Creating a cozy home is an important aspect of the holiday season!
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is coming home! There is something about the scents, sounds, the warm lights, and most of all the people who are there. It has been said that “Home is not a place. It is a feeling.” It’s up to us, the keepers of the home, to create that feeling of a cozy home that people keep coming back for.
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Lighting and Scents-the start of creating a cozy home
When our daughter was little and we would come home to a dark house she would always say, “Mom, where are the “warm lights?” In my family room I have 6 lamps, 3 strands of copper wire white lights, a Himalayan Salt Lamp, 8 candles including tea lights and a Scentsy Lamp. We also have lots of overhead lights but the “warm lights” are the lamps, candles and strands. I also have a ton of battery operated candles around. Most of those I got online as well.
- Favorite places to buy lights are Marshall’s, TJ Max, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby (50-% off sale).
- I always buy my light strands online. They are the copper wire ones-I have them on my mantle and on a little tree I have on a table behind the couch. Make sure you get the warm lights and not the cool LED. I also get the battery operated candle online as well. Amazon is a favorite for these things.
- All my candles are DW Home. I LOVE THEM! They burn long and they burn all the wax so there isn’t left over wax in the jar. I get them online but sometimes they carry them at Marshall’s and TJ Max.
- If you have never used Scentsy Wax Melts-BUY THEM NOW. They have beautiful warmers and the wax is the best! Some of my favorite Fall Scents are Cozy Fireside, Christmas Cottage, Cinnamon Bear, Juniper Berry and Welcome Home.
The ambience that the lights and smells create together makes an amazing addition to creating a cozy home.
Cozy Blankets and pillows
I LOVE blankets! I am always cold. I have even been known to wear a light jacket in Hawaii! I have blankets out all through the year but in the fall my favorite blankets come out! They are soft, plush and beautiful! I don’t like to buy my blankets online because I do like to feel them before I buy them. You simply must have blankets when creating a cozy home! Throw pillows are a different story. I buy a lot on line. I especially like the word message ones!
- Favorite places to buy blankets- once again- Marshall’s, TJ Max, Home Goods and I would add Ross on this list
- One more thing I would add are throw pillows- all these stores have GREAT throw pillows as well. There is something about falling into a couch filled with soft throw pillows!
A few years ago, I took a class at BYU Education Week on The Power of Music in The Home. It had a huge impact on me and I have learned the importance of the feeling music can bring to our home. Saturday mornings I can guarantee that is you put on some Beach Boys, Billy Joel or other upbeat music, chores will get done faster and with less complaining! Whenever we have a party, it does not become a party until the music is playing! I always try to have some classical music playing in the background. Often it is on dish on the TV but sometimes I just play it from the computer on I-tunes. My favorite classical’s are ensemble or symphonies.The kids study better, we have the Spirit here more often and it brings a rich, full feeling into our home. A key to creating a cozy home for the holidays!
So the perks of music in creating an inviting, warm home:
- Allows the Spirit to reside more easily
- Calms my soul
- Studies have been done to prove that children can focus better when classical music is quietly playing in the background.
- Upbeat music for Saturday chores helps with attitude and getting chores done faster (as does bribing with a 1/2 gallon of their own ice cream!-another post)
One of my favorite parts of fall is making a Hot Cocoa Bar in the house. I stock it with 5-6 different flavors of Hot Chocolate as well as spiced Cider packets. I have an electric Tea Kettle right there to heat up hot water in about 3 minutes. Sometimes we just heat up cups of milk in the microwave as well. We add several different Torani Syrups (the kind you would use for an Italian Soda Bar). The kids love to add the flavors. For Fall we usually have vanilla, caramel, salted caramel and coconut is a favorite as well. If you like fruit and chocolate together you could always add a swig of raspberry! In December we like to add candy Canes and Andes mints to mix the cocoa. We always have Coffee Mate Creamer on hand. Our favorite is french vanilla but we also like caramel, hazelnut, they even have a thin mint flavor.
We have packets of Swiss Miss for easy mixing but we also have cans of Stephen’s, Cadbury and Junior Mint. When company comes we go all out with warm milk (kept warm in my 60 cup hot drink dispenser). For company, I set up the Hot Cocoa Bar outside on the front porch for visitors to help themselves to as they enter. We have made stirring spoons . We have bowls of mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallow, cans of whip cream, chocolate sprinkles and don’t forget the chocolate and caramel syrup! A few years ago I ordered chocolate/mint stirring sticks in my bulk Hershey Order. Yummm!
Favorite brands of Hot Chocolate and Apple Cider: Stephen’s, Cadbury, Swiss Miss, Ghirardeli Sweet Ground Cocoa, Alpine Apple Cider, Junior Mint
- Favorite mix-in’s: Crushed candy cane, mini chocolate chips, Junior Mints, vanilla chips, Torani Syrups- vanilla, caramel, salted caramel, coconut (usually get this flavor at World Market. They do not always have it at the grocery store), Creamers in different flavors
- Toppings: Extra Creamy Whip Cream, Chocolate and Caramel Syrup, Chocolate Sprinkles
All of these things are usually available at your local grocery store. (Except for Cadbury)
Another part of warm food is baking! I love to bake! Cookies, breads, cakes…it all brings back memories of home. There is something about a fresh plate of warm cookies, pumpkin bread or a hot loaf of bread just out of the oven that takes me right back to my Grandma Thiess’ home. Comfort food-it definitely adds to creating a cozy, inviting home for the holidays! Keep your eyes out for recipes coming soon with my FAVORITE homemade wheat bread, Michelle’s Pumpkin Cookies, and THE BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe! When I make the time to bake, it invokes many memories of my childhood.
All of these put together will make you realize that you have been successful in your quest to create a cozy home!