By Mandy Schiess, owner, On The Avenue Home Decor & Gifts


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For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been my favorite day of the year. As a child I remember anxiously awaiting my parent’s approval for us to dash into the front room to see what Santa brought. I remember the taste of the homemade banana bread we ate while opening presents. I remember wrapping paper being scattered every- where as we enjoyed the gifts that were left under the tree. I remember the simple, magical feeling of having our family together: It was as though the world had stopped and nothing was expected of any of us for the day. Oh, how I treasure those memories and feelings from childhood!

I now find myself recreating that same Christmas excitement in my own home, and for my own family, each holiday season. I must admit I start thinking about Christmas as soon as the air turns crisp. For me, one month just isn’t enough of the Christmas smells, food or decorations. A couple of years ago a friend and I decided to start working on Christmas in September. We got together once a week from September to November and began creating for the Christmas season ahead. She has a great talent for sew- ing, and I love woodworking. We shared our talents with each other, and by the time the month of December rolled around my home was transformed into a beautiful Christmas oasis. I learned so much about creating MY perfect Christmas home that year.

I believe creating the perfect Christmas home is all about finding the style you love, and then bringing it to life. I prefer a rustic, country feel, and I absolutely love decorating every inch of my home. I have trees of all sizes in every room (including a rooster tree in my kitchen). You may be thinking, ”This lady is crazy,” because decorating an entire home can be a HUGE undertaking. However, by following these five tips you too can create a cozy Christmas feeling in your home with ease and enjoyment (and on a budget!):

Home-For-The-Holidays-4Tip 1Don’t Be Afraid to Start Early: Start collecting or making things that match your style months before the Christmas season. I love the handcrafted look, but I definitely don’t have time to make it all during the month of December, so I start early.

Tip 2Set the Mood With Holiday Smells and Sounds: I love burning candles and melting wax cubes through- out our home. I prefer spicy cinnamon smells during the Christmas season. It is also fun to listen to Christmas mu- sic or watch Christmas movies while decorating.

Tip 3Use What You Have: I love incorporating photos of my children into my tree décor. Purchase small frames at the dollar store and spray paint them to match your décor. Wrap dollar store ornaments in your favorite fabric. This year I purchased large bouncy balls and wrapped them in burlap. They look fantastic.

Tip 4Have Your Decorations Up By December 1: This allows you to enjoy the fun of the holiday season without worrying about decorating.

Tip 5Find Your Own Style: If it looks and feels good to you, stick to it!