17 Simple Ideas for Making Your Home Cozy and Bright This Holiday Season

Jennifer Geer

You don't have to go to a lot of trouble to get a Christmas vibe in your home.

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To keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, most of us will be spending quite a bit more time at home this holiday season than is usual. We may as well make our homes as cheerful as possible. Read on for some tips on bringing the Christmas spirit directly into your home.

17 Easy Ways to Get Your Holiday Vibe On

1. Put on the Christmas music. The first step to creating your holiday vibe is playing your favorite holiday songs. Nothing sets a mood quite as well as music can. Play your holiday favorites while you decorate the house and wrap presents to feel that holiday spirit.

2. Decorate your home with live pine boughs. A real Christmas tree smells divine and can be a fun holiday tradition. It can also be a lot of work and loads of dropped pine needles. You can still have that fresh pine scent and cheery atmosphere when you decorate with live cuttings of pine branches. And that's without all the watering hassles, and vacuuming up of needles.

3. Hang wreaths on your walls. Holiday wreaths don't have to be used only on the front door. Hang some around the house on your walls for a traditional, woodsy vibe to your holiday. You can use real wreaths or artificial ones. If you choose live pine wreaths, be aware that indoors they will probably last about two weeks.

4. Get a tabletop Christmas tree. Mini trees are the perfect solution for small spaces. Even if you have a regular-sized tree, you can still stash a few of these around the house. They take up very little space and can be placed almost anywhere; on the fireplace mantle, kitchen island, coffee table, desk. They're also a fun idea for a kid's room. Children love decorating their own little tree with smaller sized ornaments.

5. Fill your house with delicious baking smells. There are easy recipes for holiday baking that don't take a lot of time or ingredients. The smell of something sweet baking fresh in the oven is heavenly.

6. Watch Christmas shows. Holiday shows are magical and comforting. Watching old ones you loved as a child can be a nostalgic trip back into heartening memories.

7. Light a fire in the fireplace. Or stream one. Get a roaring fire going in your fireplace for some winter-time ambiance. Or even better, go to a streaming service like Netflix or YouTube and stream a crackling fire straight to your TV, without any smoke or clean-up required.

8. Hang up twinkling fairy lights. There are so many LED options for lights these days. They don't even need an outlet, as most are battery operated. You can have white lights, yellow, multicolored, or even changing colors. They don't need to be relegated only to your tree. Hang them up around your fireplace mantle or along bookshelves or hallways for some Christmas magic vibes.

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9. Have cozy blankets for snuggling under at close reach. A nice throw blanket on your couch or armchair gives a decorative touch while making it easy to be comfortable. Cozy blankets around the house add warmth and comfort to your living space.

10. Make homemade wrapping paper. Personalize your gift-giving this year by making DIY wrapping paper. It will make underneath your tree look like you are at Martha Stewart's house. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

11. Pull out your crockpot and make apple cider or hot cocoa. A slow cooker filled with apples and cinnamon creates sublime scents. And at the end of the day, you will have a tasty, warm beverage to sip. If hot cocoa is more your style, there are easy recipes for that too. If you'd like to upgrade it to an adult beverage, you can add in a mixer of your favorite spirit into your mug.

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12. Find your inner DIYer and make your own Christmas decorations. These can be more sophisticated than your kid's kindergarten masterpieces. (Although the kindergarten masterpieces are also delightful.) Here is a list of ideas to get you started.

13. Make popcorn garland for the birds and hang it in your trees. This is an old-fashioned way to spruce up your evergreen trees for the holidays. Use air-popped popcorn and string it on some thread with a needle. It will make your outside trees look festive, and the birds will love it. Add some butter and salt to a batch for snacking on yourself while you make your garland.

14. Make an easy gingerbread house with a kit or use graham crackers. You can go all out and make a gingerbread house with homemade gingerbread. Or you can buy a store-bought kit for convenience. For a compromise between the two, you can use graham crackers and icing to fashion a festive and tasty house. Decorate it with your favorite candy.

15. Decorate with fresh holiday flowers. You've probably heard to avoid bringing poinsettias into your home if you have small children or animals. As it turns out, these plants aren't nearly as toxic as was reported. They are "mildly irritating" if ingested. You still need to keep them away from small children and pets. But, according to WebMD, a child would have to eat 500 leaves for it to be fatal. Here's a tip from WebMD as well. Be more worried about kids and pets getting into alcohol left in glasses, ornaments that look like food, or holly berries. Unlike poinsettias, holly berries are very toxic.

16. Use candlelight for creating a feeling of warmth. Like twinkling lights, candles give off an aura of coziness. Add a few candles to each room, (make them scented for extra holiday ambiance) to brighten up the room and create cozy holiday vibes.

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17. Make fun memories. Holiday memories last forever. Create some special ones with your family by being together. Get everyone together for a game night. You can pull out the board games, or even play video games. The idea is to spend the evening together, not everyone off separately on their devices. Some of the best memories of the holidays come from having fun together with the ones you love.

It doesn't have to take a lot of money to create holiday vibes in your house. Some simple things like homebaked cookies, Christmas movies, holiday music, and twinkling lights can make you feel the Christmas spirit has arrived.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL
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