When you begin to see the all-too-familiar red and green decoration lights and LED string lights go up in stores, you know Christmas is just around the corner. You know what that means, right?
It’s time to plan your family Christmas. Put your Christmas tree up, don the wreath on the front door, and begin untangling all those LED string lights so you can get in on your neighborhood’s festive fun.
However, if you’re new to planning the best family Christmas possible, then you’re in the right place. Below, you can learn about what it takes for your Christmas preparations to go off without a hitch.
Before you can even think about where you’re going to house all your impending guests, you need to think big about decorations. Compile a list of things to dig out of the attic or purchase brand new, and put a plan in place for how and when you are going to decorate. Your list may look something like this:
- Christmas tree
- Decoration lights
- LED string lights
- Garden ornaments
While it’s quite a general list, there’s a reason for it. Every year, decoration lights on the market change. Manufacturers are forever upping their game, meaning there are many options at your disposal. Don’t limit your creativity. Take a look online or brave the stores to find decorations to suit.
How to Shop Successfully for Decorations for a Family Christmas
The first thing to do is go shopping for family Christmas decorations when no one else wants them – Boxing Day. You can brave the stores during the Boxing Day sales, or check out Boxing Day sales online. Typically, items such as Christmas trees, decoration lights, LED string lights, ceramic trees, wreaths, and Christmas tree stands are far more affordable at this time of year than any other. During the year, such items tend to be more expensive because stores are buying them in smaller quantities for a lesser demand.
Then, think about what you require and how much you will need. The more you buy of one item, the higher the chance of getting a better deal. If you intend on having your decorations up for the whole of December, try to steer away from “real” Christmas trees and wreaths. The last thing you want is to pick up dead pine needles off your living floor for weeks on end.
When it comes to LED string lights and decoration lights, there’s a method for purchasing the right ones, too. Read the manufacturer instructions carefully. Believe it or not, not all decoration lights are suitable for outdoor use. Pay attention to LED string lights as well. Some run on power, solar, battery, or USB power.
Some are also not suitable for use outdoors either. Given that it’s winter in the United States during Christmas, they need to be able to withstand at least a little bit of rain and snow. Failure to do your research may result in not quite the best family Christmas for which you had hoped!
Everyone knows that Christmas trees remain green all year round, which is why most people choose fir trees, spruce trees, and pine trees to feature in their living rooms once December hits. They stay green even in the midst of winter – something you can’t say about other trees. Ancient Egyptians also saw the year-round greenness as a triumph of life over death.
That’s not all Christmas trees and decorations meant, either. Many years ago, people took it one step further than that, hanging evergreen boughs on their windows and doors to keep away illness, ghosts, evil spirits, and even witches. It’s clear to see that Christmas trees came into existence for a reason, even if that meaning is now lost.
Now, we put Christmas trees up as a host for our Christmas presents. Some people still use fir, spruce, and pine trees, but others buy artificial Christmas trees online or in store. These sometimes look like their real counterparts, but some go in the other direction. It’s not uncommon to now find all manner of trees in different colors – some even with LED lighting to save you having to decorate them.
If you do want to decorate your Christmas tree, however, you will find there are options aplenty. Baubles, angels, stars, candy canes, tinsel, and LED string lights all take center stage on a tree, bringing it to life in the average American’s living room.
How to Decorate your Christmas Tree Properly for the Best Family Christmas
If all this talk of Christmas has you thinking of ways to make yours the best family Christmas yet, then it might be a good idea to purchase a Christmas tree, find all your Christmas decorations, and decorate! Here is what you will need:
- 6-7-foot Christmas tree (real or artificial)
- Tree skirt
- LED string lights
- Shining star for the top
- Candy canes
1. Once you have put the Christmas tree up or have purchased a live one, it’s time to decorate. Begin by making sure all the branches are where you want them to be. You can bend and alter artificial tree branches to suit.
2. With your heavier decorations, begin by placing them evenly around the bottom of the tree, so you have a full loop of decorations. Repeat this process until you have around four or five full layers of bells, baubles, and similar decorations.
3. The third step is to get your tinsel out and place one end at the far bottom right of the tree. Work your way up, walking around the tree, so it flows upward like a spiral staircase. You can use multiple colors in the opposite direction if you would prefer.
4. Add candy canes where people can reach them. Remember, the goal of adding candy canes to your Christmas tree is so little sneaky hands can reach for them when mom and dad aren’t looking!
