A completed puzzle with different candies printed on it.

Cost-Effective Holiday Gift Ideas

One of the goals my family and friends have been trying to implement this year has been to think before we spend this holiday season. So, how does someone go into the holiday season not worrying about overspending? Many people gravitate toward gifts with more meaning, something from the heart with a little thought put into it rather than emptying their wallet on the latest trendy gadget or game. While some people are creative enough to make their own holiday gifts, others are not so versatile. So, here are some ideas that hopefully will make the holiday season less expensive and thoughtful for everyone. 

Make a Playlist – The gift of song is something everyone enjoys. But, to actually put an ensemble of songs together for someone can be very personal and meaningful. This is an especially good ideas when thinking of gift ideas for people who may harder to buy for (such as finding gifts for dad). Plus, it’s the gift that keeps on giving all throughout the year every time they press play on their smart device.

Share a Meal – Let’s face it, everyone has to eat. So, besides being a necessity, turn a mealtime into a fun holiday gift idea by cooking something special for someone. You supply the groceries and the recipes or theme for the meal and whip up something delicious. Not only will you be making memories, the food and company will be very much appreciated especially for someone older who may not get enough time with the people they love, or don’t get out much.

Surprise Bag – Aren’t you always amazed at the great things you can find at the Dollar stores? So are we – from art supplies and Christmas decorations to kitchen gadgets and toiletries, these stores have a lot to offer for less. For someone who may have just moved into a new place, a gift of kitchen and household gadgets would be well appreciated. Or, how about a craft basket or storage bin? Fill it with art supplies, construction paper, paints, yarn, glitter, you name it. Just walk around the store and you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to come up with a theme. You can even use this approach to come up with plenty of stocking stuffer ideas.

Feeling Puzzled? – Buy an inexpensive challenging puzzle and spend time helping someone put it together. You can even frame it when completed. Putting a large puzzle together offers a challenge especially for younger children, while at the same time allows you to spend quite a bit of time with this special someone.

A completed puzzle with different candies printed on it.
A colorful, festive puzzle can be a brilliant way to spend times with loved ones while engaging in a fun challenge.

A Gift from the Heart – Spend a minute on Pinterest and you’ll find countless ways to make something for a family member or friend this holiday season. Some of our favorites include candy, sweet treats like cookies, breads or cakes, a gingerbread house, candles, bath salt scrub, mixed spiced nuts or even steak or barbecue seasoning rub. And, if you are too crafty or skillful in the kitchen, then look to Etsy and find someone who is and makes things inexpensively.

A freshly made gingerbread house.
Few gifts are more heartfelt and special than those that clearly show the effort and care that went into their creation.

Garden-inspired – If you’re a gardener, then there are lots of ways to share your garden goodies with others. Clipping some flowers and arranging them in an inexpensive vase is sure to bring a smile to someone’s face. Or, if you love growing veggies and herbs, then a gift of dried herbs or a jar of homemade salsa from your abundance of tomatoes over the summer will be gladly received with joy. A beautiful bouquet of flowers is particularly nice when looking for gifts for mom, and serves as a beautiful centerpiece in main living areas.

A bouquet of flowers on top of a glass table.
A beautiful bouquet can add comfort to your living space while brightening your partners day for weeks to come.

Make an Ornament – Buy a container of ornaments and let the kids decorate away! This is one of those Christmas gift ideas that’s hard to go wrong with. These sweet gestures of love will be a fond memory every year when they get hung on the tree.

Netflix and Chill – If the holiday season has your family and friends pulled in a thousand different directions, then why not create a gift of relaxation – set time aside to relax and enjoy each other’s company with an evening of movies. Let them select their favorites and you supply the candy and popcorn and the night will be perfect!

Make it Meaningful – Maybe you have a way with words, or the person you’re giving to means so much to you that the feeling of them in your life is easy to put on paper. Write a poem or find a quote or quotes and simply write it down. Put it in a frame or print it on paper in a pretty font. This is a gift that won’t soon be forgotten. 

Your Favorite Book – For all those readers out there, why not take your favorite book from the last year or perhaps a few favorites and pay them forward. Books also tend to make very good gifts for men, as nobody can resist a good story that piques their interests. All fellow readers love to receive a really good book. Then, after they’ve read it, plan a coffee date to talk about it.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – Photos spark memories that last a lifetime. Whether you choose one great photo of you and the person you’ve giving to, or you put together a book or album, it will be cherished especially since it’s rare that anyone develops their photos anymore and they tend to get lost on your smart device.

