Guest post from Katy Ramsey
There is just something special about walking into a home decked out for the Christmas season. A house filled with twinkling lights, tall Christmas trees filled with ornaments, and banisters and mantels strung with garlands has a way of giving us that feeling of holiday cheer. But, this time of year many of us find ourselves busier than ever and the idea of spending days “decking our halls” feels overwhelming. Not to mention the days that we will have to spend “undecking”. For many of us we are just not in a season of life where we can trim the tree, hang the stockings with care, and take on all of those adorable projects that keep popping up on Pinterest!
I am in one of those seasons in life where I just can’t bring myself to spend hours decorating. We have three small children, my husband works long hours, and I often find myself struggling to just keep up with the basic maintenance of my home. But, I still want people to get that warm “Christmas-y” feeling when they walk into my home. So, this year I have decided to simplify my Christmas decorating while focusing on the things that give the biggest impact. I am passing along my 5 tips for simplifying your decorating ideas for Christmas.
1. Pick your two or three favorite Christmas decorations and put those up first. For me, it was my tree, our stockings, and the nativity set. These also happened to be the items that had the most significance for our family and lots of traditions to go along with them.
2. Let the things you will have out anyway be decorations. We all have to wrap all of our Christmas presents anyway… why not let them sit under the tree early and act as Christmas decorations? Presents under the tree always looks very festive! I also like to use the Christmas cards and letters I get in the mail as decorations. I will be getting them anyway, might as well put them to work. I made a simple wreath inspired by Martha Stewart that I hang in my hallway to put Christmas cards and letters on. It actually ended up being my favorite decoration last year.
3. If you want to add extra decor to your home opt for winter decorations instead of Christmas. A bowl of pinecones can be left out for several months after Christmas where a bowl of ornaments starts to look a little silly after New Years.
4. Dim the lights, light some candles, and turn on the tree lights when you are having guests over or spending special time together as a family. Your home will instantly feel warmer and cozier. Soft lighting can really set the tone of the home and make everyone feel more relaxed and festive.
5. Let your other senses go to work for you. Staring at a Christmas tree isn’t the only thing that makes us feel like it is Christmas. Turn on some soft Christmas music or an instrumental arrangement and have it playing when guests arrive or when your family is on the way home. I also love to make my home smell like Christmas. If you don’t happen to be baking cookies at the moment, light a scented Christmas candle. Or, my favorite way to get my whole house smelling delicious is to make homemade potpourri on the stove.
Stove Top Potpourri Recipe
1 C. apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
1 T. whole cloves
one or two lemon and orange peels
2 bay leaves
Bring to a simmer on the stove and then turn to low. Add more liquid if needed. Feel free to play around and add more or less citrus to fit your family’s tastes. You can also turn the stove off and leave it on the stove and add more liquid and cook it again later the next day for several days.
Above all of these things I would encourage you to just enjoy the Christmas season with your family. Some of you might be in a season of life where even the “simple things” seem overwhelming! Don’t worry about it. Kids will remember a happy and smiling mom more fondly that they will remember the perfect centerpiece on the dinner table on Christmas Eve.
CHALLENGE: What are some of your favorite ways to keep Christmas decorations simple in your home?
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