5. Untangle those blasted LED string lights and put them on. Try to make sure you put them on evenly and with the end of them closest to the power supply. If they are battery powered, secure the battery pack in place. They are heavy, and if they slip out of the tree, they can bring it down with them.
6. If you have pets, as many Americans do, then the tree is like a fun and new playground. Both dogs and cats will see all those shiny tinsel strands, glowing baubles and flashing LED string lights and will immediately want to find out what they are. Try to deter them. Place a fireguard around your tree or restrict your pets’ access to the room with the Christmas tree.
How to Make Your Own Christmas Wreath
If you don’t dare brave the malls in the lead-up to Christmas, then why not make a wreath for your front door instead of buying one? Not only will your door not look like everyone else’s, but you can save yourself some money while flexing your creative muscles.
What You Will Need:
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Wire Snips
- Pruning scissors
- Hanging hardware
- Tree branch pieces (evergreen, pine, or fur)
1. Create wire into two circle shapes, one slightly larger than the other.
2. Add a wire piece between the two circles to add separation, hot gluing them in place
3. Once the glue dries, you should have a solid wire circle with an inner layer.
4. Gather your tree greenery and begin gluing it to the frame. Make sure you don’t leave any gaps.
5. Add ribbon and other decorations as you see fit
6. Adhere hanging hardware to the reverse side of the wreath so you can attach it to your door
How to Untangle LED Christmas Lights
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether you buy LED Christmas lights new or you pull them out of the attic; they come out in a messy ball. You may have painstakingly put them in without creating a tangled mess, but during the 12 months, since you last used them, they decided to intertwine into each other to make you upset.
However, you need LED Christmas lights to go with your decoration lights and to make the perfect family Christmas. Therefore, you need a plan. Below, you can learn how to untangle Christmas lights without wanting to kill someone.
1. Breathe. If you are already stressed, tired, on the brink of collapse or feeling like the Grinch, then now is not a good time to tackle those LED Christmas lights. Instead, do something else. If you still can’t find your zen, why not spend some time with a light therapy lamp for a sense of calm and to promote better sleep? You don’t want to tackle tangled lights when you’re cranky.
2. Line up all the sets of lights you will be using, categorizing them by where they go. For example, put all the outdoor lights together and all the ones you would use for your living room.
3. Find the plug on the first set of tangled LED Christmas lights. Once you find the plug, you can use it to help you through the untangling process. You will need to loop the plug in and out, under and over, all the tangled mess. Eventually, by doing this, you can come out the other side. But, it’s important not to get frustrated. If you pull on the lights, you may find yourself finally untangling them, and they don’t work.
4. Relax. Once you have untangled one lot of lights, take a break before moving on to the next. Planning your family Christmas is supposed to be fun, so don’t let a set of old Christmas lights get the better of you!
Twas the Night Before Christmas
As most parents know, getting children to sleep when Santa is visiting is nearly impossible. They get up on the hour every hour to check if the reindeer have eaten the carrots they left, almost catching Mom and dad trying to assemble all the fun new toys Santa bought at the store. Twas the night before Christmas, and the children were about to drive mom and dad batty.
That’s where sleeping devices come in handy – if not only for Christmas Eve but all nights leading up to it as well. To avoid tired and restless kids on Christmas day, you may like to invest in LED night lights and a light alarm clock.
What Is an LED Night Light?
An LED night light is a product that parents use to get their children to go to sleep. Sometimes, it features a fun space theme, moving lights, or a warm white glow to scare away those monsters in the closet. Some of them even offer white noise, gentle music, or the option to sync it to mobile devices to play your own music. The primary goal of an LED night light, however, is to help provide a comfortable and calm place for your child to go to sleep.
They become more critical around Christmas than any other time of the year. Fortunately, too, you are spoiled for choice online. There is an abundance of LED night lights for sale at competitive prices, and with the same goal as you – to get some peace before Santa arrives.
What is a Light Alarm Clock?
If you are not a morning person, night person, or you struggle to get to sleep or wake up in the morning, then a light alarm is for you. It’s also for your children too! A light alarm lulls you gently to sleep with a sunset simulation and white noise, before waking you up with a sunrise stimulation too. The light begins to turn on around half an hour before you need to rise, gradually getting brighter, so your body realizes the time for sleep is over.
These light alarm clocks are also beneficial for letting children know when it’s okay to get up. Some have fun faces that turn on to alert kids to when it’s not okay to get up, when it’s time to go to bed, and when it’s time to get up and play.
The next step to planning the best family Christmas and holiday is to think about the logistics of housing your guests, so they are comfortable. If you lack space, doing so can be a logistical nightmare but not altogether impossible.
