Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Some Unique Decorating Ideas for Next Year

It can be easy to create the Christmas ambiance without spending days decorating. My Dad reminded me this week by sending me some pictures of the decorations from around my childhood home.

I love it when you just take a few found items from the woods or gardening supplier, add some fruit and candles and voila! You have a unique Advent wreath.

How about something tropical to create a British colonial look for your holiday table? So easy and edible.

Don't forget the outside of the house. Even if there's no snow, you can still feel the festive vibe from a hibernating summer planter.

Besides the visual decorations, I like to create the whole ambiance and experience. I love a fireplace (though that burning Yule log is fine with me since I'm apartment bound) and I have many fond memories of sitting by the glow of the tree lights (easy to do) but it isn't complete without those holiday scents.

I love to smell gingerbread, peppermint, fresh baking, oranges and honey baked ham. I use two simple tricks to recreate these fragrances since I don't have time to bake and lack the coordination to cook a holiday ham.

The first way produces the same results as those chemical-made plug-ins and candles. All you need is vodka, a simple spray bottle, and some essential oils. I know, it seems wasteful to use vodka for a non-drink related item like an atomizer but it really does work and you can reward yourself with a screwdriver afterwards. Fill the atomizer spray bottle with vodka and add a few drops of essential oil (all you need is 6 to 12 drops depending on how strong a scent you want). This is something you can use all year round to replace those chemical sprays. But remember, vodka will yellow fabric over time so spray responsibly.

The other method involves putting a simmering pot* on the stove with a few cups of water, some whole cloves (6-10) and one whole cinnamon stick. I set it on low for about 15-20 minutes and it fills the house with the most wonderful holiday aroma. To insure that I don't forget that it's on the stovetop, I set a timer.

All of these holiday ideas are very easy to fashion and have worked for me continually over the years. Add family and friends to the mix and you're bound to have a wonderful holiday.

Casa Bump wishes you all happy holidays and a successful 2007.

* translation: an old pot that hasn't been retired to camping status just yet

Now a question for you:

Back on the East Coast I would have ordered a chemical-free tree from the ecology action centre so I’ve tried to find the same up here. Is anyone aware of a place where we can get a chemical free tree in the Toronto area?


I’ve lived in Toronto for six years and in that time I’ve married, become a mom and tried to improve my impact on the planet by living a more sustainable lifestyle, all done with some success. My background is in IT and I have a degree in Psychology. That either tells you everything or nothing at all.


something blue said...

Wow! Amazing and fantastic tips! I had no idea that vodka will yellow fabric. Of course it has been going from the freezer to a glass and straight into our bellies.

As for a chemical free tree, I didn't even know this was something to be concerned about!

metro mama said...

Thanks for the tips! I don't know if I can bear to spare my vodka though. Maybe I'll give it a try...

Lisa b said...

wow you are so crafty
I also have some concern for the vodka but as long as its drinks and scents I think thats fair

Sandra said...

I had no idea you are so crafty! This post was full of so much good info!!!!

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