See - Create a Cozy Atmosphere
Turn off the overheads and opt for beeswax candles instead. Pull out all of the extra pillows and blankets and scatter them around, creating cozy nooks for snuggling up to read or watch movies. Make handmade, dried-orange garland to add color around your home. Visit your local library and fill corners of your home with holiday-specific books.
We want to try to make our own with this kit sometime soon!
This was our first year making a dried orange garland. My son loved helping me arrange the orange slices on parchment paper, and our house smelled incredible! Just cut 1/4 inch slices, arrange on parchment paper on a baking sheet, bake on the lowest setting (170 F) for 6-8 hours–flipping every 90 minutes until done. Dry overnight, string with twine, and adorn your home with this sustainable garland!
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas books!
Smell - Make Stovetop Potpourri
Every fall and winter, I like to occasionally mix a blend of spices, herbs, and fruit on the stovetop and letting it simmer. There’s nothing quite like notes of sweet cinnamon, tangy apple, and savory rosemary floating through your home. I typically use whatever I have on hand or throw in fruit and herbs that are about to go bad, but here is one of my favorite combinations!
Cinnamon Orange Stovetop Potpourri
Place the following ingredients in a large pot on the stove. Cover completely with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Your home will naturally smell like Christmas in no time!
– 3 oranges (or use leftovers from making a dried-orange garland)
– 2 handfuls of cranberries
– 2 sprigs of rosemary
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– crack of fresh black pepper
Hear - Play Some Background Music
I grew up playing piano and can read music, albeit poorly. Each Christmas, I like to dust off the old keys and pull out my Christmas Classics book. Although I don’t play well and my piano was bought for free secondhand, it reminds me of going to my grandma’s house and hearing her play Sleigh Bells on her baby grand with my aunt every year. If you don’t play an instrument, fill your home with soft background music of your favorite holiday songs. I’ve linked a Spotify playlist that I created some some of my favorites, but let me know if you make your own–I’d love to give it a listen!
Touch - Bring the Outdoors In
As my kids get older, I am planning on homeschooling them with a Charlotte-Mason inspired education. One component of this is nature study. We are slowly building the routine of nature study by foraging for beautiful things outside and bringing them in. Pine boughs, crimson berries, dried grasses, and crunchy pinecones can be brought inside and made into wreaths, table arrangements, or sprinkled as adornments on the tree. This doesn’t cost a thing and if you have children, I guarantee they will think of your time spent together on nature walks when they see their findings displayed throughout your home. Here’s a homemade wreath we made from boughs we trimmed from evergreens on our land!
Taste - Bake Cookies & Make Cocoa
Read The Gingerbread Man. Make the cookies. Grocery shop for the best baking chocolate. Make the cocoa. Find a homemade cinnamon roll recipe. Make them on a day when you have some free-time, freeze them, and pull them out to bake on Christmas morning. Keep it simple but involve your family as much as possible. I am learning that messes can be cleaned and memories can be made when you are willing to allow a little bit of chaos in your kitchen by involving your little ones.
If you celebrate Christmas, how do you create a magical atmosphere in your home? What traditions did you grow up with and which ones do you want to start with your own family. I’d love to read your ideas and add a few to my own home this year!