The holidays are nearly upon us, the streets are filled with pretty twinkling lights, the echoes of nostalgic Christmas music, and maybe, if you’re lucky, glistening snowflakes falling, depending on where you live.
At this time of year, the streets are also filled with oodles of stressed shoppers, which means home is a haven for many of us. The problem is, it can be very tricky to create that magical unique holiday feeling at home. Sure you can toss on a few decorations, leave a few cookies out and pop a Christmas song or two on the iPod, but that doesn’t always guarantee magic. If you want a magical, wonderful holiday haven to enjoy this festive season, then look no further than these perfect tips, to help you sleigh your way to your own cozy space at home:
Growing up we enjoy the traditions formed by our parents. Maybe Mum always had ALL of the holiday colours out and no space was left free of a tacky cherub or laughing Santa decoration, perhaps Dad preferred a minimalist space, with one sparse, practical and modern Christmas tree in the corner or Hanukkah Candles on the hearth, the only hint that the holidays were approaching, maybe Auntie Agatha loved her knitted Christmas dolls which frankly, crept you the hell out.
Either way, it is time to look beyond those traditions because they are your families’ traditions; it is time to form your own! That’s right, this is your space to decorate. You can be as creative as you want to be, and literally smother the space in cheesy decorations, hand-crafted wooden toys, kitsch 50’s ornaments; whatever tickles your fancy because this is your space. And if you love your families traditional decoration, you can include a nod to them as well.
Choose A Heart
Obviously you can put decorations everywhere, but you may not have the cash to decorate the whole house, or you may want to focus on the key area you will be in during your time at home. This makes a lot of sense as it’s a focal point for your aesthetics, as well as a place to entertain guests and kick back and feel the ‘magic’ on your own as well. The heart of your space might be your living room, kitchen, or even the dining room depending on your own personal use of the space. Once you have chosen the heart, you can really focus on the features of the space.
- The natural decor – could the tones of the furnishings, flooring or decoration clash with certain decoration choices?
- Safety – the area may not be suitable for things like candles or placing snacks and treats within reach of the children or pets. For instance, maybe the Hanukkah candles shouldn’t go right under the curtains.
- Usability – could placing a large decoration like a Christmas tree cause the space to be unusable, and if so, is that acceptable to you for this month?
- Natural suggestions – perhaps there is a mantelpiece crying out for a nativity scene, a fireplace desperate for a basket of wood and pine cones, a table perfect for a stuffed snowman – utilize the space you have chosen and its natural focal point
Choose Your Colour Scheme
Although you are going to be creative and let loose, it is important to choose a colour scheme so you don’t accidentally create a space that looks like the holidays from the 80’s vomited all over your home (unless that’s the look you’re going for!).
Holiday decor trends this year indicate that holiday centrepieces are back with a vengeance, and anything from metallic bowls brimming with nuts, to glitter sprayed cacti and trays lined with chunks of wood, holly and candles are acceptable. We particularly love the quick and easy ideas found in this great 11 Simple Last Minute Holiday Centrepiece Ideas article from Apartment Therapy.
Lavish table decorations, ceiling decorations, fireplace decorations, stair decorations, window decorations and outdoor holiday decorations all feature, showing a real trend for going big on decorating in general this season. The good news is that handmade ornaments are popular right now , so kitting your home out with a gorgeous magical space this season might cost you some time but it shouldn’t cost you much money.
In terms of your colour scheme, matching colors are a big theme this year, which makes it very, very easy to select decorations. Pick your own favourite color selection and stick with it, as you’re likely to use the same decorations for years to come. Scandinavian colours of red and white, reindeer print and decorations, and Scandinavian patterns are trendy every single year and never fail to warm up any room so that could be a great starting point. Alternatively sticking with red and white with natural greens (pine etc) could be another good direction to provide you with a timeless classic selection of accessories.
Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
The holidays really are all about the lighting, aren’t they? When we think of the holidays we often picture lights on the tree, flickering flames from the fire, and the twinkling window lights in the shops.
In history, Christmas lights go way back, so we have a much deeper relationship with lights at Christmas than you might realize. Centuries ago, people started placing candles on Christmas trees as decoration. They would glue the candles on the tree, then a little later candle holders were used, then eventually glass balls and decorative holders, which then developed into strings of lights once electricity was around and used to light a Christmas tree first in 1882.
By 1900 these electric Christmas lights were commonplace (Source).
Candles were also originally used to represent the star of Bethlehem, candles were used to mark the advent season and the Jewish festival of light also used candles (Source).
