Tag Archives: Christmas

Perfect Holiday Preparations

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With the Holidays just around the corner, the pressure seems to be on. So many people I speak to are so stressed about not only getting things done, but making them perfect. There is a misperception that as a Decorator, my home and Holiday décor is meticulous. My Holiday preparation is always done perfectly. Sorry to disappoint you – that is just not the case over here! I am always the first to find room for improvement with my own preparations and décor. It may look great to someone else, but to me, it could be better. That is exactly how so many other women (and some men) feel. We judge ourselves much too harshly, often more harshly than others.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am very casual and although I like things well done and looking good, if it doesn’t happen just the way I want sometimes – it’s just not worth stressing over. I love spending time with my family and friends. The time spent together is what is most important to me, not how things look. The food on the other hand is very important – it must look and taste great! All prep takes time and that is something many of us have in short supply this time of year.

With our new showroom opening and a spurt of rush jobs right through to Christmas, we have had little time to spend on our usual Christmas Prep. I love the Holidays and typically have my décor up in November. Shopping is usually finished by early December and then we just have fun baking and cooking. That’s not the case this year. The time seems to be moving past at the speed of light and I cannot seem to catch up. Stress levels start to creep up and I need to remind myself to relax.

I still have Christmas shopping to complete, baking to finish, and next week I will start most of the food prep for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had work done at the cottage so we need to clean and decorate the cottage so we can entertain friends and family at the cottage as well as in our home. One more place I still need to decorate, clean, and prep for the Holidays. Everything needs to be ready at the cottage so that when we get there, all we bring is the food and we are ready for anyone to stop by! My home and cottage are always a warm and relaxed place over the holidays.

Clients and friends tell me about guests they will be hosting over the Holidays that make them feel less than “perfect”. Do not give anyone that much influence over your Holiday festivities. There will always be people who take pleasure at knocking others down to make themselves feel good. That says more about them than about you! We all lead busy lives and do the best we can with the time we have. If it’s not good enough for someone else – they are obviously not concerned for your well-being, so don’t give them the power to ruin your special day! Holidays are for fun and laughter and love. Holidays are for family and friends. People who care for you honestly do not want to see you stress to the point that you don’t enjoy your Holiday. Chose to spend your time with people who care, and even when you must host more challenging people, don’t give them the power to ruin your day!

Give yourself permission to relax and be less than perfect. Try not to judge yourself harshly. Appreciate everything you have accomplished, how beautiful everything looks, and how wonderful things taste. Take time to look around the room and watch family and friends as they smile, laugh and share stories as they catch up with each other’s lives. Rest assured, your family and friends are more concerned with catching up, eating, drinking, laughing and having fun than the perfection of the scene you create! Provide a warm and welcoming ambiance for everyone to relax and enjoy! Then kick back, relax a little and enjoy your special Holiday Gathering!

Happy Holidays Everyone! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! May 2017 bring you health happiness and prosperity! See you in the New year!

Decorating Tips for the Holidays

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There are two approaches to Holiday Decorating. The first is relaxed while enjoying the spirit of the Holiday Season. The second, is stressful with a desire to get everything done, or done just right! If you take a few simple steps, holiday decorating can be fun and stress free. 

Sort through what you have before rushing out to buy more. This will save you money as well as time. I always forget what decorations I have in storage, especially the newer ones. Most years we buy a special new piece or two (three or four). Christmas is our favourite time of the year! My hubby and I both discovered we shared the same favourite Holiday when we were on our Honeymoon and discovered a year round Christmas shop. We were like 2 kids in a candy store! We still have nearly all the purchases we made that day for our tree. We have simply added to our Christmas décor over the years. So, I usually start by bringing out all my accent pieces for the home. My garlands and sleighs with snowmen, reindeer, ornaments for my mantle, etc. That way if some was damaged or broken I have time to replace it if I want to. I usually pick a weekend in November and do just my accent décor then I have time to buy more if I need just the right piece for “that” one space that doesn’t look quite right. 

