Three Tips For Finding Calm In The Midst Of Holiday Chaos

Between the shopping, the baking, the parties and the decorating, the holidays are definitely the busiest season of the year. They’re also one of the most stressful. Minimize the anxiety by taking some preventative measures. Here are three tips from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  • Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
  • Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

Holiday Tablescapes To Inspire You

The holidays put the spotlight on your tables, both in your kitchen and dining room. It’s where friends and family gather, and it’s where holiday meals are shared. This event calls for a special setting, and we found some easy-to-duplicate tables to inspire your holiday decorating.


Photo Source: Pinterest / Gracious Living

Silver and gold is a classic color combination, and this table shows what you can do when you add layers. Use candle holders to display a tree topper or oversized ornament, place an ornament on each setting, and fill in with flocked garland. The result is breathtaking.


Photo Credit: Pinterest / Christmas Syndle

Create a fun and easy centerpiece by turning wine glasses into impromptu snow globes topped with a candle. This could be a fun project to do with your children, then display your work on a tray with faux fur and poinsettias.


Photo Credit: Pinterest / Textures Flooring Nashville

Centerpieces are important, but this table proves that other aspects of your room can make a statement, too. If you have upholstered chairs, try tying a red ribbon to the backs, and add a seasonal touch with a sprig of evergreen and a pinecone.


Photo Credit: Pinterest / HGTV

Hanukkah tables are often adorned in blue, and this table shows you how easy it is to create a special setting. Classic blue and white dinnerware sets the tone, especially when paired with blue placemats. Star of David ornaments make great place cards when you use a paint pen to add names. Simply add candles, and your table will glow.


Photo Credit: Pinterest / HGTV

Kwanza celebrations are a festival of colors, and bright table settings are the way to go. This table takes advantage of the colors of nature, with easy accents like fresh oranges and colorful fauna. Traditional napkins are replaced with brightly striped dishtowels, and even the food is festive, with clear glasses that show off red beverages.


Create a Holiday Baking Schedule

The holidays are a literal feast for the senses, and one of the best parts is indulging in the goodies that spring from stovetops and ovens this time of year. If you love to bake, you might find it helpful to follow a schedule so you’re sure you create all of your favorite sweets.

First, make a list of everything you’d like to make, from cookies to cakes to breads and bars. If your list is long, choose your favorites and make those first, so if you run out of time, you’ll be happy with what you have.

Then pull out your recipes and make a list of all of the ingredients you need. Take inventory of your pantry and cross off the items you already have. Be sure to check inside spice jars and extract bottles to measure how much you have.

Identify the items on your list that can be made in advance. Most cookie dough can be frozen as long as you wrap it well.

If you’re gifting your goodies, consider the containers you’ll use to wrap them, such as boxes, trays, tins and bags. Stock up if needed.

Then choose an official baking day and circle it on your calendar. If you bake with friends or family, make sure to coordinate the timing. Then let the flour and the fun fly.  

One Mantel + Three Styles = Holiday Magic

If your home has a mantel, you’ve got a design opportunity just waiting to happen. The best part is that it can be changed out to reflect the season or just your mood. We selected a white fireplace as the perfect way to show off what can happen depending on your selection of accessories. Take a look at these three district holiday looks:




The Magic of Christmas: Create a sense of whimsy when you use bright colors and Seuss-ified shapes. Two tall elves (if there are such a thing!) capture the imagination and provide a playful, childlike feel. Fill in the spaces with a more sophisticated touch, using greenery and white twigs. The result is a fireplace mantel that feels fresh and fun, brightening your home as well as your spirit.




Northern Lights: Decorate your mantel in silver and white for a look that was inspired by the northern lights. The beauty of winter will shine through when you choose embellishments like Christmas trees, owls and ice skates. Put tall candlesticks on one side, and balance the display with a lantern on the other side. The icy cold colors will make your home feel like a haven from the elements.




Woodland Escape: Decorate your mantel with the beauty of nature by choosing handcrafted pieces and organic details. This collection of accents looks like a glimpse into the forest, with a delightful display of deer and owls as well as visit from an Old World Santa. Bring a sense of balance and light with copper lanterns, and enjoy bringing the outside in.