Pre-holiday prep – Getting Ready for the Holidays

I’m usually last-minute when it comes to holiday decorating.  But this year (thanks to an ongoing partnership with Lowes), I have been planning and getting started earlier than usual. There is holiday prep, and then there is pre-holiday prep šŸ˜‰ (this takes place sometime around Halloween).

This is particularly helpful since I like to bring nature inside and use it all around the house in festive ways.  Acting now means that I can easily find materials in the woods and garden without the risk of having to dig through the snow.  So this is my four-part plan for the next couple of weeks.

A chalkboard with a variety of dried flowers and pine cones.
Ideas for plants to gather from the garden for pre-holiday prep and decorating.

Make Like a Squirrel and Get Gathering.

Fall is such a pretty time to enjoy the outdoors.  Not only are the colors beautiful but with the furnace starting to turn on in the house, my lungs gasp for the crisp fresh air.   A nice walk through the woods or a spin around the garden is ample opportunity to gather holiday decorations.  Look for mosses, sturdy seed heads, branches with berries, and just berries, pinecones, chestnuts, bark, nests, nuts, grass heads, succulent babies, and basically anything whose texture or color appeals to you.  This is my garden palette so far, but I still need to take a jaunt down the road for some winterberry and sumac, and then I can really get decorating.

Refresh the backdrop

When the holiday season actually arrives in a few weeks, there is little time for anything but celebrations, shopping, and preparations.  If at all possible, this isn’t the time to start even the smallest house upgrade, which will add to seasonal stress and mess.  Which is why I opted to freshen up our eat in kitchen area now.

Two women sitting at a table.
Friends gathering for a pre-holiday lunch.

This room is our epicenter, it is the coziest place in the house and our lives happen around this table.  After nearly nine years since the last refresh, the paint is tired, and we need the area to function a little better.

I hosted a group of girlfriends for a pre-holiday gathering last week and unveiled phase 1 of the upgrade – the paint.  The dingy cream and tan walls and dinged-up baseboards got a fresh slick of bright modern white (the color is Chantilly Lace). I went all in for the Modern Scandinavian look I have been coveting for years, and I painted out the large wood window to sleek black (this is my inspiration).  My love of woodsy decor looks so much sharper with this clean backdrop where before, it was lost in all the browns. Those pillow covers are new, too….I cut up a knitted blanket that I loved into four squares to make cozy sweater cushions.

There is more to come on this project (and I am hoping to find a brighter day for the second round of photos so you can see how lovely it really is) – Phase 2 is in the works and involves a little construction — I plan to have it done in the next two weeks so I can share a final pre-holiday makeover with you before Thanksgiving.

A table with candles and flowers on it.
Yellow mums and winterberries in silver vases.

Clean & Clear

Some prefer spring cleaning, but for me, that time is so busy with gardening prep that it just doesn’t happen.  I prefer pre-holiday cleaning with a healthy side of clutter clearing.  The closets are pared down, making room for the holiday gifts to come, the winter clothes come back, everything gets refreshed in preparation for impromptu guests, and all the extras go to a local charity. Everyone wins.  A little extra project I am doing this year — cleaning as many windows as I can (I am embarrassed to say many have never been done).  I tested this little Pinterest window-cleaning trick that uses Jet Dry, and I can tell you it works. Exterior windows are done in a fraction of the time I would have expected. I also took the time to polish up my grandmother’s silver tea service that was recently handed down to me.  The cream and sugar vessels make the best tiny vases.

Showcase Garden and Family Treasures

Dahlias in a silver vase with berries.
Dahlias and winterberries in a silver vase.

My gatherings are slowly making their way into projects.  The chestnuts are so pretty around the base of this hurricane lantern from Lowes.   Later, I can swap them out for other pretties as well.

a vase of dahlias for window holiday decorations
Dahlias and winterberries in a birchbark vase.

I also have no shame about combining fake florals with real ones.  These red berries are the perfect pairing for all sorts of fresh flowers.  I started with orange Dahlias, and when those were gone, I swapped in chrysanthemums. I can’t wait to see what will be fresh next week for the pairing.

Tomorrow, I will share with you my trick for making that Birch bark vase.

Tell me, How are you preparing for the holidays? Or are you like the normal me and wishing it to just hold off for a bit longer?

REgister now!

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  1. Megan says:

    Great post! I liked it for many reasons but #1 is the image and label of Callicarpa Americana. I went to the Morton Arboretum a few weeks ago and was stunned by those purple berries. It was the first time I’d ever seen that plant…but I had no idea what it was. And here we are šŸ™‚ thanks!

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