Haul out the holly, deck the halls and get ready for a whole lotta jolly!
December is here, and the holiday season is here — whether we are prepared or not!
Every season, I have grand plans to cover my house from floor to ceiling with a combination of twinkling lights, sparkly baubles, and fragrant balsam — and every year, I always find myself never quite reaching my decorating goals.
Perhaps I have elevated and unreasonable expectations of my home decor, all thanks to my frequent viewing of Hallmark Christmas movies.
Unlike many people who have a natural knack for decorating, I always feel stuck in my same routine and, honestly, a little overwhelmed by the task at hand.
It doesn’t matter if I start early in the season or wait until the middle of December, either!
Do you struggle to find inspiration, money, or time to do all the decorating you want each year? You are not alone!
Read on for tips to take your decorating up a notch this holiday season — without raising your blood pressure or emptying your bank account!
• Family Traditions: Even if my home doesn’t look like a Hallmark movie house, I am always happy to unbox my nostalgic favorites, even in years when my decorating time is minimal.
Are there decorations that are meaningful to you and your family? Find a prominent place for those in your house and build everything around it. The simple placement of that favorite snowman from your childhood holidays will be all you need to make it feel like Christmas has arrived in your home.
• Sweet Simplicity: If decorating the tree isn’t happening this year, you can still add the beautiful sparkle and smell that an entire tree gives by hanging garlands and some simple twinkle lights on your doorways. Grab a few ornaments to hang from the mantle or stairway, and you will have a fully decorated house in less time than it takes to watch “Charlie Brown’s Christmas.” Twinkle lights can stay up past the holiday season and add a lovely glow to make those cold winter nights more magical. Window ledges and empty bookcases can also be a great spot to add a bit of extra Christmas magic. Other simple ideas include putting swags of greenery and pinecones on your countertops, islands, and coffee carts. With or without twinkle lights, they will make your house feel like a fragrant winter wonderland!
• Smells of the season: Studies say that our sense of smell is tied the closest to memories -so bring on those nostalgic holiday smells. While I love the smell of fresh blue spruce in my house at Christmas, if you can’t find the real stuff, lots of sprays, candles, and scent sticks can mimic the real thing. If you have an essential oil diffuser, some terrific combinations to bring the holiday feeling into your house include cinnamon, peppermint, orange, and clove. Even warming up orange peels and cinnamon in your slow cooker or dropping a few drops of vanilla or peppermint extract into a pie plate that you put in a slightly warm oven will fill your home with amazing scents! Baking a batch of homemade cookies is also an option — and who doesn’t feel the spirit after eating a sweet treat or two?
• The gift that keeps on giving: I don’t know about you, but there is nothing more exciting than seeing beautifully decorated boxes and bags of gifts that are ready to gift to my loved ones. Sadly, I usually run so far behind with my wrapping that most gifts are wrapped on Dec. 24 — just in time to put them under the tree. Why not let beautifully decorated boxes be part of your centerpiece or mantel decor? Have fun with bows, ribbons, ornaments, and even a tiny sleigh bell- and let the gift sit front and center as your decor until it is time to gift. It speeds up your wrapping process and helps you finish your wrapping!
• Winter solstice: One of my biggest reasons to decorate early is to enjoy the fruits of my labor for as long as possible! After all, we spend a lot of time decorating — I truly dread the de-Christmasing process! Why not make your decor a little more flexible? I am not advocating keeping your tree up through Valentine’s Day, but there is no reason your snowmen, snowflakes, and wintry decor can’t stay up and bring some extra magic to the dark winter months. Twinkle lights on the countertop or coffee bar — or even up and down your stairwells or windowsills can be a tremendous year-round decorating option.
Whether you have a professional decorator come in and deck those halls or if your idea of Christmas decorating consists of a tree and a few sparkly lights, decorating can and should be fun.
There are ways to make your home a magical place this season that doesn’t break the bank or take a gazillion years to complete.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)