Just about every aspect of the holidays can be a double-edged sword. Having family visit for a few days is great, but it requires you to obsessively clean the house and run a bed & breakfast for a week. Christmas dinner is magical, except for the hours spent in a hot kitchen fretting over the culinary details.
And decorating the house? So worth it, but such a pain, right? Not necessarily. These holiday hacks produce warm holiday ambiance without the stress. Many of them use things you already have around the house or can pick up quickly and cheaply – at the store, or in the backyard.
Berry branches. Red berries can add a splash of seasonal color to any room. Put a sprig on a bookshelf, in a vase or in the bathroom to give those spaces holiday pop.
Wrapped gifts. Another benefit of shopping early. Pull those August-bought presents out of the closet, wrap them up with bows, and place under the tree to stoke excitement.
Holiday linens. A red plaid blanket used as a bedspread will have you (or your guests) dreaming of Christmas. Add red flannel sheets for even more holiday warmth.
Mantle garland swag. Pine garland draped over the fireplace says “Christmas” in any language. Add small white lights for a magical nighttime look.
Pine cones. Pick up a few in the backyard, put them in silver or white bowls, and place strategically around the house. They also make a great addition to that mantle garland. If you’re feeling festive and ambitious, consider spray painting the cones gold.
Pine branch. While you’re in the yard, pick up a small pine branch. It will look fantastic in a clear glass vase or mason jar filled with water.
Holiday books. Pull out the kids’ Christmas books and artfully arrange them on the coffee table or side table. No kids? Pick up some vintage holiday books at Goodwill.
Red flowers. Poinsettias are the royalty of holiday foliage. But there are any number of red flowers that whisper “Merry Christmas.” Roses, calla lilies and carnations all spread holiday cheer. To emphasize the redness, cut the stems short, and place bunches in small vases.
Chalk art. If you have one of those chalkboard-painted walls, fill it with holiday-themed drawings and messages.
Fancy stuff. Pull out your special occasion cocktail napkins and china. Displaying them, even when company isn’t due, sets an elegant festive tone.
Mini window wreaths. Use pine garland to make three or four simple wreaths. Hang them all in one window on red ribbons of various lengths.
Nutcrackers. Pick up three or four of these iconic wooden knick-knacks at Target and put them to work guarding your home’s holiday atmosphere.
Amaryllis. These elegant white flowers make a perfect pairing with gold ornaments or garland. That table in your foyer would be the perfect spot.