Welcome to the holiday season! As much as some of us love the holidays, when a house is on the market through this season, it's not always the best idea to present it as the winter wonderland that we may want to do. Do you remember that old acronym, KISS (keep it simple, stupid)? Well, my interpretation for staging a home is: Keep It Simply Stated. And it applies to the holidays as well.
There is nothing wrong with displaying a seasonal motif throughout a home during the holidays. It's actually a very warm and inviting welcome for potential buyers as they come through the door. But PLEASE don't go overboard. Simply stated decorations, accessories and furnishings are subtle hints of the season and gives a space a homey, friendly feel without being overwhelming.
The rule of thumb is to use no more than three pieces/arrangements per room. For a living room, that would be the mantel, a throw on the sofa, and perhaps a small, seasonal accessory on a table. There is nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree up, but I would suggest that the decorations use the same simple application, rather than the flashing colorful lights and bright red garland. And, of course, the tree would count as one of the three arrangements in the room. If it is a small room, it could possibly be enough on its own.
Convincing homeowners that simply stated is the way to go can be a tricky proposition. Remembering back to my grandmother's house at Christmas, it would easily throw her over the edge to remove the spray snow and blinking lights from the windows, and put away the hundreds of decorations that made her place look like the North Pole itself. But keeping the eye on the prize (selling the home quickly) could be the deal breaker.