9 Simple Holiday Ideas to Try This Year

The holidays are in full swing here in SoCal --
and Christmas is only two weeks away!

The season always seems to fly by come December 1st,
and it can feel challenging to try and
cherish every moment
while also fitting in every holiday task & activity!

In hopes of bringing some joy (and ease)
to you & yours this holiday season,
I’m sharing 9 of my favorite simple
holiday ideas that I’ve loved incorporating 
in our home over the years!

From festive candle arrangements, 
to hostessing tips, 
to an easy Christmas cake,
these ideas are quick ways
to add more cheer to the season!

1. Homemade Christmas Potpourri

The smells of Christmas are almost as important as the decor,
And once you make this potpourri you’ll understand why!

This recipe is an instant way to put holiday in the air,
And it’s a quick way to create cozy Christmas feelings.

Simply slice one orange and lemon,
and add to a pot along with
4 cinnamon sticks,
½ cup fresh cranberries,
2 tablespoons whole cloves,
And 4 cups of water.

Leave the pot simmering on the stove,
and replace water as needed!

2. DIY Christmas Candles

These candles may be one of my favorite easy projects
to bring in some extra holiday cheer!

I like to use clear empty jam jars
but any glass vessel you have will work!

Add fresh cranberries and pine,
then fill with water.
Top with a floating candle and you’re set!

These festive candles will last a week or more,
and make the most beautiful 
illuminating arrangements when lit!

Grouping them together is almost an 
instant holiday centerpiece
Or sprinkle them around for Christmas ambiance!

3. Paper White Bulbs

Paper whites have long been a 
winter tradition at my house.

Every year around Thanksgiving,
I plant dozens of bulbs in
various containers,
using them both inside and outside!

It’s so fun to watch the bulbs sprout
throughout the season,
eventually blooming into a forest of
gorgeous white flowers.

Keep in mind, they do tend to grow fairly quickly,
so plan your planting time accordingly!
Once they are full grown,
simple wooden skewers can be used
to help prop up the sweet, tall blooms.

4. Fresh Citrus Arrangements

If you’re looking for the easiest
holiday arrangement,
look no further than your 
grocery store's produce section!

At the holidays, I love incorporating
fresh citrus around the house and gardens
since it adds the perfect California pop of color.

Add fresh lemons or oranges
to a basket or bowl,
tuck in fresh pine sprigs 
or citrus leaves,
and your arrangement is done!

5. Felt-Ribboned Presents

I love finding alternative ways of 
wrapping presents, other than traditional paper & ribbon.

Over the years, 
my biggest tip for wrapping has been
to use fabric as ribbons!

You can pick out as many yards of it as you need
at the fabric store, 
or use extra fabric that you have at home.

Simply cut it into desired widths, and you’re set!
One of my favorite fabrics to use
is felt, which comes in a plethora of colors.

It holds a bow shape incredibly well
since it’s a stiffer fabric,
And looks wonderful accented with 
fresh pine or jingle bells!

6. Fresh Pine Accents

At the holidays,
I love bringing in all different types of greens
to freshen and liven the space.

Whether it’s bouquets of fresh cut pine 
from Trader Joe’s,
Potted pines, 
or fresh produce,
these are one of my favorite ways of 
finishing off decor!

Potted pines on the mantle look gorgeous
next to hurricane candles 
ringed with cranberries.

Fresh cut pine & holly works well 
when incorporated into a 
centerpiece with candles,
or simply added to clear vases with water 
to create a festive look for not much money!

I even like to work in sprigs
in our bar area,
on shelves,
or in bowls of produce.
And once they dry, they can easily be replaced!

Another quick tip that brings in 
a holiday punch of color
is to use red ornaments
as filler for potted pines!

7. Showcase holiday glassware

After years of collecting holiday glassware,
I’ve accumulated quite a collection!

Pulling them out and putting them on display
is such an easy way of adding more
holiday cheer to your home!

I like to set out our vintage glasses 
on mirrored trays on our bar,
which makes them easily accessible for use, too!

These pretties have such a 
short lived season every year,
so they deserve a spotlight!

8. Simple Holiday Cocktail Party

The holidays can see overwhleming at times
with to-do lists, 
crafting, & baking.

But throwing a holiday party 
doesn’t have to be a chore!
Pulling together a festive soiree 
can be done with a few quick elements.

Champagne is a must --
and gold bottles, if you can find them,
make them the star of the party!
I like to place them in an 
oversized champagne bucket,
but any bucket you have works!

Champagne glasses are next,
and simple ones can be bought in sets at Target!
Dress them up with quick wine charms --
I made some with a simple red jingle bell and wire.

Add a cheese & charcuterie board,
holiday cake,
and some pine springs throughout,
and you’re ready to host!

9. Easy Winter Forest Cake

There’s nothing easier and more festive
than this darling winter cake!

