It seems like there are two holiday camps out there this year – those of you/us that are doing way more, way earlier to give us something to look forward to, daily bursts of joy, reasons to divert attention, etc. As you can probably tell I’m obsessed with Christmas every year (since having kids) so this year is no exception. But I also know that there are those of you/us who are TIRED and it just seems like more work to deck the halls (and it certainly can be). And for what? Especially if you don’t have young kids or are living by yourself, it seems pointless to put it all up just to take it all down because you are likely not going to have people over anyway to enjoy it. So I came up with some ideas to help – super easy and affordable – but have ‘high impact’ in the ambiance of our home, which I’m hoping can help shift the mood, too.
ADD CURTAIN LIGHTING – MY NEW HACK
I know you know how important lighting is, but this year I added even MORE twinkle lights and it feels magical. Sure, we have a tree with lights (get pre-lit if you are going faux) and faux candles (kids) but the dining room and entry felt dead. So I hung these icicle curtain lights that are SO affordable, with some basic command strips and it absolutely created a festive winter mood instantly. DO THIS. We shot this literally in the middle of the day and I didn’t want Veronica to have to stay later, so it’s hard to see here, but even in the day, they give a twinkle. But at night? Forget about it. It’s so good.
We did it on our dining windows, the entry window, and the upper railing, but you could also hang them in a hallway or kitchen windows (just make sure to check the length of icicle lights you’re ordering). We had our pod neighbors over for dinner and sat in the dining room and they just said over and over ‘this feels magical’. I prefer ‘warm white’ versus ‘cool’ FYI and go ‘fairy’ versus normal for a less ‘exterior’ look. Here are some that seem great and are well-reviewed.
1. Curtain String Fairy Lights (Remote and USB Connector) | 2. Curtain String Copper Fairy Lights, (Remote, USB Connector) | 3. Curtain String Lights (Standard Plug) | 4. Curtain String Lights (Remote, Standard Plug)
Make Your House Smell Like Christmas
I’ll admit that I used to be anti- “Christmas smelling candles” and preferred the smell of the real pine over a ‘pine smelling candle’. But I was young and naive, and pre-covid. When I went to Sara’s to shoot her holiday house a couple of weeks ago I walked in (mask firmly in place) and was blasted (in a good way) with holiday happiness in the form of scents. It smelled SO GOOD and felt immediately like it was Christmas. She has this one (cinnamon joy) and Forest Balsam. Now if you have fresh pine greenery you might get enough smell, but I don’t (yet), so I’m leaning into Christmas smelling candles with no shame.
1. Frasier Fir Ceramic Medium Candle | 2. Ribbed Pillar Cinnamon Joy Candle | 3. Feu de Bois/Wood Fire Candle | 4. Ribbed Pillar Balsam Forest Candle | 5. Baltic Amber Glass Jar Candle | 6. Smoky Cinnamon Special
Lean Into Big Bursts Of Red – My Red Ribbon Hack
As you know when I originally styled the living room (November 1st) I didn’t opt for a ton of red in there, and it was more muted. But now that I’m feeling more into it, I want RED. I’m done spending money on accessories so I just bought a wide roll of red satin ribbon (wired is easier) and I’m hanging the wreaths by said ribbon or adding bows to the green wreaths I already have hung.
I don’t know why I’ve never done this before, but it makes a MASSIVE instant jolt of Christmas cheer and it’s so easy.
Music And Movies
Well, this is obvious but I just can’t encourage it enough and go classic. I’d like to give you permission to put on Christmas music during the day like us and yes we watch a different Christmas movie almost every night with the kids – NO SHAME IN MY HOLIDAY TV GAME. That’s right, almost every night it’s ‘Christmas family movie night’. Now they are old enough to watch many live-action films so we have opened this huge door to movies we all enjoy – classics and new. If you have kids and you haven’t seen Klaus yet it’s great, and Jingle Jangle just came out and we loved it.
For Christmas music, I’ll admit I love it all, except that annoying song where they count down and sing ‘partridge in a pear tree’ over and over. We listen to a lot of classics – Bing Crosby as well as pop – Wham and Mariah Carey. I just downloaded the new Dolly Parton album which is awesome. Put it on during the day – it really can help.
SPECIAL FOOD AND DRINK
I like to make a big hot punch with cinnamon, oranges, cloves, and apple cider. It makes the house smell good and just felt special and festive. This can be with bourbon or rum, or just virgin. I think just letting yourself lean into the ‘party’ aspect of it earlier even if you are alone is fun.
Jess struggled finding her normal joy decorating alone over the weekend (but forced herself to) so she pulled together a post/personal essay about celebrating alone as well as giving a couple of tips for us all on what we can do for our loved ones (or coworkers) who are struggling right now and feeling lonely.
I hope these tips helped and if you are someone who struggled or is struggling to get “in the spirit” this year let us know anything you’ve done to help in the comments. I know that Oscar and Buttercup are confused and jealous why there are sheepskins everywhere. It’s hard to explain and yet they are loving it. 2020 IS WEIRD AND DEPRESSING AND ENLIGHTENING ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Thank you for being here. Truly. Thank you.
Opening Image Credit: Styled by Emily Henderson |Photo by Veronica Crawford