A few weeks ago I had to go to my architect and tell him I had completely forgotten to put a very important space in our house plan. It hadn't even crossed my mind until I saw my husband putting up our Christmas decorations. He’s the Christmas decorator, not me. And he is quite the decorator. He goes all out, so we will definitely need a dedicated space for our Christmas decor. Just a couple of weeks ago we added a Christmas nook to our attic.
This week I'll give you a few quick tips to help you design and build a house with the holidays in mind. Putting in a little extra thought and planning in before we build will make holiday decorating a lot easier and more enjoyable. Now, I’ll be referring to Christmas for most of these tips, but these ideas should be helpful for those celebrating Hanukkah and other seasonal holidays.
Lets get right to those quick tips.
1. Think about where your Christmas tree, or trees, will go and add electrical outlets to those areas. You should also avoid putting HVAC vents in those places. Air coming through those vents would be at least partially blocked, potentially making the room uncomfortable. And if you use a real Christmas tree, the vent air could dry the tree out.
Will you have one large Christmas tree in your living room, or will you also want a tree for the kids in the play room? Think through where your trees will potentially go and discuss that with your builder, or your electrician and HVAC contractor. If you think to yourself
“I might want a tree there, but I’m not sure.” Go ahead and add an extra outlet to that area, just in case. Better to have a couple of extra outlets rather than not having enough.
2. Don’t forget to put outlets near stair banisters, your fireplace mantle and by indoor balconies or anywhere else you like to put lights indoors.
3. Add a holiday decoration storage area to your house. Maybe a dedicated closet, or a space in your attic, basement, garage or under your stairs would work for you. Make sure it’s large enough to accommodate all your artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, wrapping paper and indoor and outdoor holiday decor. You might want to have your carpenter build shelves for those large bins that many of us use for Christmas decorations. Get clear bins if you want to easily see what’s inside the bins, or use colored bins to make the closet look a little more festive. Measure the bins that you have or that you plan to buy for your Christmas decor and make sure your shelves are large enough for them. If you have enough space, leave an area to hang your wreaths, either on the walls or in a rack.
4. Store a dolly or a cart with wheels in or near the holiday storage area to make moving bins and trees easier. If your Christmas storage area is on a different level than your main living space, you might even consider adding a dumbwaiter to help move Christmas decor from floor to floor. A dumbwaiter is like a miniature freight elevator that moves up and down either manually or automatically with a push of a button. If you’re young and energetic, these suggestions may seem silly, but the older I get, the more a little extra help sounds like a good idea.
5. Add outlets to any outdoor areas you want holiday lights, including railings, near windows where you want lights and at the soffits of the roof if you hang lights from your eaves. Remember the Eaves are the Edge of the roof that extend beyond the main body of the house and the Soffit is the part of the eave that faces the down toward the Sidewalk. Outlets typically go in the soffits and lights often hang from the eaves.
6. If you want one or two decorated Christmas trees outside your house each holiday season, plan to plant evergreen scrubs near your house. Ask your landscaper for suggestions of what evergreen scrubs will do well in your region. Junipers or cedars might be a good choice, but ask your landscaper to be sure. And if you want lights on those outdoor trees, talk to your electrician about putting electrical outlets close by.
7. Ask for at least 2 Holiday light switches inside your house— one that controls the indoor holiday lights and one that controls outdoor holiday lights. If you want to separately control several different groups of lights inside or outside the house, you’ll obviously need more than 2 switches. Put holiday switches in an out-of-the-way place like inside a coat closet or in your garage since the switches won't be used for most of the year. You might also ask your electrician about smart solutions that allow you to control the lights from your phone or tablet.
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete, it’s subject to change and it may not apply to your project. In addition, building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.
Well, those are my holiday quick tips. I hope you found them helpful. And I hope you’ll join me next week for another episode of BYHYU.