14 ways to have a fresh and festive holiday

Some of the first things that bring the holidays to life for me are all the wonderful smells that I associate with being festive - the cedar, pine and bayberry scents of the evergreens, the wonderful holiday baking and of course the fresh, crisp smell of the air when Santa is coming!  The other is of course the decorations!

As part of the Twitter Moms and Snuggle writing promotion, I am going to share 14 of my tips for having a fresh and festive holiday, but I'd love your feedback on how you make your home and other spaces festive for the holidays!

1. You need real evergreens - this doesn't necessarily mean a real tree - that's a lot of work, and for me, with three kids and a busy never-stay-at-home lifestyle, not really an option, but I love to incorporate real wreaths and cedar rope into my outdoor decor.  And I sneak a little of it inside too :)

2. It's impossible to be baking ALL the time, so it's okay to have wonderful smelling candles, potpourri and other scents around to help keep the mood festive!  Don't leave candles unattended though - it's definitely better to be safe than smell burning holiday memories!

3. Another great way to bring the scent of the holidays to your home is to simmer a pot with a cinnamon stick and a few cloves on the back of the stove or better yet- put some apple cider, mullling spices and an orange in the crock pot for fabulous smells and yummy warm drinks on a cold winters night!

4. Competing scents aren't good... Layering your scents is one thing - but too many just get muddled... so start with the authentic and put the others away when you can!

5. If it doesn't move - decorate it... this is my mother's holiday philosophy - it's the one time of year when excess is truly okay, so go overboard- why not!

6. In conjunction with #5 - if it does move, decorate it!  One of the interesting trends that seems to be happening is decorating your cars - this is the first year that I'm going to try it - just a few tasteful magnets and just for a few weeks, but I think it will be fun!

7. Don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving!  This is a big one for me and probably should have been first, but it's really disconcerting to have walked into Walmart on November 1st to shop for Halloween discounts and be staring at a Christmas tree and have holiday music piped in!   A month really is long enough to see and do everything!

8. One of my favorite traditions growing up was going looking at Christmas lights after Christmas Eve dinner at my Oma's house - not only can you appreciate the beauty of people's light displays, but it's a great way to wind down tired kids who are excited for Santa!

9. Another festive tradition is the Norad Santa tracker - this is a great way to combine the festivities with learning - it's a fabulous world geography lesson and a great way to keep tabs on Santa too!

10. Make sure you are as fresh as your turkey - make sure you take time out to just relax and enjoy - maybe after a nice hot bath  snuggle up in your favorite bathrobe that's been in a warm dryer with a Snuggle dryer sheet!

11. Not everything has to be red and green!  Mix it up this year and try my favorite holiday color combination - Silver, Blue and Green!   I absolutely love the new LCD lights in vibrant blue - they not only save your energy bill, but they are great for the environment too... wrap them around your pine or cedar boughs and deck the lot with large silver bows!  Gold and red are cool too!

12. That being said... eclectic is good too - some of the most festive decors I've seen have no scheme, but have been put together with love! It's perfectly okay to mix your children's glitter artwork with the antique Nativity scene, with the quirky Santa cookie jar!

13. As much as I love fresh food - preparing cookies, desserts and even side dishes in advance is a way to keep the cook/baker fresh!  Stagger your cooking and make sure you don't burn your holiday dinner or burn out yourself!

14. No matter how you decorate, accessorize, scent your home, or cook, the most important thing about the holiday season is to celebrate the reason for the season and your family!  The rest is just icing on the cake!

This is an assortment of tips from me on having a fresh and festive holiday season - what tips can you share?

Disclaimer: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Snuggle blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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