1. Decorate Everything With Bows
· Tie generous ribbons to chair backs, candlesticks, picks in plants, wreaths, garlands, basket handles, drapery tie-backs, stair railings, and doorknobs.
· Bows look festive and the ribbons you choose should tie together with the rest of your decorating. Choose ribbons in colors and patterns that coordinate with your decorating scheme.
· You don't have to stick with red and green. Choose plaids or florals that tie in. If you can't find anything that looks quite right, then choose metallic silver, gold, green, or red.
· Choose a ribbon that you can untie and re-tie each year. This will save money in the long run, and you'll end up with a good collection.
· When the holidays are over, untie the ribbons and press them lightly. The bows won't get crushed and the ribbons will be ready when you want to take them out the next year.
· See instructions on how to make your own floral bows of all sizes using wire. By using wire to make your bows, you'll be able to attach them to many objects.
2. Use holiday tableware for every meal in December.
· Look through your cupboards and get out any dishes that look festive.
· Discount stores often carry seconds of name brand china, as well as fun designs that are not so common.
· Start a set of holiday dishes with dinner plates that coordinate with your everyday dishes. Add new pieces each year, like salad plates and mugs. Note: Be sure the pattern you select will be continued from year to year.
· Buy 1 or 2 place settings each year. Before long, you'll be able to serve a feast.
· If you're adventuresome, choose a different pattern and one place setting each year. Arrange the different dishes around the table and get lots of comments and rekindle memories. When they're not in use, the dishes can be displayed around the room.
3. Turn off the lights.
· Arrange lots of candles on the dining table and dine by candlelight, even if you're just having leftovers. Every meal will feel special.
· Burn a fire in the fireplace each evening and encourage family members to gather around and read, do homework, write Christmas cards, or snooze.
· Arrange pillar candles in your bathroom, on the sink or around the tub. Take time to soak and enjoy! If you have little children in your home, you should be very careful with candles around the house. Always have an adult in the room.
4. Hang holiday wreaths.
· Put a wreath or swag on every door you have. Of course, start with the front door to welcome guests.
· Go on to the back door, inside and out. Remember over the mantle, and in all your front windows. Don't forget bedroom doors, inside and out.
· Use real pine, holly, or grapevine, decorated with bows, berries, fruit, pinecones, raffia, ornaments, birds, photos, or candy.
· To keep wreaths year after year, buy artificial wreaths that will last. Remember, you'll need room to store them!
5. Use lots of special color.
· Don't even think about not putting up the perfect Christmas tree.
· Drape garlands, either real or artificial, on railings, over mirrors, on the top of armoires, and along the mantle.
· Use ribbons and ornaments to put wonderful color around your home for this special season.
6. Do you hear what I hear?
· Whenever you're home, turn on a CD or the radio and listen to Christmas music.
· Tie some sleigh bells onto the front door, and listen to the cheery welcome.
· When you go into your children's room in the morning, wake them with jingling bells or a jolly "ho, ho, ho".
· Check the schedules ahead of time so you don't miss the Christmas specials on TV. Make it a family time to share these wonderful shows.
· Collect the classic movies with Christmas themes, such as "A Christmas Story", "It's a Wonderful Life", "Scrooge", or "The Santa Clause".
7. Have something sweet around the house.
· Prepare a bowl of fresh fruit or holiday cookies to put out as soon as guests arrive.
· Bake little loaves of tea breads and wrap them in holiday wrap. Set them in a pretty basket for decoration, then take one when you go visiting and give one to guests who visit your home.
· Make a wreath with candies tied on. Have a small scissors handy to cut off candies for guests.
· Fill a pretty basket with traditional candy canes and set it on the coffee table or entry table.
· Make or buy a gingerbread house for decoration and snacking.
· Put goodies in your guestroom to make your house guests feel really welcome.
8. Add gifts of nature.
· Use leftover greens from your Christmas tree to make a few quick arrangements in simple bowls.
· Place a simple arrangement in a bookcase, on the bath sink, on the kitchen window sill, and on occasional tables.
· Pile pine cones with ornaments and bows in a bowl or basket.
· Gather sprigs of holiday greens together with a bow and hang them from the inside of your windows.
· Decorate your bathroom or kitchen with a small poinsettia.
· Collect branches of evergreen and make a simple swag for your bedroom doors.
· Tie evergreen sprigs onto candles with a pretty ribbon. Add colorful, small ornaments.
9. Add shine and sparkle to everything!
· Sprinkle artificial snow across your tabletop or buffet or on house plants.
· Place shiny ornaments in a clear glass bowl or vase.
· Embellish indoor plants or trees with shiny ornaments.
10. Create memories and bring happiness.
· Plan a time in the day when the whole family is home to open the doors of an advent calendar.
· Make a ritual of lighting the Christmas tree each evening.
· Remember friends or acquaintances who cannot go out and offer a small, decorated Christmas tree.
· Make a family time of preparing Christmas or holiday cards, taking a family picture, and addressing the cards. Offer to help a friend who cannot do this task alone.
By keeping things simple, you'll find that you can enjoy the season, the lights, and the traditions with family and friends without getting tired out in the process. Merry Christmas!
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