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Simply Inspired Holidays: First Things First

WELCOME! I’m so thrilled to begin our holiday series. This series something I’ve been wanting to do to inspire myself as much as something I’m excited to share with you all. With Thanksgiving in the U.S. still coming up and of course Christmas after that (and New Year’s following at the end of the year), we’re obviously coming up on a very busy season! Whether we are planning our festivities and coordinating all the get-togethers, decorating and setting up the tree, buying gifts or just cleaning the house so it doesn’t look like a bomb went off, there’s just a lot to do this time of year.

Rather than going on one extreme and stressing out trying to do ALL THE UNNECESSARY THINGS or swing to the other side and do NOTHING SPECIAL (and end up feeling like I missed out), I want to find simple ways to be fully present and enjoy the experiences and festiveness of the season.

Simply Inspired Holidays: First Things First

Have you thought about what you want your holidays and home to feel like this year? As a disclaimer, I haven’t started decorating my house for Christmas yet (all the photos in this post are from years past), so not to worry, I won’t be rushing ahead to the finish line or skipping right past Thanksgiving (for those of us in the U.S.). There’s about zero risk of me making anyone feel behind. But in the days and weeks ahead I can’t wait to find and share inspiration for all the wonder and sparkle of the season so we can make our holiday everything we want it to be.

As I mentioned, this series is called Love the Home You Have: Simply Inspired Holidays.

I believe that if we begin this season with an intentional focus on gratitude, we’ll be inspired to create a special atmosphere in our home for celebrating.

When we remember that is a blessing and gift to be able to create a cozy and festive home for our family to celebrate, we’ll savor the process and enjoy our home even more.

If we keep things simple, we’ll keep the focus on what really matters (and not feel like a frazzled mess in the process!).

Simply Inspired Holidays: First Things First

Simply Inspired Holidays: First Things FirstSo first things first!

  1. Let’s create a vision in our minds for what matters MOST to us this season. 
  2. What are you most grateful for? Ask yourself how gratitude can help you shape your holiday plans and expectations. 
  3. How will you create a simple but festive environment for celebrating in your home? What might you choose to skip in order to savor the season? Make a list of your plans and priorities.

You don’t have to do it all, but what you choose to do can be meaningful to your family and help set the tone for celebrating and memory making.

I definitely start to feel more inspired once I get a vision for where I’m headed and why. I can’t wait to get started!

Simply Inspired Holidays: First Things First

Note: The series won’t necessarily be posted every day (since I still want to give you updates on our kitchen remodel and will have other random things I will want to talk about in between), but it will be posted several times a week through the end of the year. See you tomorrow!

UPDATE! Read this whole series HERE


  1. Cathy

    I love the idea of keeping holiday decor simple. We go away, usually for a couple of weeks, over Christmas, so I don’t do full on Christmas decorating. Thanksgiving has already passed here in Canada. If I don’t do a little “something,” though, I feel like I’m missing out. It’s wonderful what few special touches can do to set the holiday mood!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I usually have a tree (or three ha) by our thanksgiving :). Our holidays are so close together I like to enjoy my tree and lights longer and not cram it all into December (even if we decorate the teee later, the lights on a tree are so pretty at Thanksgiving!) I like to let our decor all evolve slowly and simply. Enjoy!

      • Anne

        If you all want the holiday spirit to last longer, you can leave your tree and decorations up until Epiphany/Twelfth Night, because that’s the 12th day of Christmas and technically the end of the Christmas season (on the liturgical calendar, IDK?). We have done this for the last dozen years or so and it really keeps the dud feelings from settling in after the Christmas Day frenzy has evaporated. Keep the glow going!

        • liz

          I’ve always kept my decorations up till after 12th night. But, when we were small, my parents did not put up the tree until after we had gone to bed on the 24th. That made for an exhausting night for them but a wonderful experience for us.

          What I have enjoyed the last few years is the gradual decorating – instead of a large tree (which is hard for me to put up/take down), I am moving towards a variety of smaller trees. I have a grouping of three skinny green trees, the birch trees, a crazy green tinsel tree, a bunch of small table top pinetrees. Some are decorated, some are not. I also love to put ornaments in bowls all over the house. Something new gets put out each day – simple like a rug, a throw, different color candles, etc. Somethings are really holiday items, just a change of colors, like that switch to red white striped kitchen towels in the first picture – it just cheers everything up when the days get darker.

