Plot and plan. That’s how we got through what turned out to be a festive frenzy. What was going to be a cozy Christmas of just the three of us – puppy included – celebrating the holiday together for the first time in our new house turned into double the fun. Since we got the call that a few relatives were coming to town for a week over the holidays, we went into planning and shopping mode for a total of 5 adults and 2 dogs, and an entire house to decorate.
Planning ahead allowed us to think creatively about gifts, decide what decorations we needed to fill our space, and budget for holiday spending. We put together a list of everyone we planned to shop for – our entire immediate families, which includes parents, stepparents, siblings, nieces, kids and pets, some of whom were spending the holidays at our house – and all the decorations we needed to fill a space considerably bigger than the one-bedroom apartment we’d been renting in Brooklyn the previous Christmas.
Some people are magicians when it comes to thinking of the perfect gift. I am not. And with so many relatives to buy for, including people who would be opening their presents in front of us, the pressure was on! So we thought about what would be the most useful. One niece recently moved to the Pacific Northwest from Texas, so we thought, fleece! Two people flew out to a tropical vacation today, two days after Christmas, so we bought them snorkel gear, a sarong and flip flops. One person used to warm weather is staying with us for a few extra weeks so we bought her a knit hat.
This year, to fill the house, we bought decor from Wayfair, Amazon, Etsy and Target, including a cranberry wreath and sleigh bells for our front door, handmade felted garland, Scandinavian family stockings for the three of us and stocking holders from Target and Amazon. In addition, my parents dropped off several boxes of old ornaments and decorations that I grew up with, including stockings that we are using for our guests and as decoration.
We have a tradition of buying ornaments on all of our travels to add to the tree each year and 2015 was no different. In carrying on with that tradition, we went to a local store and bought new ornaments and garland as decoration to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home and new town. We have shopped smart by filling in with what we need, collecting over time, and looking for vintage or used decorations to save money and add a hint of nostalgia to our holiday.
We hope our first Christmas in our new house – and entertaining a houseful of human and canine guests – was a success!