DEC 09 2022
Holiday Hacks From the highwood® Team
The holiday season is magical. Village downtowns are suddenly awash with lights, festive trees, and Santa’s workshop displays. There is no shortage of parties—both to attend and to plan. There are also plenty of decorations to enjoy, create, and display, as well as gifts to buy and menus to plan. For all the fun and festivity, there’s just so much to do; we all need as much help as we can get. So here are some tips and tricks from highwood® to do just that.
Use Your Outside Furniture for Outside Decorations
First, use your highwood® furniture as part of your festive winter landscape. Since weatherproof highwood® outdoor furniture is fine outside all year, it is a perfect platform for your seasonal décor. Use picnic-, side- and conversation tables as stages for holiday accessories like plants, wooden logs, pinecones, and even signs and figurines. String lights on the backs of benches and chairs or put a joyful, lit-up Santa in your rocking chair or porch swing to welcome guests as they enter. And don’t forget a beautiful wreath or holiday greeting on your door!
Once they enter, of course, your guests will look for your tree. If you’re looking for alternatives to live trees, there are so many varieties to choose from these days. Some are so simple they are hacks in themselves. Artificial trees range from realistic-looking evergreens to various colors of mylar, each making a distinctive statement. Sizes can range from tabletop to full length with some “kits” offering the ability to just unfold for the ultimate in ease. If your guests will be going from room to room, you might even place different trees in different rooms and just decide how to distribute the ornaments, lights, and tinsel.
A few other holiday decorations that keep up tradition are Christmas stockings strewn above a fireplace, candles lit throughout the house, and, of course, mistletoe. And if you don’t have the time to make a real fire, you can create a great glow with candle arrangements in—as well as on—the fireplace.
If you adorn your entryway or key locations throughout your rooms with natural pine boughs (available in grocery and drug stores this time of year), everyone will be treated to a bright evergreen scent. You even can build on that olfactory adventure with a stovetop potpourri mix for a wonderful scentscape.
Here’s a recipe for a mix full of shimmering, seasonal smells:
- 1 whole orange
- ½ cup cranberries
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- Grated nutmeg
Cut up the orange and put all ingredients into a saucepan. Fill the pan with water and place it on the stove over the smallest burner on the lowest setting. Refill water as needed. You may want to repeat this in your living or dining room with the mixture in an open crock pot or on a chafing dish.
Another tip: This recipe, written in fancy script on a piece of parchment and tied up with a piece of raffia, can also make a nice hostess gift.
Be Unique with a Signature Drink
Of course, we all want our holiday parties to be unique. One of the best ways is with a signature drink. Here’s one of our favorites, the White Christmas Cocktail.
- 6 oz vodka
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 oz rosemary simple syrup*
- Club soda
- Handful of fresh cranberries
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
* Making your own rosemary simple syrup is a snap. Combine ½ cup water and ½ cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Allow the mixture to boil for five minutes, then remove from heat and drop in a sprig of rosemary. Allow the rosemary to steep for about 15 minutes and discard it. Pour your simple syrup into a glass jar, cool it to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed.
And, of Course, the Gifts
Which brings us to what for many people is the biggest cause of anxiety of the season: what gifts to get for whom.
One way to help sort this out is to create a list for each of your loved ones listing by four categories:
- Something they want: Maybe you’ve noted something they’ve mentioned before?
- Something they need: We all have those friends who don’t buy themselves anything…
- Something-to-wear: holiday PJs are a great one for this!
- Something to read: Is there a book you think would interest them?
Buying gifts online and having them delivered all wrapped up is a great way to save time. It also assures your recipients that they can easily return or exchange items. If you do go shopping in person, be sure to include a gift receipt in the package for the same reason.
If you still need last minute gifts, check out our highwood® Gift Guide for a perfect collection of outdoor furniture gifts. They’re weatherproof, and they be put to use in recipients’ yards, walkways, or porches right away.
Here’s to a great holiday season!
What is your best tip for creating a wonderful holiday display? We want to hear about it in the comments below!