By Marilyn Jensen,
Sister Bay Trading Company

If you’re like most people, you don’t have much time left at the end of a busy day to do anything extra. But at this time of the year, you want to make your home look festive and create a Christmas with lasting memories. Decorating your home for the holidays does not need to be stressful or expensive. Here are a few easy and inexpensive tips to make your home feel warm and welcoming for the holidays!

Mix Faux With Fresh

Think of your Thanksgiving decorations as the foundation for the fabulous holiday decorations to come! Save time and money by intertwining fresh pine and cedar with whatever dried or silk arrangements you already have. Not only will your home be filled with a wonderful scent but the artificial cuts down on the maintenance while the fresh items add a crisp, clean, natural look.

Decorate Everything With Bows

Choose a ribbon that you can untie and re-tie each year. Hunt for wonderful plaids, florals, stripes that tie into the holiday theme and your home decor – and run with it! Tie generous ribbons to chair backs, doorknobs, candlesticks, basket handles, drapery tie-backs – use your imagination. When the holidays are over, untie the ribbons and press them lightly for long term storage.

Revisit Your Childhood

Gather all of your old teddy bears, trains, dolls, old monopoly games – if you don’t have any, try a resale shop – you’ll be amazed at what you can find! Create a story under the Christmas tree any child would love with all of these old treasures. Don’t forget to add children’s story books to complete the picture.

Use Holiday Tableware

for every meal in December! Look through your cupboards and get out any dishes that look festive. Start a set of holiday dishes with dinner plates that coordinate with your everyday dishes. Add a few new pieces each year. Don’t forget to make your table special with a great centerpiece and lots of candles.

Go Back To Traditions

Think back to your old family traditions. What has fallen to the wayside with our busy schedules? Rekindle those traditions and implement them with friends and family. In my family it was always making Swedish Glogg on Christmas Eve. Instead of exchanging unnecessary gifts at your next holiday get together, simply ask each guest to bring one ingredient from a favorite holiday recipe and spend the evening over a great bottle of wine re-creating that wonderful memory.

This may be the year to get back to the basics, de-commercialize our holidays and bring back old family traditions or even start new ones. Always remember the most important reason we celebrate and the reason we take the time to make our homes warm and inviting – our loved ones! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!