Running Out Of Time?? HOLIDAY Stress NO MORE!

fullsizerender-11Image from Found and Favour

For whatever reason, the holidays have snuck up on me (again) and I seriously need another three weeks to get my house, gift buying & wrapping, holiday dinner menu and life handled. I see all these posts with amazing seasonal decor, beautifully decorated trees, perfectly planned holiday parties,  insanely wrapped gifts ….like many full-time working mamas out there, I just wish I had more hours in the day to accomplish these things. I am all about lists and finding ways to maximize time so I can be that awesome homemaker too.  Here are a few cheats to help tackle your holiday to-do list and to gain a few extra minutes so you can enjoy some egg nog with your loved ones.

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ONLINE SHOPPING – JUST DO IT all ready!!!  Do not, I repeat, do not find yourself in a mall, waiting for help after spending 20 mins trying to find parking…and let’s be honest, the store won’t have the size or color you need anyway! The other night I went to Nordstrom.com and Amazon.com (while laying in bed with hot cocoa – mental mommy break) and got 2 of my 3 kids’ christmas lists completed. I would also like to note that my Amazon goods were delivered in 2 days and the Nordstrom items in 5 days!!   I was able to find the best prices by buying online.  ALL FREE SHIPPING!!  THANK YOU INTERNET!

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GIFT WRAPPING – My kids are older now but when they were younger and I had sitters for them, I would have my sitter wrap gifts once the kids were in bed. This is a great way to get every penny out of your sitter and get one more “to-do” off your list.  Just set up an area with the gifts, paper, etc ahead of time and make sure you let them know what/who they are wrapping for.

fullsizerender-16Williams Sonoma (online catering)

DINNER MENU – I know we all love cooking for our family and friends but it takes up the whole day and the kitchen clean up takes another.  Luckily for us, there are a ton of options when it comes to delicious pre-made food.  Just recently I received a catalog from Williams Sonoma with incredible options for gourmet, pre-made dishes. You can also order amazing quality meals from Honeybaked Ham (more than just ham, I love the turkey breast), Neiman Marcus (yes, they have food), your local market/grocery store or Costco. You can order anything from groceries, to platters, to just a few dishes or an entire meal.

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TREE DECORATING- I’ve had an artificial tree for years but this year some of the lights were acting up and I decided to change things up.   I picked up a  real tree a few days ago. After squeezing it into the backseat of my SUV and driving home with it hanging out the window,  I threw on the lights and ornaments with my kids.  While I love a fresh tree, I am starting to love the idea of a faux tree for three reasons – 1) no needles to vacuum up and 2) it comes pre-lit and is ready to go right out of the box and 3) I don’t have to stuff it into my car.  Comment if you want to see pics of the fiasco!  These types of trees usually come in 3-5 pieces that you snap together.  From there, you just plug in and you got a glowing tree. If you are running out of time, make this investment and have your tree delivered. There are so many options for great, fake trees. Both, Frontgate and Balsam Hill have beautiful, “real looking” faux trees. AND…if you worry you will miss the smell of having a tree in your home, there are incense for that – link below:

Pine Tree Incense

My Favorite Christmas Candle – Thymes Frasier Fir Pine Needle Candle

fullsizerender-10Photo by Anita Heldal

INSIDE DECOR – Running out of time to decorate??? Keep it simple by swapping out your usual candles with holiday themed ones, add a wreath or cut some branches from your tree for greenery. Lastly, buy some florals at your local supermarket to complete your room.

