Updated: Apr 18
Did anyone else design the architecture of their house with “where the tree will go” at the forefront?
No? Just me?
I absolutely love the Christmas season! Christmas became even more magical when I finally understood what it meant to not only create a beautifully festive home, but a haven filled with simple traditions, connection, slowness, and a mission. Come grab a cup of hot cocoa, cozy up, and let me share with you, how you can create that same haven for yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I do not like to feel the pressure and stress of the holidays. So many events, gifts, movies, people, this and that....ARRRGGGHHH! I find that if you start now, in July, you have the time to create a more intentional Christmas filled with the things you want – including that breath to just enjoy. Now that you have that hot cocoa in hand, let me turn on some peaceful piano Christmas music and get the diffuser going with a festive blend to get us started!
(shhhh, I won’t tell, if you won’t)
Begin by writing down key words or phrases of how you and your family want this Christmas to feel. Do you want it to be “Bright & Merry”, “Still”, “Peaceful”, “Fun”, etc. Everyone will have a different list; it is all about you. Next, head on over to Pinterest and pull together a board of images. Images of what those words look like to you – even if they aren’t the traditional “Christmas” pins. Along with those images, pin some of those traditional Christmas pins you connect with to begin building out your décor style. Once you have a good set of images, make a collage of your favorites using either PowerPoint or print off the images and pin your favorites on a piece of foamboard. This is your Christmas Haven Mood Board. Finally, it is arts and crafts time – don't worry, no skills required. Simply start sketching and labeling the elements you want in your home.
TIP: Here are some great things I have learned over time when pulling together a Christmas design:
Keep it simple
Rule of 3
Choose 3 spaces in your home you want to focus on
In those 3 spaces, only choose 3 places to decorate
Use the outdoors inside
My husband says I may be slightly obsessed with cut logs from our woods!
Choose at least one piece of décor that has meaning
For us it is beautiful wooden ornaments I bought on Etsy with the names of Jesus for us to hang each day in December.
Don’t be afraid to put something big in your tree
If you like to make a BIG statement with your tree – go for it!
I was told something very wise, “YOU own the décor, the décor does not own you!”
Let us raise a glass to you! You have just created a design you love because it is YOURS; it is time to give yourself a cheers and relax!
You have just done all that great prep work in July, you have set yourself up for a successful August. During August, take stock of what you already have. Can any of these items be used in your design? If any items don’t create those same feelings as the key words and images you developed, don’t use it.
It is OK, I promise! I know, it’s hard....now let go...we won’t throw it away, but let’s put it in this box over here marked “Not This Year”.
Write on your sketch where you plan on using the décor you already have, then identify what is needed to complete your design. Now let the ordering begin! By pushing through this task in August, it helps you stay on budget because you are only buying items that fit into your design instead of walking around saying, “Oh, that is cute! I think I’ll get it! Oh, that is cute....” It also frees up your time in December; no more running around on December 20th to get that one more ornament to make the “perfect” tree!
Let us raise a glass to you! You have just completed ordering YOUR design; it is time to give yourself a cheers and relax!
The kids are back in school and you are filling in ALL.THE.EVENTS....why not take time and start to fill in how you want to intentionally spend Christmas this year, the way YOU want? Start with a blank December calendar.
Yes, you heard it correctly, blank.
First, you are going to fill out the calendar with the traditions you hold close to your heart. The traditions you and your family look forward to. Next, fill in the connections you want to make space for. Who do you want to spend your Christmas with? Who do you want to build a relationship with or show your love to?
TIP: A great way to connect with people in a meaningful way, is to come together and pack bags for Kids Food Basket or create a box of items to keep the homeless warm and donate them to your local shelter. When you come together as friends to work on a mission, there is so much more meaning brought to your time and deeper connections are made. Pick your favorite non-profit or cause and add “Meaningful Mission Night” to your calendar.
Once your traditions and connections are on the calendar, I want you to put in at least once a week, a time where you are going to just be. Yes, you heard that right, a time to curl up in front of the tree and be still. This is not like the Bad Mom’s quote,
“Moms don’t ENjoy, they GIVE joy, that’s how being a mom works!”
It is time to take back your Christmas and ENJOY it! Finally, you may now fill in any events you want to attend, if, and only if, you don’t already have something on that day. Ok, it isn’t like I am going to check over your calendar and give you “the look” if you bend the rules here, but know that it is in those first three items you put on your calendar, that life is breathed into your Christmas season.
Let us raise a glass to you! You have just completed an INTENTIONAL Christmas calendar; it is time to give yourself a cheers and relax!
One thing that tends to steal our joy at Christmas time is buying all the gifts. And not just A gift, but the PERFECT gift. While doing all the Christmas things, you are weaving in and out of the crowds or spending endless hours online so that it will ship on time. Take away that stress in December, and get your gifts taken care of in October.
Start with the list in Excel of those you want to gift this year, and remember, it does not and should not be everyone you know! Focus on those closest to you. Figure out your budget for each person and put that amount in the cell to the right of their name. Then in the next cell start to list ideas, hobbies, and things they love to help inspire you. When this Excel file is filled out, you can now see what your total budget is for gifts and an outline of the type of gifts you are looking for – all in one place.
TIP: Do you have neighbors, teachers, and close friends you are buying for? Create the same gift and buy in bulk. It still shows you are thinking of them and relieves you of the stress of finding so many different gifts. One year we created these baskets and booklets filled with all things "Hygge".
Now, take the month of October and get all your buying completed. While you are at it, finish buying any other décor to finish out your design because I know you were trying to get away with leaving some of that buying for December. Trust me, get it done and call if good for this year! You can always adjust for next year.
Let us raise a glass to you! You have just completed your Christmas shopping; it is time to give yourself a cheers and relax!
The cozy weather has began and I don’t know about you, but I am jonesing for that change in décor! Oh yeah, I start decorating before Thanksgiving so I have plenty of time to enjoy the feelings Christmas brings from Thanksgiving through New Years. Those feelings you have intentionally designed for your family back in July! I do this unapologetically, and we are the first family on the Christmas tree farm the weekend before Thanksgiving to cut our live tree. For us, Thanksgiving is our kick-off family gathering for the Christmas season.
Hang up your mood board and design, turn on some great Christmas tunes, have all the décor out in one place, and let the FUN begin!
TIP: If you have people coming over, and you are timid to go too much into a full-on Christmas mode, get the base of your decorating complete and add fall touches that you can swap out the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas décor (because we all know you won’t be shopping amid those crazy Black Friday crowds, your shopping is done – right?!?) For example, put pinecones and leaves in your garland and then swap them out for the beautiful Christmas bulbs you bought.