For many Americans, Black Friday means a mad rush to the mall to battle the crowds at the start of the holiday shopping season. For others, the days after Thanksgiving pose a different challenge: figuring out how to transform their homes from a fall festival to a winter wonderland.
Here's a three-step plan to make the switch from autumn leaves and pumpkins to holly and snow go as smoothly as the annual Macy's parade.
Step 1: Make a Timeline
The first step in a smooth transition from fall to winter décor is determining how long the process will take. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's unreasonable to expect the Great Holiday Switcheroo to happen overnight. Allow at least two to three days from start to finish, including putting away all of the fall decorations.
It's also important to factor in any family traditions when coming up with a timeline. There's no right or wrong way to go about it, especially in an era when it seems that many stores' halls are decked before the last trick-or-treater has rung the doorbell. Some families prefer an all-hands approach, taking advantage of the extra help available when everyone is at home for Thanksgiving. Others consider it near heresy to hang a single snowflake before December 1. Do what makes the most sense.
Step 2: Make a Plan
After deciding the pace at which the decorating will happen, it's time to come up with a strategy for getting it all done. Dividing the work into smaller segments is a good start and prevents one from becoming overwhelmed by it all.
PRO TIP! Before putting away the fall -- and winter! -- decorations, take photos of each room and save them in some sort of digital format. The photos will be a handy reference and will make the decorating process even easier in the future.
Keeping a checklist of what needs to be done is another helpful strategy, and not just for its organizational advantages. The act of crossing off a completed item on a list is a terrific motivator and can provide a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Step 3: Make it Merry
Decorating for the holidays shouldn't be looked upon as a chore, but as an opportunity for one and all to be as joyous as the occasions themselves. Put on some music, bake a batch of cookies, break out the cocoa and marshmallows -- whatever evokes the holiday spirit best.
Most importantly: don't stress. Rome wasn't built in a day. With a timeline, a plan, and a sense of merriment, it will all get done with time to spare.