We hope these ideas will get you motivated to give from the heart rather than the wallet this year! Happy Holidays! 

A pumpkin and group of apples resting on a tray that sits on top of an ottoman.

As the Seasons Change, So Does the Decor

An In-depth Look at Seasonal Decorating Ideas

While some homeowners are graced with warm, yet breezy weather year round, others may prefer to enjoy what Mother Nature brings their way with the changing of the seasons. Perhaps you love to watch the leaves change in color when the crisp cool air of fall settles in, or maybe you enjoy those snowy, winter days curled up on the sofa in your country house. Whatever your favorite season, most homeowners would agree that when nature begins to change its appearance, so does the decor of the home. Thankfully, most homes can be transformed to reflect the season with little time and investment.

A vase full of flowers with other decorations and a fish tank on top of a glass end table.
Decorative vases with beautiful bright flowers and other unique accessories provide a tasteful, summer accent to this living space.

Every so often homeowners are graced with a winter day that feels like spring has finally decided to pay a visit. Or perhaps you prefer the first break in the summer heat when the crisp cool of fall is just around the corner. Whatever the favorite season, many homeowners can agree that when nature starts to change its appearance, its time to start the search for new home decorating ideas. Thankfully, any home can turn over a new decorative leaf for the season with minimal effort and investment. It’s easier than you think!

Seasonal Color Ideas

The key to rotating seasonal décor is acknowledging the significance of layers. Just as people layer clothing to enjoy whatever Mother Nature springs on us next, homes require layers of décor to be functional. The layer that requires attention first is that of color. To begin thoughts on your seasonal decorating ideas, start thinking about the temperature. Cooler temperatures call for fall home decor, a style characterized by warmer tones that add comfort and coziness to any sized space- think of deep scarlet and plum, golds and oranges. This is especially important as you consider living room decor ideas, as the living room tends to see much heavier use throughout the cooler months. Warmer temps are great for showing off light and airy touches, perfectly accented by soothing blues, greens, and vibrant sun colors.

A pumpkin and group of apples resting on a tray that sits on top of an automan.
Warm, layered textures provide a sense of coziness and comfort as the temperature outside begins to fall.

 For easy and dramatic switches from one situation to another, it’s best to start off with a neutral palette. Note that neutral does not mean “white” or “boring.” Neutral can be any shade of a color you want to work with in both settings. Example: green paint can be warmed up with darker greens and deep reds, while warm temps may call for splashes of white and yellow to brighten up the space. The accents will make an impact, so long as the foundation is fairly flexible.

A living room with red furniture and a Christmas Tree.
Using accented accessories in a neutral colored living space is a great way to add strong, seasonal ambience to your living spaces.

Once the colors have been determined, it’s time to decide how to apply that color. The simplest way to approach this is by painting the walls the “neutral” color and using throws, pillows, rugs, and other accessories to pack a punch. These little bits and pieces add so much to décor without breaking the budget. Look for fabrics reflective of the season to add comfort and texture to the color dimensions. Faux fur, chenille, and velvet are all warm and inviting as autumn decorations, a comforting addition to the home as the cold weather of the fall and winter months settle in. Cottons and gauzy fabrics are perfectly cool when warm weather threatens to overwhelm.

A Seasonal Look at Decor

In addition to the basic décor materials, look at changing out books, pictures, and centerpieces. Rotating personal collections depending on the season allows homeowners to display many more treasures without having a cluttered and awkward living space. You should also consider what scents to indulge in depending on the time of year. Spicy candles are delicious in the cooler months but may be too warm and heavy when the weather turns. 

The last layer to make a significant impact is that of lighting. Whatever colors and fabrics you may have chosen, nothing can be properly admired without the right ambiance. Some seasons’ earlier sunsets mean a lack of natural light. This calls for candles, fireplaces, and more general lighting in living spaces (for fall decorating ideas on a budget, you would be surprised at how much a few well placed candles can liven up a space!) When the long days of summer return, window shades are thrown open and extra lamps are rarely needed. Play with home lighting to see what may best suit your home.