It is less than one week until Christmas and the Captains House Inn looks beautiful. I have to admit, though, that I cannot take credit for the festive holiday decorations this year. With two daughters under two, I left the tedious task of decorating to our more patient staff and James with a lot of help and orchestration from the masters of decorating, James’ parents, Lynne and Lou. For them, fussing over lights, tinsel, and garland is a labor of love – they look forward to the annual chaos of it all while I am much happier inside with a mug of hot chocolate reading “That’s Not My Santa Claus” over and over with my daughters. There are, however, some decorations I enjoy digging out every year – I call them Jill’s Easy Peasy decorations and they require close to zero time and most importantly, zero frustration:
1. Santa Claus Hat Chair Covers – You can find holiday chair covers in many different designs. We use the santa hats at the inn – all you have to do is fit them over the back of your dining room chairs and – voila – the room is instantly festive!
2. Glass Snowflakes – These oversized ornaments can be found at most places that sell holiday decorations. We have a bunch in different sizes and hang them in windows and from ceiling hooks. The best part is, they can be left up all winter!
3. Wreath Magnets – If you’re a wreath person, these are worth the investment. You can easily hang wreaths in windows and on glass doors without dealing with wire or ribbon.
4. Festive Hannukkah Candles – Since I am part Jewish, we celebrate the eight nights of Hannukkah at our house. While there aren’t many Hannukkah decorations out there, I like to buy festive rainbow candles to add a little pizzaz to our menorah.
5. Become a Collector – My mother in-law is the biggest fan of Santa Claus over the age of five. She has wooden santa clauses, stuffed St. Nicks, santas made of glass, porcelin ones, mini ones, giant ones – and every year, she puts all her regular knick knacks in a big box and displays all the santas. Likewise, my father-in-law somehow became a collector of pig christmas tree ornaments – they buy a tree specifically for all the pigs. Find your holiday passion and make a show of it!
6. Charlie Brown Christmas Tree – Every year, James and I pick out the worst looking tree at the nursery. We’ve had short trees with big bottoms and tapered tops, trees with gaping holes in the branches, lopsided trees, and trees that were so stunted they were too small for our Christmas tree stand. But inevitably, with a bunch of lights and sparkly ornaments, our Charlie Brown trees wind up looking – well, passable anyway. It is a great way to save a few bucks and start a fun family tradition while you’re at it.
7. Stocking Hangers – As a little girl, I remember my dad hamering nails into the brick surrounding our mantle so we could hang our stockings. It is probably common knowledge that they now make decorative hangers to place on the mantle, but I didn’t discover them until just recently so to spare anyone trying to drill nails into brick, these hangers make my list. Pottery Barn makes them with picture frames to easily identify the stockings.
8. Holiday Card Tree – This wirey tree with clips for photos is perfect to display all your holiday cards. Then, no need to find storage for it when the holidays are over. Simply remove the cards and clip snapshots to it instead.
9. Advent Trees – My mother in law invented a fun tradition for our girls. Instead of traditional advent calendars, she bought each of them a mini pre-lit Christmas tree and two dozen mini ornaments. Our older daughter, Abigial caught onto the tradition quickly and can’t wait to meticulously select a daily ornament.
10. Baby Pointessa Staircase – To jazz up your staircase for the holidays, buy 7-10 (depending on the size of your staircase) mini pointsettas (they usually sell them right in the grocery store) with different color foil surrounding the pots. Place one on every other stair and carry the holiday spirit from one floor to the next. The only caveat is that you will have to water the plants, but you can always cheat and buy fake ones – there are a lot of decent looking silk imitations out there now.
Regardless of your holiday decorating scheme, try to remember that unless you own an inn, there’s no need for your home to scream Martha Stewart. Just have fun and embrace the holiday spirit. Happy holidays everyone and happy decorating!