Can Holiday Decorations Harm Your Home Sale?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Sandra Nickel REALTORS

Your house is on the market and the holiday season is here. Just because you are trying to sell your house does not mean you cannot still make it feel like home. Especially this time of year. And let’s face it, unless you are a Scrooge, twinkle lights and holiday décor make a home feel more inviting and cheerful than ever. But, when making your home festive for the season, it is important to remember that buyers need to be able to picture the home as their own. Overdoing it could keep buyers away and hurt your chances of selling.

Here are some tips for staging your house for the holidays:

  • Depersonalize your decorations. It is hard for people to picture a home as their own if they see your personal life prominently featured in your décor. Avoid things like ornaments your kids made in pre-school, stockings with names on them, photo Christmas cards and pictures of your kids with Santa. Keep it simple. Think of it like makeup…you want to enhance the features of your home, not overwhelm them.

  • Stand out by not standing out. What does your neighborhood look like during the holidays?  If everyone goes all out with exterior lights and trimmings, then you do not want to be the only house on the block that’s dark at night. But if people use more subtle decorations outside, follow their lead.  Less is more when it comes to staging your house for buyers.

Still confused about how to decorate to most appeal to buyers?  Here are some more dos and don’ts:

  • Say no to the “kitsch”! Big inflatables, reindeer on the roof and tons of lights might be fun to look at, but it also might keep potential buyers from wanting to see the inside of the house.  Keep it classy to entice buyers.

  • Classic décor is always best. An elegant wreath and simple white lights are warm and welcoming without being overwhelming.

  • Consider skipping the tree. Unless you have high ceilings you want to show off, you may want to skip the tree this year. If a tree is too big it can make a room feel cramped and small. If a tree is too tiny, it can seem sad and depressing. Also, needles from live trees can be challenging to keep up with when you must keep your house neat and tidy for showings.

  • Scents over scenes. There’s nothing more alluring than holiday scents. The smells of fresh baked cookies and cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove create a warm ambiance that makes people feel at home.

  • Protect your presents. You may not want to have presents under the tree when strangers will be walking through your house, especially if your Realtor is holding an open house. The last thing you want to discover Christmas morning is that someone walked away with one or more of your gifts.

The bottom line is, don’t be afraid to decorate and enjoy the holiday season in your home even if it’s on the market and being shown. Just remember to keep it simple and enticing to potential buyers.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home (or both), let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500 and check out for more information!

Photo Credits:, pinterest,

Comments (7)

Miriam Odegard
United Real Estate Indianapolis - Indianapolis, IN
Real Estate Broker Serving Greater Indianapolis

Absolutely, especially if the listing lingers on the market. Best to put all those away if one can. Excellent post, Sandra! Very timely advice.

Nov 10, 2021 04:34 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Sandra. Great tips! Scale back and think sale! You can decorate at your next stop. Enjoy your day.

Nov 10, 2021 04:36 AM
Bill Salvatore - YVP Blog
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - Valley of the Sun /

Keeping it minimal and classy is the key.  Must be able for a potential buyer to visualize living there. We made it to Hump Day, lets make it a productive Wednesday.  Thanks again for the post. bill

Nov 10, 2021 04:57 AM
Norma J. Elkins
Elite Realty Group - Morristown, TN
Realtor - Elkins Home Selling Team

Excellent info and very useful for home sellers.  I may have to borrow this one for sure.  Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Nov 10, 2021 05:01 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Sandra - too much of a good thing can definitely be "over the top".  Regardless if a home is on the market for sale or not.  

Nov 10, 2021 05:08 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

So many people don't want to list during the holiday season. I've had many clients who adore Christmas and talk about where the Christmas tree will go. It doesn't matter the time of year, that is just their priority.

Nov 10, 2021 06:20 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center 262-567-2455 - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Nov 17, 2021 05:39 AM