A Simpler Holiday Season
As we enter the busy holiday season, it might look very different than it has in past. Large gatherings of family, friends and coworkers might not take place. Many of us might not fly to visit loved ones due to anxiety about the COVID19 health crisis. Those who usually enjoy holiday shopping may make gift purchases online. Given that this year’s holiday festivities might be limited, you might find that you have extra time for special activities with just your family. Simpler Holiday Decorations. Take the time to pare down your holiday decorations. Many of us receive ornaments as gifts and leave less popular decor packed in storage year after year. When you are ready to decorate this season, open all your boxes and assess your stockpile as a whole. If you have not used an ornament or decoration for several years, consider donating it. Let go of items that you do not really like and toss anything that is damaged. Also replace burned-out bulbs and dispose of strands that do not work properly. Consider donating wreaths, garlands, and outdoor decor that you do not use anymore to a local charity. In holiday pasts, you may have displayed all your holiday décor. But this year, think about displaying only the holiday décor that your family cherishes. Give yourself a break and it will also help when it is time to put it all away. Tell yourself . . . “Next Year!”
Nature-Inspired Décor. Perhaps the most traditional space to decorate, the mantel is a prime location for twinkling lights, and fresh greens. You can also include family photos from previous holiday celebrations on it. To complete the look, use collected pinecones, twigs, twinkle lights, candles and faux pine wreaths and other seasonal accents. Adding a little greenery makes it so festive.
What says "holidays" more than a fresh greenery garland on a stair rail? Often a stair rail can be seen from the front door, so the garland adds to the warm simple feeling of coming home for the holidays.
Pull out the candles. Whether they are traditional, or battery operated, the candles do not even need to match. Scatter them around the room in which you are gathering. Find some old mason canning jars of different sizes, fill them with salt and then add white candles. Real candles are fun but always be watchful with an open flame.
Sweet Treats in Glass Containers. Plunk a big handful of candy canes into a glass, fill an apothecary jar with kisses and top cake stands with cookies and other goodies for an irresistible and colorful display.
Decorate The Kitchen. Adding some wreaths, ribbons and garland go a long way in the kitchen. Do what brings you and your family joy. That is what the holidays are all about.
Design-Your-Own Winter Scene. Let the children help you create the perfect houses for your Christmas village. Pick up a two-by-six (or more than one, depending on how many you plan to make) at your local home improvement store. You can have the wood cut to your desired shapes at the store or do it yourself once you get home. Sand the edges with a fine-grit sanding block to eliminate splinters. Tape off the edges with painter’s tape, then cover the front and back of the blocks with chalk paint. Let the pieces dry. Once the blocks are dry, use white or colored chalk to create your perfect houses for your Christmas village. Accent with toy cars and trees. Perfect for a windowsill or on your mantle.
Special Activities with the Family-Young and Old.Since we are all spending more time together with our families, there are some great activities for the whole family to do.
Go caroling together. Practice easy holiday carols with the family. Play holiday music while doing homework. Before your family sets out to sing, put a pot of hot chocolate to warm and make sure to have marshmallows ready! Then, bundle everyone up and head out. If you have any bells to jangle, the children will have fun shaking them while singing. Kids can carry flashlights; adults can carry candle lanterns. Make sure the family is at least 6 feet from the front door. The families you serenade will enjoy the music even if it is off key. It is a lot of fun and good exercise to walk around outside and get some fresh air. Then back home for warm hot chocolate to drink.
Make a Sweet Scene. Decorate Graham Cracker Houses with candy. First mix up a batch of Royal Icing (recipe is easy to find in any cookbook or online), which will glue everything together. Then build and ice the graham cracker houses ahead of time to allow them to dry hard. You can build them on a sturdy paper plate, a piece of cardboard covered in foil or purchase cake circles in the cake decorating section. They are sturdy cardboard circles with a coating that is waterproof. Also purchase the plastic icing bags to fill with the icing and ready to decorate. Then put a variety of candies, marshmallows, and cookies in bowls. Of course, part of the fun of making graham cracker houses is eating half of the decorations! Even adults will enjoy this activity.
Give a little more. If you are able, make charitable contributions before the end of the year. Due to this catastrophic health crisis and with cold weather fast approaching, Creative Spaces Remodeling is partnering with Light House, a homeless support center at Annapolis, MD to provide small tents when the shelters are full. CSR is currently hosting an innovative (and covid-19 friendly) donation/fundraiser event happening NOW through 11/23. Contact CSR office or visit any of their social media pages if you are interested in learning more or to donate.
Relax and reflect. Take time to think about the year that was and the year ahead. Spend quality time with loved ones. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.