Light has always played a big part in the holiday season, especially because it is dark in Winter and we need light to see of course. However, the original candle decorations of the past, have developed to be cosy Christmas lighting in modern times and we all now associate lights with Christmas, and in lots of different styles and forms.
So, if you’re really going to create a magical space in your home the lighting is so, so important. Candles are not always practical and necessarily safe, so we only recommend electric safety lights or battery operated lights within your magic space. We particularly love these DIY Christmas light snow globes.
Remember, as long as you can get to the electricity or battery source, fairy lights are a clear win to make any space magical. Wind them around banisters, stuff them in glass jars, create your own pretty shades for them; the options are endless. Missing candle lanterns? There are many safe battery-operated ‘tealights’ available that when in traditional lanterns or candle holders, look just as good as the real thing.
Various senses matter when it comes to your magical space, not just your eyesight. One sense people forget about is their hearing, which is a shame because holiday music can make such a difference to any space. Why not have some Christmas tunes playing on the iPod in the background? It needn’t be cheesy classics if they irritate you. Why not try some acoustic Christmas tunes, or jazz or bluegrass versions of old classics, we love this ‘A Bluegrass Christmas’ album from Christmas Songs. Some sound in the background will layer up your magical space nicely.
What’s Your Favourite Christmas Smell?
Here’s another sense that deserves a lot of attention during the holidays. Why? Because there are so many scents that remind us of the season. Gingerbread, cloves, spiced orange, vanilla; we all have a scent that ‘gets us there’ – there being the holiday mood of course. For some it might even be the mouth-watering smell of bacon bubbling and sizzling on Christmas morning, for others, the creamy, rich smell of a certain wrapped chocolate might mean holidays for them, the spicy waft of freshly toasted cinnamon bread steeped in melting butter could be the epitome of the holidays for you – it’s personal. Whatever your holiday scent is, there’s no getting away from the fact it will form an important layer to your magical holiday space, so it is a great idea to have various opportunities for scent to fill the space at any given time. Ideas to do this could be:
- Simmer Holiday Spices – – fill a saucepan with mulled wine, cinnamon, cloves, apple slices and orange and simmer on a low heat whenever you want the house to be filled with holiday scent (pine works well if you want less sweetness). We love this recipe from I Heart Naptimes.
- Fill Christmas scent bowls – dried fruit, herbs, spices and natural additions (twigs and leaves) can all combine to make heavenly holiday potpourri. Experiment with different mixtures to make your own ideal combination.
- Gather your own garland – make a garland out of dried cloved oranges, cinnamon sticks and anything you like. They will look pretty and smell wonderful.
- Drizzle pine cones with oil- pine cones look very pretty and can smell pretty too, no need to burn them on the fire. Simply drop a few dashes of your favourite holiday essential oil on them and they will waft Christmas scent into your space.
- If you just don’t have time for all the DIY options and want a quick easy and beautiful option add a reed diffuser or two to the decorative space – Our stunning Oojra reed diffusers will blend into any magical Christmas display, wafting sumptuous hints of Ginger or Jasmine into the space, providing an extra layer of festive magic to the room all season.
The best thing about decorating a holiday space as an adult is you can keep the elements from home you loved, and leave the elements you hated behind. Maybe Dad always had a big basket of nuts and a nutcracker on the coffee table, or Mum would always have a tray of cookies on the dining table. Maybe the Christmas lights had to be on all day long, or a fresh Christmas tree meant Christmas was coming soon. Don’t be afraid to bring in elements of your favourite childhood holiday memories, there’s nothing wrong with continuing positive traditions you enjoyed.
The Personal Touches Make It Personal
Homemade decorations, holiday card holders, photographs of the family enjoying the holidays, homemade cookies, decorations passed down through the family, your favorite special holiday scent – are all additions that make it your magical space. Without the personal touches, the space might look great, but it won’t have a heart.
Share The Holidays & Make Memories, That Is Where The Magic Happens
Now you have made the most wonderful, beautiful holiday space, it’s time to add the magic. Glitter, fairy dust, even crumbs of joy from Santa’s beard can’t add that for you, you have to add that yourself. How? With memories. Invite neighbors in for mulled wine and get to know them, have a romantic dance by the fire with your spouse or partner to some Nat King Cole, make ugly cookies with the kids while it’s frosty outside, put the tree lights on and have a mug of chocolate orange cocoa and watch your favourite vintage Christmas films for the afternoon. Your memories, your happiness within the space, that is the how the magic happens and the magical space really comes to life. Enjoy.