For many of us, the holiday season can feel simultaneously magical and overwhelming. There is a plethora of fun to be had – more time with friends and family, festive music and decorations, parties, and all the scrumptious food and treats. But with this excitement can also come a growing to-do list.
Breaking down the holiday decorating prep to one item per day can lighten the load and make your tasks feel more like opening that single advent chocolate from the kids’ calendar. Brew a cup of cocoa or tea, turn on your favorite holiday music, and jingle your way to a jolly state of mind.
Day 1 – Light it Up
Pull out your outdoor lights and check for missing or burnt out bulbs. Determine how many strings you need to repair or replace. Make all of your runs to the store before you get started. I’ve found it helpful to wrap lights around strips of cardboard to store them in a neat, untangled manner for the following year. It’s never enjoyable to unravel 50 feet of jumbled wires!
Day 2 – Oh Christmas Tree
For those celebrating Christmas, the tree is the shimmering, colorful focal point of your holiday décor. Approach the day in a fun and stress-free manner. Warn dad in advance that there will be no grumbling or eye rolling! Whether you’re pulling out an artificial tree from the attic or going to select a fresh tree from a lot or tree farm, putting up your tree is such a great time to reminisce.
Decking the tree is also as a prime opportunity to build a few new memories. Pop some fresh popcorn, make hot cocoa, and put on your favorite holiday movie. As with the outdoor lights, pull out your boxes of decorations, tinsel and stockings and see what you need to replace. Don’t forget to check the function of your tree stand.
Day 3 – Dress up Your Mantle
Typically home to stockings, you can also create a scene or grouping on the ledge above. Whether it’s fashioned with simple candles and plates or a modern display of glass cylinders filled with ornaments, the area will come to life with your special touch.
Day 4 – Add Greenery
There’s something beautiful and timeless about hanging a simple evergreen wreath on your front door. If you have multiple windows on the front façade of your house, adorn to your heart’s content. Add greenery to your mantle and run a fresh garland along the middle of your dining table, interspersed with pine cones and bowls of nuts.
Day 5 – Make Christmas Crackers for Each Place Setting
This tradition dates back 150 years in England. Have multiple ready for entertaining and goodies. Open them on at a dinner party, before the meal. If you’re short on time, you can purchase fill-your-own holiday crackers online. Or, for a craft activity for the family, see below.
- Toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes cut in half.
- Pretty wrapping or tissue paper (thinner paper works best).
- Ribbon for tying the ends
- Small trinkets and fancy wrapped chocolates for each cracker.
- Cut your paper to fit the tube, around 6 inches x 12 inches.
- Lay the tube in the center of the paper. If using a cracker, put it through the tube, and tape it to one side of the paper. If not, just tape the paper to the tube.
- Cut your ribbon (long enough to secure each end).
- Tie one side to secure.
- Fill the tube with trinkets.
- Tie the ribbon around the remaining side.
- Place in a basket as decorations until needed.
With hectic lives, focusing on one task a day will relieve a little bit of seasonal pressure. Remember, the holidays are not about what you believe you must do. They’re about memories, gratitude, celebrations and spending time with those we love.
You may also like 7 Ways to Personalize a Holiday Place Setting. Read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.