The holidays are one of the most wonderful, and most stressful, times of the year. It’s worth it. As you spend time with family, do your best to love them and share laughter together. As you go through the December month, we’ve collected projects, games, advice, and more for you. Let’s drop the stress and bring in some joy. Bookmark this blog for the next holiday season so you can prepare for some of these activities!
Unique, homemade Christmas tree decorations to try this year:
Many of us will be putting our Christmas trees together this weekend. Whether you have a family or if you just like crafts, here are a couple cool ideas that can make this project a lot of fun. In classic DIY fashion, the hot glue gun is going to be your best friend here.
Mason jar lid ornaments. You can usually buy these lids separately, and they make great wreaths of any type. Try twine, pipe cleaners, and ribbon.
Tea light and mason jar ornaments. Turn on these simple, battery powered tea lights and tighten the twine underneath the lid for a holder.
Bingo card ornaments. Not to mention playing a game or two beforehand, you can decorate these with beads, ribbons, and small ornaments.
Chalkboard ornaments. Chalkboard paint and a variety of different backdrops means all of your holiday visitors can leave a loving (well, that depends on your friends) message on your tree.
Holiday themed parties that aren’t just “ugly sweater”:
An ugly sweater party means your guests just stop at Walmart or Target for a $10 sweater that gets thrown out in 3 weeks. Here are a few other holiday parties that are a little better for the environment and a lot more fun.
A hot chocolate bar. Go all out with this one. Different flavors, toppings, and spices. There are gourmet mixes, chocolate dipping sticks, and more. And if a little dash of Baileys makes its way into the adult version, so be it.
A holiday movie costume party. Whether it’s the pink bunny in “A Christmas Story” or the Grinch, your guests can dress up in all sorts of costumes. Have a contest at the end of the night.
An international celebration. Cultures and religions all around the world usually have some version of a winter holiday. All of these amazing parties come with different decorations and cuisine. Do some research and invite friends to participate and enjoy a potluck.
Don’t overwork yourself this holiday season. We all need as stress-free of a time as possible. But if one of these sounds fun to you, get your favorite people together and enjoy yourself.
Tips for homeowners while traveling longer-term:
Many of us will be leaving our castles for more than a few days to visit with family. If you love your homes as much as we do, that can be a bit stressful. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you return to your sanctuary just the way you found it.
Tell your neighbors you’re leaving. Let them know when you’re out the door, and when you plan to return. You can leave a key with a close neighbor and ask them to pick up your mail and do a quick walkthrough.
Or, find a house sitter. Maybe you have a beautiful collection of house plants or pets that aren’t going to travel. Make sure you get your sitter a nice gift card, and have them check in each day to keep your home alive and well.
Put your lights on a timer. Some of the smart light bulbs we’ve mentioned in the past have actual programs to run for holiday breaks that turn different interior and exterior lights on and off during random times.
Switch any relevant breakers and turn your AC or heat (you never know in a FL winter) to a low, energy-saving setting. If you believe it’s still going to be extremely hot and humid, make sure your house is cooled below at least 80.
Clean out the fridge. No one likes coming back to vegetables and leftovers that are now growing new flavors. “Eat down the fridge” the last few days before your trip.
We hope you have some exciting trips coming up. There is a lot of stress to be had, but there’s plenty of love to be given. If you can manage it, make a few good memories and hug the ones you care about.
DIY outdoor home decor ideas for the holidays:
Looking for some fun projects to do for yourself or with your family (perhaps keep some relative’s kids busy)? I found a few of these creative and simple holiday home decor projects to try.
Plate lollipops. A remarkably easy project, pick up some paper plates, plastic wrap, and wooden dowels. Paint patterns on the candy with Christmas colors, and wrap the plate up in cellophane to complete the look (and protect it from the elements).
Wood block snowmen. Just one 4×4 post cut into different sizes can make three or four of these. Paint them white in a rustic manner, and decorate them as creatively as you can get.
Framed ornament wreath. A cool twist on a classic Christmas wreath, paint a larger sized picture frame a bright color and hang some (durable) ornaments inside. Use a bit of holly, ribbon, and other items for a cool look.
The present wrapped front door. The most durable way to complete this is with red felt fabric you can get at any hobby store. You can tightly secure it on the door around the backside with safety pins.
The candy cane olympics:
It can never hurt to have a few games in your pocket during family holiday parties. Find that one cousin who loves to organize their sock drawer, and let them run with these candy cane games for everyone.
The candy cane relay. Four people on a team, each holding a candy cane. Two standing about 20 feet away from the other two. The first player must speed walk and link their candy cane onto their partner’s. Player number four should make it back to the other side with all four candy canes linked together. If it’s dropped, just that current player goes back to their starting spot and tries again.
Hungry hungry candy canes. Four players, each on a side of the table. Four different colors of Hershey’s kisses, and put four of the same color on each side. Players will constantly spin their candy cane on their side of the table, and grab one of the Hershey’s that it points to. The first player to have one of EACH color on their side wins.
Candy cane catch. Two players to a team, about six feet away from each other. Each player must catch (hook) a candy cane their partner has thrown on only their extended finger. Alternate the thrower, and the first team to make six catches wins the round.
Candy cane twirling. Time for the endurance round. Give everyone a few chances to practice. When the whistle blows, every player must keep a candy cane spinning horizontally on their finger. The last one standing wins.
Make it a bracket system and add some white elephant prizes. Good luck out there.