Guest writer, blogger, and homeowner Diane Kuehl of DIY Mother is here to illuminate us.
With the holiday season upon us already, it’s time we start thinking about our home’s decorations and the parties we have planned. Family comes into town, friends gather at our houses to eat, drink, and be merry, while our homes are set to take the brunt of the work.
There are obvious things that need to be taken care of if you need more space for decorations or hosting the neighborhood for a party this holiday season. Be sure to clean up the kids’ laundry off the floor, make sure you husband’s seven remote controls are neatly organized should anyone decide to watch that all-important sporting event, and always, always, always remember to prep the kids’ rooms with plenty of entertainment so the adults can have a little fun, too…
What about those more practical things, though? What about the interior décor and a little party etiquette?
Without proper attention, our homes can become more a house of horrors than a place to celebrate the holiday season. We’ve all had that sudden toilet problem in the middle of a party, or had that group of friends and family that missed the party because they couldn’t find the supposedly “well lit” house. And you certainly don’t want the most festive part of your home to be the tacky Christmas sweaters you made everyone wear… All this, and more, can be avoided with a little pre-party preparation, though.
Decorating for the Holidays
First we’ll talk a little bit about decorating safety and practicality. Some may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how quickly we can forget with all the hustle bustle of the holidays.
The first thing is the tree. More often than not, the tree is the focal point of our holiday season decorating, so do it safely. Keep the tree at least five feet from the fireplace, and be sure that it is not set up directly in front of the fireplace. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it blocks the view of the fireplace. Tree + fire + presents = wonderful holiday season. Now don’t ruin it by setting your house on fire.
Rather than nailing a wreath to the front door, save your door a little pain in the future and buy an over-the-door wreath hanger.
Next is the stockings… yes, these typically go over the fireplace, but make sure they don’t hang too low. I think we all know what happens if these do hang low. Rogue embers are a stocking’s worst enemy. It can also be yours if you’re not careful.
Spruce up your mantle
The mantel is one of the most important places in the whole house during the holidays. The weather is getting chilly and the fireplace is a gathering place, which means the mantel should look amazing. One way you can really make your mantel pop is by placing garland accented by single-color ornaments and accouterments. For a more subtle look, use gold or silver ornaments. For a bolder display, use red, green, or blue ornaments to accent the garland.
Also, remember to take down all of your normal mantel display items. This is important for continuity on your mantel.
Garlands, lights, ornaments, and scents
Bring ornaments to the table that complement your décor and mix frosted pine cones for a dazzling table centerpiece. Go big or go to a hotel with your garland. On more visible garland (staircase, door, etc.), use fruits (fake, preferably), feathers, pine cones, and mini glass ornaments throughout garland. This gives the garland a more full look. It’s also very pretty and adds a little something extra that you and guests will love.
Use Forever Lights wherever you use lights. These lights last for over 1,000 hours and use 80 percent less energy. How many times do your lights go out randomly all over the tree? Think about it.
Add glittering leaves or ornaments to light fixtures. Lighting fixtures can seem stagnant at times, but during the holidays, these can really pop with a little addition. Add silver or gold bells to the front door. These can either be wrapped around the door handle or hung from a wreath. Just be sure to take them down after the holiday season is over. Those jingle bells get old pretty fast.
Here’s something that I like to do for my holiday parties – Rather than use candles, which look nice and can even smell nice, I use scented air filters (yes, those air filters – the ones we change out once a year…) to provide a consistent pleasant smell throughout the party and into the actual holidays themselves.
Holiday decorating – have fun!
Decorating your house for the holidays should be fun, people! We get to pull out all those old decorations and come up with new ways to make the house the most festive place to be during the holidays. There is plenty of use for that garland you’ve got, and plenty of ways to spruce it up, too.
Those ornaments you’ve got lying around don’t need to be hung on the tree. Don’t be afraid to use them elsewhere in the house, as well. And those light fixtures don’t need to be just used for illumination anymore, feel free to make them a talking point at your next get-together.
So go and decorate – ‘tis the season!
Diane Kuehl is a home improvement professional and co-owner of DIY Mother. She lives on her farm with her husband and two kids.