The holiday season is upon us, and as so often happens, many of us may feel we’re not quite prepared. From decorating the house to buying and wrapping gifts to preparing a Christmas feast, there always seems to be so much to do during the holidays and so little time in which to do it. Today we’ll cover quick tips and tricks for your comprehensive holiday planning.
Brighten the Mood
Christmas is all about bringing light and joy into the world during the (literally) darkest season of the year. Lights instantly brighten the mood, transforming the cold and dark winter months into cheerful and cozy celebrations. So if you’re feeling pressed on time and creativity, a quick holiday decorating hack is to simply add lights everywhere, both inside and outside your home.
Lights aren’t just for decorating the tree anymore. String lights, fairy lights, icicle lights, and lights inside paper globes or stars may be effectively used to frame windows, fireplaces, and banisters, or they may be hung vertically from the ceiling. If you’d rather not use nails to hang your lights, you can use pushpins (if your lights aren’t too heavy) or hooks with non-damaging adhesive backs.
Introduce a natural and warm glow by placing candles throughout your house, including on your mantelpiece, on your living room coffee table, on your dining room table as a centerpiece, in bedrooms, etc. Add another layer of celebration by seeking out your favorite Christmas-scented candles, like pine, spiced orange, and cinnamon.
While we all have favorite sentimental ornaments that we love to unpack and place in positions of prominence, remember that Christmas is also a great time to reflect on the past year and add items that commemorate moments of growth for your family, be that a picture ornament welcoming a new grandbaby or a child’s graduation or an ornament representing a new pet you recently welcomed into your family. Whatever those special moments have been for you over the past year, take time to find a way to physically represent them with ornaments so that you can remember them again next year. Especially during challenging years, we need these joyful touchpoints to remind us to appreciate positive growth and change.
Decor doesn’t always have to come in the form of items you buy from home good stores. While it’s always fun to tick down the days with a new advent calendar and rotate to seasonally inspired pillows and throws, you can also use favorite games, winter puzzles, and holiday books to add interest to your holiday decor while simultaneously making restful activities readily available. Incorporating winter plants like poinsettias or using clippings from your evergreen trees outside are also great ways to “spruce up” your holiday style.
Extend the Celebration
COVID-19 has made it difficult to safely gather together with loved ones, but we can still find innovative ways to share our holidays with family, friends, and neighbors. Everyone loves mail, particularly surprise cards that are hand-crafted. Collect a few crafting supplies and gather the family to help you with a new holiday tradition: Christmas card creation for loved ones. Good House Keeping offers these 42 lovely design ideas to inspire your creativity.
Don’t forget that the best decor is participatory. While we’ve already mentioned the benefits of puzzles and books in adding to your holiday ambiance, you may also want to set up a special hot drink and snack station as a special way to celebrate the season. Consider keeping a hot water kettle out on the counter along with teas, hot cocoa packets, hot cider packets, and other favorite drinks. Add a festive dish full of your favorite Christmas candies and snacks so that you and your family can occasionally treat yourselves to the taste of Christmas.
Stylish Gift Wrapping Made Easy
Gift wrapping doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive to look effective. Check out these 50 ideas for gift wrapping like a pro, courtesy of Oprah Mag. For example, you might wrap your gift with inexpensive brown kraft paper and dress it up with an evergreen sprig from your backyard tree, you might decorate a simple piece of paper with fun or classy washi tape, or you might decorate a simple brown bag like a frosted gingerbread house with a whiteout pen. For a classy gift, consider overlaying your wrapping paper with a complimentary lace.
Christmas Dinner Recipes
Hosting and menu planning will likely be a little easier this year since many of us are celebrating with our immediate family or very close friends, but everyone still loves a special Christmas dinner. Fortunately, a special dinner doesn’t have to be a stressful dinner. Browse Country Living’s list of 90 easy Christmas dinner ideas and select a few items that appeal to you, be it the red chile and orange glazed turkey, the honey-drizzled citrus salad with pistachio-poppy seed granola, or the roasted squash and goat cheese poached cranberries. From appetizers to main dishes to side dishes to desserts to holiday drinks, this list has your full Christmas dinner covered.
Christkindl Markets - Online!
One of the most enchanting experiences and unique places to find Christmas gifts for your loved ones is the classic Christkindl Market. Unfortunately, many of these markets may not be open in person this year, but some of the most famous markets have gathered their vendors’ goods to be sold in an online market format. If you’ve always wanted to shop at the famous Christkindlmarket Chicago, this is your chance to participate in its first-ever virtual marketplace. Who doesn’t love a handcrafted gift that comes with a special story?
One of the things that make the holiday season so special is the anticipation of annual traditions. If you don’t have them, this is the year to start them! Everyone may have a different Christmas tradition, such as instituting a sugar cookie decorating contest, taking turns opening doors in an advent calendar and acting out the picture or item for the rest of the family as a mini charade game, or simply eating coffee cake together as a family on Christmas Eve morning. Whatever your tradition is, it will become special to your family.