Deck the House

It’s that time of the year again when you start to think about decorating your house for the holidays.  Argh… is one of the first thoughts that may come to mind for many adults, when we think about this hefty endeavor.  Many parents are already tired, overworked and have too much on their plates.  The thought of adding another task can be overwhelming. That is just when the kids will say, “let’s decorate the house, it’ll be fun!”

You can make it fun. Let’s start by involving the entire family in the decorating festivities, instead of dreading the work it takes to decorate your house. You can follow some of these ideas and plans to get your family started.

1) Set up a family meeting – Get everyone involved in this family project.  Set up a day or days and times that everyone can dedicate to just decorating.  Put it on the family calendar on the fridge and make sure that everyone has committed to it.

2) Check out your inventory – Have the kids (with adult supervision if needed) pull out all the holiday decorations that you currently have for the season.  Then, as a family, decide on a budget for the other needed supplies or decorations.  Then hit the discount stores or resale shops for supplies and try to keep it under budget. 

*A good tip to remember for the end of the holiday season is to neatly organize and put away decorations in an identified space that is easy to retrieve for the next year.

3) Areas to decorate – This can be the big question for the kids.  What areas of the house are we going to decorate?  Trying to decorate every nook and cranny can be overwhelming and very expensive.  So start off small and expand on your areas each year. 

Ask the children if they want to decorate the inside or outside? Then you can get started.  If they chose the inside they may want to decorate the table, the kitchen, the living room or maybe even the bathroom.  Let them choose what areas to decorate.  Remember we want to make decorating a fun filled family time and not a stressful event.  If they decide on decorating the outdoor area maybe they may want to consider the front door, front yard, porch or patio.

4) Make and/or pick decorations –However, to make it easy you want to start by using the decorations that you currently have at the house. 

Once you have done that then you get to the real creative stuff…making some homemade decorations. 

Some ideas for decorating…

· Decorate Bowls & Baskets –This project is a great excuse to utilize old baskets or bowls that maybe from previous gifts that you have piled up in a closet just wasting space. Let’s the kids have a ball picking out a few good baskets to display some of their holiday decorations or art projects from school.  They can also gather some pine cones and decorate them with glitter and display them too.  Let the kids use their imaginations to see what they can design for their creations.

If they want to get really creative they can also gather some old glass vases or jars and fill them with holiday balls or garland.  Try not to be judgmental with their design choices.  As their parent, we need to proudly display all of their lovely crafts.

· Popcorn or stringing beads – Stringing popcorn or beads is a fun inexpensive way to create a fun decoration for any holiday.  All you need is string, needles and pop up some popcorn or gather up some beads and you are ready to get started.  Have fun and be creative.  You definitely need to consider a child’s age and ability when working with this craft activity.

· Countdown paper chain – A paper chain project can be great for all ages.  The children can cut strips of paper, in their favorite colors, number them and hook them together.  Find a great place to display your creation and let the countdown begin.  Each night a different family member can cut off one of the pieces of the chain to display how many days are left for the big day.

· Christmas wreaths and swags –Children love to go on nature hikes.  This is a great opportunity to explore the outdoors with your children.  Have them gather pieces of branches, pine cones, and other greenery that they can use for their homemade wreath.  All you need for supplies are some glue, paper plates, scissors and a ton of imagination.

*Another good tip for next year is to stock up at the after holiday sales to find some great decorations for good prices.

Finally the ultimate goal when decorating your home is to have fun, spend quality time with your family and end up with a holiday display that everyone had a hand in creating.  Remember that your family can add many of their own traditions to make it special.  If you want to add a little zip to your holiday decorating you can always add some healthy snacks, warm hot chocolate and holiday music playing in the background. The point is to discover, as a team what works best for your family.  Happy Decorating to all!

Kelli DiDomenico is Director of Parent and Community Relations at The Children’s Workshop.  With over 20 years of experience, Kelli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College and ran her own child care business before rejoining The Children’s Workshop family team in 2010.