Decorating your home and enjoying the holidays

Decorating your home and enjoying the holidays

Barry Wooley Designs

“The spirit of the holidays” means different things to different people. To me, Christmas is all about bringing family and friends together in the warmth and comfort of my home.

Barry Wooley Designs

December 8, 2016

by Barry Wooley


With Christmas three weeks away, some people have completely decorated their homes, planned their holiday dinner, bought the presents, and may have even wrapped them. To those people I say, “Congratulations on being so organized. Now you can relax and enjoy the festivities!” But many people are still decorating, shopping and planning dinners and parties. To those people I also say, “Relax and enjoy the festivities!” The holidays should be a time for family and friends to share good times, remember past celebrations, and create new memories to cherish.

Fortunately, over the years I’ve learned to relax and enjoy the holidays. So, as a little Christmas present to you, I’ll pass on some ideas about how you can eliminate a lot of the stress, add some fun, and have more time to spend enjoying the sights and sounds of the season.

Before you think about the holly, ornaments, food and presents, just reach for a pen and paper, and sit down with a cup of tea. Then, make a list of what you need to do before Christmas – decorate, shop, plan menus, etc.

Under each heading, list the individual things you want to accomplish, and prioritize them in A-B-C order. Keep your list handy, jot down new things that come to mind, and always take the list with you when you go out.

You can consolidate shopping trips for presents, décor items, and food. You’ll save time and energy, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment. Once you have your shopping in control, you will begin to enjoy yourself and the spirit of the holidays.

“The spirit of the holidays” means different things to different people. To me, Christmas is all about bringing family and friends together in the warmth and comfort of my home. If you haven’t finished decorating (or haven’t even started), that’s fine. Invite people over to help. Don’t worry about an elaborate menu. Greet your guests with homemade eggnog or mulled wine. Then, serve a hearty stew or gumbo, either of which can be made the night before. When a guest asks, “What may I bring?”, don’t be shy. Suggest that he or she bring a favorite dessert.

If you haven’t started decorating, or still haven’t put up the tree, remember: You don’t always have to use red and green. Consider using some non-traditional colors. Or, look around your house. What colors have you used? Obviously, those are the colors you like and with which you are comfortable, so why not carry them out into your Christmas decorating?

I recently decorated a tree in shades of blue and yellow. It was stunning. Using shades of rose and pink, accented with ivory creates a beautifully soft, rather Victorian look. Put your imagination to work and come up with your own color scheme.

Whatever colors you use, be sure to add texture and height to your table décor, mantelpieces and other decorations are the most dramatic. If you’ve already put up your tree, think about creating a second and smaller themed tree, just for fun. Food themed trees are very colorful and have many possibilities. Or, trees can be created around travel, birds, animals, or any special interest. I have a friend who has a themed tree every year. She tells her friends in advance what the theme will be then invites them to a tree trimming party. They all bring ornaments befitting the theme. See, I already have you thinking about next year!

This is the perfect time to get the little ones involved in making Christmas cookies. If you don’t have children, invite neighbors’ or friends’ children to help. The kids will love it and the parents will be grateful for some time to themselves! Choose some simple cookie recipes from cookbooks or the Internet. Then stock up on lots of colorful icing, sprinkles and other decorations. With some subtle supervision on your part, encourage the kids to express their culinary creativity.

It’s also fun to enlist children, as well as friends, to help make placecards, gingerbread houses, and candy trees, or to string cranberries or popcorn. Suddenly something that you thought would be a chore becomes entertaining for everyone.

Christmas is the time to personalize your décor, whether it be decorations around the house, or the table décor for the holiday dinner. Bring out family photographs and incorporate them into your displays. Place them on some of your favorite volumes of old books and surround them with wired ribbon.

Instead of the usual placecards for dinner, make small memory books for each person. Stationary and specialty stores have exquisite paper stock that can be cut to form small “books”. Punch a hole in the upper left-hand corner and tie the pages together with ribbon. Inside the books, place photographs of times you have shared together, random thoughts about your friendship, humorous anecdotes, quotes and verses. It won’t take long to personalize each one. Your guests will be touched by your thoughtfulness and will treasure such a unique gift.

When my family and friends gather on Christmas Eve or Christmas night, I sometimes give each of them a disposable camera. I invite them to take pictures throughout the evening and leave the cameras with me. Later, I have the film developed and make mini-photo albums that I send to them on their birthdays. One year, I waited until the next Christmas and put the photographs in frames throughout the living room. It was a wonderful reminder of the past years’ Christmas.

When you’re done developing your guest list for informal holiday gatherings or more traditional dinners, invited a few people you don’t often see. Holiday celebrations are an ideal time to make new friends and to renew old friendships. And, don’t forget about those people whose relatives live out of town or people for whom personal circumstances may otherwise prevent them from enjoying holiday festivities.

I hope you’ll join me in savoring the holiday spirit and in opening our hearts and homes with warmth and hospitality.

Location and Hours

The Portland area, off of 10th Street, is the new home of Barry Wooley Designs’ flagship location. Its convenience to downtown, ample parking and proximity to the areas top restaurants make it a great location for a wonderful shopping experience. The BW Design Team operates out of this hub of creativity.

Operating Hours
Monday - Saturday - 10am to 5pm

Barry Wooley Designs
116 S 10th Street
Louisville, KY 40202-2612



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