- Ideas & How-Tos
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Running low on inspiration for your Christmas decorations this year? Consider incorporating some Christmas traditions to help you stay inspired all season long. From reinvigorating old traditions to inventing new ones, exploring the ways that people have celebrated this holiday can help you cultivate your own creative Christmas ideas.
Center stage in any home's holiday décor is the Christmas tree. Choosing a theme for your family's Christmas tree can serve as an anchor for the rest of your decorations. From traditional, Old World charm to glitzy, glamorous fun, the design theme that you choose for your tree can give you the inspiration you need to get started on the rest of your home.
Find ways to incorporate new flavors into your family's classic Christmas fare. Explore Old-World flavors, like the French Yule Log Cake, which traditionally combined Genoise cake with chestnut puree in a rolled confection.
Easy Yule Log Cake
The Yule Log Cake is a traditional French confection, but this recipe has been adapted to make it less complicated. Your family can get a taste of the Old World without all the work.
1 package of cake mix (your flavor choice)
2 cans of chocolate frosting
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Grease and line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper.
Mix the cake according to the instructions on the package, and pour a thin layer into the jelly roll pan.
Bake the cake until it is just under-done.
Remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool until it is comfortable to touch.
Remove the cake from the pan using the wax paper.
Frost the top of the cake.
Carefully lift one end of the cake, and roll it up to create the log effect.
Anchor the cake with toothpicks, and let it cook for five more minutes.
Let the cake cool for 30 minutes, and then frost the outside of the cake. Use a toothpick to create the impressions of bark in the frosting.
Start a new tradition this year by creating a scrap book of your Christmas memories. Take pictures of your tree design, your mantle decorations, your preparations for holiday parties, and other events you attend this season, and display them in the book. Invite family members and guests who visit you to write about their favorite memories. Each year, you can use this record to help you stay inspired and to add continuity to your family's Christmas experience.
Hanging mistletoe in entryways is one of the oldest Christmas traditions that we still practice today. During the Middle Ages, mistletoe was regarded as a symbol of romance, fertility, and vitality. In the 19th century, the English-speaking world adopted the Scandinavian custom of hanging mistletoe in a home for the Christmas season, and any couple who met under a hanging branch was obligated to kiss. Incorporate this fun tradition into your Christmas decorations to add a touch of romance this holiday.
From hosting a potluck around your Christmas tree to organizing a dessert party for your kids’ friends, establishing a rhythm of holiday entertaining can create a lasting tradition that your family will cherish. Setting the date for these celebrations can also offer uninspired decorators a reason to get going with the holiday decorations.
Kids love decorating the Christmas tree, and incorporating a few Old World-inspired ornaments into your holiday rotation will add an old-fashioned feel to your Christmas celebration. Pierced tin hanging ornaments, strings of popcorn and cranberries, and Victorian paper ornaments are all traditional options for creating lasting Christmas memories for your children. Some families purchase new ornaments each year, combining the traditional pieces with new favorites for an eclectic look.
Candles first became a part of the Christmas tradition as a symbol of light during the dark winter months, reminding us that it will not be winter forever. Adding festive Christmas-scented candles to your home during the holidays can set the mood for celebration.
Establishing a yearly family project is a great way to set up some invaluable traditions in your home. From an annual gingerbread house project to creating decorative wreaths from scratch, finding rhythms for your yearly celebration will help you create memorable holiday activities that your children can pass on to future generations.
Christmas village houses, nativity scenes and other collectible Christmas decorations are fun for family shopping, and children love setting up these special items each year. If you've never been a collector, investigate specialty ornaments, culturally inspired items or other themed decorations to add kitschy, cool elements to your family's unique Christmas traditions.
Start small in your home by incorporating a few traditions at a time. From the simple purchase of a Christmas tree ornament that you particularly love, you can start a brand-new tradition that will inspire your family for years to come.