Leave yourself as much time as possible. Holiday decorating can be overwhelming if you try to tackle it all at once. The next big projects are my Christmas trees. I usually have 3 at home and 2 at the cottage. I did say Christmas was our favourite Holiday, right? Our main tree is very traditional with many of the ornaments we purchased back on our honeymoon. It is a special family tree with years of ornaments from ours girls, and special ornament additions we’ve made over the years. If I’m feeling particularly stressed that year, I will only do one tree per day. I start in late November or early December so I have time.  We have a tree in our piano room decorated in burgundy and gold with some black accents for the piano. We are still renovating our rec room (hope to have that completed in the next few months) but I still have a tree at the bottom of the stairs to greet people! Of course, we have our fireplace and mantle decorated in the rec room as well. At the cottage, our main tree is even more rustic than the one at home. After all it is the cottage. Finally, most years I also put up a small (6’) tree in our sunroom at the cottage as well. This one is more whimsical and fun, like our sunroom.

One of the things that make décor cohesive and interesting is having it meaningful. Our main tree is very rustic with a very beautiful tree skirt that I bought years ago that had matching throw pillows. So our tree skirt and throw pillows blend with the rest of the décor in that room for a wonderful look! We have a beautiful blend of colors from the room that we use on our tree. Burgundy from our accent chairs, golds from our walls, and black from our piano. It all blends beautifully and looks “right”. Having décor meaningful takes time and is developed over time. There is no time to start like the present. It doesn’t have to be big, just a few small pieces each year and before you know it, your Holiday décor is special and speaks uniquely of your family.

I finish off with some nice outdoor touches. Micheal’s was having a great sale, as they often do this time of year, so we found a combination of accents sticks that we blended together for our large planters by our garage. They are simple but beautiful. We also have small 3’ Christmas trees on either side of our 2 front doors to greet guests during the holiday season. It’s that extra splash of “happy” to welcome friends and family. Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without my hubby’s Christmas lights. He loves his lights!  We have them along the front of the house, on the 4 small trees at the doors, along the fence and of course around the garage doors. Holiday lights can be as simple or as detailed as you want. Home hardware has a beautiful and simple light called an “elf light”. It takes 10 minutes to install and casts multi colored speckled lights on your home.  Very beautiful effect in next to no time!

Finally decorating your holiday table. Again, this can be as detailed or as simple as suits you and your family. You can go all out for a centerpiece and colored placemats and matching napkins, with matching napkin rings. Some people still have special table clothes they use only on the holidays. Use what is meaningful to you and your family. This is where I find most people’s traditions tend to be similar to what they grew up with. Then of course, we add a few of our own special touches!  In setting a table for the holidays, dinnerware can really make a table look stunning. Small little accent pieces that go with the décor in your home from accents on the stemware to décor sprinkled on the table. You can go all pout or stay as simple as you feel comfortable with! If you do want to be more elaborate, leave yourself time to plan it all out and have it ready well in advance. There is nothing worse than scrambling at the last minute! You may even wish to set out the décor and centerpiece the day before and just leave the glasses and dinnerware for the day of. You will have enough to do that day so save some time and stress.

Most importantly, remember the Holidays are about spending time with those you love.  Enjoy time with family and friends. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to make you happy and feel good! Relax and enjoy! Happy Holidays everyone! May the peace and love and joy of the Holiday Season be with you all!

 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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What an incredibly busy year! I can’t believe it’s already Christmas! So many wonderful projects and even better clients to look back on over this last year! This is the perfect time to reflect on all the blessings we have had this past year. It is a time for taking a moment to remember what is really important to you. Being thankful for the special people in our lives, both personally and professionally. After all, the Holidays are all about celebrating the relationships in our lives, family, friends and our spiritual relationships.

Over the years, we have found that people come and go. Some people are just always there. You can count on them just like they can count on you. These are the most special people in our lives, as the strength of these relationships is not affected by life’s trials. They are always there to help you ride out the storm and you are there to provide calm when they need it, as well. These are the most precious relationships and we are so very thankful and blessed to have these amazing people in our lives.

This year we have found a number of new people that have just clicked with our business family and with us personally. We are looking forward to building on these relationships and are so very Thankful for finding such wonderful people this year!

I always try to shut work down over the Holidays to re-charge and spend some quality time with my family. Last night I enjoyed sharing some Christmas baking with my daughters and husband, while being serenaded by my daughter on the piano while I baked. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday! I’ve been behind in work and stressed out but decided yesterday was family time and could not have made a better choice. Seeing the smiles on my little girl’s face as I gave her a piece of biscotti was much more rewarding than anything I could have accomplished in my office! I always make deadlines for myself and push harder than necessary. There really is nothing left that is a deadline before Christmas right now – everything else can wait – without me feeling any guilt! Sometimes we need to ask “does it have to be done or do I just want it done?”

