Create some beautiful holiday traditions

December 2, 2014


Chris Hoaglund
Zenith News

I’ve long felt Christmas is for kids. I enjoy the traditions of the season and all, but it’s the joy in my little granddaughters’ faces that I enjoy most.

I’ve not felt the desire to receive gifts for many years. I’m blessed enough to be able to get myself what I want or need and I don’t want anyone to go into debt just for the sake of buying me something.

I prefer to give gifts from the heart, whether homemade cookies for the office, care packages for struggling students, or donating to needy families and the elderly. These things warm my heart so much more than a gift card ever could.

This year, I’d like to celebrate the season by making memories with my loved ones—taking in a holiday show, going for a walk in the snow, touring the holiday lights, ice skating in the park, or building a snowman. I also thought I’d try my hand at a few holiday crafts to spiff up the house.  

Create a centerpiece for your holiday table. Miniature trees gilded with glitter can cost $25 or more. I love the look, but can make my own for less, utilizing foam cones that you can buy at a craft store.  

Get three cones in different sizes and mod podge old lace over each. Let dry thoroughly, remove the cone, and spray paint the lace in subtle colors that work with your home’s décor. Embellish with a star on top and fill each cone with LED Christmas lights.  

Decorate your mantle. Use paper letters (available at craft stores) to spell out “Noel” or other holiday words. Spray paint them in shades of white, silver, or gold. You can replace the letter “O” with a small grapevine wreath decorated in berries.

Mood lighting in a vase. This idea is easy to translate from season to season or holiday to holiday. Take a large, wide-mouthed, clear glass vase (you can get these really cheap) and fill it with seasonal items.

For Christmas, think shiny, colorful ornaments and strands of beads. Or perhaps take the woodsy approach and fill the vase with grapevine balls, stems of pine, pine cones, or berries. You can add aromatics, such as rosemary or cinnamon to enhance them too.

A strand of battery-operated LED lights creates a little mood lighting if you scatter a few vases around the house. Simply use lights at the bottom and artfully cover any cords with the contents.

A variation on this idea is to use a tall vase, add some white lights, and fill it with pine cones, store-bought sticks and twigs, or cut your own fresh dogwood branches from your yard.
For added interest, spray paint the twigs with gold or silver glitter. Ideally your twigs should stand about 1½ times the height of the vase for a balanced look.  

Or invite your family to write words of hope, thanks, or wishes on handmade tags. This could start a new holiday tradition that creates a keepsake each year. Make a bunch of tags in advance with scalloped edge scissors and punch a hole for the string.

Place them in a decorated box to set by the arrangement with a glitter pen. Keep prior years’ wishes in another box and read them next year. It will be fun to see what has come to fruition.

A simple centerpiece for your holiday table. Use small round glass vases and add a sprig of holly with berries, or a few fresh cranberries and a sprig of pine or rosemary. Fill with water and add a floating candle. Line several up down the center of the table.

White lights. If I had my way, I would keep white lights up all year long. You can buy branches that have small LED lights on them. I tuck these into planters or arrangements and put them on timers so they come on at dusk. They make for lovely nightlights too. Just make sure to buy weather-approved ones for outdoor use.

Take advantage of this special time of year to appreciate the little things—the beauty of fresh fallen snow, the way candles flicker, the reflection of lights on the presents under your tree. Take in the magical moments and make some new memories.

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