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Holiday Survival Guide Part 1: Decorating to Get In the Spirit

Holiday Survival Guide Part 1: Decorating to Get In the Spirit

By Samantha McConnell

It is official. The holiday season is upon us which for some can mean more than just a few extra pounds thanks to grandma’s cookies.

In order to successfully survive the holidays, a plan is needed. Or in this case, a survival guide. Fret no more; from decorating for the big day straight through working off that extra glass.. Or bottle.. Of wine, this three-part guide is sure to take some of that holiday-induced stress off so you can focus on what is important!

Part 1: Decorating

For many (myself included), nothing encompasses the holiday spirit like decorating for it.  If you are tired of the same old cornucopia and wax fruit look, try some of these takes on the all-American tradition of Thanksgiving.

Remembering What Matters: The Thankful Tree
With the hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget that holidays are about more than just a big meal. Using a few simple and inexpensive (or completely free!) items, you can make these beautiful and festive decorations while incorporating the whole family to acknowledge what they are thankful for.


*Photo courtesy of Pinterest, as Found on

How to get the look: Venture into the backyard and gather a few sturdy twigs. Grab an old jar and decorate it as you wish with ribbon or twine as shown. Now the fun part! Get everyone together to write down what they are thankful for. Then hang the families responses on the twigs and voila!


*Photo courtesy of Pinterest, Found on

How to get the look: If venturing out into the cold isn’t for you, simply take some colored construction paper and cut out a tree shape to take wherever in your home you please!

Quick Decor
If all the prepping and constant running around has you short on time (kind of like every other day of the year) but you still want to decorate with unique and festive pieces, no worries! The following can be put together in minutes with things you probably already have around the house. AND! With mild tweaks can seamlessly be transitioned when it’s time to swap out for the next round of holidays.


*Photo courtesy of Passionate Penny Pincher

How to get the look: Hopefully that twine is still handy for this simple and elegant piece! Simply take a candle vase and candle that has a decent amount of surrounding room and fill with any festive piece you have laying around the house! If space permits, acorns could be substituted or even candy corn! Then, when Thanksgiving has passed, swap the corn out of tinsel. Beautiful, and CHEAP!


*Photo courtesy of Mochatini

How to do it: The simplicity of this unique piece is amazing. Simply grab a few glasses that won’t  be missed for a few weeks, mix it up even on the style, fill with walnuts, acorns, chestnuts (anything!), and top with a silk flower. Beautiful!


*Photo courtesy of Pinterest via Dominique Rodriguez

How to get the look: More twine! All you need for this delectable look is a few candles, some old saucers, cinnamon sticks and glue gun. Glue the cinnamon sticks in a staggered pattern onto the candles and tie a piece of twine or ribbon around the perimeter to finish. Too easy!


*Photo courtesy of

How to get the look: FINALLY… a purpose for the overabundance of candy corn. Simply fill a basin of your choice with the candies and insert any message you choose!

Family act
Decorations unique to your family hold the most sentiment; and can be the most fun! With some acrylic paint, canvas (that can be purchased pretty cheap at your local craft store) and some patience, you can be the proud owner of your very own masterpieces!


*Photo courtesy of

How to get the look: Just a little paint and a lot of patience and you too can have your own turkey family portrait! Gobble-gobble!


*Photo courtesy of Pinterest Via Karen Littlefield

How to do it: Hopefully you didn’t put that patience away and remembered to grab a pair of googly eyes! With a little mess and a steady hand (and foot) this adorable and one-of-a kind turkey can be hanging in your home.

Now that your home is dressed for the part, it will soon be time to get the day going! Check back soon for Part 2 of this Holiday Survival Guide to get you through the day itself in one piece!