A bright and welcoming sunroom is spruced up for the holidays.
With the holiday season is upon us, make the most of this month by tackling these tasks.
As the song says, it's the most wonderful time of the year – and it only lasts a few weeks. Avoid seasonal stress by staying organized and having realistic expectations of what you can achieve. To help you make the most of the holiday season, here are 10 things to do this December.
1 Clean out the freezer
It's all too easy to let food accumulate in the freezer – and before long, not only is it too crowded to make room for more, but there are items in the back that should probably be thrown away. Set aside some time to organize your freezer – you may be amazed at what you'll find in there.
2 Make a wreath
Not only is a wreath on the front door inviting, but it really makes a house look like a home. If you've got the time, add a personal touch to your outdoor decor by making your own instead of buying one. And if you're really feeling inspired, make two and give the second to a friend as an early Christmas gift.
3 Get organized for gift wrapping
To save time during the hectic Christmas shopping season, set up a gift-wrapping station in an out-of-the-way spot in your home -- it will make it easy to wrap gifts as you buy them, and you won't be hunting around the house for the scissors, silver ribbon or gift tags. If you haven't got the space for a separate gift-wrapping table, put all your supplies in a couple of wicker baskets in the closet or under the bed for easy access.
4 Decorate the kitchen
Don't limit your holiday accents to the living room and entryway -- think about ways you can bring the spirit of the season into every room, including the kitchen. Try decorating the windowsill with candles and cedar boughs, putting a miniature Christmas tree on a shelf or draping doorways with garlands. For a finishing touch, simmer spices in water on the back of the stove to infuse your home with the comforting scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
5 Cook up some appetizers
Get ready for guests – whether expected or impromptu – by preparing a selection of appetizers ahead of time. Just pick recipes that can be made in advance and frozen, and you could have a season's worth of hors d'oeuvres ready in an afternoon.
6 Host a cookie exchange
Rather than devoting hours of free time to baking each of your favourite holiday treats, arrange an exchange with friends and family. Organize it so that each person bakes a different type of cookie, enough to share around with everyone in the group. Don't forget to make a few extras to serve while everyone's exchanging the goods!
7 Hang some mistletoe
The custom of kissing under the mistletoe is said to come from an ancient Scandinavian tradition that when enemies met in the forest under mistletoe, they were to lay down their arms and observe a truce for the following day. Continue the tradition by hanging mistletoe in your home during the holiday season – and spread peace and goodwill among your guests.
8 Donate to the food bank
During this season of feasting, remember those who are less fortunate by bringing non-perishable food items or a monetary donation to your local food bank. Consider offering your time, as well, to help sort donations or perform other necessary tasks.
9 Let in the fresh air
It may be getting chilly outside, but that's no reason to keep the windows locked tight. Shutting up the house lets indoor pollutants accumulate, especially if it's fairly new and therefore airtight. Let in the cool, crisp air of early winter by opening the windows for a few minutes daily – longer if the weather is cooperating – and enjoy the fresh scent of a well-aired home.
10 Make homemade eggnog
Eggnog is so rich and sinfully delicious, it's probably a good thing we don't drink it all year round. So don't settle for nog in a carton – it's easy to make your own, and the results are well worth the time spent.
8 terrific travel gifts for your favourite jet-setter
The travel enthusiast on your shopping list is sure to love any of these great gift ideas.
Shopping for someone who loves to travel this holiday season? Look no further for inspired gift ideas we’re sure they will love! From bags that’ll help them travel in style to essential tech gadgets they’ll never want to leave home without, these gifts are sure to be a hit this Christmas!
1 iPhone 7 Plus: No traveler leaves home without a camera and these days, all they really need is their smartphone! The brand new iPhone 7 Plus delivers its best camera ever with some seriously awesome new features, which make it a must-have for the shutterbug on your Christmas list. The improved camera means significantly better photos in low-light and more vibrant, colour-rich photos in regular light. The camera can take ‘portrait mode’ photos (blurring out the background and giving a bokeh effect like a fancy SLR camera) and has an optical zoom. Plus, it’s now splash- and water-resistant… hello, beach! iPhone 7, Apple, $899.
2 Jenni Saddle Bag: Ask any seasoned traveler and she’ll tell you that a small cross-body bag is a travel essential … and we just can’t get enough of the ‘Jenni’ saddle bag from Gigi New York. The sultry saddle shape combined with a luxe pebble grain leather make this bag a stylish addition to any outfit. With an adjustable strap and detachable tassel, this stunning bag is a winner! Jenni Saddle Bag, Gigi New York, $345.
3 Clarity Clutch + Coin Pouch: Looking for a gift for the stylish travelista on your shopping list this Christmas? This transparent clutch and coin pouch duo is just what you’re looking for! Both items are ideal for keeping travel necessities like a passport, boarding pass and money close at hand. Or use it to store makeup and toiletries. Either way, the clutch and the pouch will make it so much easier to find things that easily get lost at the bottom of a handbag! Clarity Clutch + Coin Pouch, Truffle, $60.
