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How to make holiday home festive?

(19 Posts)
PenguindreamsofDraco Sun 08-Oct-17 16:25:02

We're renting a cottage over Christmas. Mother died recently and we need to do something very different.
BUT how do we make sure it's still magical? We can't lug a 10 foot tree or boxes of light up with us, & we won't have time to spend ages decorating. There will be 3 under 12s (all still believers) so stockings are coming with us, but what short cuts can anyone suggest to wave the Christmas wand over the place?!
Many thanks!

NannyR Sun 08-Oct-17 16:32:46

Can you check with the rental company? When we stayed in a cottage at Christmas, the owner put up a tree and a few decorations.
Could you get the kids involved in making some homemade decorations - paper chains, paper snowflakes on the windows, maybe have an afternoon decorating gingerbread houses (Ikea do a kit).
Doing things like warming shop bought mince pies (or making your own with ready rolled pastry and a jar of mincemeat) in the oven will give the house a christmassy smell.

ArcheryAnnie Sun 08-Oct-17 16:37:14

I would take one box of fairy lights with you - just pick one place to drape them! If there's anywhere you are allowed to stick things on, then drape them in a tree shape on the wall. If not, just drape them over a window frame and put paper snowflakes on the window itself.

And paper chains are lovely, and the paper to make them takes up very little room when packing.

NinonDeLenclos Sun 08-Oct-17 16:41:45

We have a house abroad and have our own stock of decorations for anyone who rents over the Christmas period. So ask the agency/owner. I would expect to be asked for a tree for a Christmas booking.

You don't say if it's in this country or abroad - but if in the UK and you're driving it might be worth taking lightweight stuff with you - lights, gold/silver pine cones, letters spelling Noel, those see-through plastic snowflakes you stick on windows etc

If abroad, you could buy some decorations in a Christmas market and take them home with you.

I'd get your kids to do any the decoration (age depending) and sit back with some mulled wine.

jo10000 Sun 08-Oct-17 17:17:52

It may not be too tasteful but what about lots of tinsel and getting them to make their own paper chains while you're there? Twinkly lights are a must. How about one of those little mantlepiece trees with lights? Ice and assemble shopbought gingerbread houses. Christmas dvds and music and maybe Christmas fragranced candles.

Blackandpurple Sun 08-Oct-17 17:26:30

My friend owns a rental cottage and goes to town decorating it! Its like something out of Pintrest!

You need to ask the owner. Im sure they will supply.

picklemepopcorn Sun 08-Oct-17 17:29:48

Definitely Christmas candles and music. Paper chains/popcorn garlands, paper snowflakes. Hang the stockings up so they are decorative, and have them for you and DH too. Christmas cookies from ikea, for the children to ice along with the gingerbread house.

What about Christmas clothes- jumpers, PJs, dressing gowns? And blankets for the sofa?

A wreath for the door won't take a lot of packing room, either. Maybe take the Christmas cards so you can put them up too!

I used very easy ready made Christmas food last year, due to family problems. We had a turkey breast from Iceland that went straight in the oven from frozen. Frozen goose fat potatoes. It made a stressful time much easier.

picklemepopcorn Sun 08-Oct-17 17:30:22

Oh and fizz for you and something special for the children to drink, too.

FinallyHere Sun 08-Oct-17 17:33:59

If they are believers... a glitter and snow footprint somewhere where they, rather than you, find it can be very impressive. Had me believing for ages (impressionable age)

Letting them do their own decorations, too, is tremendous fun.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 08-Oct-17 18:37:57

You might not be allowed candles - I took a small jar Yankee Candle to a caravan holiday. No smoking/Matches/Candles.

You can get those scented smell things to go in fake trees though.

PenguindreamsofDraco Mon 09-Oct-17 10:51:39

Oh thank you all. Yes, contacting the host is obvious blush

Making paper chains and snowflakes sounds fun. We need to do something different, so 'different but festive' sounds perfect. It's a house not a caravan so I imagine candles will be fine - I still have 3/4 of last year's big White Company Christmas one, so that's festive in a jar, thank you for the reminder!

BiddyPop Mon 09-Oct-17 11:14:35

Have a look in somewhere like Poundland and see what things they have to hang on walls/windows - you could pin things with safety pins to curtains if you can't stick things to the walls.

Bring some battery operated lights or even 1 string of electric ones, and put those on the fireplace or around 1 doorframe, or as 1 focal point.

Print off some festive colouring sheets and activity sheets from places like Activity Village, DLTK or Santa Update - for the DCs to do in the house and you could put up there.

If you know if there is a bath, maybe a festive bath bomb for the DCs (Lush do nice ones), or if you don't know, perhaps bring a nice shower gel instead. And do bring a few things to be able to relax yourself there - whether festive or more indulgent.

If you generally bake at Christmas-time, weigh out the ingredients for something you like to do, bag them up into a "kit" and bring the tin as well, to bake together in the cottage (or that you can bake when the DCs are gone to bed to relax for yourself). Or maybe, make (or buy) the plain cookies and bring those along with readymade coloured icings and various decorations etc - to have a cookie decorating afternoon.

And have a look at the websites for the area to find out if there are any special events going on there, a Christmas market, local church services (if you'd like that), a Christmas Day Swim (to watch!), etc, while you are there. And also to find a nice place for going for a family walk on dry days.

BiddyPop Mon 09-Oct-17 11:16:22

Oh, and in your budget, keep some money aside to buy yourself some nice flowers or a festive table arrangement etc when you get to the house. A proper one from a florist or at least nice flowers so that you can enjoy putting them together and have something festive to look at and smile!

BumblebeeBum Mon 09-Oct-17 18:10:02

How about a felt wall hanging Christmas tree?

dantdmistedious Mon 09-Oct-17 18:24:20

I am taking a small pre lit tree with us this year, some extra fairy lights and am going to get the kids to make paper chains when we're there.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Mon 09-Oct-17 18:26:24

We rented a big place last Christmas, for 12 of us, for a week. A tree was provided - quite a nice one! - but we took a lot of our own decorations, lots of fairy lights, garlands, etc., and put them up soon after arriving. I also took a lot of Christmas cards and blu-tacked them to suitable surfaces. It did look very nice and Christmassy by the time we'd finished!

PenguindreamsofDraco Tue 10-Oct-17 09:36:28

I love that felt tree! At that price we could cover the walls grin

Right, candles, a small pre-lit tree, paper chain/snowflake making, lots of poinsettias, felt trees and fairy lights a-go-go, sorted!

Thanks all! flowers

Mrsmadevans Tue 10-Oct-17 19:42:09

I don't know if it is a countryside house but you could go for a lovely walk and pick some mistletoe and holly from the hedgerow?

singadream Tue 10-Oct-17 22:55:29

Take a christmas cd.

Have a big box of chocolate open at all times!

Go out and buy a wreath when up there? Take christmas dvds

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