I love wreaths! So customizable!

  41. 41

    Great decorating ideas!

    On a more sour note, I have a warning for you, my aunt had her house burn down because the Christmas tree caught fire! She gave a child a candle to hold and she got busy doing something else, next thing she knows the front room is ablaze because the child had lit the Christmas tree on fire. Keep fire AWAY from real Christmas trees, especially when they are dry! Dry Christmas trees burn VERY fast!

  42. 42

    I decorate my daughter’s little tree and hang white lights throughout our apartment.

  43. 43
    Kimberly L Willis says:

    I’ve turned our favorite way we love to decorate for the holidays into a tradition.. We pop in the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” while we’re decking the halls. It’s just a classic! Watching this super funny movie while getting down to business makes it feel less like work & now our family tradition!

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