Sometimes I think business owners, or individuals who are self-employed, expect too much of themselves. Yes, we have to work when the business is coming in, but we also need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. This was a goal of mine at the beginning of 2014 – balance.  I believe I was successful in some ways – I did manage to maintain more balance in my work/personal life especially over the last half of the year. I made a decision to work a solid week, usually 10 – 12 hours a day – I start early, but to keep evenings and weekends for family. It’s worked wonderfully! Without guilt, and resulted in many smiles. Yes, there is the odd exception when I catch up on paperwork Saturday morning but that is rare and not a rule. 

This year, I’ve learned that family and relationships are my priorities. I am committed to work and my clients and will give them 110% during the work week, but after work is the time I look forward to the most. Nothing beats a smile and hug from little girl while we read stories together, or sitting and hearing about my older daughter’s day at University, or just enjoying sitting by the fire with my husband. This is what matters and this is what we tend to forget to enjoy with all the Holiday bustle. So, my wish for you all for the Holidays is to take the time to enjoy the special people in your lives! Don’t let the stress of the Holidays overtake you and rob you of the precious time and memories that are so special this time of year. Allow yourself to slow down long enough to just enjoy those most important to you! You’ll be so glad you did! Happy Holidays everyone!

Decorating for the Holidays

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Every year it seems there is a new “trendy” color for the holidays. I honestly do not know anyone who decorates with the latest and greatest color, not in my circle of family or friends. Seems most of us have our traditional décor scheme, which has often developed over years. Many of us tend to make small new additions each year as items break or simply become recycled due to age. After all, we always find that one piece that we just “have to have”!! It’ll be the “perfect” addition! I am SO BAD for that!!!! I just LOVE holiday decorating! Thank goodness I have a patient and indulgent husband who also loves the holidays!

What’s the big thing every year? Lights, lights, and more lights! Exterior lights, interior lights, lights wrapped in garlands, lights on the tree and countless décor and ornaments all lit up! The options seem countless and mostly beautiful! My husband enjoys his outdoor Christmas lights so we have “cascading icicle lights” on the house and I must admit, they do look beautiful! Seems the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without all the lights! I know we certainly use our share of lit décor in our household! Nothing quite says “holidays” like dimming the overhead lights in a room and enjoying the tree and Christmas décor lighting with candles all aglow and lights shimmering and sparkling through the décor! Perfect to sit back and enjoy with a nice glass of wine, eggnog or spiced apple cider! 

One of the most visible trends in retail stores is the “vintage” décor. Everything “old” is the new thing! This is great for people who never de-clutter! LOL!!  I love my rustic theme decorating so I really enjoy the rustic themed décor items. These have been popular for the last number of years now and I must admit I have had quite a bit of Christmas fun “topping” off my holiday décor with new additions each year! Especially since I love to decorate both my home and my cottage for the holidays in a bit of a rustic theme! My fireplace mantles are all decked out and the trees are traditional with a few new touches each year, there is no room in our home left untouched by a small hint of Christmas.

Some of the new colors I’ve seen for holiday’s décor include teal blues and purples. Very “peacock trendy” as those peacock colors have been prominent in much of the décor over the last year or so! This coupled with whites, gold’s, silvers all make for some stunning holiday looks! It’s easy to just add a few touches here and there when your main décor theme is a beautiful neutral! If you usually go gold, silver or white – adding just the right touch of color can certainly add some interest and give your room just the right touch of contemporary decorating! Don’t do something because you think you “should” – you really should love it! Enjoy it! It’s your special space so make the most of it!

When it comes to decorating your home for the holidays – there simply are no rules! If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters! After all who really cares what your second cousin twice removed may think? With all the stress and craziness that the Holidays can sometimes bring, the perfect way to de-stress and relax after a long day “getting ready for the holidays” is to be able to turn the room lights off and just relax with your favourite drink as you enjoy your own special holiday “twinkling light show” in your favourite room! So, make sure it makes you happy and gives you everything you need to de-stress and relax after a long day!