          My favorite tree is the one I put in my kitchen and decorate with kitchen stuff like small candy molds, tea bags in different color foil and candy canes.

        • Carolyn

          We do this too, and January 6 happens to be my birthday. I was once passing through Spain on that day, and was surprised to see that it’s the big climax of the Christmas season there.

          • Carolyn

            (I meant we keep the tree up until Epiphany.)

            • liz

              January 6th is the day that the Magi visited the infant Christ and gave him the gifts. So….. it is the end of the Christmas season. My mom was born and raised in Latvia (Russian Orthodox), so that is where the tradition started in my home.

  2. Taste of France

    To me, just lighting candles creates a cozy ambience. We dine by candlenight every night. It marks the difference between months of eating outside and the months inside. It makes them different without having one being a disappointment.
    We always get a live tree (and the French haven’t discovered those tree stands that contain water), so our actual Holiday Decorations are limited in time. That’s OK, too, because something that’s rare and fleeting is even more special.

  3. Cristina Festa

    I usually let the holidays get out of control. This year I’m saying no to things if it’s too much and doing more of the things that bring my joy. Like visiting NYC; Rockefeller Center, looking at the beautifully decorated windows etc. I’m having a holiday party at my home also. Since we have a new kitchen this year it should be wonderful.

  4. Julie

    This is our first holiday season in our new home. I am excited to start new traditions while keeping some of our favorites. Looking around our home and dreaming of what I want our holiday to look and feel like.

  5. Melinda Young

    This is great! It will help slow down and savor each holiday at a time. Just have to put blinders up walking by all the Xmas decor in the stores.

  6. Anne

    Hi Melissa – thanks for the reminder to keep it simple and enjoy the things that delight the most. I’m keeping it very simple this year because I have family coming to stay right after Christmas. I don’t want to have to stress about putting it all away before guests arrive. I’m doing some new things with just simple things from nature – dried grapevines, dried hops, pine cones, white candles, and real greenery. I’m excited to do something totally different than my traditional Christmas.

  7. Janie P

    Just what I need for this Christmas season. To be thoughtful, to share my gratitude with others, to keep it simple and meaningful. I am excited to work with your guidance this year. I am not up to dragging out all my decorations and finding places for them in my decor. This will be a year to be selective and to remember that sometimes less is more.

    Looking forward to the Seasons.

  8. Jo Jo

    We have our undecorated tree pre- lit tree up already ( new tree, put up to check lights, so pretty & work to fluff out, so we’re leaving it up!) and we will wait to decorate the tree & the rest of our home for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. That’s our tradition. We leave our tree up till the day after New Year’s Day. The fact that this new tree has a flocked, glittered and pine cone forest-y look and feel, it looks great right now with all my autumn decor…perfect for Thanksgiving. I’m thinking we’ll do this each year from now on (put up lighted tree minus ornaments). I am focusing on the blessing of family and that my grown children who live in 2 other states will be home for the holidays and creating a welcoming, cozy and simply festive home with great food and the aromas they bring. Looking forward to making memories of walking on the beach after dinner ( love the beach in the cooler months too!) I have simplified my home decor to include an Christmas tree, changing out sofa throw pillow covers, a wreath for front door, swag for pantry door, lighted berry garland for fireplace mantle, Canvas painted snowman family for console table top and a few lighted porcelain Christmas houses for the lower shelf on that table, flame less candle center piece for dining table and some scented votives, 3 wick candles and a few lanterns withnflameless candles sprinkled thru-out the living room, bathrooms and library. We don’t decorate our bedrooms for the holidays. Love your insprirstiin to love our home & decorate simply. Looking forward to more posts from you on this series!

    • Yvonne Savoie

      Hello Jo Jo

      Do you have a blog?

  9. Penny Meade

    The dining room table looks skinny in photos and long, this is what I need ( our home just is not geared for wider table) any ideas where to go for one? i.e. rent or folding?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      We bought that extra table to extend our dining space for Thanksgiving. It’s a folding table, we bought ours at Costco!

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