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OUTSIDE DECOR – Decorating your whole home with lights would be amazing, but costly and time consuming.  Below are some simple ways to get your home in the holiday spirit and quickly.

fullsizerender-7Image by Hakesgard

WREATHS – Buy a few, as these work great on front doors, windows and garages. I found some great boxwood wreaths today at Trader Joes for $9.99.  They are easy to hang with over-the-door wreath hooks, ribbon or wire.  I personally love using the Command hooks with adhesive backs – link below:

Large Command Hooks

Brushed Nickel Command Hook


house-litImage from Young House Love

 WINDOW CANDLES (battery operated )- This is a pretty way to add light and literally not have to hang, measure, find an outlet, or deal with messy cords. Home depot and Amazon have these – here’s the link:

Battery Powered Candles


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VELVET BOWS – The best part about these inexpensive bows is that they usually have plastic, wire tie backs that make it super easy to place on fence posts, stair railings and windows. Red bows are a great way to dress up wreaths too. You can buy these at Amazon and Home Depot as well – link below:

 2 Pack Holiday Bows Under $10


DIY LANTERNS – Simply fill paper bags with sand and tealights or LED candles to give your driveway or front yard a holiday glow. Here are a few helpful guides below:


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DESIGN TIP:  Trim off the bottom branches of your tree to add greenery on your fire place mantle, kitchen table or even hang from your front door in place of a wreath.  A little greenery, red ribbon and a few pinecones can make any space look and feel festive.   

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

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It’s that time of year again…..THE HOLIDAYS!!!  There can be a tremendous amount of stress associated with preparing and prepping for dinners and parties but hopefully I can help by sharing a few of my favorite Thanksgiving table setting ideas.  Feel free to copy, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when you have a grocery list to work on!

RUSTIC FARMHOUSE

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photo by Missy at Perch

If you have a rustic dining room table, this is a fun style to design around.  Use natural materials like jute and rope for your table linens (place mats, runners, napkins, etc).  Try to keep the overall palette neutral and use florals to add color.  While these designs can look hard to pull off, the settings are fairly simple.  Use more florals and candles to add drama or keep it simple with less down the center of your table.  Think natural, rustic and earthy when selecting your cloth napkins, runners and/or placemats.

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photo from Mountain Living magazine

 HELPFUL HINT – A great way to gain more seating is to remove chairs and add benches. I love the usage of a blanket to make the bench a tiny bit more cozy and comfy.

SHABBY CHIC 

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photo by Nudge Design Inc.

photos (clockwise) Allison Kathleen, Casita Turquesa, Ceci New York, Randi Garrett Design

This design is a nice balance of old and new, and somewhat eclectic.  If you have great china and linens, feel free to mix and match.  The key to pulling off this style is to use mixed materials, linens, china and metals  while keeping within the same design aesthetic.  Anthropologie is a great resource for interesting and special plates, stem & bar ware and votives.

 Click here for my favorite 20 piece brass flatware set

Bone Handle Flatware

Images from Anthropologie.com (Glenna and Ceres collection) 

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photo by Forest Grove Event Co.

HELPFUL HINT – Many grocery stores and markets have pre-made holiday floral arrangements so don’t waste your time trying to make bouquets when you can buy them already created.

TRADITONAL

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photo by Bed Bath & Beyond

photo (left) by Feus Haus // photo (bottom right) Love Lock Key

photo (left) by Topshelf Mike // photo (middle) by Coco Design // photo (right) by Elegant Inspired Living 

If you love the colors of fall, then this is the table setting for you.  Keep your table rich with gold and bronze tones.  Layer plates in shades of orange and rust to give pops of color.  Play with fabrics and linens that have shades of burgundy, tan, olive and metallic.  Complete this look by adding pumpkins, gourds and squash to your tablescape.

HELPFUL HINT – when buying plate chargers, purchase a neutral option (metallics work best).  This allows you to reuse them for any holiday.  Click this link for a set of 10 silver chargers for $23.99

CLEAN AND GREEN

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photo by Williams Sonoma

photo (left) by Interiors by Loredana // photo (right) Green of Greenwich

To achieve this design, stay clean with crisp linens in white or off white.  Decorate your table with mercury and clear glass votives, neutral china and lots of greenery.  Use neutral floral arrangements and white or light colored pumpkins to keep the table looking natural and elegant.

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photo from Haven Studios

HELPFUL HINT – add a sprig of sage to each table setting to complete this look. Fresh herbs will cost you less than a few bucks but will leave a lasting impression.

I would love to see your #tablescape.  Email me photos of your holiday table decor at within walls.com or share by leaving a picture in the comment section of this post! Happy table decorating!  WW