You’ve been chosen as the destination for the yearly holiday get together. You have two options: panic, or take the bull by the horns. We suggest the latter. Not every holiday gathering is part of the Focker’s trilogy, but it’s stressful to plan for family gatherings. Take inventory of your towels and blankets, and get ready to hit the store for some toiletries. We’re welcoming the in-laws this year!
Everyone has that family member who loves to complain, the grandmother who likes to pick on the state of the house, the aunt who likes to comment on the dusty hardwood floors. If you want to better manage those nit-picky ne’er do wells, here are a few tips with a green twist:
· Mix a quarter cup of lemon juice with a half gallon of water for a cheap and eco friendly substitute to Windex.
· Olive oil and lemon juice in a 2:1 ratio makes for decent furniture polish. (Add garlic and mint for a rad salad dressing)
· Sell your stuff, with less in the house you can look into downgrading your home long-term and save money on the festivities this year.
Lighting is one of the most important elements to a theatrical presentation. The famous spotlight conveys emotion, while gel lights add color to large set-pieces. Designers use some of those same theatrical concepts in lighting homes because it helps create a mood. If you want to do it with a softer footprint, try LED lights. You can check a site like www.partylights.com to find artificial candles and solar powered lights, which provide illumination and color without the hit to your power bill.
This year, holiday side dishes are a lot healthier. Instead of mashed potatoes, try a baked potato bar. You can have small saucers for butter, cheese and chives. Wrap the potatoes in foil and keep them in a basket with a cloth over them to keep them warm while guests grab dinner.
Green beans are easy to prepare and great in many dishes. Try frying up your green beans with some garlic and butter. Use about a tablespoon per can of green beans, with two to four cloves of garlic per can depending on your taste.
Bruschetta is another great side dish that is easy to prepare and tasty to serve. Grab some French bread, or your favorite kind of crunchy bread. Mix together 6 plum tomatoes with 2 cloves of garlic, some olive oil, and about 6 basil leaves. Put some balsamic vinegar to taste and sprinkle the mixture over the bread for a delicious topping.
You can re-purpose a lot of your old vases for a centerpiece with a bit of glass paint from your local craft store. Fake flowers are great for that evergreen effect, but seasonal flowers from the grocery store usually run less than $10 and give you something real to put in the vase.
Candles are another great ingredient to a beautiful centerpiece, and pine cones give a wonderful smell to the room. Fresh fruit and veggies like pumpkin and squash can make artsy centerpieces to serve practical purposes later.
The secret Santa gift exchange remains a popular way of giving gifts that doesn’t break the bank. It allows one family member to shop for another family member and actually get someone something he or she wants instead of holding yourself to an arbitrary dollar limit.
You can also have families sign up for Amazon and keep wish lists. These year-round lists are good for birthdays and other gatherings too. We’re not supposed to think too hard about the gifts, but if you happen to be good at shopping there is no harm in that. Right?
Today’s post is a guest post from our friend Anna. Anna is the blogger behind paidtwice.com. She most enjoys writing about DIY, personal finance, and her terrible cooking skills.