The Rituals of Home

What music speaks to you? That’s what you should turn on when you get home, ready to unwind. I love a wide variety of music, but these are some of my favorite CDs that I have at the ready. Whether a relaxing folk sound like Norah Jones, big-band classics with Count Basie & Duke Ellington, American standards from Frank Sinatra, Broadway ballads, or smooth jazz from dear friend Steve Tyrell, I love to surround myself with beautiful music.

A home is greater than the sum of all the ‘stuff’ you put into it. Home is more than furniture, table settings, or window treatments. Home is a celebration of family memories, a haven that inspires us to indulge our friends & family with the small touches around that house that can subtly imbue our spaces with warmth and comfort.

Most of us, I know, lead hectic and busy lives and sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to add these extra touches. It wasn’t long ago when I was working all day and then coming home to help my sons with their homework, cook dinner for my family and fold the laundry (I’m still working, cooking, and doing laundry – but at least the days of algebra homework are finished!) Here are some rituals that can make a big difference, and will only take a few minutes to do when you arrive home, sometimes exhausted, at the end of the day.

  • Light a candle.  The minute you walk through the door, indulge yourself by lighting an aromatic candle with a scent can instantly transform a room and provides a warm, welcoming glow.
  • Turn on some music.  I know some people automatically flip on the television when they walk through their door.  Resist this impulse. Wait an hour or two before you watch the news, play along with Jeopardy, or watch your favorite show. Come home to music that energizes or relaxes, and becomes the background for a sensory rich evening at home.
  • Pour a refreshing beverage.  One of our rituals when my sons came home from school was the after-school “milk and cookies,” to welcome them home, provide a “pick-me-up” and the setting in which to converse about the day’s activities.  Kevin and I enjoy the adult version—either a spritzed or spirited beverage—that signals it’s time to unwind and recap with each other about our day.
  • Display Fresh Flowers Year-Round.  Fresh flowers add energy to any room of your house and they don’t need to be elaborate to make a big impact.  A potted orchid is a fresh bloom that lasts for several weeks and will rebloom with proper care.  Simple tea roses clipped from the summer garden or dried hydrangeas cut in the fall are both pretty and simple.  But sometimes when the garden yields little I just go around and cut whatever is out there and stick single blossoms in a collection of old pharmaceutical bottles—a selection of pansies, a dahlia or two, even a cutting of mums will add color and a sense of occasion to your table.
  • Make Bathing a Ritual.  My favorite antidote to everyday pressures is a relaxing hot bath at the end of the day.  I make it an occasion with candlelight and flowers, bath salts and fluffy towels.

Make the ordinary beautiful everyday in your home.  It’s not your possessions that make a home – but the memories and the feelings you create. When you walk through the door every night, you should enter an atmosphere that is pleasant, relaxing, and full of life. So remember to indulge yourself with small pleasures to keep the stress away!

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