Not that long ago, preparing for holiday gatherings of family and friends meant transforming the interior of your house into a warm and inviting environment. It meant creating an atmosphere where people would sit, talk and enjoy each other's company.
Your holiday schedule might seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of simple seasonal decor options that will restore tradition to your holiday and create lasting memories for you and your guests.
Color Away the Cold
In many parts of the country, holiday joy is dampened by the season's cold, wet, snowy or rainy weather. People take refuge inside to stay safe and warm. One of the simplest ways to create a warm and inviting holiday atmosphere is to change the colors inside your house.
"It is astonishing how effective it can be to repaint a living room or dining room from a cool blue to a rich red or orange," says Cindy Cragg, home stylist for Colonial Williamsburg. "In the 18th and 19th centuries, rich paint colors were a sign of prestige. Today, many paint companies are offering historically accurate palettes that mirror those colors.
Table Setting with Style
Inevitably, holiday get-togethers seem to orbit around the dining room table. Whether your table is used primarily as a setting for the annual cookie buffet, or a more traditional location for a sit-down dinner, it has the potential to be a beautiful centerpiece for your house.
Cragg suggests choosing a tablescape that includes seasonal items that can complement your place settings. "A red apple theme always makes a table setting really pop," she notes. "This can be easily accomplished by taking some fresh evergreen branches and positioning a few brightly colored red apples throughout the arrangement."
"If you really want to wow your guests, try stacking alternate layers of apples and greenery in a conical tree formation," she says, adding that this centerpiece can then be paired with red or green table linen and basic white dishes. For an added jolt of color, place gold-colored chargers under the dinner plates.
Go for Green
Evergreen plants are holiday staples. At this time of year they exude clean, refreshing aromas. And though the traditional Christmas tree is a great first step, there are many other ways to bring these evergreen accents into your house.
One of the most beautiful evergreen plants is the holly. Holly comes in many variations and can be shaped to fit your needs. A few branches of holly on a mantle or fireplace adds a whole new dimension to your decor.
To produce significant seasonal sizzle, place a few small potted hollies in a foyer or vestibule. The contrasting red berries and green leaves on the female holly provide a wonderfully seasonal color contrast.
Complement your visible decor with a nostalgic aroma. Inject a little fresh cedar and a pine-scented candle into a coffee table arrangement in your family or living room. The scents will fill your house, creating an inviting ambiance for everyone who stops over.
Another way to create an engaging scent for your house is by baking cookies. This simple touch not only brings you one step closer to filling your cookie tray; it creates a great aroma in your home. Bake two dozen cookies just before guests arrive. Cover any leftover batter and put it in the fridge. The dough will be fine for 24 hours and you can finish baking the next day.
Keep it Fun
No matter what you do, holiday decorating is an easy and fun way to rejuvenate your house and create a beautiful environment for friends and family. The imagery and aromas of your house will make a lasting memory for all your holiday guests.