Decorating her home for Christmas is one of Suzanne Kasler’s favorite things and is a task she eagerly anticipates as the season draws near. This is an award-winning designer, so there is a method behind the joy. Suzanne plans and edits her Christmas décor as judiciously as she does a client’s home. So we picked her brain for some tips and tricks to help make decorating a little more effortless this year.

A Few of Her Favorite Things

It all starts the first weekend of December—and not a moment too soon. “I love Christmas! I try to get it all decorated early so I can enjoy a beautiful house all month long,” Suzanne shares.

Christmas is always a busy time of year, so Suzanne has employed simple strategies to make the most of her time, starting with storage.

“I keep all of my Christmas décor in red and green boxes in a special spot,” confesses Suzanne. “That way, when I walk into the storage room, I know exactly what belongs to Christmas.”

Suzanne adds a few things to her collection every year and enjoys rediscovering old favorites from seasons past. And although she pulls everything out of storage, she does not intend to use it all. She carefully considers this season’s decorating theme, or signature look, and what entertaining she might be doing before deciding what stays out.

“I love to get everything out, but then I edit what I’m going to use that year for Christmas,” Suzanne says. “Sometimes I do more, sometimes I do less. But what I try to bring to a theme are my favorite things.”

Deck the Halls, Tastefully

This year, Suzanne is going for a more “undecorated” look that’s decidedly simple and uncomplicated. She plans to mix in loads of natural jute from her Ballard collection with the classic colors of Christmas as well as layering in her signature white.

When it comes to decorating, be careful not to overdo it, Suzanne warns. It’s not necessary to decorate every single room in your home. “I always tell my clients to pick a few key areas in your home to decorate.”

Suzanne typically displays three forever-green trees in separate areas of her home. This year she’s considering adding a fourth: her Frasier Fir Tabletop Tree with burlap root ball. How you decorate your tree is up to you.

“You can even leave them natural and just plug them in,” she says of the pre-lit evergreens. Suzanne intends to leave one tree completely natural while going “all-out” with another using a mix of items she’s collected over the years with her daughter. She also plans to decorate a tree in a single look, such as using all-white snowflakes.

Suzanne loves to mix in a little natural greenery with her forever-green trees. “You get the feel of the greenery and the fresh smell,” she says. “Mixing in gives you the freedom to decorate for the entire month without the hassles.”

Always Be Prepared

Another way Suzanne keeps it easy is having everything on hand, from wrapping paper, tags and ribbon to hostess gifts. You can continue your theme for a consistent look and feel. Use the same ornaments and ribbon to trim the tree as you would for gift wrapping. An added bonus: if it all coordinates, getting gifts ready is a breeze because you can use any combination.

What’s makes a great hostess gift? You can’t go wrong with cocktail napkins, Suzanne shares. “Cocktail napkins are so beautiful. Last year I bought 10 boxes. I wrapped them all, used my signature balls as decoration and had them ready.”

You’ll appreciate the advance planning when you get that last-minute invitation to a neighborhood party. You don’t want to take a bottle of wine and run the risk of re-gifting it to someone who gave it to you, warns Suzanne.

“Being prepared—and getting to use your signature look—makes Christmas so much more enjoyable.”