If you aren’t much of a holiday baker,
or find yourself with little time 
to whip something up,
then look no further!

This festive dessert starts as a simple
white bakery cake from the grocery store!

Next, it’s ringed with fresh cranberries,
topped with bottlebrush trees
2 cinnamon sticks
and a dusting of powdered sugar!.

You’ll be amazed how adorable it is
with such minimal effort required!

Cheers to embracing the season
and finding time to 
celebrate the little moments!

As always my friends,

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life

8 Tips for Styling Your Thanksgiving Table

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving
is only one week away!
The season already seems to be going so fast -- 
it seems like November has barely started. 

In the spirit of the holiday,
I've compiled 8 of my top tips for 
styling your Thanksgiving table!

Whether or not you already have a style in mind,
these tips are sure to bring some 
fresh ideas to the table!

1. Set-up early

Creating a table scape is the most fun
when you have the time to do it at your leisure!

I like to start setting up about
a week before Thanksgiving,
since it gives me time to come up with a scheme,
gather pieces,
and pull it all together.

This also gives you time to
grab pictures
before everyone comes over!

For inspiration, I typically like to go back
and look at pictures from my tables in years past,
and then look on Pinterest for a few fresh ideas.

Once I have a concept,
it’s easy to start pulling from what you already have,
and then can fill in the gaps with a few trips to the store!

2. Collect white plates and clear glassware

Since Thanksgiving is all about the food,
white dishes ensure the meal is a focal point.

I collect all different types of
white and cream dishes
throughout the year in sets of two,
so every place setting is a little unique.
Layering plates also gives the table more depth.

As for glassware,
I like to pull from our collection of clear ware,
such as our classic bubble glass
and clear milk bottles
which I fill with water for the table.

3. Use mixed materials on the table

Throughout the years,
I have styled our table with both
a tablecloth and without,
sometimes opting to let it serve as
the great wooden farm table that it is.
When I do opt to cover it,
I prefer to go to the fabric store
instead of resorting to a traditional tablecloth,
because there are so many more options
and I can get a piece of fabric that fits our custom table properly!

Felt, canvas, flannel, and fabric with natural cotton fibers
are all great options that will
give your table some extra texture.

On top of that, I set chargers at each place setting,
and choose either
slate, wood, ceramic, or metal
depending on the feeling I’m going with.

If you’re looking for an easy charger idea,
head to your local hardware store and
check out their tile section.
Our slate chargers were originally roofing tiles!

4. Incorporate fresh greenery and produce

Integrating natural elements
is always my favorite touch on the table.

There are many different ways you can achieve this,
such as adding herbs on each place setting,
creating a succulent centerpiece,
or incorporating potted bulbs on the table!

You can also incorporate fresh leaves,
squash, or air plants --  
it can be as simple as
things you can pull from your garden
or the grocery store.

Since we live in Southern California,
I like to add citrus
to bring a bit of a socal vibe to the table.
Kumquats at each setting
are a great way to bring the element in
without letting the color over power the table!

5. Use candles and twinkle lights for ambiance

Candles are such an easy way to add
drama to a table,
and they create a beautiful light
after the sun goes down.

I like to keep a basket filled with extra candles on hand
so it makes using them often more doable.
If you burn through the ones that are out,
you always have backups!

In addition, last year I used twinkle lights
on the table which ended up
becoming a staple in my holiday decorating!

Incorporating them on to a tablescape is easy
since they are battery operated,
and can be easily woven between
greenery or around candles!

The fine wires deem to disappear at night,
leaving only a soft twinkly light that creates
a beautiful ambiance.

During dinner,
I prefer to keep our overheard lights dim,
and let the candles and twinkle lights
do most of the work!

6. Add a bit of whimsy

In recent years, I’ve started collecting
fun woodland salt & pepper shakers
to be used on the Thanksgiving table.

We have enough for each couple
to have a set at the table,
eliminating the need to pass across
and adding some whimsy to the scape!

Target and Crate & Barrel are great sources
for fun salt & pepper shakers
if you’re interested in adding them
to your table this year!

7. Create personalized place cards

Place cards are not only
utiltarian for helping guests find their spot
(especially if you have a large crowd),
but they also add another
textural element to the table!

I typically pull out our
miniature chalkboard canvases
which are placed on
little easels
at each place setting,
and each guest’s name is written in chalk.

You can also use
roughly torn paper to add a rustic look,
or even do calligraphy!

8. Have leftover boxes on hand

At the end of the meal,
there are usually so many leftovers
and it’s fun to send everyone home
with a bit to enjoy some more!

You can pick up
craft or white bakery boxes
to have on hand,
and then everyone can make a little to-go pack!
Festive stickers like these from Cost Plus
are a fun addition, too.

Wishing you and yours
a wonderful Thanksgiving
and a lovely start
to the holiday season!

As always my friends,

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life