As I write this entry, the rain is pounding on my window and the wind is lashing against our back door. It’s not snow but I love it just the same. I’ve got a candle flickering beside me, the warmth of my dog underfoot and a cozy blanket wrapped around my body (I’m also craving penne arrabbiata – extra picante – but that’s another story).
December is settling in and in the spirit of celebration, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite holiday decorating and gift-giving inspiration with you.
I know we all come from different backgrounds, have different traditions and ways of celebrating (as well as different budgets!) — so the focus of this particular feature is not so much on commercial links but rather simple DIY ideas to spark your own creativity and direction. Some of these ideas only take minutes to pull together and many of them are sourced from nature or from things you already have on hand in your home (a recurring theme in this post). I hope you have fun browsing and maybe discovering an idea or two ~ enjoy.
Favorite Napkin ‘Ring’ Inspiration
I found these beauties over at Waranna’s Blog ~ a delicious combination of fresh sprigs of green, cinnamon sticks and twine. I’m drawn to the simplicity, natural elements and rustic appeal ~ I also imagine these would be wonderfully fragrant. If you are planning a tree or wreath this year, be sure to keep your trimmings or collect some during your walks – (including pine cones which are beautiful in centerpieces, as gift embellishments and also make great place card holders). Individual branches also look beautiful in vases and jugs sprinkled throughout the house – on tables, bedside and in centerpieces.
Favorite Party Favor Inspiration
How great is this miniature potted tree in burlap by Craftberrybush ~ a thoughtful, enduring gift that’s small enough to have at the table plate side for guests or to give as a hostess or teacher gift. Potted herbs are another idea that could be presented in any number of containers ~ tea canisters, jugs, mugs or mason jars, etc. Seeds could be packaged in little tea filter bags (the ones with cute drawstrings might work especially well).
Favorite Table Decorating Idea
Champagne flutes double as vases in this simple, affordable and elegant table decorating idea found over at Sunset ~ I love how the greens fill the length of the flutes to create a beautiful elongated effect but you could use any type of clear vessel here. For a splash of color, consider adding a few winterberries or fresh cranberries in each glass.
Favorite Small Tree (Branch) Planter Inspiration
Vintage jugs, jars and pots make adorable miniature tree (branch) planters. Whether you’re living in a small space or don’t have the time/desire to bring a live tree into your home, this is a great way to add some festive flare and spruce up your living space. Of course you can add lights and ornaments as you please.
Favorite Small Space Decorating Inspiration
Amazing what a few strings of light can do to transform a space ~ IKEA (p.s. I want to live there).
Favorite Re-Purposed Wrap Idea
A dated wool sweater transforms into cozy gift wrap as beautifully captured by Boxwood Clippings. If you have an article of clothing that is past the utility sharing stage, or any stray pieces of fabric lying about, this is a great way to use them for gifts and ornaments. Fun, fresh and eco-friendly.
Favorite Personalized Wrap Inspiration
Personalized wrap, as illustrated here with sheet music by Mustard Seed Interiors, is a clever and thoughtful way to individualize gifts ~ there are so many possibilities from maps of geographic locations (upcoming destinations or sentimental ones from the past), a particular passage from a book or play, a favorite quote, children’s artwork, photos, or a school or job acceptance letter… any number of ways of recreating the magic for that special person in your life.
Favorite Gift Embellishment
I can’t keep my eyes off these adorable homemade gingerbread I found over at Decorator’s Notebook ~ and while I may be out of my craft league here, these fellas are pretty darn cute and I’m thinking they might make a super fun project for youngsters! The link provides a full tutorial.
Favorite DIY Gifts…
Pinecone Scented Soy Candle from Evermine Occasions ~ how gorgeous and would you look at those delightful sprigs of green!
Rosemary Mint Soap from A Spark of Creativity ~ utterly beautiful with invigorating properties and natural exfoliant. Many years ago (16 to be exact) I came across this image browsing through a Martha Stewart magazine. It launched five years of soap making and a little entrepreneurial spin off business that was both fun and rewarding ~ you just never know when something will inspire some pretty cool stuff in your life.
Ingenious. My friend Suzanne from La Vie Quotidienne made these lavender sachets from the burlap bags that basmati rice is sold in. I am completely smitten with these rustic beauties and their creative re-purposing.
Peppermint Tea Bath by Thirsty for Tea ~ a wintry version of bath salts infused with a delicious and all natural pine-like fragrance.
Homemade Green Tea Exfoliator by Live Simply ~ wonderful and surprisingly simple too!
Roasted Maple Sriracha Pecans ~ simple, delicious and ideal for sharing. Find the recipe here.
These all natural Frosted Mint Chocolate Bars are heavenly (and a huge hit with the boys teachers!) Find the recipe here.
Love this idea! A good morning breakfast basket (found over here) for the busy host/hostess to enjoy the day after a party. Such a clever and original idea and of course you can make the offering as simple or complicated as you wish. 6 muffins and a bag of coffee (tea) works! Or swing by your favorite bakery on the way to the party and pick up some fresh baked goodies.
Finally, my list wouldn’t be complete without sharing the well-loved gift certificates that are made in this home as handsomely illustrated here by our youngest. These certificates are very popular between our boys who trade off chores such as dish duty, cutting the grass and walking the dog. Did you catch the teeny-weeny ‘some restrictions apply’ clause on the bottom left? (yeah, the one that’s impossible to read) our eldest comes up with some very creative exclusions – including same day expiry – he carves it out tighter than any Bay Street lawyer I ever worked with. Ah, the spirit of giving.
One more for the road…
Favorite Free Printables
I couldn’t resist linking you to these lovely (and free) watercolor gift tags generously offered through MStetson ~ enjoy.
Are you craving more? My holiday Pinterest board is packed with ideas ~ have fun!