Food & Entertaining - Party Planner

Simplifying the season

Seasonal shortcuts for stress-free Christmas decorating, organizing and entertaining.

Over the years, the number of people suffering from SSD (Seasonal Stress Disorder) has risen to alarming proportions. Holiday enjoyment has been replaced with anxiety and frustration over what to bake, where to shop and how to fit all the decorations onto the mantel without having a nervous breakdown. OK, we made up the part about SSD, but regardless, somewhere down the line, holidays have become more about mimicking Martha Stewart than enjoying time with loved ones. But we’re here to change that.

We’ve rounded up home decor, organizing and entertaining experts to find out how to get through the season unscathed.

Decorating
Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be a burden. Janice Clements of Clements Interiors has some great tips for giving your home a festive feel without breaking the bank (or your sanity!)

Choose a colour scheme
One of the easiest ways to make an impact is with colour. Janice suggests choosing a bold yet traditional pairing such as orange and green, gold and red, or blue and white and then sticking with it. If a decoration does not match your colour theme, don’t buy it or don’t try to find a spot for it on your mantle. Make it interesting by playing with shades of light and dark or punch it up by adding a splash of black or white.
 
Consider candles
Clusters of candles is a quick, inexpensive and elegant way to add instant ambiance to your holiday gathering. Scatter small votive candles amongst larger, taller candles to add depth and texture, or go glam by putting tea lights into wine glasses and filling them with dragées (silver-ball cake decorations).
 
Offer comfort
Baby, it’s cold outside! Fill a basket with a variety of cozy slippers and place it at the front door to welcome guests in from the cold.
 
Bring the outside in
Hang fresh cedar and real boxwood wreaths inside your home. Fill large glass bowls with pinecones or tall vases with large twigs tied with red or green ribbon.
 
Use the power of positive aroma
There’s no better way to enhance your holiday decor than with the smell of something baking in the oven. Don’t cook?  Pick up prepared cookie dough rolls from your local grocer and pop them in the oven.
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