Tag

lights

Browsing

Toronto decor: 5 simple centrepieces for your holiday dinner

Are you hosting Christmas dinner? I’m sure you already have your menu prepared (if you don’t, you should probably get on that) — but how about the decor? Typically, people don’t think about how they are going to set their table until the night before. By then, it is too late to get any kind of extravagant dishes or inspiring centrepieces.

But, don’t worry. There are some simply ways to decorate your table for company. Here are a few ideas:

Centrepiece: The table centrepiece is critical to the ambiance of a dinner party. If you don’t have a lot of space (who does during a Christmas feast), take a clear glass vase or even a bowl and fill the bottom with large chunks of salt or stones from your backyard. Rinse if dirty. Place a thick, round candle in the centre of the bowl and place some pinecones, garland, or even some extra bobbles you may not have put on the tree, around the candle close to the rim. If you have a spare long piece of garland, you can also line the centre of the table with it and place candles, bobbles, and pinecones at random across the table. It sounds messy, but it can actually turn out quite pretty.

Floral arrangements: Get a thin vase (or even a glass cup) and fill it with water and some fresh flowers. To make it more festive, try adding in a few pieces of pine or a ring of cranberries. Make sure the colour of the flowers is warm and inviting, like a dark red. Feel free to use fake flowers from the dollar store if you can’t get any real ones. No one will care that much. You can make them even more festive by wrapping your vase with small string lights!

Place settings: Uncle Jim may not get along with Aunt Sally — don’t give them the option of sitting near each other! You can create some really nice labels using Microsoft Word, but you can also get a little creative. If you have some stock paper, print a small tag with each guests name on it. Punch a whole in the top and thread a ribbon through to create a bow. Place on top of each plate setting with a red or gold bobble. You can even do it without the bobble!

Bar cart: Keeping wine or bottles of scotch on the table can prove welcoming with easy access, but it also takes up much needed space. Instead, set up a small table and put your alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages there with an ice bucket. Put bobbles, ribbon, pine, or garland in between the bottles. You can even use tea lights, which are easy and cheap to find at any dollar store. You can even tie cinnamon sticks together with a ribbon! Get creative. Keep a small tin of holiday cookies by the car cart too! For those who may be indulging over the holidays, it’s a great way to soak up the alcohol. It also offers a conversation piece while people wait to get their wine!

These are just a few suggestions. Above all else, use what you have at home and make your atmosphere as cozy and comfortable as possible. Keep to rich tones, put on some soft holiday tunes, and enjoy the company!

How will you be decorating your home for Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!

Toronto holiday trends to ditch this weekend

I love the holiday season in Toronto — the smells, the decoration, the winter activities, it all makes me smile! But, it can also make me laugh. And no, this isn’t the kind of mutual laughter you may see when people share a mutual joke or watch a scene from Elf. I mean the kind of laughter that may hurt someone’s feelings or make someone feel embarrassed.

I feel bad about this, but some of these holiday trends circulating the Internet are just plain silly. Laughable even. The good news is that this laughter is preventable. Simply avoid these five tacky and over the top trends this holiday weekend!

Bulb beards: This trend pops up every year — and every year it gets a little more ridiculous. This hipster style involves hanging small bobbles from facial hair. It looks fun, but it’s also incredibly weird. If you go to a party with little ornaments hanging from your beard, it’s all people will look at. I wonder if these men will jingle when they talk? Or if their beard’s bounce when they walk down the street. If you REALLY want to attempt this, go for it – but be warned! Your beard must be thick enough to handle the bulbs and if you decide to dip your hair in colour powders, glitter, or to experiment with tinsel — that shit gets everywhere!

Christmas tree eyebrows: Everyone can thank Canadian beauty blogger Taylor R for this one. Apparently, the latest thing in holiday fashion is to dress up your eyebrows with sparkles and tiny accessories. The idea is to spread your eyebrow hairs outward to create what many know as the “feathered brow”. Then, you add glitter, sparkles, and rhinestones. First of all, this is a lot of work for fancy eyebrows. The cleanup alone would be atrocious. I bet half of that glitter ends up in your eye ball at the end of the day. Can we please just not attempt this weird fashion trend and stick to regular mascara and eyeshadow?

