Friday, December 21, 2012

Festive in a Flash

As the actual holiday quickly approaches, so many are still scrambling to get their homes in tip-top shape and completely decorated prior to family and friend arrivals. With all of the shopping, wrapping and cooking to tackle at the same time, the task can be overwhelming... if you let it.

We actually lost almost all of our Christmas decorations last year when a storage unit flooded. And as the season snuck up on me, I found myself with very little on hand, zero time to shop for replacements -- and two parties to host: yikes! Instead of panicking, I chose to go a different route and skip the traditional direction I usually embrace. I elected to pick up a few simple things to make our home festive without investing countless hours and dollars in holiday decor.


Lots of white flowers in different varieties from Import Flowers (the best flower source in the city). Roses, lilies, carnations, hydrangeas-- basically everything I could find in a crisp white, I snapped up. I also bought a bunch of boxwood branches for mantle arrangements.

The rest of the greenery, I snipped from my own yard. Evergreens, holly, magnolia leaves and leaf-free thin wood branches are all part of the mix.

I rounded up a few vases from flower deliveries over the past few months and even used a few of my husband's silver BMI award mint julep cups for smaller arrangements in bathrooms.

I skipped the big tree all together and utilized the few mercury glass and silver ornaments salvaged from the flood in a large bowl on our dining table. I scattered the remaining three on the mantle. There weren't enough to decorate a large tree, but plenty to give a festive feel to gathering areas.

I do have a few 'mini' trees for table decor thanks to gifts from good friends that were not in the storage unit-- and they make it feel just like Christmas -- so much so that I don't even miss having a centerpiece tree.

 In total, I spent  2 hours including shopping, clipping and arranging -- ending up with flowers and greens in every room. Not bad! After placing arrangements everywhere, the house smells like a fantastic blend of fir, flowers and wood. I always have tons of votives candles burning, so that adds to the ambiance. And, of course, the very best holiday playlists in the background (that I add to and improve constantly). Music is the heart of our home, and that's especially true this time of year. Add great friends, fab food/libations and we're set for spectacular celebrations. Shortcuts on time, yes...but not on spirit. The house feels holiday-ready. All that's left is choosing my outfits, and that's the fun part! 

What's your secret for creating a festive look in a flash at home? Would love to read your tips and suggestions on the Southern Sophisticate