Like a Tapestry, little pieces of cloth that have been gathered from different places woven together — that’s what I believe our homes are. Every one of our environments is unique to us and, hopefully, reflects what has touched our lives along the way — our travels, our experiences, our world. You see? A tapestry. This is “home,” that place where people long to be together in comfort. During the holidays, many of us open up our “home” differently than at any other time of year. Because of that, we arrange our environment to show that spirit of the season to those we don’t often see. And I believe in sharing that because the holidays are an important part of my life and what I share with my own family and creating a place where all are welcome matters to me.
The most important part of the holidays for me is spending time with my family & the people I cherish most. We enjoy sharing "our home” by bringing in some of our past traditions and special decor to inspire and create new memories for everyone. While spending time together we delight in the crafts from past holidays, childhood art projects from my now grown kids and decorations handmade from grandparents — some still with us, others now gone. We also try to make new traditions while keeping alive any and all of the old.
Traditions… ah, yes. What is a tradition, really? They are those things that are passed down between the generations or even within a home over time that define who we are. The rituals that built our family created our connection — I like to keep those traditions from those who came before me, but I also like to add on our own as well and even come up with new ones. It keeps things fresh, alive and open. A tradition I embrace as a constant is sharing the ceremonies, food, and heartfelt times that speak to who my rather diverse family is. Doing that allows our home to genuinely feel the spirit of the loved ones who are no longer here to share the Holidays with us.
Bringing a house to life at the holidays
Comfort. I can’t say that enough for the feeling I like to evoke during the holidays. Beyond the fact that creating a sort of escape for those I love is just a part of who I am, I’m well aware of how crazy this time of year can be and how it affects people. Think of it — from just after Halloween all the way into New Year’s, there tends to be that feeling of stress as so many of us prepare for one family gathering after another. Whether it’s hosting it, going to it or being displaced for it, the “getting ready” process sometimes feels like a job, not a joy, and the tension that comes from it lingers. I’m all about embracing the joy and I love to make my home a place where people can relax, spend time talking, playing games, eating mountains of food, napping, going for walks… just losing themselves for a while and feeling cared for, loved, surrounded by warmth. Feeling the true spirit of the holidays, not the anxiety of the preparation.
I add to this with living trees and fresh branches to create a sensory connection to the time of year. I enjoy bringing the outside environment inside to create a homey-ness. The visual, smell and the extra oxygen are impossible to ignore. Containers filled with the “fruits” of the season — pinecones, pomegranates, oranges, squash — brighten and heighten that feeling of winter and add to the warmth of sharing with your family. Oh, and of course bowls of candy to grab and indulge a sweet tooth or two.
The smells of the food, glorious seasonal food. Eating is just as important to us, as it is for so many during the holidays. I don’t have a hard and fast rule on how to set our table because it really depends on how I’m feeling that year. There are those times when a long table filled with gorgeous china, sparkling crystal and my best silver feels just right. It’s as welcoming to me as when we laze about, grazing through the day, hanging out in our pajamas or sweats, just enjoying each other. I create an environment for each of those situations that reflects how special it feels to be with those I love so that every person in our home feels comfortable and cared for, even when it’s a formal setting.
Whatever choice we make for sharing our feast of the season, it’s all about the people who gather with us. There are so many stories revealed around “the table,” so much catching up done over a plate of our special dishes, it doesn’t matter to us whether we share these sitting at a beautifully designed place setting or lounging on the couch while watching the sunset. A refrigerator full of anything and everything anyone would want during their time at “home” is who we are. At our house, there is always someone cooking something in the kitchen. It’s a place to share, be together and satisfy your heart through your stomach. Even when our dinner may be a bit more formal, I like to have an easy, “eat whenever you want as much as you want” vibe through the day. Both the casual and the classic have a glow of something special because the table is always set with little touches of holiday cheer.
Weave your own story
Our home has nooks and crannies full of cozy, natural bits and pieces of who we are even as we decorate with the season in mind. No matter what, our house, our environment at the holidays is a reflection of us with the feel of autumn and winter woven through with our personality, our experiences, our travels throughout our life. Because that is what the holidays are to us and I hope to you — it’s a time to share and add to the fabric of your life…
To your own personal tapestry.
Wrap yourself up in the experience, the joy, the comfort that is your home this holiday season and enjoy!