Sweaters that light up: I love a good ugly sweater, but the ones that light up are just too much. They are distracting when you are trying to have a conversation. Imagine talking to someone and seeing flashing red or white lights blinking at you. Not to mention the dry cleaning bill because you can’t put that thing in the laundry machine! Just stick to a pleasant green or red coloured sweater and thinking of some interesting conversation starters instead of relying on your clothing.

Mac and cheese: There is turkey, stuffing, and potatoes — do we really need another starchy food for Christmas dinner? To me, macaroni and cheese is something I have on a cold Monday night, when I am craving carbohydrates and want to binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix. Instead of mac and cheese, why not come up with a different side dish, maybe something with a vegetable?

Exclusive holiday office parties: To clarify — I enjoy a good holiday party or luncheon. I think every office should have one. It’s the perfect opportunity to actually get to know your coworkers and enjoy snacks and drinks without having to pay an arm and a leg. What I don’t like is that employers only treat their employees during the holidays. There are 365 days in a year, and showing your employees you care only once in that time span means that the formality of the “office holiday party” is merely that, a formality. Step up, and how your employees you care a few times a year.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 festive events to check out this month

As one holiday disappears, another one approaches. It’s almost time for those festive peppermint drinks and fancy light displays.  The weather will get colder and soon all you’ll want to do is cuddle up in a warm blanket and stay inside. Instead, try to get outdoors and take advantage of some spectacular winter markets and activities that will put you in the festive mood.

Winter Festival of Lights—Niagara Falls

Presented by the Ontario Power Company, the winter festival of lights transforms the Niagara Falls region into a mesmerizing winter wonderland. Founded 35 years ago, this is the largest illuminating festival in Canada. Enjoy a showcase of winter lights, animations and lots of activities in the Clifton Hill district, including a free nightly laser light show. The Festival of Lights runs from Nov 18-Jan 31.

Niagara Falls at night

Cavalcade of Lights—Nathan Phillips Square—downtown Toronto

The Cavalcade of Lights is the official kickoff to the winter season in the busy Toronto core. Lights, live music, ice skating, and fireworks will take over the square all in anticipation of the main event, which includes the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree. Usually the tree is 15 to 18 metres high and takes almost two weeks to decorate and string with lights. This year’s tree lighting takes place on Nov 25. The lights and tree will remain through the early start of the new year.

Cavalcade of Lights

Swedish Christmas Fair—Toronto Harbourfront

Harbourfront Centre in Toronto is home to many activities in the summer and the winter. In addition to winter skating at the Natrel Rink and Dj Skate night on the weekends, there will be a two-day Taste of Sweden Christmas Fair. The festival will include Swedish folk dance, arts and craft for children, handmade crafts, and speciality-imported Swedish treats. The fair will take place Nov 25-26 and admission is free.

Swedish Christmas Buns

Illuminite—Yonge-Dundas Square

For the 10th year, Yonge-Dundas square will transform into a space of christmas lights,  music, and dance. The night features live music from pop-rock quartet Jane’s Party, and the night will continue with an on-site DJ playing christmas classics to put you in the Christmas mood. There will also be a tree lighting show and dazzling dancers in the square. Illuminite is on Nov 18, 5:30 PM- 7:30 PM.

 Toronto Christmas Market—The Distillery District

A winter classic in the City of Toronto, the distillery district is known for transforming into a cozy Christmas market and is ranked one of the best holiday markets in the world. Complete with shopping, entertainment, food, and Santa, the christmas market will make you fall in love with the holiday season. The market runs from Nov. 16-Dec. 24. On the opening night there will be a special tree lighting ceremony at 6pm.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

What’s the deal with ugly Christmas sweaters?

