How to Make Your Home Festive for the Holidays Without Adding Stress

Holidays can get hectic and sometimes overwhelming. You’ll face pressure to get everything close to perfect and you may feel rushed to get it all done in time. Just remember to try not to get too bogged down in the hustle and bustle this holiday season. Remember the emotional spirit of this season, use your heart and your generosity and love will shine most of all. This will make for the best holiday experience that you and your family and guests can have.

Holiday Season

Don’t feel frustrated but feel festive in whatever winter holiday you celebrate during the most wonderful time of the year! There are ways to create a festive spirit within your home. Whether it’s with decorations, holiday food, festive scents and seasonal music, you can enjoy it all while having fun spending time with your family and friends and creating memories that last a lifetime.

Here are some tips:

Home and Decorations

If you plan on having any company over during the holidays (or even if you don’t and just want your home festive for your own enjoyment) follow these simple tips:

  • Choose one focal point in each room to decorate. You don’t have to decorate everything, just choose one thing—the fireplace in the living room, the dining table in the dining room or around the mirror in the bathroom.
  • Focus on the common areas. You won’t need to decorate every space of your home, only the main areas that your guests will see, such as the porch, the entry way, the living room, kitchen, dining room or maybe the bathrooms.
  • Choose a theme. Stick with a specific color or pairing (all white, silver, red and green, blue and silver or even gold. To keep it simple, you could even choose a specific theme around iconic symbols of the season such as snowflakes, snowmen, stars, candles and menorahs, holly or reindeer.
  • Declutter. In each space that you plan on decorating, do a quick de-clutter so that your decorations become the highlight of each area.
  • Keep it simple. You will appreciate it when it’s time to pack it up. And by keeping it simple, you will be able to enjoy the holidays, the traditions, the music, the lights, your family and friends and everything that makes the holiday season so memorable and magical.
  • String twinkly lights all throughout the inside and outside of your home for a touch of magic. There’s nothing that evokes Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa more than twinkly lights.

Holiday Season

  • Use your gifts as decoration. Wrap your gifts early so you can be creative. Use recycled brown paper bags so that you can personalize each gift with writing and decorations for a rustic touch and use these gifts to add holiday décor to your space. Display them for all to see.
  • Dress up your table. Dinner time is one of the easiest times to express your holiday cheer. Add holiday table settings with flatware, bowls, plates, glasses, placemats, a tablecloth or runner and a holiday centerpiece. Fill glass vases with ornaments or pine cones as a centerpiece, add candles and create a warm, festive environment that the family will want to circle around for every meal. After all, the holiday season is all about family.
  • Trim a tree! Whether it’s real or artificial, enjoy family time around the Christmas Tree. Let everyone pitch in to decorate and even make decorations. The kids can get in on the fun by making their own garland by stringing popcorn, stringing pine cones, or cutting paper into rings to make a chain.
  • Hang a wreath or two. You can even make your own wreath with found objects from your landscaping or by picking up tree remnants from your local tree farm. Put a wreath on every door, window and mantle if you desire.
  • Focus on your family most to create memories this season. Try to detach from your electronics like TV and phone and even position the sofa to face your Christmas Tree or fireplace instead of the TV during the holidays.
  • Decorate the front door like a present or add jingle bells. You could even decorate the fireplace mantle with candles, stockings or bows. You can also add candles to each window ledge for cozy ambience.
  • Hang or display all of the greeting cards you receive and better yet, send some cards of your own if you wish. The holidays are a time to think of others, so spread as much cheer as possible.
  • Turn on the fireplace for holiday warmth and family tradition. If you don’t have a fireplace, no worries. Most TV providers have a channel with a yule log blazing all season long.
  • Share your home. And lastly, open up your home to those you love this holiday season. It’s a nice way to spend time with those you don’t see very often. Invite them to stay in your home for the holidays. Click here for ideas on how to prepare your home for holiday guests.

Holiday Food

They say food brings people together and this is true, but it doesn’t have to be a stressor this holiday season. Here are some tips to prevent you from fretting over preparation and clean up:

  • Make your specialty. If you are preparing food this season, choose a dish you do well — something simple that your family loves and that you enjoy cooking.
  • Prepare all that you can in advance. Rolls, breads, casseroles, cakes and pies are usually easy to refrigerate or freeze it until it is time to cook on the big day. Likewise, prepare the vegetables the day before, refrigerate and heat up on the day of your dinner. Spreading preparations out over days or even weeks will help avoid panic and fear of running out of time.
  • Ask your guests to bring a side or a dessert to take some pressure off of you.
  • Pick up meals from a grocery store or restaurant the day before and simply heat it up on Christmas Day, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa if cooking isn’t your thing.
  • Eat out! You may want to make a reservation at a restaurant for your family holiday dinner.
  • Aside from the actual mealtime, make your family happy by having sweets around the house during the holidays, whether it be holiday cookies, latkes, candy canes or a gingerbread house. It’s even better if you begin your baking earlier in the month so that you have plenty of treats on hand. Let food bring your family together.

