Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

It may seem early to our readers around the world, but in Canada the day after Halloween marks the unofficial start of the holiday season. Gift guides and wish-books from retailers arrive in the mailbox, and the windows of shops are decorated with garland, glitter and the occasional tree. Even Starbucks has replaced their white cups with their traditional, red holiday ones.

We’ve barely put away the ghoulish masks and spooky ghosts and my boys are asking when we’re going to put up the Christmas tree. I try to be all zen about it and remind them that the holidays are weeks away but there is no denying that those weeks are going to pass in the blink of an eye and the bulk of holiday happiness resides squarely upon my shoulders.

So whether you celebrate Christmas or just like to create a cozy home for winter, here is a round up of my favourite items from Indigo, President Choice Home and The Home Depot.

Indigo

I love these copper mule mugs. They add sparkle and shine to the table and can be used at any festive meal.

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These Woodland Cabin napkins are reminiscent of Kurt Cobain and the grunge era, but there is something undeniably Canadian about this print.

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Cake plates are my new favourite tabletop accessories. Last month we did a post on DIY flower arrangements and used this wooden pedestal as the focus point. Additionally they are a great way to display ornaments, treasures and of course desserts.

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medium marble and wood pedestal Dessert plates are an inexpensive way to add whimsy to a table. These ribbon plates are less than $35 but if you wanted to choose something with more longevity, consider the New Year’s Eve Countdown plates that could do double-duty for a birthday celebration.

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Snow globes have come a long way from tacky tourist souvenirs. These globes would standout on any mantle or atop a stack of books arranged on the coffee table.

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Last year I bought some festive pillows on a whim, successfully transforming my living room into a Christmas-y nook. Santa is not for everyone, but these current designs have staying power and will last long past his visit.

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PC Home

I was amazed to learn how much of the PC Home line is designed in Toronto. The creative minds behind the 2014 Holiday collection were on hand to answer questions at the holiday preview and to be honest, I was impressed by both their ingenuity and their desire to create products for every day life. They get that people are clumsy and Waterford crystal chips. They understand that Santa mugs are irresistible to little hands. Above all, they understand that we want beautiful, functional design for our home at a reasonable price.  All the items here are available at Real Canadian Superstore and select Loblaw banner stores.

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My sister-in-law does a cookie exchange with her friends every year and this tin would be ideal as the chalkboard surface allows for the giver to write a message on the lid.

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My most favourite holiday accessory is this faux crystal glassware set. The bowls and the glassware are so well crafted you’ll be amazed when you discover it’s plastic! So stop worrying about chipping your finery, lay this out for Christmas dinner and pull it out again come patio season.

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PC Home outdid themselves when it comes to ornaments.   Beautiful colour palates from muted pastels, to icy jewel tones and classic holiday. For the price, I’ve seen nothing comparable. IMG_1296 IMG_1310

Home Depot

Usually I am opposed to chotchkies but the holidays are the time to bring them all out! Go hog-wild! Clutter-up them surfaces! These are a few that I am clearing space for this year.

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But it’s this tree that has me trying to reconfigure my living room.  Imagine two of these book-ending a sleek, modern fireplace. . . .hmmmm, maybe it’s time for a new fireplace.

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Sadly, I am not on the payroll so I didn’t receive a penny for these recommendations. However, I was invited to their holiday preview events and they were a lot of fun! For more images of what’s new and in stores, follow 4Mothers on Instagram.

Family Rules

I’ve been on a bit of an organizing and (re) decoration kick lately, in anticipation of the upcoming holidays and the possibility that someone I’m not related to might visit my house. We live in a typical east-end semi detached house: not huge, but with long hallways just begging to be covered in photos or art.  I’ve been perusing my local Home Sense on a regular basis, looking for cheap and cheerful prints. One trend that I’ve spotted, which I’m sure is just about played out, is those “Family Rules” prints that seem to be everywhere. You’ve probably seen them too: usually printed subway roll style, they list those rules that every family has whether they declare them on canvas or not. Here’s one from the Etsy store Chestnut and Lime:

Cute, right? The best part of these, of course, is that when someone’s not being patient, grateful or forgiving (for example), your kids can just point to the sign and say “Mom, you have to forgive us! It’s the rules!” and there won’t be a darn thing you can do about it.

I keep thinking, though, that I really would need one that outlines OUR rules. I mean, my kids know all about sharing (that’s why they went to daycare) and doing their best (about which I reminded Second Child about eight times between 4:33 pm and 4: 57 pm yesterday). I need a sign that repeats the most frequently repeated rules in our house:

Dirty dishes go in the dishwasher

You don’t need it, you want it. There’s a difference.

The sour gummies belong to Mom

Flush the toilet. PLEASE!

Soap and water are good things. Especially when you use them on your hands (see rule #4)

Socks do NOT live in the Living Room.

Yes, you can always have more broccoli

Snuggling is not optional

And the most important rule?

Love each other. That’s all that matters.

The Mom Cave – Like a Man Cave, With Scented Candles

 

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Last Monday the Globe and Mail’s Hot Button Blog ran a post on “Mom Caves” which they call the answer to the “Man Cave” phenomenon – instead of sports memorabilia and leather recliners, think cushy chairs, aromatic candles, and Sex and the City on repeat on the flat-screen TV. The best part? It’s all for you, mom, and there are no, I repeat, no sticky, unidentifiable crumbs anywhere (unless, of course, you’ve left them there yourself).

It turns out, the concept of the “mom cave” is one of the hottest trends in decorating. The brainchild of New York-based designer Elaine Griffin (with a little help from U.S. home decorating store Home Goods, otherwise known as Home Sense in Canada). According to this article, the mom cave is the place where, says Griffin “the woman who nurtures everyone goes to nurture herself”. A mom cave, she submits, has “a place to sit, a place to store things, a place to work and a place to visit” although, the first rule of mom cave appears to be that entry by non-moms is by invitation only.  Your mom cave doesn’t have to be a separate room; it can be a corner, a nook — even the landing at the top of the stairs. But, it should allow for storage and a place to work because, says Griffin, “unlike men, women relax by doing things”.

Good idea? Shannon over at The Bad Moms Club responds by saying that a part of her thinks this is the best idea ever. Peace and quiet. Sunlight. Coldplay. And then, she says, “The other part of me snorts. Loudly.”

Loud snorts because, like so many of us, she’s barely got enough time to go to the bathroom by herself, let alone dedicate time (and, let’s face it, money, else Home Goods wouldn’t be involved) to decorating a room (or nook, or cranny, or niche) for use by only one person. For me, as much as I love the idea of having a room of my own (thank you, Virginia) there are already parts of my admittedly not-very-big house (no spare rooms, here) that I feel as if I rarely enter, if only because I’m too busy generally to enjoy them for their stated purpose (to wit: the room with the TV).

So, I’m torn.  I’d love my own office space, and I’d decorate it (or not, knowing me) as I see fit.  But I already spend enough time out of the house, so hiving off a separate space that is just “mine” seems unnecessarily indulgent. But what really rankles, is the idea that a woman’s personal space must be miniaturized, set apart from the business of the rest of the house.   Setting up a cute and fashionable (and, if you check out the Home Goods ad, awfully pink) nook in a corner isn’t quite, I fear, what Virginia Woolf had in mind. If this space is supposed to be where I go to recharge, why does the idea of it leave me feeling diminished?

Plus that, there’s a lock on the bathroom door. And I have candles, wine and books, all of which are much cheaper than redecorating.