April 17, 2019

Harmonize Your Holidays: How to Take On the Challenge of Holiday Stress

It’s almost here. The 2018 Holiday Season.

Are you ready? Neither am I. A friend recently told me she has an appointment for “family pictures” to guarantee 2018 holiday cards would be on time and we only just survived back to school.

What? No. I give up.

My pledge this year is to stay focused on what’s important.

I plan to not only survive the holiday season but to enjoy it – and I’m going to do it by following 4 simple design principles.


 As an objective design principle, this is the application of arranging décor so one side of the room isn’t heavy. Here’s another angle this season – balance the need for more décor this year with what you already have in storage.


Repeat, repeat, repeat. Rhythm is repetition. You know when you hear a song and you start clapping? That’s because the repetition makes you want to join in. It creates movement.

 Rhythm can be achieved visually by repeating patterns or color. It can be obvious like a  repeating pattern of flooring or subtle like all of the chairs around your dining table being the same height. Rhythm draws your attention to the next something without disrupting your cadence.

This year when decorating for the holidays, choose a common theme (for example, peace) or color (like blue) and let it fill each room, carrying rhythm through your home. Better yet, turn the music up and dance with some loved ones.


We’ve all seen bad scale in design. Not sure? It’s rampant during the holidays when your neighbor places that giant blow up turkey on their lawn. Scale is the relationship of an object to its surroundings. The way we gauge scale is with our own human size.

The giant turkey is not to scale because there is no turkey that is 10ft tall and bigger than your house. However, in keeping with my vow to focus on what’s important this season, maybe it’s ok to not take things so seriously, relax and enjoy the merriment of silly blow ups (even if they defy good design principles).


This is my favorite design principle. Harmony is all about working together and showing how different elements and textures, (and yes, people) come together. The easiest application of harmony is to include natural elements like stone and wood. Add fire in the fireplace or a small water element to one of your spaces (my parents have a small goldfish and he’s the absolute best stress reducing, décor).

During the holidays, you can also have harmony in your home by adding fresh flowers and natural fragrance.

Add fresh flowers and toss them in a vase. Don’t sweat formal arranging. Fresh flowers + water + vase = Harmony. Spare yourself the DIY pumpkin or vase project. Look around your home for a mason jar or an old pitcher (maybe that one you got as a wedding gift but never use) and use that.

Add natural fragrance – harmony lives in natural fragrance, not chemicals, so be careful to avoid synthetic scents. 

And once you’ve done all that? Gather loved ones around some delicious apple cider. Try out my favorite recipe below:

Set a medium pot on simmer and add the following…

  • 3 cups apple cider
  • I tablespoon of vanilla

And small handfuls of

  • fresh cranberries
  • sliced oranges
  • sliced lemon
  • whole cloves
  • cinnamon sticks
  • fresh rosemary


Where We Build

We build all across the country, and our homes are inspired by the places that surround them. Select the area below to find a community near where you want to live to get started.