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Your Holiday Home 2012

Welcome to the advent of another wonderful holiday season. There is something about Christmas that moves day-to-day problems to a back burner. Maybe it’s the collective thread of many happy holidays strung together in our memories. It brings on a feeling of comfort. For sure, it’s the repetition of traditions that adds to the feeling that “all is well”. Whatever the reasons, let’s make our own resolution to be light-hearted and enjoy this Christmas to the fullest.

Last year I brought you some makeover ideas to “Christmas-ize” your home. This blog brings back one of the most popular ideas, mixed in with some DIY gifts. Now is definitely the time to visit your nearest Michael’s or local craft store. (So maybe you are not crafts-oriented, it’s okay. Go anyway.) Hundreds of Christmas baskets in every shape and size are on sale. You don’t have to be artistic to create stunning holiday gifts starting with a simple basket. Pick a theme to fill your gift basket and have fun. Here are some examples:

MOVIE-NIGHT BASKET – Choose several movie DVD’s, micro-wave popcorn, and old-time popcorn boxes (you can get those at Michael’s). Mix in some theater-style boxed candy, a six-pack of root beer, and you have all the makings of a great family movie-night gift.

coffeeCOFFEE LOVERS BASKET – This one is super easy to create. Even places like Target are now selling gourmet coffees at bargain prices. They are always packaged beautifully and make a pretty addition to the basket. Add in several holiday mugs, something for their sweet tooth (bake it yourself and wrap in holiday wrap) and you’re ready to be-gift someone.

KID’S LOVE IT BASKET – Cartoons!!! Every kid loves them. Stock up on three or four DVD’s and introduce the kids of the family to characters from your childhood. Mickey and friends for sure, Popeye is still out there somewhere, Woody Woodpecker, Tweetie Bird, and Tom and Jerry. That’s a walk down memory lane for mom and dad too. Gingerbread house boxed kits are great fun to put together, and make a colorful addition to the basket. A couple of boxes of hot cocoa mix, a bag of mini-marshmallows, and you’ve just created something fun and memorable.

GARDEN DELIGHT BASKET – So mom and dad love to garden? It may be winter, but you can certainly give them something to look forward to next spring. Fill their basket with a colorful selection of planting seeds, garden gloves, new garden tools, a gardening book or two, and you’ve got something they will definitely put to use when winter wanes.

PAMPER YOUR HOME BASKET – The holidays take their toll on floor coverings. Your local floor covering professional has the right products to restore hard surface floors and spot clean carpets. Add a gift certificate for a deep steam cleaning, and you’ve just created a welcome “facelift” for the home. And, if new flooring is the what they really want from Santa….most retail floor stores will be happy to provide a gift certificate for you to wrap and add to their stocking.

All in all, you will be amazed at how beautiful (and professional) each basket looks after you’ve carefully filled and wrapped each one. Add a huge bow, and your friends and family will think you spent hundreds of dollars on their personalized basket.

Fire-and-Ice-Centerpiece_225Something I wrote about last year got a huge response from our readers, so I decided to bring back this idea, with a new twist to it—the Fire & Ice holiday centerpiece. This focal point for your holiday table can be a one-of-a-kind, depending on your level of creativity. Here’s the “how-to” specifics:

1 empty half-gallon cardboard milk carton, top removed
Pillar candle, 2 inches in diameter
6 or more rosebuds
Sprigs of fresh holly
Work gloves (optional)
Shallow bowl or tray
Additional roses and holly, plus baby’s breath (for finished display)

1. Center pillar candle in clean milk carton. Cut the carton to a smaller height if necessary so top of candle (in particular, the wick) is well above the edge of the carton.

2. Stuff fresh holly and rosebuds around the candle. (You may want to wear work gloves when handling holly.) Fill the carton with water. Freeze the carton until the ice is solid.

3. Dip the carton in warm water briefly, then peel the paper away. Place the arrangement back in the freezer until just before serving time.

4. To display, place the centerpiece in a shallow bowl or tray to catch the water as the ice melts. Cluster fresh holly, more roses, and baby’s breath around the candle’s base.

Well, there you have just a few designer ideas of how to personalize this Christmas and add your signature touch. It’s not necessarily how much you spend on each gift, but the time and attention you invest in creating a special gift for the people you care about. Have fun with it. Old-fashioned Christmases might still be the best.