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Pete's Tips

Smith & Hawken® Highlight:
Must-Haves for Holiday - Add a Few Simple Touches for a Special Holiday Home

The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, and that's especially the case when times are tough. To make those gatherings extra special, it only takes a few simple, and affordable, touches around the house.

Jennifer Sypeck, director of trend and product development for Smith & Hawken, recommends the following ways to highlight the home for the holidays.


"My favorite way to add a bit of sparkle to a room is with mercury glass," states Sypeck. "The reflective nature of the glass is festive, yet elegant. It's perfect for the holidays, but can also be used year round, so it can be a great investment and become an heirloom that is passed down."

  • Add a few votive holders ($6 each) in a guest room for a special touch or line them up on the dinner table for ambiance.
  • Display mercury glass trees or garden-inspired statuary on the mantel for extra shine.
  • Another inexpensive way to add a bit of shine: sprinkle crystal scatters (only $22 for a set of 72) around the table.

Scents of the Season

"Scents evoke the true feeling of the holidays," states Sypeck. "Choose one holiday scent and keep it subtle so it enhances the ambiance without overwhelming the senses."

  • Drape a fragrant evergreen garland or centerpiece (starting at $59 each) on the table or buffet.
  • Bunch cinnamon-orange or eucalyptus burning bundles at the hearth ($29 for a set of 3).
  • Arrange a bouquet of blooming paperwhites ($12 for a bag of 12 bulbs) at the front entrance. No time to force bulbs? Recreate the scent with a poured candle ($28) or diffuser ($38).


"Decorate the house with a variety of lighting elements to create a cozy environment," states Sypeck. "On a dark night, nothing is more inviting to guests than a house that exudes warmth."

  • Use flameless candles throughout the house for a glow without the worry of fire, especially if children are around. Most battery-powered candles have timers to automatically turn on and off at the desired time. That's one less thing to do before guests arrive and one less thing to worry about at the end of the night.
  • Run pre-lit berry garlands (as low as $39) on a mantel or windowsill as they are as decorative in daylight as they are lit up at night.
  • Wrap colorful, holiday-inspired light strings ($39) around the front porch for a magical twinkling effect.


"The holidays are all about traditions, the ones passed down, as well as new ones started each year," states Sypeck. "For me, ornaments embody that sense of nostalgia."

  • In addition to decorating the tree with ornaments collected over the years, start a new tradition by giving a different ornament to family members as a gift each year.