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
of Christmas”

What exactly is ‘holiday style’? Well, thanks to a generation of men and women who are on the lookout for everything that goes against society, we can now celebrate the era of the ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’. Hipsters are the cause of everything overpriced and overhyped, but ugly sweaters are something we can actually thank them for. While we’ve all been subjected to an ugly sweater at some point in our lives (sorry, grandma!), over the last few years people have deliberately sought out these sweaters instead of stashing them in the back of the closet where they belong. The ugly Christmas sweater tradition has come into our lives and fortunately, it is here to stay.

IMG_9524

And thus, I have some good news for you, ladies. Tight cocktail dresses are a thing of the past. Despite the effort designers have gone through to introduce a new line of holiday-themed, sequinned ensembles and comfortable high heels (yeah right), looking presentable is one less thing we have to worry about during the holiday season. Because now, it seems that everyone is on board with the ugly Christmas sweater bandwagon. H&M, Urban Outfitters, Etsy, and a search on Amazon can lead you to the most elaborate, over the top designs of some pretty amazing, ugly sweaters.

The phenomenon behind this trend is simple; donning a sweater so visually unpleasing is well, adorable. It takes away from the pressure of having to look ‘party-ready,’ and the theme brings people together as a happy group of very poorly dressed people. The focus is taken off of your work and school life, and it takes Aunty Em a much longer time to bring up your love life. Instead, questions now sound a lot like ”where on Earth did you get that?” to ”Did it hurt to put that on?” These questions might have hurt you on an emotional level before — when you wore that sexy red and gold dress you loved so much — but now it can be taken as a compliment.

The trend is also great for those with a competitive edge, who want to express their creativity and come up with outrageous ways to make their ugly sweater just a little more ugly. We have been stuffed animals, ribbons, ornaments, and other Christmas-themed decorations attached to these ensembles. So, there’s no longer an embarrassment towards sporting an ugly sweater similar to one you may have been forced to wear as a child to make your grandmother happy. Now, you are no longer a child who is being dictated what to wear and when to go to bed. You are now in a society where everyone is collectively ugly. And that’s special. Also, it’s warm. (unlike that $250 dress you had in mind)

The only feeling of regret you’ll feel at your next Christmas party is not wearing something uglier. Flashing lights on a sweater may seem a little too ridiculous, but Sally over there seems to be rocking it at the drinks table. So the question is, how can you wear an ugly Christmas sweater to its full potential?

Well, the characteristics of a good ugly Christmas sweater, first and foremost, is the colour. You want to wear a colour that screams IMG_0908Christmas; red, green, or anything that comes in the form of an ornament. Next, its important to look for a sweater that has elements of winter and the holidays on them. Whether that’s a gingerbread man, a reindeer, or Santa Claus himself, your sweater should make people look at it and exclaim, ”yes! Just yes.”

That’s not to say you can’t sway from the Christmas theme. Hotline Bling sweaters are wildly popular this year thanks to Drake’s dad moves. Essentially, the point retailers are trying to make here is that anything works. Whether you want to splurge $100 on a three dimensional sweater or invest a modest $30 on a simpler piece, the key to owning the ugly in your sweater is to just let it be ugly. Put effort behind your sweater. Throw some nice pants on and touch up your makeup with some matching colour on your lips. Wear your sweater like it’s a ball gown. Only then, can you let the sweater be ugly to it’s full potential. (Also, it distracts everyone from the bags you’ve acquired under your eyes instead of under your tree from the holiday stress.)

How-to books are now on bookshelves and on publishing desks, making the ugly Christmas sweater phenomenon that more legitimate. Pinterest has boards on how to make them, your Instagram followers are having photoshoots with them on, your Facebook friends are updating their profile pictures, and other women are currently sitting somewhere on their kitchen table with a hot glue gun. It’s really a beautiful thing; unified ugliness.

So, what I’m trying to say is, it’s time to throw a Ugly Christmas Sweater party. Tomorrow? The expensive one’s don’t even itch! Don’t forget to send me an invite, my sweater is ready to go. Because whether you agree to it or not, the holiday sweater has become as important as drinking eggnog and ”singing” carols by the fireplace. And for that, we are thankful.

Images