by Lora Green, Contributing Writer
Cozy isn't fireplaces, blankets or baked goods. It's the feeling that those items evoke. Webster's definition of cozy is
small, comfortable, and warm; friendly and pleasant; …showing a closeness between two people, groups… very close
How do you create that cozy feeling in your home? It might be simpler than you think. And a Cozy Christmas will have as much to do with what happens inside your home as it does with the decor that you choose.
1. Begin a New Tradition
Traditions create a sense of familiarity and family identity. A child will remember we always do [a tradition] as a family.
This year, we are celebrating the Christmas season in a way that's new to us–we started an Advent Wreath tradition. I hope our kids will recognize this centerpiece as an item that is always on the dinner table during Christmas because it represents the story of Jesus.
2. Hang Natural Evergreens
The aroma of evergreens instantly reminds us of Christmas. The last several years I've made a wreath from cypress, pine, holly and magnolia clippings and it fills our home with the beautiful scents of Christmas. A live tree is another option for that cozy, Christmas aroma.
3. Read Stories
Keep Christmas books stored with holiday decorations so that they don't get forgotten in full bookshelves. We use the books like decor, placing them easily within reach in several rooms. Stick a basket-full of books below the tree, tucked in with presents. Each evening, enjoy a story by the light of the Christmas Tree.
4. Hang Christmas Cards
Designate a spot to display Christmas Cards from family and friends. A card display can be as simple as blank canvas covered with burlap. Use thumbtacks to hang the cards as they are received and watch the display fill up through the holiday season.
5. Make Thoughtful Gifts
There isn't anything inspiring about giving gifts out of duty, crammed in at the last minute. This year, try to hand-make at least a few special gifts for family or friends. Be thoughtful and intentional, choosing items that are both functional and unique (such as a Personalized Recipe Box and Cards). You'll feel inspired and creative instead of rushed, and your gift-giving will be meaningful instead of mundane.
6. Treasure Memories
Do you have special photos from Christmases past? This sweet image is from my son's first Christmas. I edited the original photo to black and white and printed it out on cardstock at home (no fancy printer or photo lab required). Next, I trimmed it, leaving a white edge as the border. I use several of these photos every Christmas in our decorating. This simple project is a perfect way to treasure precious memories from year to year.
7. Countdown to Christmas
Use an Advent Calendar to count down to Christmas day. Our Advent Calendar hangs below our mantel, and each bag has an ornament for the tree and a Bible Verse for the day. The scripture readings chronicle the story of Jesus' birth as we make our way through December. The kids are engaged by the excitement and surprise of learning which ornament is hidden inside the bag. Each night, we read the Bible Verse(s) and let one of the kids hang the ornament.
8. Make Ornaments
Our tree is filled with sentimental and handmade ornaments. It's not perfectly themed and decorated, but it is filled to the brim with memories. Clay is a very child-friendly craft item that can be used to create durable ornaments. Impress their hand into it or let them cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Click the links to find the tutorials for the Handprint and Baby's 1st Christmas ornaments, shown below.
9. Wrap Gifts Before Christmas Eve
I don't know about you, but I've been so guilty of this bad habit. I spend Christmas Eve wrapping gifts until well after midnight.
Don't be like me. Decide not to procrastinate this year. Wrap gifts as soon as they are finished or brought home from a store. Enjoy those last few hours of Christmas Eve by attending a Candlelight Service, reading books with the kids, or visiting with friends. Plus, there is something so cozy and warm about a tree skirt filled with wrapped presents. Even the most beautiful tree looks a bit empty without them.
10. Display the Nativity
It might be cliche, but “remember the reason for the season,” rings true. I'd imagine the First Christmas was cozy, but it wasn't dependent on the surroundings. As Webster said, cozy is “a closeness between two people, groups… very close.“ The coziness on that First Christmas night was from being face-to-face with the Son of God, the connection between God and man.
It's not so much the decorations that make for a Cozy Christmas. Instead, a Cozy Christmas is the way that we use our homes during the holiday season. In fact, there are more ways to have a Cozy Christmas, such as baking cookies or decorating the tree together. The key word is “together.”
How do you have a Cozy Christmas in your home?
My name is Lora Green and I blog at Craftivity Designs, where I document how we are creating our home. I believe that a home is about much more than design and decor – it should tell the story of a family. Our home must fit the needs of two small kids, a work-at-home mom, and a youth pastor dad. I want it to be a beautiful space, but it should be functional and meaningful, too. If you are trying to meld function and beauty, join me over at Craftivity Designs to share in this journey of creating a home.