Christmas Decor: How Much Is Too Much?

When I was a kid, my mom put as much work into her Christmas decorating as any department store. Maybe more, considering she had two kids squabbling in the background. There were garlands and wreaths and bows and bells and tiny towns nestled in snow. Santas and sparkly lights abounded. We even had a hand-carved olive-wood nativity set that we brought home from Bethlehem.

Those decorations dazzled me all through childhood. I couldn't wait to come home from school and sit near the Christmas tree and take it all in. Oh sure, my mom went a little overboard and she wouldn't get hired as a tasteful professional holiday decorator (a side gig for many design professionals come Christmas). But her family loved it. I was always a little mopey when she took the decorations down and packed them back into the attic. It was the least merry day of the year!

When it comes to holiday decorating, I say more is more. String up so many lights that your neighbor gives up in defeat, like the guy who spelled out "Ditto" on his house and started an Internet meme. Most people admire Ditto guy's cleverness. I wonder what the house next door looks like on the inside!

I write this, of course, knowing that I would never follow my own advice. My decorations are pretty — all soft twinkling lights and white and silver accents — but hardly giddiness-inducing. Maybe that's why I fantasize about maxing out my credit card at Michael's on all things Christmasy.

What about you? Do you keep it tasteful or do you really go for it?

Image: NBC Chicago