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Let Us Give Thanks and Ho Ho Ho

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Helpful Holiday Tips for the Busy Days Ahead
Halloween is over and the Christmas decorations are pushing hard to get Thanksgiving out of the way.  Every trip through the garage finds ornaments and tinsel, holly and pine seeming to sneer as you reach for the pine cones and cornucopia. Their Hobby Lobby counterparts have been on full display since Independence Day and the elves and reindeer are ready to break out.

Are you a bit overwhelmed by the speed of holidays?  Here’s a quick guide to make your upcoming holiday transitions a little less stressed.


Safety First

Holiday guests bring new challenges to your living space.  Now’s the time – before guests arrive – to keep them and your valuables safe.  When family and friends arrive, it’s easy to get distracted from potential hazards.  A few minutes of safety preparation can put you at ease.

If you didn’t replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries or test hard-wired devices when Daylight Saving Time ended, don’t put it off any longer.  Are guests with toddlers or small children coming to your house? Consider adding a few outlet safety covers to keep little hands away from electricity.  Also consider moving treasured or valuable items to a safe location.

Look around the outside of your home to secure any loose cords, hoses, door mats, and other items that could cause a fall by an unsuspecting visitor.  With darkness arriving earlier, check your outdoor lighting to see if guests can safely navigate from your driveway to front door.


First Impressions

            Before your family and friends set foot in your house, they see your home’s exterior.  Before the holiday rush, take a good look at areas that may need pressure washing or painted/stained areas in need of a touch up or fresh coat.  Declutter the front porch and patio/deck areas to make your home welcoming.  The few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving are perfect for cleaning flower beds and replacing mulch.  Look for any weeds or vines that need to go.  A clean driveway, walkway and porch leave a great first impression.


Pre Set

If you’re hosting the Thanksgiving gathering, go ahead and set the Thanksgiving table and serving area.  That one little plan-ahead activity helps you visualize your arrangements to make sure there’s room for everything.  Plus, you get to enjoy the beauty of your table before it’s covered with food and spills.

If possible, designate a separate area for appetizers and one for beverages.  Spreading people into more areas feels less stressful and more comfortable.  If the weather looks promising, plan for some outside food and drinks to get the crowd out of your kitchen.


Turkeys and Tinsel

Thanksgiving and Christmas décor can be good neighbors as long as their colors are neither orange or red.  Let your post Halloween decorating plan incorporate a background for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Greenery – think faux pine branches or magnolia leaves – serves as a base for neutral additions such as feathers, pine cones and straw.  Add gourds, dried fruit and other fall-inspired items to carry you through Thanksgiving Day.  Then, when Christmas decorating begins, replace the fall items in your greenery with your favorite Christmas décor.  Hues of gold, copper, and blues also work well with green and neutral backgrounds.  Add a themed table runner or placemats for a simple pop of seasonal themes.

Go ahead and light up your home.  Especially, indoors, tiny neutral LED lights add sparkle to the dining table, coffee table, entry way – really anywhere.  Tuck them into translucent containers, in and around greenery, and along a mantel.   It’s not too early to bring out the candles either.  Neutral colored candles easily switch from Thanksgiving to Christmas by changing the color of berries or other accents.


Versatile Textiles       

Throw pillows instantly transform a sofa or chair to a holiday theme.  Pick a pillow size you like – whether rectangular or square – and purchase holiday themed covers to quickly and inexpensively update seating areas.  Storing pillow covers is much easier, too, than finding space for bulky pillows you use once a year.  Holiday themed pillow shams are a great way to make bedrooms festive.  Instead of a folded blanket or throw at the foot of the bed, look for extra long holiday table runners to add a pop of cheer.


Break the Rules

For the easiest transition of all – don’t be afraid to decorate your artificial tree before Thanksgiving.  A little harmless rule breaking can be both fun and rewarding since you’ll be less hurried to put away Thanksgiving and bring out Christmas.  You can still be genuinely thankful on Thanksgiving Day with a Christmas tree in your midst.  You may be especially grateful the next day when much of your Christmas decorating will be behind you.  Obviously, real trees have to wait a bit longer to make an appearance.   That is unless dropped needles are part of the decorating plan.

The bottom line:  Enjoy the holidays your way on your schedule.  The trees and décor are there to enhance the holidays and bring joy to your family and friends.