If you're like most people, your schedule is crammed during the holidays. And if you are marketing your home during December, there's additional pressure to make it look inviting and neat every day. Tall order!

You don't need to tackle new craft projects or break the year-end budget to have your home looking stunning. Just simplify your decorating and seasonal staging! Make the entrance of your home -- what greets people coming to tour it -- the focus of your curb appeal and homestaging.

Here are easy ideas for making your home inviting to buyers during the winter holidays. As always, it's about curb appeal!

Create a plan

Start by selecting a simple decorating plan. Maybe it's a two-tone color scheme, a candy and cookies motif, or a Santa theme. If you have something that looks like a collection of antique toys (teddy bears, an old wagon, sleds, or skates) collect them all in one place to create a unified look. Maybe the nativity is your theme, or angels, or greenery, or plaids, or snowflakes.

This is the approach professional decorators in upscale department stores employ to cast a spell over shoppers, setting a consistent, feel-good, mood. That's how you want home buyers to feel when they enter your home on the market, that everything they see is intentional, not lazily thrown together. It builds their confidence in the maintenance and quality of your home as a whole.

You'll need to clean up your outside entrance of the stuff of summer and autumn. You want a blank slate to spark your creativity. Collect the props and outdoor decor that you can press into service to cast your Christmas spell! With luck, you'll have what you need from previous Decembers, but you may choose to add some new filler items to freshen the look and pull it all together.

Start with a seasonal wreath on the front door.
I've blogged about
how to make a greenery wreath,
a rag wreath, and
felt wreath. 
This twig wreath cost me 90 cents at Salvation Army,
and the silver poinsettias are from Dollar Tree.

Add something to ground the doorway and add seasonal personality. I spray-painted these branches white and tucked them into the nursery containers of
three small juniper shrubs nestled in a lightweight plastic urn. 

An assortment of evergreens on your steps is a simple way to give a
nod to the season and greet people coming to the door (be sure to de-ice the steps!).
The greens can be real potted shrubs, artificial topiaries, or just branches cut from your tree or shrubbery. Their containers don't even have to match,
the winning way the gals at TheMerryThought set up their front entrance. 

Keeping it clean and still festive, this entrance plays with simple signs of the
season -- a holly wreath, an evergreen garland draped casually over the doorway,
some logs, and winter boots. Photo: InTheFields 
If you have a front porch or even a small landing where you've staged with
chairs or a bench, now's your chance to add some
welcoming winter accessories. Photo: One Sutton Place
Make your outside decor local as well as seasonal --
reflecting the charm of your area, whether it's an
urban or rural location. This wreath has a coastal theme.
Don't forget to add a fresh and cheery welcome mat!
Any garland or wreath you add can be real or faux as long as it is weatherproof.
This red door makes quite a statement. But I'm not suggesting you paint your front
door just for the holidays! It's not a good idea to cover it with a holiday wrap either
because buyers will want to see your real door if they are serious buyers. Photo: BHG
The holidays are a time to go bold. So don't be afraid
of color combos you might ordinarily avoid for homestaging.
Pepto Bismol pink and bright red? Yes! Photo: JuliaRyan
Instead of a wreath or other decoration on your door,
the siding or trim near your entrance can be the
background for that festive touch. This wreath is
attached to the exterior light fixture. Photo: CitrineLiving 
This wreath of plastic sandwich bags I made years ago and it
comes out to play and get a makeover every Christmas. One of its best qualities is that
it looks attractive from both sides, so it's perfect for glass doors. 

Streamline your decor

I love seeing home exteriors decorated during December with outdoor lighting. Who doesn't? The more lights the better, but it seems to me that the fun of putting up the lights and enjoying their sight turn into their opposite when it's time to take them down. Talk about unpleasant chores!   

My advice is to skip the elaborate lighting displays and make your entrance the star. This simple approach will free you so you'll have more time and energy for what counts, being with family, neighbors, and friends at the end of the year and observing the traditions you honor.

I'm wishing all my readers the happiest of holidays!