THE BLOG
11/23/2010 03:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How To Decorate for the Holidays and Not Be a Hot Mess

Let's face it, the holidays can be stressful. It starts with Thanksgiving at your in-laws (woohoo!) where you are almost always forced to eat someone's horrid green bean casserole and talk to a minimum of three people you have pretty much nothing to say to. Then, your carb overloaded self is sure to get bombarded with Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals and the never ending quest to find the perfect gift. Oh, the pressure! I have my own gift guide coming out next week, but I keep it stylish and relatively affordable. There's plenty of time for gifts. First, you need to get into the holiday spirit. And if getting into the holiday spirit as it relates to decorating your home stresses you out, what's the point? There's nothing cute about a hostess who is a hot mess!

The easiest way to decorate your home for the holidays and not stress out is to keep it simple and don't spend a fortune. I've never been into the whole keeping up with the Jones' mentality as far as Christmas decor. In suburbia especially, it becomes a Festival of Lights Pissing Contest, pardon the phrase. The goal is not to light up your house like the Vegas Strip, but to add some holiday cheer, festive color and your own style.

A few weeks ago, I shot a segment with NBC in my home about easy and stress free holiday decor. I typically get a decent amount of viewer feedback on most of my how to segments, but this one garnered much more attention than usual. So many viewers wrote to me, thanked me and voiced their frustration on the overwhelming task of decorating one's home for the holidays. The thing is, it's really not that hard. You just need a plan, a budget and a trip to someplace like Home Goods. I love Home Goods for the holidays because of the sheer volume of choice and the low prices that accompany the better than average merchandise. And, there is something for everyone. You can literally deck out your home for the holidays fabulously for about $300. Clearly, you can spend a lot more. But, you can do it for that dollar figure. This is also assuming you are starting from scratch, which most of you reading this are probably not. Here's a clip of the video from NBC where I'm decking out my own house!

Let's break it down to four easy steps:

The Front Door
Whether you live in an apartment building or a suburban home, it's always sweet to decorate your door. Mostly, because you're doing it for someone else. I am not a fan of fake wreaths and real ones will only set you back a few dollars, so let's start there. You don't need to be an expert crafter to make it look good, a simple colorful bow will do. Maybe even a little bell. It smells so good, too. If you have the space, you can add a few poinsettias or other festive plants at your entryway. My mother in-law has a motion censored talking Santa in her foyer, which I find mildly annoying, but the kids love it. I believe the holidays are mostly about little children, so I'm willing to suck it up. No kids, no talking Santa, dancing Santa, Rapping Santa, Jazz Santa.. return to CVS, please.

Table Top
Holidays involve a lot of time at the table, so it should look festive. No matter what your style is, this is so easy to do. You can take regular white plates if that's all you have and add metallic accents and glass and it will already look beautiful. Changing up place mats and napkins, adding a charger or some candles is really all it takes. Christmas dish ware is something Grandma does, not you. Sorry, but it's so cheesy even when the price tag is high. If you have good china, obviously use it. But, the whole Christmas theme thing screams tacky. You might as well answer the door wearing a Rudolph sweatshirt. For your centerpiece, make it simple, unobtrusive and going natural is always pretty. Branches, florals, simple candles are sure safe bets.

Decorative Accents
So, Home Goods is known for their plentiful decorative accents. It's what they do best.
I like silver and gold accents the most.I think it's elegant and chic and hard to screw up. Plus, you can add non holiday items like pillows, dishes of candy and sweet smelling candles that are not limited to the season. Less is definitely more. Remember, your home is not a department store window, that's not the goal here. Anything with a reindeer or snowman motif is strictly off limits unless there are children involved. Or it's purposely kitschy or it's a joke.

Little Details
Details are what I always speak to again and again, it's what I am known for. I believe that true style lies in the details. The little details that make a difference in holiday decor are things like a dish of gourmet chocolates, fresh flowers, a room's fragrance, and your own personal touches that define who you are and what your own style is.

At the end of the day, I can only hope you are more content with the guests seated at your table than the decor. The decor should enhance the company, not the other way around.

Check your local TV listings for more of Courtney Cachet's great ideas. You can catch her frequent appearances on NBC nationwide where she dishes out all the latest in home and lifestyle! You can also keep up with her on Facebook where she gives daily advice on all things fabulous for your casa and your life!