Every time I browse Pinterest my feed is filled with photos of beautifully and meticulously decorated homes, each christened with the marks of the next holiday over the horizon. When it comes to Christmas, often these rooms are completely transformed into winter wonderlands. I have to admit: I’m jealous. I’d love to have the time and energy to create a magazine worthy home, even if it’s just for a few weeks. That being said, for those of us with limited budgets and resources, there are several simpler ways to enjoy the seasons.
- Scented Candles: I know, I know, I’m starting off with perhaps the most feminine item on this list, but the truth is that they really do make your home more pleasant. One strategically placed Christmas Cookie candle may be enough to make you feel like Santa is on his way. They’re not just for Christmas though – choose one of your favorite scents per season and switch them when the weather turns.
- Lotions & Soaps: Okay so maybe this is more girly than the first, but even guys will use hand soap that smells like citrus in the summertime and secretly appreciate it. I know some people keep decorative towels to put out for the holidays, but since they’re not always meant for actual use I’m sticking with these more functional items. If you have people in your home who don’t share your affinity for seasonal cleaning products, stick to a lotion that you can enjoy all to yourself.
- Wreaths: Obviously the most common ones we see are for Christmas, but there’s been a trend all year for seasonal wreaths that span all 12 months. Check out Pinterest for tons of DIY ideas and try to choose a single wreath that can be adapted to each of the four seasons (add boughs of holly, blossoming flowers, tropical palms, harvested wheat, etc). Seasonal flags could also suit this idea if you’re a fan of them (although the American flag works all year round!).
- Artwork: If you’re the type of person who has collected too many prints to hang up on your wall, why not change one or two out every few months? Alternatively you could have one set of holiday-themed frames that you switch out as needed. If you have kids, you could always have them draw up a new batch of pictures each season as a fun project (and hanging them on the fridge is even easier than leveling frames).
- Recipes: We all know of the benefits of eating fresh produce that’s in season, so why not keep a batch of recipes handy for each one. I’m not just talking about the 50 pumpkin spiced desserts you have for the fall; you could find new ways to use asparagus in the spring or eggplant in the summer. Try to find a new family favorite each year using the fresh ingredients that you can all look forward to. And if fruits and veggies aren’t your thing (I’m in this group), you can always set a tradition of making holiday themed meals.
- Music: So again, Christmas music is the obvious choice here. But why not make a point to listen to other holiday themed music throughout the year? Valentine’s Day love songs, St. Patrick’s Day Celtic jigs, and Independence Day marches are all fun ways to appreciate the seasons. Or make it a point to listen to tropical music throughout the summer during those years you just can’t get away. Music is one of the easiest ways to lift your mood.
- Books: This one may be a stretch, but it’s something I would like to try. Most of us would like to read more, but I think the problem is that we get overwhelmed by choices. Here’s an idea: pick a different genre to read each season. My picks would be classics for the winter, personal development for the spring, fun fiction for the summer, and biographies for the fall.
- Family Traditions: This encompasses all the activities, crafts, trips, and other tasks that you associate with the seasons. Even if you’re not the type to keep a running bucket list, try to have at least one activity or project that the whole family can look forward to every year. Here are some examples: camping, apple picking, spring cleaning, gingerbread houses, volunteer events, beach trips, flower picking, or even just an elaborate s’more night. Tailor it to your family and make it something special.
I hope this has given you some ideas for simpler ways to enjoy the holidays and appreciate all four seasons. We can’t all be Martha Stewart, but we can adjust the little things to be more present in the time of year. What are your favorite ways to decorate and spend the holidays?