The Movie Homes That Seriously Upped My Holiday Decorating Expectations — The Movies That Molded How I Decorate for Christmas

As a child, I took decorating for Christmas far, far too seriously. Every year, I’d wrangle some twinkle lights out of the outdoor-designate bin in the garage to hang all throughout my bedroom. I made every red-and-green construction paper countdown chain you could imagine. I strong-armed my parents into buying a real tree every single year while I still lived at home when what they really wanted was a simple, mess-free artificial tree. And you know what I blame? Not my child-like wonder, but movies — these five Christmas movies to be exact — because they made me think that when Christmas comes to town every year, there’s no excuse to not go all out.

Home Alone

Chris Columbus’ Christmas masterpiece had such an effect on me growing up that to this day I still dream of living in a similar red brick-clad center hall Georgian. The set designers specifically decked out the home in classic red and green to up the Christmas feels (you’ll see the color scheme in the wallpaper, the kitchen cabinets and tile countertops, the bedding and beyond), which as a kid, made me nearly resent the fact that my mother wasn’t willing to completely redecorate every time December rolled around. To me, this is the “Silver Tuna” of all holiday homes.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Having been born and raised in Florida, the Griswold’s outdoor snow-filled excursion to go cut down their own Christmas tree in the wilds of Illinois is the only reason I know there are more options out there than driving to your local Home Depot to pick out a tree. I begrudged the 7-foot-tall Douglas Fir my father always bought, deeming it not festive enough as compared to my favorite movie family’s gargantuan selection. And don’t get me started on the pressure I put on my dear ol’ dad with regards to outdoor lights and decorations. I nudged him every year to get more and more twinkle lights because if our house didn’t reset the block’s electricity grid, we weren’t doing it right.

The Santa Clause

I’m not talking about Scott Calvin’s suburban town home; I’m referring to the magical, magical place that was the Santa Claus headquarters in the North Pole. There was a ball room…full of balls! There were elves and perfectly heated hot chocolate! Monogrammed, red silky pajamas (only the best!). Why oh why didn’t I have a giant train that took me around my family home (and reindeer!)? Child-aged Arlyn dreamed of waking up in that wonderland (heck, I’m not going to lie, so does adult Arlyn).

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Those Whos down in Whoville did it up right in terms of decorating. Sure, they got caught up in a bunch of nonsense that we’re all guilty of, but they knew how to deck out their homes with all the trimmings. If ever you feel stumped when it comes to how to decorate for Christmas, I dare you to watch or read How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and not be inspired.

A Christmas Story

Even though tinsel has long gone out of style, I still love it. The reason? A Christmas Story. Set in the 1940s when tinsel was all the rage, Ralphie Parker and his quirky family basically slathered the silvery strands on their tree when decorating. I’m not sure why that specific takeaway from the movie I watch on repeat every December 24 stuck with me, but it did and only my vacuum cleaner is sorry about it.

Your turn — which movies most influenced how you decorate for Christmas?

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