It’s tough to get into the holiday spirit in sunny California when you’re surrounded by palm trees and wearing t-shirts in December. Don’t take this as a complaint, because I’m all for ‘dresses and light cardigan’ weather, but it does make me dream of a white Christmas more than I used to.
Back east, my house is merry and bright as soon as the countdown hits ’24’. Glittery wreaths made of evergreen shrubs decorate the doors, garland adorns the staircases and nine stockings (one for our rabbit, Skippy) hang from cast-iron stars over the fireplace. It’s a festive sight.
Based on the overly descriptive picture I painted, it’s clear that the bar for holiday decor is set high. We aren’t a religious family, but the allure of the season was always something we loved. Now that I’m on my own, I wanted to bring that same feeling to my tiny studio. The only two (major) roadblocks between myself and that winter wonderland are: temperatures don’t dip below 70 degrees and money. The struggle is real as I’m sure it is for many of you out there.
The weather isn’t changing anytime soon so that’s a lost cause but when it comes to the second ‘style-cramper,’ there’s a simple solution and it’s called being thrifty.
the art of thrifting
This topic deserves a post of its own but for all intensive purposes, I’ll explain a little further. Thrifting is pretty self-explanatory. In this case, I’m more or less referring to upcycling and by this, I mean taking quality vessels (peanut butter jars, etc.) and re-purposing them to add a dash of holiday cheer to your space (and tastebuds).
Since we moved in, I’ve been adamant about keeping all glass jars (ask the roomies, they love it). They’re ideal for storage and display plus they have a clean rustic look.
Personally, I prefer flowers on-site at all times. Not only do they add a boost of organic energy, but they possess an undeniable charm.
Whilst perusing the aisles of Trader Joe’s, the lovely arrangement of mums and carnations below caught my eye. We don’t have enough table space for an orchid or poinsettias (le sigh), but this bouquet was the perfect size for two new jars I just cleaned. Score!
The process is essentially effortless and leaves you with seasonally apt arrangments. It’s a three-step process: retrieve jar, put flowers in the jar, fill the jar up with clean water and you’re good to go. I put the smaller one on the window sill in our kitchen and the other on the toilet in our bathroom (glamorous, I know).
They might not scream “Christmas,” but they are subtle and delicate, which makes them the perfect addition to our humble abode.
a taste of Christmas
I jumped on the infused water bandwagon a few years back for a handful of reasons. The first is obviously because of how delicious it is. There are countless different combinations you can experiment with depending on the season and personal preference. The second (and more important) reason is the number of health benefits that come with drinking the refreshing concoctions. Infused waters are naturally low cal and contain no artificial ingredients.
To stay ‘on season’ I wanted to whip up a combo that was soothing with a heady aroma. After doing a (very small) lap around the kitchen, I ended up with cinnamon, one gala apple, Himalayan sea salt, and rosemary.
I washed the apple and rosemary with some veggie cleaner to rid it of any pesticides or other germs while the water heated on the stove (hot water expedites the flavor steeping process). I added an extremely generous amount of cinnamon, threw in the sliced apple and herbs, then added some Himalayan sea salt to top it off. I slowly poured the water in, let it cool off for a bit, then went for it. It was a home run- I wasn’t sure what the outcome was going to be but the different flavors complemented each other very well.
The taste factor was definitely there, but what made it even more delish was all of the benefits.
Apples: Full of fiber, including pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps promote good digestive health.
Rosemary: Alleviates muscle pain, boosts circulatory and immune system, improves memory, and promotes hair growth (yes, yes, yes, and yes).
Cinnamon: Helps speed up your metabolism while burning down calories.
Himalayan Sea Salt: Improves hydration, helps balance blood sugar, helps with sleep regulation.
After warming up with a cup of Christmas in a jar, I put in the fridge.* The next day, I ditched the apple and rosemary as to avoid decomposition.
*It tasted just as good chilled, just had a different feel. If you’d prefer a cozier elixir, throw it in the mic (if you have one…we don’t) or put in on the stove and remove right before it reaches a boil.
I might be thousands of miles away from the holiday season I’m used to, but these two DIY projects gave me a little taste of home and didn’t break the bank. Win, win.
To eating, drinking, and being merry!