Holiday Season

Festive Scents

The holidays are such a fragrant time of year! A lot of memories revolve around different scents during the holiday that conjure up nostalgia. It’s so much more than the aroma of a holiday feast permeating throughout the house. Here are a few other ways to bring the scents of the season into your home:

  • Burn candles or diffusers: Not only will the scent put you in the spirit, the glow of the candle will surely put you in the holiday mood. Here are some of our favorite scents: Cinnamon, Red Berry, Pine, Spiced Apple, Nutmeg, Spiced Orange, Frankincense and Myrrh.
  • Fill a bowl with pine cones: Even better, create scented pine cones by rinsing them off and heating them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Then put them in a bag with your favorite essential oils. Seal it up and give it about a week, then put them in the bowl for all to enjoy.
  • Bake holiday cookies… Repeat often.
  • Put up a real tree: If you’re celebrating Christmas, there’s nothing more fragrant than a real tree. Indulge this year and let the evergreen scent fill your home.
  • Have a bonfire outside and roast marshmallows.
  • Create your own scented Christmas Tree ornaments by mixing baking soda, corn starch and water to create a dough, heat it on the stove until it thickens. Add glitter, food coloring and essential oils. Let it cool, roll it out and then cut with a cookie cutter or put fingerprints, paw prints or anything you’d like to display.
  • Scented Bath Products: What better way to feel festive than to use scented soaps, lotions, air fresheners, shampoos and perfumes. Bask in the scents this season!

Sounds of the Season

Holiday cheer is never far away with wonderful music and movies to make your season bright. Here’s a few tips to remember:

  • Whenever you are home, turn on a holiday CD or the radio.
  • Enjoy as many holiday movies with your family as you can this season. Make sure you check the schedules so you don’t miss them!
  • Tie sleigh bells on your door so that every time it opens, you hear the Christmas Spirit.
  • Host a caroling event in your neighborhood or around the fireplace.
  • Fill the Christmas tree with musical ornaments, or decorate with musical decorations that automatically play with motion as you walk by.

Holiday Season

Family Fun and Memories

Focus more on what the holidays are about and less on the stress that can come during this season. Make a real effort to create memories. As noted above, you don’t have to do it all. The key is keeping whatever you do simple. Time goes so fast and it’s better to spend your time with your loved ones. So do interactive things like making crafts, watching movies, baking, cooking and eating together.

Create your own traditions. Every evening, make a ritual of turning on all of the Christmas lights. Do the countdown together, play family games together, and open a door on the advent calendar together. Make holiday cards together to mail out, and volunteer out in the community together. The season is really about the spirit of giving and the goodness within us all.

Tips to a Stress-Less Holiday

While the holidays are a selfless time of year and a time of giving, it’s also ok to worry about yourself during this time. Here are some tips to de-stress this season:

  • Make sure you go into the season with a budget, and stick to that budget. Don’t let money be the reason you stress this year.
  • Do a little bit at a time. Don’t try to do everything in one day…Take your time and enjoy the process.
  • Don’t feel obligated to say yes all of the time. If cooking a huge, festive dinner isn’t your thing, it is ok to have a family tradition of eating out during the holidays. It’s also ok to not have any traditions and to do something different each year. There are no rules that obligate anything during this time of year. Do what is best for you and your family.
  • You can decide who to spend your holidays with. Tensions don’t disappear just because it’s a holiday, so don’t feel like you need to extend yourself to every person in your life. And don’t feel obligated to see everyone on the actual holiday. Make time during the days before or after so that you can enjoy the celebration and don't have to rush from event to event.
  • Stay organized. Make lists—gift ideas, parties to attend, etc. Set alarms and add events to your calendar so that you do not miss any.
  • For Christmas gifts, do the majority of your shopping online. This will get you away from long lines, full parking lots, traffic and mean people, and will save you the time and headache of running from store to store to find everything you are looking for. You can take your time, ad shop in your PJ’s while drinking coffee if you’d like! You can even shop around for the best price 😊 Oh, and get started early. You don’t want the headache of items running out, or the package not arriving in time.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to go to the grocery store. Food will be gone, stores may not be open, turkeys will still be frozen, so much could go wrong. Plan ahead and shop early.
  • Try to get some help. Get the whole family involved so you don’t feel like you are doing everything on your own. Encourage them to help with decorating, gift ideas, cleaning, etc.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s ok to take time away for you. Get a massage, get a manicure or pedicure or go shopping for yourself. Enjoy the simple things of life such as a hot cup of tea or cocoa while listening to your favorite music.
  • Consider helping others at this time of year. The season is about peace, love and helping others. Involve your children and help out a charity this Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

The season is all about giving and caring no matter which holiday you celebrate. If we place our focus on this very idea be a little kinder to each other, the stress will melt away. Enjoy all of the little moments that make up the holiday season. Take in the sights, the family time, the smells, the sounds, the lights and the decorations. From our homes to yours, we wish you and yours a magical and festive holiday season.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Nestiny!!

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