4 Ways to Use What You Already Have for Holiday Parties

October 23 2019 – Chelsea Vincent

4 Ways to Use What You Already Have for Holiday Parties
4 Ways to Use What You Already Have for Holiday Parties

How to Host Unique (and Charming) Festivities this Fall

By Chelsea Vincent

Halloween artwork hand painted by Nelson

I have to put Nelson on the spot for a second here.  (edit: unprepared Nelson was totally unprepared...) A few years back, I got to attend several fun parties at Nelson’s magical, Tiki-themed apartment. One of them happened to be a holiday party near Halloween, and yet, instead of nixing the tiki objects and putting up ghosts, Nelson totally added minor touches to make it a Tiki Halloween. 

And it rocked.

Everyone loved the delightfully spooky libations served in hand-painted beach glassware. (This was before the business officially launched, so we actually got to drink out of the O.G. models, which is pretty rad.) Tiny touches here and there, like witch hats on tiki dudes or Hawaiian holiday music mixed in with your monster classics, reimagined this fun space into a perfectly delightful space. Don’t even get me started on the Tiki Christmas bonanza, which was equally epic.

Halloween snowman decor by Nelson Makes Art

Throwback: cool pumpkin man blended in perfectly with the wicker lights above!

The memories of these parties recently popped into my head, as I found myself thinking about decorating for the upcoming holidays in our first home. 

No matter what age you are, there’s a certain amount of pressure to “keep up with Pinterest.” Now, I love me some Pinterest, but do I really need to blow an entire paycheck on single-use holiday decor (ahem, plastics)  to have a cheerful home? I think not.


To keep your spirits high, your bank account happy, and your home feeling authentic, here are four tips you can focus on to recreate your own holiday decorating.

1. Highlight Art for Tasteful Centerpieces

Look around your home or apartment. Unless you’ve recently moved, chances are you've got some artwork displayed somewhere. You may have art pieces on the walls, a sculpture on your coffee table, or even a funky looking tree parked in the corner. Any and all of these can be repurposed for holiday decorating.

If it’s a piece of art on a wall, try placing a simple lamp underneath it and pointing it upward, to create a mysterious, dramatic uplighting effect. For a sculpture, surrounding it with small tealights, or placing it in a bowl with some dry ice, can enhance its charm (just make sure the sculpture stays physically separated from the dry ice by elevating it). And if you’ve got a plant, you can hang holiday ornaments on it to add charm. 

Halloween centerpiece for the holidays by Nelson Makes Art

Use a few candles and beads or pebbles to make a piece of art double as a fun centerpiece

2. Blend Home Elements with Classic Holiday Icons

So maybe you look around your home, and you think, “I’ve got psychedelic colors everywhere, or mid-century modern stuff. How the heck do I incorporate that with the holidays?” 

Simple: use elements from your home with traditional, known holiday themes.

Let’s say you have bold yellows and greens as main colors. You can paint pumpkins in those colors for Halloween, use place settings or flowers with those colors at Thanksgiving (perhaps playing up the yellow, and using green sprigs of foliage), or decorate holiday cookies with icing in those colors. If you’re not sure what typical holiday icons might be, this will sound strange, but check out vector art online to find some inspiration.

3. Create Hybrid Playlists 

We all love classic holiday songs, but we also love that feeling when a music just fits the space and the mood. Especially if you’re hosting a holiday party, the playlist is key for helping you to set the tone. Ever been to a silent party? It’s a little, well, odd.

To blend home themes with holidays, pull songs from both worlds that compliment each other. Or, focus on cover versions of holiday songs which suit your space, like jazzy versions if you have a very modern, sleek space, or perhaps country versions, if you prefer a more rustic feel. That way, you’ll still feel festive, without disconnecting from pre-existing aesthetics.

Owl Holiday Ornaments by Nelson Makes Art
Everyone loves party favors they’ll actually use, like these adorable Holiday Hoo ornaments

3. Give Guests Party Favors They’ll Keep

Especially now that we’re all aware of how much our great planet needs us to recycle or upcycle, holiday decorating is no exception. We can embrace the holidays without embracing an attitude of waste.

Instead of buying cheap trinkets your guests will toss in the trash, why not invest in decorations which can also double as party favors? For Halloween, dried leaves and twigs can be made into mini fall wreaths. For New Years, mini champagne or wine spritzer bottles can line tables. There are lots of neat ideas to turn simple, useful items into gifts that can also make your guests feel special.

With Halloween fast approaching and the other holidays just around the corner, fall and winter are a great time to reinvent your home decorating skills. Get creative and play with how you see what’s in your space already, and you’ll be amazed with what you actually have to work with this holiday season. 

Have additional ideas? We’d love to hear them in a comment below!


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