The Holiday Home

By: Janice Clements

While I’m a decorator at heart, it's not lost on me that beyond the decorations, the holiday experience is made with festive music, sumptuous foods and having those we love around us just a wee bit more. 

For most of us, specific sights, sounds and smells permeate our memories when we think of this time of year. Recreating those memories need not be complicated or costly.

Consider these planning tips for a home that is holiday ready:

·      Love the smell of fresh baked goods but no time to bake? Drop by your local bakery and pop some of your favourite pastries or pies into the oven at low heat to get sweet smells permeating your home. If you’re crunched for time, prepared cookie or pastry dough are easy substitutions even for the best scratch baker. 

·      Put your fireplace to good use. Light a fire or flip the switch. Have an old fireplace box but no insert?  Stack a dozen pillar candles in the open space and light them up.

·      Fill a large wicker basket with shawls, slippers and cozy throws. Display them in a place where people congregate, ensuring that everyone has access to something cozy while sitting by the fire.

·      There's nothing like the smell of butter and sage wafting through the air on a cold winter day. If you’re not cooking a turkey this year buy a roasted chicken and use the bones to brew up some fragrant chicken soup.  

·      Layer small wired lights through a tall glass vase full of pinecones for some subtle evening glitter.

·      Display lots and lots of candles. If you don't have the proper holders to ensure you can do so safely, consider buying inexpensive battery operated ones. They create the same ambiance and are available in scented options.

·      Nothing says the holidays like poinsettias. A relatively inexpensive planter, they add instant punch and holiday colour to any space. Remember to keep them off the floor if you have pets.

·      Short on space inside? Use the backyard or a balcony and put large unused urns to work. Fill them with evergreens and wrap them in exterior Christmas lights just outside the back door or window to give your home an extra Christmas glow. Evergreens last all winter long, so enjoy them for months to come.

·      If you're celebrating Christmas but can't get a real Christmas tree, collect some evergreen bows from your property or buy some at the local Christmas tree yard and display them surrounded by a cluster of battery operated pillar candles.

·      Fill a wide bowl or a tall urn with a dozen pomegranates, a bunch of mandarin oranges or a large collection of glass Christmas ornaments for simple, inexpensive decorations.

·      Who says ornaments have to go on the tree? Hang a few colourful ones from the dining room chandelier and dim the lights, letting the reflection make the room glow.

·      Don't forget, as you add holiday decorations to your home, it's important to remove and store other items you display throughout the year. Don't layer one over the other creating clutter. Replace existing items with seasonal items and keep them clean and dust free over the holidays.

·      Your holiday decor should serve to compliment your existing spaces, not overwhelm them. If guests enter your home and feel like they've stepped into Christmas town, you may have overdone it. If you're unsure of how much to decorate, start by introducing a few items at a time. It will give you the ability to decide when enough is enough.

·      Over time, holiday decorations can become dusty and musty. Be sure to replace them with new up-to-date ones in order to keep them looking (and smelling) fresh for years to come. A little purge and replacement each year will help you keep control of costs.

Dim the lights, light the fire and the candles, put on the music and voila! Instant holiday home! 




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