But if that would blow your gift budget, as it would mine, you can take away some ideas instead.
Here are some ideas to help you get out of your holiday decorating rut, courtesy of Linda Cegelis, museum spokeswoman who has been part of the event for 20 years.
•Create a scene. When decorating your tree, go beyond the branches. Decorate around the tree and create a vignette. Coordinate the tree skirt, the wall behind, and the gift wrap. A winter wonderland tree had white sparkly branches lining the wall behind it like a snow-covered hedge, a billowy white gossamer skirt that resembled a snowdrift, and a white artificial reindeer standing by.
•Lay on the lights. . Put lights around garland, wreaths, mirrors and the gingerbread house. “Think through the lighting. It should be significant,” Cegelis said. The designers strongly prefer white lights.
•As part of your vignette, find an urn or large cachepot. Heap it with holiday greenery, ornaments, or a scene with nutcrackers.
• Don't stop at the top. Forego the angel or star tree topper, and instead create an arrangement using large silk flowers, gilded branches and abundant ribbon, so it pulls the eye to top of tree. Toppers that fan up an out work well because they balance the base of the tree.
• Double the pleasure. Hanging a framed mirror behind the tree gives you twice as much tree and sparkle, plus shows off the back of the tree. •Focus rather than fragment decor. The tree, and the area around it, the mantle and the front door are good places to pour on decor. Spreading decorations all over the house can feel suffocating, and soon nothing looks special.
Contact Marni Jameson through www.marnijameson.com.