Decorating and Entertaining for the Holidays the "Mom Way"

Decorating and Entertaining for the Holidays the “Mom Way”

Moms lead a busy life and when the holidays roll around, it can be overwhelming and exhausting to get the house decorated and ready for entertaining. wants to help our fellow moms with ideas and tips on how to get everything ready for some great celebrations, so you can make some beautiful memories and not get stuck in a holiday panic.

Several Tri-City moms shared their tips on how to get it all done, and even on a budget! The only thing better than feeling ready to tackle the holiday rush is saving money at the same time. wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season with friends and family!

- I try to save a few dollars on décor by purchasing items after the holidays to get them at a great discount (whether it’s ornaments for the tree or paper plates for the next year’s Christmas parties).

I also love to use fresh cut greenery and candles to place all around the house – the greenery can be free – just look in your yard or friends, for twigs from magnolias or holly, and if you get a fresh cut tree, the clipping from it are great. Candles can be purchased at dollar stores and if you have a little extra money throw some ribbon in with it. This is a quick and inexpensive way to give your entire home that Christmas feeling.

To entertain during the season, one party I love arranging is a breakfast on a Saturday morning, but not too early! Those items tend to be a little more affordable and you can get by with fewer items for a breakfast than a dinner gathering, plus people’s evenings get quickly booked with parties so it’s a great time to gather with family and friends for the holidays. But when doing an evening event, don’t be afraid to let everyone bring a dish to save you money. Guests love to feel like they have contributed and it’s a great way to try new recipes.

~ Shanna Tincher

- A low cost way to give gifts is to make it a family affair. Help your kids make cookies, cake pops or candy and wrap them in holiday paper with a bow and then distribute to your neighbors.

Host a cookie exchange party! Bake three-dozen cookies and then invite friends to do the same. Exchange cookies and enjoy an evening of fun and laughter, plus you may discover a great new cookie recipe.

Let the kids assist with decorating the house. String popcorn for your tree or make interesting crafts/projects found on Pinterest. There are great holiday ideas on Pinterest for the entire family.

Sometimes the gift of time is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season. Donate time with Second Harvest Food Bank or help serve meals at your community shelter.

Teach your children that to give, really is better than to receive. Participate in Angel Tree or another charitable organization as a family and let your children participate in shopping for the requested items.

~ Virginia Buda

- This year I plan to save a little budget for after Christmas so I can take advantage of sales on decorations for next year. I figure it's the best way to update the look I've been using for the past several years while also replacing items that have been broken during the season.

Here's a little scientific fact you can bust out over the holidays: smells and memories are closely linked because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain's limbic system. To translate, scents can be linked to people, places and events and often triggers memories. One affordable thing I do to create a warm and fuzzy holiday mood in my home is to light apple spice scented candles, oil warmers or Glade Plug-Ins. I also like to keep a couple tubes of easy-bake cookies around to pop in the oven at a moment's notice! Who doesn't love the smell of fresh-baked cookies during the holidays?

Creating a great holiday atmosphere musically has never been more accessible or affordable. Free online services like Grooveshark and Spotify make it super-easy to create and stream your own holiday music playlists without having to purchase.

Let's face it, most of us don't have the time or budget to pull off a gargantuan Griswold display during the holidays. If you do, don't try to do it all at once. Start early, adding a few things here and there over the course of a few weeks. If you don't, decorate a couple nice sized wreaths and attach them to your front door and on another focal point of your home. Illuminate them with a single spotlight staked into the ground outside. I have one that plugs in, but turns itself off and on using solar sensors. It creates a simple, yet classic holiday look for a fraction of the cost--and with minimal hassle.

As a busy mom, it's important for me to create lasting memories for family by immersing ourselves in the spirit of the holidays. We do this by taking part in community events. Regional Christmas parades, the annual Bristol Christmas tree lighting, Speedway in Lights, and Bristol's Downtown Open House are big traditions we never miss, and it brings us all together in a way that's stress-free, inexpensive and fun. Church activities and nativity scenes also remind us of the reason for the season.

A big stress-reducer is to avoid crowds and long lines by shopping online for more common gift purchases. One can create personalized picture albums or books for grandparents through services like Shutterfly and Snapfish at a leisurely pace if you start early.

~ Charlene Baker

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