It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we go from Fall to the Holiday Season!  I love this time of year; the changing colors, the crispness in the air, but it is also a bittersweet time for me.  My daughters and their families live in another state, as well as my parents, siblings and their families.  I haven’t been home for the holidays since I moved away some 10 years ago.  Every year at this time I long to go “home” to share the holidays with my family.  This year seems even more difficult now that I have a granddaughter.  I would love to share these special family holidays with her and the whole family!

I have begun to pull out the boxes of decorations; a whole collection of houses, shops and people – enough to create several “villiages.”  Christmas ornaments my daughters and I have collected throughout their childhoods.  Garlands of lights and swags of greenery, holiday “themed” dinnerware and linens, down to the guest fingertip towels to decorate the bathrooms.  No detail is overlooked.

With so much to do during this season, I decorate in stages.  After pulling out all the “stuff,” I start with simple centerpieces that I can change up.  The base of my centerpieces usually starts with a basket or tray, some candles, and other natural materials such as stones, shells, pinecones…  This Thanksgiving, I am going to use a black wooden tray filled with mixed nuts (the ones in the shell).  Pewter candle sticks placed among the nuts with pumpkin colored candles (not the scented ones, they tend to distract from the meal being served).  This a simple, but elegant look to a dinner table.  You could even go out to the garden and select a few branches or flowers (we live in an area where we have flowering plants all year long) and lay them among the nuts.

I have used wrapped candies at Christmas as my base; edibiles are something guests can enjoy to snack on before or after a meal.  Coordinate the colors of the candies, candles and tray to make another fun centerpiece.  Christmas bulbs in one color and various sizes, a white tray and clear glass vases with greenery or a string of lights looks terrific!  Fill a basket with pillow stuffing, looks like snow and place a Holiday figurine or little house decorated for the holidays atop of the snow, and add couple of candles makes a great coffee or end table piece. 

This year I am going to make centerpieces for my daughters; reminding them of holidays past and to cherish each year as they set up their own homes for the holidays.

I’m always looking for little “touches” to change the look of a room, a table or shelf because I get bored with the same ol’ same.  I walk from room to room always on the look out for a new way to display a favorite something of mine.  I like candles; the way they smell, the flickering lights that dance across the various surfaces beneath them and I love putting a bunch together in a collection.  Someone brillant came up with the idea of “candlescape kits” and it is very popular!  I know that you have ideas and items around your home that you can create these candlescapes from your favorite things.

My grandmother’s old mason canning jars is a favorite of mine.  I group various sizes and heights in a tray, add sand, pebbles, shells, I have even used coffee beans before to fill the jars and dropped in tea lights. 

How about using several small clear plain bud vases, fill with sticks, small budding branches, or flowers and arrange on a bed of bannana leaves and place candles around the vases in a pleasing arrangement.

This next one is very easy and so elegant, also my favorite!  Take several clear glasses, jars or vases and place them on a mirror.  Using candles of same color, but of various heights and place them in and around the glass containers of choice.  You can even add some clear or colored glass florist stones to the arrangement.  You will love the way the light reflects on all the surfaces!

So go ahead and make your candlescape; it’s addicting!

When decorating your home, you spend hours deciding on color choices, furniture, paintings for your walls… but it still doesn’t look inviting?  The little things are missing that make your home inviting!  Candles, personal family photos, fresh cut flowers, a couple of table books, even a dish of hard candies add a personal touch that makes your home feel lived in. 

Music creates a mood and can be as simple as a wind chime or a water fountain.  Turn off the tv and play some of your favorite tunes on the stereo; you will feel your spirits start to pick up!

Remember as a child visiting grandma knowing she was baking your favorite cookies?  Scents are just as important as the color you choose for your walls!  There are so many options; scented candles, potpourri, oils, even a clean house smells good! 

You can do these things in no time and you deserve to enjoy the little things that you really only do if you are entertaining or having company.  What are you waiting for?