12.03.2017

Refreshen your home just like saint Nick



On the run-up to Christmas, we see a multitude of adverts urging us to buy before Christmas, take advantage of holiday sales and quickly delivery services. And this doesn’t just pertain to gifts and decorations - but to furniture, appliances and even house refurbishing. And it makes sense, you want Christmas day to be perfect, and for those who have sub-zero temperatures in winter, you need to make sure that your home is ready for that weather, you don’t want to be caught out with drafty windows or a faulty heating system.

With the average family spends many hundreds, if not more, on Christmas, it’s a wonder that people can afford to buy in a whole new home. But, in an ideal world, we would all be able to get the home looking, and feeling, as comfy and cosy as possible for the holiday season.

When you think of Christmas, you think of Santa Claus and his grotto, which is normally a wooden home, with a roaring fireplace, comfy armchairs and lots of snow. His home is built at the North Pole (obviously) and so is centred around warmth and, being the home of jolly St Nick, around family. So, by taking direction from the big man himself (Father Christmas) here is how to refresh your home, in the run-up to Christmas, to make it into the best Xmas destination this year.


Use Wood

In a nod to the traditional log-cottage image given to Santa, use raw wood in your decorating. Using reclaimed wood to create a feature wall, or logs mounted as a fireplace surround, or even as coffee tables, the natural look and colour brings warmth to the room, and introduces some of nature into the home. This will continue with your tree, wreaths and even mistletoe when you decorate for the big day. Make sure that you treat the wood for any damp, or fungus living within the bark, and make sure it’s completely dry before creating anything with it, as the wood will warp as the water evaporates. If you are collecting your materials personally, be cautious of where you are getting the wood from. This time of year sees many creatures go into hibernation, and you don’t want to disturb any of them or the food stores of awake animals, so be careful, especially if there are any snakes in your area.


Fill Space

Christmas is, strangely, the one time of year, we don’t mind cluttering up our homes with things. One practical reason is that it keeps the warmth in. But it also creates a cosier feeling in the home. When popping up the tree and bringing out the decorations, don’t worry about tucking things away. Yes, you need to be still able to use the room, but tucking a tree in the corner, or behind the chair, will just mean that you need to pull everything out and rearrange again when the presents start filling up the space. Make use of levels with your decorations. Instead of just having everything on the mantelpiece and tree, use tall vases to sit on the floor and fill them with baubles - everyone has a box of them that are broken in some way, so use them rather than throwing them away. Match a wreath on the front door with small, potted trees either side of the front step. Hang lights or garlands in the upper windows, to give your home a festive feel from top to bottom - just like the home of the Claus’.


Comfy Cozy

Pull out cushions and blankets and put them everywhere. Not only will you save a little on your heating bill, but it looks so inviting. Traditional Christmas prints, like tartan, and iconic images like reindeer and penguins are perfect for this time of year. When you visit Santa, he always has a thick throw about him, so you should too. Candles are perfect year-round, but the scents that you can fill your home with making it even cozier. If you have a multitude of unscented or vanilla candles, then, rather than buying new ones, pop them in a dish and fill the dish with cinnamon sticks, pine cones or cloves. As the air heats up around them, the perfectly Christmas scents will be released. You can also tie cinnamon sticks around a pillar candle and get the same effect. (This trick can be used at any point in the year, with coffee beans, dried rose petals and dried apple slices.)


Nibbles

He isn’t fat by accident, Santa loves his nibbles. Which is why every home leaves out a snack and drink for him on his journey each year. Biologically speaking, the human body naturally craves more food over winter - even if you live in a hot country. This is partially affected by custom, as our bodies are used to snacking on all the delicious foods we deny it the rest of the year and it becomes an annual habit. But it is also because nature is telling us to eat as much as we can so that we survive the winter - evolution hasn’t quite caught up with us on that. And with the cold weather, visiting family and longer nights, it just makes sense to eat in rather than going out as much as you would in the warmer months. Traditional Christmas nibbles can be particular to each family, but many come from the Victorians who revolutionised the holiday. Having a bowl of shelled nuts on the table, advent calendars and even a rise in oranges aren’t unusual sights in a home over the holidays - the oranges if only because they’re destined for the mulled wine.


Fire Place

Where would Father Christmas be without a roaring fireplace? Both in his grotto and while delivering presents, a fireplace has always been a fixed image relating to Santa. A log fire lets off the most amazing smell and fills the whole home with warmth. Building one isn’t cheap. However, it does involve adjustments to the building itself to make way for the bigger grate and chimney liner, pro chimney liner and flu. If you don’t, or can’t, build a fireplace, then jazz up the one you have, or create the illusion of one with an oversized mantelpiece or surround, using vases and candles to create the look, and, if needed, replacing the existing heater or radiator with a faux-fireplace.

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