The holidays are a crazy time of year, but also one of the most joyous. While during other seasons the home is a place of everyday chaos, around the holidays, it’s where good friends and family gather to be social and share a meal.
Try to make your home festive and welcoming during the season using scents and special decor. To increase the cozy factor, follow some easy tips for staying safe, keeping your seasonal greenery fresh and your house free of unsightly dust and dirt.
1. Add Small Touches to Decor for a Holiday Feel
There are some decorations that have “holidays” written all over them—bright outdoor lights and inflatable snowmen on the lawn. Inside the home, you can stay contemporary and classy while still creating a holiday ambiance.
Start with your front door. Place a wreath made of natural branches, or a modern version made of newer materials. If you feel extra crafty, you can add sprigs of holly, red berries or even special notes for incoming guests to make them feel at home.
In your living room, a few changes can make your guest seating area festive. Place your regular throw pillows in storage for a few weeks and replace them with colorful fabrics. Reds and greens are synonymous with the season, as are gold and silver fabrics that co-ordinate with your existing decor.
The poinsettia is a traditional holiday plant that is easy to find and keep looking well during the holidays. Place it on the kitchen table or living room shelves. Candles, either lit or not, provide additional accent to your mantelpiece.
2. Try Natural Fragrances for a Festive Smell in the House
Some scents invoke the season and give your home a calming, celebratory feel. To avoid chemicals or allergens that might come from sprays or other scent products, go the natural route. Boil a pot of water on your stove and add some ingredients that will create a festive aroma. Essential oils like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon can do the trick, but experiment with your own favorites.
Pine or evergreen invokes scenes of wintery splendor even for those who live in warmer climates. If you’re a baker, make your creations as guests are arriving so they can smell the treats warming in the oven. You can even simplify this further by pre-making holiday food and reheating it before cocktails or dinner.
3. Keep the Air in Your Home Fresh and Cozy
If you’re lucky enough to have a good weather during the winter, you may not have to worry about indoor dampness. Most homeowners, however, can benefit from a whole house ventilation system that keeps indoor air warm and dry. Keeping out the dampness is a side effect of a regular fresh air flow and reduced humidity levels. Remember, the less damp your home is, the easier it is to turn up the heat to a comfortable temperature.
4. Keep Plants Away from Heat Sources
Plants are an important part of your decor, especially if they are living, so don’t be shy about bringing a little bit of nature indoors. It is prudent from a safety perspective to keep these away from heat sources, but it also helps keep them healthy. Plants kept near the furnace will dry out quickly, turning your beautiful green plants prematurely brown.
5. Vacuum Regularly During the Holiday Season
The holidays usually means more traffic in and out of your home. The dust and debris may detract from your beautiful decor; they may also cause an accumulation of allergens. Increase your vacuuming schedule over the holidays to keep up with the food crumbs, pine needs and outside dirt that’s coming into your living space. In addition to your carpets and gathering spaces, remember to get the nooks and crannies in the hallways where dust may build up out of sight. Your beloved pets may spend more time hiding to stay away from the chaos — check for pet hair in unexpected places!
6. Seal the Heat Inside Your Home
A few small tweaks can ensure you don’t lose any precious heat during the winter months. This is great for your guests, but wonderful for you as well as you finish the many tasks that accompany a busy holiday schedule.
Do a check of your home for drafts that allow heat to escape. Common culprits are windows, doors and other openings that are just enough to drop the mercury below comfort level. Keep on top of the fireplace, closing the flue when you don’t have a fire going. This can prevent any additional heat loss.
Keep Cozy and Welcome Your Loved Ones
It takes just a few small touches to make your home feel prepped and ready for the festive season. More than anything, your guests will come over to spend time with you, your family and each other. You want them to feel comfortable and at ease when they arrive and relaxed throughout the evening. Keep them warm by optimizing your internal temperature and put a little extra pizzazz into your seasonal furnishings.