Thoughts on Preparing for the Holidays

Ready or not, it’s here … the holiday season. For most of us, the first step in making the holidays magical is dressing our homes for the season, from trimming a tree to decking the mantel to setting a table for parties and feasts. Before you crack open all those boxes marked Christmas Decorations and begin your usual holiday decorating routine, pause for a moment. How do you want to celebrate and showcase the holidays in your home this year? Here are a few questions to ask yourself, to help make it the best season ever…


  1. Where am I in my life?

We go through so many seasons in our life. Your approach to holiday decorating should honor and reflect where you are now. For example, in the early days of Nell Hill’s, my grand old home in Atchison served as an extension of the store, a real-life showroom filled with ideas and inspiration for the guests who toured it during our Holiday Open House every year. We did things up BIG. Today, I live in a snug little cottage that’s not big enough to open up for tours. Our Christmas celebrations now are focused on family, the star of which is our granddaughter. We keep the décor simple and edited, with a few whimsical wonders thrown in to delight little Maeve.

How you decorate your home for the holidays will change with your stage of life. Don’t confine yourself to doing what you’ve “always” done, unless that’s exactly what you want to do now.


  1. What family traditions do I love?

Family traditions are often the heart of our holiday celebrations. No matter how old we are, we feel like a kid again, thanks to the cherished traditions that take us back to celebrations past. This year, ask yourself: Which family traditions do you absolutely love and want to continue? Are there any that you don’t enjoy, that you are doing out of habit or obligation? Maybe this is the year you let it go.

I also want to encourage you to embrace new traditions, adopting fun or interesting ideas you hear about. For example, a darling couple came into Nell Hill’s to redecorate their living room. They knew they wanted to keep their large coffee table because it’s here where their family gathers every Christmas morning to eat breakfast and play a special card game. I was thrilled days later when they came back to the store with a deck of cards for me, an invitation for my family to adopt this tradition, too.


  1. Do I have holiday décor that I no longer love?

Over time, our decorating tastes change. Chances are pretty good you will fall out of love with some of your holiday décor. The good news is we are not married for life to the baubles that captured our hearts way back when.

This year, as you unpack your boxes of décor, take a good, critical look at every single thing. If you don’t still love it, let it go. Donate it to a charity thrift store near you, so it can help those in need in our community while also finding a new home with someone who loves it as much as you used to.


  1. Is there a new holiday look I want to embrace?

Once you have weeded out the holiday décor you don’t want, make room for something new. There are so many great places to find inspiration for holiday decorating. Visit Nell Hill’s to see all our inspiration displays. Don’t live nearby? Follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

But don’t stop there. What else do you want to try this holiday season? Maybe you want to throw a party for friends and neighbors? Try a new recipe for your holiday feast? Is there a new gift-giving idea that intrigues you? Maybe you want to do something different on Christmas or New Year’s Day? Some folks spend it volunteering to feed the hungry in their community. Others run 5Ks to benefit a charity. Or, maybe your bliss is spending the whole day cocooned at home in your jammies. Whatever brings you joy, do it this holiday season. I hope this year’s celebration is merry and bright for you!