When the holidays roll around, do you find yourself identifying more with the Grinch than Buddy the Elf?
Adding a bit of Christmas spirit to your home is still possible — just stay true to your personality, says Moorea Seal, founder of local boutique Moorea Seal and author of the recently released “52 Lists for Calm.”
If you’re minimalist, then keep it cozy and simple; and don’t be afraid to go nuts with the holly and red ribbon if that’s your jam. “It’s not about the show,” says Seal; instead, think about decorating as a way to reveal and express yourself. In other words, you do you.
Easy, inexpensive touches
Holiday décor doesn’t have to break the bank, and a little something here and there can go a long way in adding cheer. String some simple white lights and sprinkle World Market’s Green Ombre Bottlebrush Trees ($8–$15) around for a festive touch.
Do your holiday blues stem from being far from home? Deck your halls with the faces of friends and family inside Urban Outfitters’ Large Snow Globe Picture Frames ($12 each) to add a touch of home.
And if you’re not into tinsel and bright colors, opt for more subtle decorations that add warmth and coziness, such as Seattle-based Big Dipper Wax Works’ Pinecone Candles ($8–$15 at bigdipperwaxworks.com).
Setting a mood
But it’s not just how your home looks — it’s what you do in it that helps transform your space into a holiday haven. Do you have a fireplace? Now’s the time to light it up! If you’re like the rest of us and don’t, light up some candles or pop on Netflix and press play on “Fireplace For Your Home” to add some cozy crackle.
Fill your space with the fragrances of cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted nuts and other delicious flavors by baking breads and desserts. If your cooking skills aren’t quite at the level of “The Great British Baking Show,” add a festive touch with music instead. Make a Christmas playlist — may we suggest starting with “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas”? — to up your home’s jolly factor.
Making guests feel welcome
To create a festive and welcoming atmosphere for houseguests little things can make a big difference, says Arden Clise, president of Clise Etiquette and author of “Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success.”
For example, provide fresh towels and toiletry essentials, and place flowers in the guest room. “Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness, especially if they have forgotten something at home,” Clise says.
Another important tip? “Be sure you have non-alcoholic beverages you can offer your guests,” she says. “Non-drinkers are often forgotten and end up having to get water out of the tap. Not a very welcoming situation.” Sparkling cider, ginger beer and root beer are all delicious alternatives to a cocktail.
Have at the ready some relaxing activities that family members of all ages can enjoy. Games and puzzles are great ways to encourage bonding among visitors and keep little ones occupied (a good go-to when secretly wrapping presents).
Involve idle relatives in tasks such as helping to decorate the Christmas tree or make decorations such as wreaths and snowflake chains.
Many Christmas movies are kid-friendly, so gather round the family room and stream a classic or recent favorite while passing around a low-stress treat such as a Trader Joe’s popcorn tin.