Creating Cozy and Making Memories at the Holidays
by Karen Ehman
The recent need for social distancing might mean we won’t be hosting huge holiday get togethers this year. However, we still desire to create an atmosphere of cozy and comfort in our homes for those family members who will be joining us as we share a festive meal or simply sip some spiced hot cider. With a little ingenuity—and not a lot of cash—we can make our homes festive and welcoming. Here are some simple ideas to try.
- Place a fresh artichoke in a small terra cotta pot, stem down. Cut a hole in the top center just large enough to work a votive candle into. Glue a burlap ribbon around the pot.
- Spray paint some bay leaves gold and silver. Hot glue them around a small terra cotta pot, stems pointing down. Tie a thin lace ribbon around each pot, over the leaves. Place a tealight or votive candle in each pot. Place them on a mirror laid on the center of your table for a flickering display during dinner.
- For a lovely seasonal accent, make a garland of dried oranges, lemons, limes and apples. String them together with jute twine or thin ribbon by poking a small hole in each with the tip of a paring knife. To dry the fruit, slice into ¼-inch rounds and lay on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 140 degrees for 4-6 hours, until pliable, leaving the oven door open two inches so air can circulate. Check every half hour to make sure they don’t burn. With apples, experiment with how to cut them. You can cut them from top to bottom, starting at the stem side. Or, if you slice them from side to side, a star appears in the center of each slice!
Besides cozy décor, you will want to serve some delicious food. When doing so, also weave in some family nostalgia—or create some new traditions—by adopting one of these heart-warming ideas this year.
- Host a family heritage meal, showcasing many of the recipes earlier generations were known for cooking. Serve Great-Grandma Elsie’s scalloped corn casserole or Aunt Patty’s chocolate pecan pie. In addition, have a hand-written recipe card of each dish to give to those in attendance so they can re-create the culinary delight in the future. Also, print off some vintage pictures of the highlighted family cooks to display in picture frames as part of the buffet table display.
- Is there a relative who was famous for baking a certain holiday cookie or candy? Whip up a batch and package them in individual cellophane bags. Locate some ready-made, vintage looking tags either online or at a local craft store. Write a title such as “Papa Pat’s Famous Fudge” and then under that, include the verse, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” Psalm 34:8 (ESV). Gift them to your guests as a sentimental take-home treat.
- To create a new tradition going forward, purchase a tablecloth made of cotton muslin. Place fine tip, permanent colored markers around the table during the meal. Have each person present sign their name, age and the current year somewhere on the tablecloth. Each year, add to the signatures. How fun it will be in the future to look back and see who all graced the family get-together each holiday season.
Enjoy a cozy, memory-making time of love and legacy this year!
Karen Ehman is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries and a writer for Encouragement for Today, an online devotional that reaches over four million women daily. She has authored 15 books and has been featured on numerous media outlets including FoxNews.com, TODAY Parenting, Redbook.com, Crosswalk.com and HomeLife Magazine. Karen’s new book, Reach Out, Gather In: 40 Days to Opening Your Heart and Home, is available now.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.