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The holidays can sometimes seem overwhelming. However they are also the perfect time to give yourself permission to create bliss in your home. When our home isn’t as beautiful and functional as we want it to be, there’s a negative reaction inside of us at a gut level. That feeling! This holiday season, give yourself permission to gift yourself a space that nurtures and supports you and your family and above all, makes you happy! At my very core, I believe through design we can all have a better life. However, it’s not a matter of putting more ‘stuff’ in our homes. It is really a matter of creating heart in the home through design and infusing the spaces in your home with you… with who you are as a mom, a wife, a sister…with what’s in your heart.

Here are a few ideas to help you create a nurturing, heartfelt home this holiday season.

During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to family. This holiday season, surround yourself and your family with love, togetherness and gratitude. One way to infuse your rooms with these things is to bring in happy reminders of what is really important to you and your family. In addition to decorating your home with beautiful holiday decorations, think about infusing treasured memories of past holidays into your home this year. Set aside time after school or one evening as a family to each choose four or five pictures from past holidays that really speak to you and bring happy memories to mind. Choose frames that coordinate with your existing décor and create a photo ‘spot’ in each of your rooms, specific for each person, whether on a blank wall or a side table. For example, your daughter and son could each frame several pictures for their rooms that they’ve chosen, which are special reminders to them. In the living room, you could all choose one or two pictures to display as a collection. This is also a wonderful way for your children to have a hand in creating their own décor and to learn the importance of creating a special space for themselves. Trust me, it will make a difference each time you walk in the room and see the happy memories!

If your photo spots are on side or console tables, try pairing a plant, flowers or other organic component that corresponds with the memory, or that brings up other fun/pleasant memories from past holidays. You may try a small rosemary tree in your kids’ rooms or some other organic, holiday reminder. For instance, when I was younger, my mom and I made spiced orange pomanders during the holidays, using oranges or tangerines and spiking the rinds with cloves in decorative patterns. Not only did they make pretty centerpieces, the scent of orange and clove throughout the house during the holidays was amazing! So for me, using these near my photo spots or simply as a centerpiece just layers the holiday memories together and incorporates a wonderful scent that brings back even more happy memories.

The holidays are also about gratitude and using a gratitude journal is one way many of us stay connected to those things that truly matter to us. Why not begin a new tradition this year and create a family gratitude journal? You can even give it a place of honor on one of the tables or bookshelves in your home, specially decorated for the holiday season. Each evening or every few days, set aside 10 or 15 minutes to spend time as a family and pass the journal around to add one or two things for which you’re each grateful. Writing our gratitude helps center us in the present moment, shutting out the chaos of homework, the To Do list, carpool and soccer. Sharing our gratitude only multiplies it and serves to bring other good things to us, so pass it around and read them to each other! You will create a fun, new family tradition and you’ll have the journal to look back on each year to come.

I know we’ve all heard this phrase at the holiday season: carve out space and time for yourself. Selfcare is important, particularly for moms who focus on nurturing everyone but themselves. To give ourselves adequate self-care in our homes, we need to have a space that we can call our own at least some part of the day. Give yourself permission to take a room, a corner in the living room or a spot on the patio or in the bath, and take a few minutes here to allow yourself space to breathe and be you.

Connect with your surroundings. Congratulate yourself for accomplishing all that you have. Light a candle or use a reed diffuser with a scent that reminds you of something happy and enjoy spending some time with yourself.

Remembering that the holidays are truly about family, giving and gratitude helps center us during this typically crazy time of year. Creating reminders in our home throughout the season is one way to help bring togetherness, comfort and bliss to our families, to carry with us into the new year.

Nicole Cavanaugh

Mind, Body + Home
Interior Design
Nicole is the founder of Cavanaugh Interior Design Group. Her goal is to provide people with functional designs of spaces. Read more about Nicole and her mission here.