We probably all have some criteria for Christmas that must be displayed, eaten, or performed in order for this holiday to be a success in our minds. Without these certain rituals the season seems empty or deflated.  It could be poinsettias at the front door, constructing a gingerbread house or draping the fireplace in cedar boughs.  Our family traditions may direct our must have list, but once examined, we are not so different from each other.  Christmas unites us in joyful celebration.  We all want our homes to reflect a warm and welcoming spirit and we demonstrate this by adorning our surroundings.

To get your house ready for the holiday season, your “must have” list might start like this:

An advent calendar is a clear start to a Christmas countdown.  Choose a paper calendar with a charming scene equipped with tiny doors and windows that are opened each day to reveal a small picture.  Or choose a larger wood calendar that contains a space behind each door for a little surprise gift to delight the recipient for 24 days.


Put away the electronics, select a beautiful box of Christmas cards and hand write a message.  This is the time to reconnect with distant family and friends.  Forget the e-cards and show you care by taking the time to compose a friendly holiday greeting in a carefully chosen card.


Time for some embellishment, wreaths and garlands make a bold decorative statement no matter what your style is.  Wreaths are festive layered over an entry mirror or traditional on a front door.  Choose one to compliment your color scheme or go natural with fresh greens.  Garlands dress up a mantle or frame a doorway in holiday glamour.



The Christmas tree, a symbol of the season, takes center stage in our homes.  Some will only have fresh cut while others want the convenience of a permanent tree with lights already strung for easy set up.

Ornaments adorn our trees and create a theme for our homes.  We may collect hand blown figures, glass balls, retro inspired designs, or handmade ornaments made of wood or felt.  Others will choose a natural approach and dress their tree in pinecones and berries.  Whatever your style, ornaments are cherished for many years because each one has its own story.


Does your buffet look empty, your mantle need inspiration?  Embellish these lonely areas with old world Santas by Ino Schaller.  These vintage inspired candy containers add color and sparkle and bring old St. Nick cheer to any room.


Scent is another aspect of the holiday season.  Our memories are linked with the smells of gingerbread, pine trees and the spices of mulled wine.  Summon Christmas past with the glow of softly scented candles on your mantle.  Or fill a beautiful bowl with pine scented potpourri that perfumes the air with a hint of the forest.



Entertaining is always on the agenda during the holidays.  You never know when unexpected guests will pop in, so get ready in advance.  Keep extra glasses ready for serving on a great looking tray.  Stock your pantry with provisions for some quick and easy hors d’oeuvres.  An assortment of crackers and spreads will impress your guests and get the party started.  And don’t forget some sweet treats to serve with the coffee later.



If your shopping is done, it’s time to select a beautiful gift wrap.  Decide on a color scheme and choose your paper and ribbon to match.  Silver and gold foil with burgundy ribbon is formal and glamorous.  Or try a modern design with non-traditional colors.  Go natural with brown craft paper and burlap for an earthy touch.


And last on the “must have” list is the stocking.  Knitted, felted, embroidered, monogrammed, the stocking comes in all styles. The time honored tradition of children hanging their stockings on Christmas Eve is a shared event around the world.  It’s the last thing we do before going to bed.  And we can only imagine what treasures will be stuck deep in the toe and what treats will brim over the top.  Because Santa Claus saves the best gifts for the stocking providing you’re nice and not naughty.


Make your own “must have” list, check it twice like Santa, and see what you need to celebrate a glorious Christmas season.