Firstly, write a list of who needs accommodation in your home. Then, draw a floor plan of your home with squares representing the current beds, and ovals representing areas in which you can place new beds. This part may involve dusting off the old pull-out stretcher from the attic or investing in new ones.
Make sure you have enough bedding, sleeping bags, and pillows for all your new temporary guests. The last thing you want is for your guests to wake up cold during the night! But, all the comforts of home can be the least of your worries. You also need to cater to anyone with sleep problems – such as children. Talk to family members about whether their children need to sleep with specific items or in particular conditions.
You may need to look at purchasing a light alarm clock or LED night lights to help make the experience a more pleasurable one for all. While you’re looking at light products, why not check out light therapy lamps to help with your stress levels as you try to make it through this challenging time!
Finally, think about the items your guests will be using while they stay in your home. Buy or check quantities of the following:
- Toilet paper
- Shampoo + conditioner
- Washing powder
You may have enough for your own family, but what about when your house is full, and the stores are not open?
How to Shop Successfully for Guests Staying During Family Christmas
When you know you’re going to have a full house, you may need to open your wallet to cater to them. When you’re out shopping for a Christmas tree, LED string lights, wreaths, and other such items, think about those everyday items of which you’ll need a lot.
Look out for bulk bargains online and instore. And, when it comes to buying stretchers and pull-out beds, see if you can buy them online to save the hassle of carting them home. You are bound to find the internet is full of exciting and inexpensive surprises.
If you thought decorating your new Christmas tree, untangle LED string lights, or getting decoration lights to look great was a challenge – try catering to a house full of hungry guests! If you’re not much of a cook but you’ve put your hand up to host Christmas dinner, there are a few things you can do.
Firstly, don’t take on the entire burden yourself. Where possible, delegate side dishes to family members to bring with them. It’s not possible without stress to put together a myriad of delicious meals in one day.
If you intend on cooking a turkey or chicken to feed an army, then plan it well in advance. Buy and thaw the bird in advance and start preparing early in the day. We’ve all seen the movies with turkey disasters. Avoid that being in your house!
To help with Christmas day stress, some people turn to a light therapy lamp, aspirin, and crying, but it’s crucial to take things in your stride. Write a list of things you need to buy, dishes to prepare, and separate all your ingredients along with their recipes. You’ve got this!
Once you have got the house looking beautiful with Christmas decorations, you’ve laid out the logistics for housing everyone, and you’ve even got gifts wrapped under the Christmas tree, then it’s time to plan your Christmas treats. After all, how can it be the best family Christmas ever if there’s not a truffle in sight? Here are a few excellent options for gifting to friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
- Sugar cookies
- Mini cupcakes
- Jam sandwich cookies
- Sugar cookie ornaments
All of these can be bite-sized treats, which means they are easy to gift wrap and offer to friends and family. Put them in a small box, add a cellophane bunching at the top, then tie it with ribbon.
When you’re trying to plan the best family Christmas yet, it can seem like an impossible task. Without an endless supply of money, how are you supposed to please everyone? The truth is, you won’t. However, there are a few things you can do to ease the burden, especially if many relatives are staying at your home which you may feel obliged to offer gifts.
1. Children Only
If your family Christmas is going to be quite an extravagant affair with children everywhere, then you may like to consider imposing a rule of gifts for children only. After all, Christmas is about family, but the magic lies with the children. Arrange a chat with all the adults attending the Christmas get-together to see if everyone is agreeance. You may find that they were equally as worried about gift giving as you are.
2. Secret Santa
Secret Santa is where all the names of those attending your family Christmas affair go into a hat. Everyone then draws a name out and has to buy a gift for that person with a dollar value budget. No one knows who gives and receives each present, but you must let the person holding the hat know if you get your own name so you can draw another. Doing Secret Santa means that no one misses out on a gift, but no one spends too much either.
3. Start Early
If you are of the belief that everyone deserves at least one gift from you to make it the best family Christmas yet, then start early. Use Boxing Day sales as an opportunity to prepare for the following year. Children are quite easy to buy for, but adults tend to be a little harder. You can’t go wrong with towel sets, candle sets, and similar housewares that are bound to get some use. If you spread out these purchases throughout the year, you may find you’re not short of money once December arrives.
Planning a family Christmas affair can take several weeks, but even though it’s a significant undertaking, it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Take things as they come, put steps in place, and ask for help. Before long, the big day will arrive, and you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.