4 Kindle Paperwhite: The traveler who can’t live without her books will be truly thrilled to find the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader under the Christmas tree this year. Now available in black and white, the Kindle Paperwhite offers readers a high-resolution display with a built-in adjustable light. The screen has no glare so it simulates reading an actual paper book. Its compact size makes it perfectly portable, ideal for the travel lover on your shopping list this season! Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon, $119.99.
5 Beach Tray: In this acrylic tray, Gray Malin marries the stunning aerial photography he’s known for with a striking home decor accent piece. Suitable for a myriad of uses (serving tray, office catch-all or simply a beautiful objet d’art to be displayed and admired), this tray is sure to delight the traveler on your list. This particular tray, part of Gray Malin’s newly launched home collection, features an overhead shot of beach umbrellas in Lisbon. Beach Tray, Gray Malin, $295.
6 The Beaches Tote Bag: Every traveler needs a good, multi-purpose tote bag that can easily fit in their luggage and be pulled out at a moment’s notice. This canvas tote is the perfect bag for shopping at a local market, taking to the beach or for using as an extra carry-on bag to bring home shopping that won’t fit in the suitcase! The Beaches Tote Bag, Main and Local, $19.99.
7 The Bigger Carry-On: A suitcase that charges your phone? A suitcase that has an unbreakable, scratch-resistant exterior shell? A suitcase that is guaranteed for life? That’s the kind of suitcase every traveler dreams of. Away has reimagined the suitcase and the result is a modern piece of luggage that easily and effortlessly meets the needs of today’s traveler. This is a super chic gift for the super chic traveler. The Bigger Carry-On, Away, $245.
8 Men in Red Limited Edition Art Print: Inspire a travel-lover’s sense of adventure with a gorgeous piece of artwork that will not only look fabulous gracing the walls of their home, but will remind them of a favourite vacation (or motivate them to visit some place they’ve never been!) To make this gift extra special, choose the perfect frame from a number of options. Men in Red Limited Edition Art Print, Minted, starting at $21.
Personalize your wall with $1,000.00 credit to Minted prints!
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Prize Value: $1,079.00
Satisfy even the most discerning epicureans on your list with one of these fashionable foodie-approved finds.
We all have that person in our life who can prepare an intricate meal without so much as glancing at a recipe. That person who dabbles in all things culinary related on a daily basis and has a kitchen pantry that rivals that of celebrity chef Mark McEwan (or it at least comes close). Not sure what to treat them to this holiday season? Browse through our list of food-related gift ideas for inspiration.
A heart-smart treat for the health food aficionado in your life, this carefully curated six-pack of cold-pressed juices contains almost two pounds of fruit and veg in every bottle! Cold-pressed Juices, Dose Juice, $42 per 6-piece pack.
This elegant Art Deco-style coffee dripper is for your friend who has one foot planted firmly at home and the other off in some distant Parisian patisserie. Hario stainless copper Coffee Dripper, Indigo, $100.
If the Bat Cave had a coffee maker, this would be it. Nespresso’s latest boasts a matte black finish befitting anyone in need of a caffeine jolt before saving Gotham City. VertuoLine Coffee Machine in Matte Black, Nespresso, $249.
This high-ranking mustard deserves your salute. Flavoured with decadent wine and truffles – and only available for a limited time – it’s a covetable condiment fit for any top official. Black Truffle and Chablis Mustard, Maille, $43 US.
These striking mugs echo exotic corners of the earth that yield top-notch coffee, from Sumatra to Costa Rica. Pair a mug with beans from the same region for a gift guaranteed to please any java junkie. Stamp Art Mugs, Starbucks, $19 each.
These pretty, precious and feminine flasks are almost too stylish to sully with alcohol – but everyone has a friend who would! Stainless steel Odeme Flasks, 90 ml, West Elm, $29 US each.
This vintage-look colander is a timeless classic that takes an everyday kitchen tool from dull to display-worthy. Copper-plated steel Colander in Gold, Anthropologie, $34 US.
This Scandi-chic French press in pale pink (with a pretty copper detail) is not only a beautiful vessel for your morning brew, but also an ideal addition to any open shelf. Ceramic French Press in Sand, Yield Design Co., $120 US.
Treat fans of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to “the gift that keeps on giving.” Translation: their very own Jelly of the Month Club gift set! (Reference lost on you? See here.) Griswold Jelly of the Month Club Gift Set, Retro Festive, $40.
It may resemble salami, but this treat is made entirely out of chocolate. Containing hazelnuts, almonds, cherries and even rum, the confection is a certified crowd-pleaser – especially when presented on a cutting board. Chocolate salami, SOMA Chocolatemaker, $23.
Count on Alessi to make a conventional utensil undeniably sleek. Crafted from stainless steel and boasting a unique shape, the modern citrus squeezer also doubles as a pestle. Valerio Citrus Squeezer, Alessi, $71.
Building a beautiful cheese platter is something of an art form, but it helps to have stylish spreaders to complement the nibbles. This gorgeous set with rose quartz handles will make any table sparkle. Rose Quartz Spreaders, HomeSense, $15 4-piece set.