Organizing for the holiday

Posted by: Pam Lampe - Home Matters Interior Design and Staging | December 21, 2009


This year the holidays just feel different. Talk amongst friends is about downsizing gift giving to something more manageable. We are also discussing decorating our homes for the holiday season.
For many, there will be family in from out of town or friends over in lieu of dinners out. For those who will be entertaining, decorating for Christmas is a priority. It can be a great deal of fun or another stressor. So how do you make it pleasurable and what are your obstacles? Let’s look at a couple of questions from readers:
Question: With the holidays coming up, I am feeling overwhelmed this year about decorating. The garage is piled high with unorganized boxes of mix-matched holiday decor. How can I sort through it all and decide what is important to keep? And what are some simple new ideas for adding to the decorations I already have? Answer: As in any type of project that requires sorting, you must first set aside some time to organize. One of the best tools is to take everything out and then, one by one, add items back in that you love or use. Label the boxes or bins with the contents or take a picture and put it on the outside of the box. Start another pile for deciding on later. It is easier to look at what you want and get a feel for how much space it requires. When you have that behind you, letting go of things in the todecide- on pile doesn’t feel like deprivation, and if you donate the items, you will feel even more positive. Or you may decide to keep everything and you will now know what you have. Adding on decorations depends on your budget. Do you have any money to spend? If it is minimal, consider making new ornaments out of baker’s clay. Cookie cutters make great patterns and the process is quicker than making them by hand. They will also last for years to come and perhaps become a tradition you add to every year. Adding lighting is another way to change the look of what you have. Change bulb colors or string them around a bathroom mirror with a few ornaments. Or get battery operated lights and string them around your dinner plates. This creates instant mood lighting without a match. If you have a little to spend, go for scented candles and fresh baby’s breath or greenery to add to trees or mantles. Or, hire a professional. In an hour or two, they can show you new ways to use old items and make suggestions for how to complete your look. Question: This is my first year to host Christmas at my house and so I feel a lot of pressure to dress my home up. The only problem is that I have a one year old and a new puppy. What types of safety measures should I take to make my home decorated and kid/pet proof?
Answer: Just as you would with anything else, you want to keep things out of reach. If you decide on a Christmas tree, cover the base so the puppy won’t drink the water which obviously hydrates him or her and dehydrates the tree. Any power cords should be covered or put away until use. At the very least unplug them. For decorating, use surfaces like countertops for decorated fruit or floral arrangements, buffets and shelves for garland or a miniature decorated tree. There will be plenty of time when they both the puppy and your children get older to branch out to other surfaces. Any plants should be child/pet safe. Local nurseries are the best place to buy them as they will know which plants are toxic.
Decorate early and enjoy it a little longer. Put on the music, heat up some apple cider, invite a friend or two to help (although that might change the beverage to wine) and enjoy the process. Think of new ways to use old things like garland around dinner plates instead of the mantle and hire help when you need it. Make this a Christmas to remember. Organize and decorate for the holidays Pam Lampe is an interior decorator in Northern Coloroado and the owner of Home Matters. Submit questions to her in the “Ask Pam” section at www. 4homematters. com. Inside Advice

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