Published on November 15, 2018

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photo by Aaron Bengochea

Though the holiday season is a time for celebration, generosity, and traditions, it can quickly end up being more stressful than you’d anticipate. Parties can stir up tensions amid family and friends, and gift shopping can induce both personal and financial anxieties. But the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with these mood-dampening side effects, and there may just be a simple fix to eviscerate them: feng shui.

Chances are, you’re already diving into feng shui without even realizing it. While adding decorations to your space and cleaning before get-togethers is a good start, proper use of this practice will make your home extra-serene. “Good feng shui is all about bringing the natural healing energy from outdoors into our homes,” explains feng shui consultant and author Rodika Tchi. It not only makes your space look nice—it can also help holiday parties to flow more smoothly, decorations to fit together even better, and general stress to lessen, all with the help of a few quick fixes in your home.

The spaces we inhabit have a major impact on our moods and interactions with the people who surround us, and that’s precisely why feng shui can be helpful when it comes to three distinct holiday scenarios: hosting, decorating, and generally celebrating. Read on to find out Tchi’s advice that will make the season feel truly merry and bright.

When You’re Hosting

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Cleaning and Organizing Is More Important Than You Think

You likely already prioritize cleaning your home before you host a party, but Tchi stresses that this key step not only makes your space feel presentable, it can also have an effect on your guests’ moods. “It’s important to clutter clear and organize the areas you plan to use for the party,” she says. “This will help avoid the potential overwhelm and even emotional depletion that is often experienced during and after the holiday season.”

Once the get-together has run its course, you’ll likely find your space messier than when the fête began—but the mess isn’t always totally visible. After you physically clean your space to return it its normal, habitative space, Tchi advises taking it a step further. “In my book The Healing Power of Smudging, I offer several rituals to use before and after the party to assure it’s infused with fresh and happy energy.” Palo santo, natural incense, and even essential oil diffusers can help to reset a space so it has good vibes all around. Bonus: they’ll all make your home smell extra-inviting and relaxing.

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Your Entryway Sets the Tone for Your Whole Space

The fresh wreath on your front door gives your guests a great first impression of your space—and it can help make them feel more at ease, too. Your front door—“called the mouth or the gateway of chi (energy) in feng shui” according to Tchi—sets the tone for your space. She recommends placing fresh herbs and bright colors in this space to craft a welcoming energy. Simmering herbs can also make a kitchen feel happy and fresh, with the added bonus of making your entire home smell cozy.

The Right Decor Depends on Your Guest List

The people you host can determine how you choose to decorate your space—and your relationships with all of them also make an impact. You should know the energy of your guest list, so you can decorate accordingly.

If your family gatherings tend to get emotionally draining or overwhelming, then it is wise to choose a calming holiday decor with the Water and Metal feng shui elements by incorporating a blue and white or silver and gold color scheme, as well as mirror-like items,” says Tchi. “If you tend to have more of a quiet or not very connected time, then emphasize the Fire element with many candles and diffuse warm scents into the air.”

Tchi also recommends bringing in the Earth element, which adds nourishment and stability to a space. You can achieve this with the help of potted plants—and feel free to get festive with holiday picks like poinsettias.

When You’re Decorating

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The Color of Your Decorations Can Alter Your Space’s Energy

Plot twist: red and green might just not be the best color palette for your space! If the holidays feel especially hectic, shift away from this fire energy-heavy combo and opt for calmer water hues like silver, gold, and blue. “If you want to keep the traditional color scheme of red and green, decorate with more mirrors or mirror-like surfaces, which bring in the calming and soothing energy of the Water element,” Tchi says.

If you’re totally set on your decorations, essential oils can also make a major impact on your space without affecting your visuals. Tchi recommends mint or chamomile essential oils to diffuse chaotic Fire energy, and cinnamon, eucalyptus, fir, or pine essential oils to compensate for too much calming Water energy.

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You Can Overdo Some Kinds of Decorations

If you thought it wasn’t possible to own too many nutcrackers, mini trees, ornaments, or any other singular kind of decoration—feng shui says otherwise. “Balance is the keyword in all of feng shui wisdom, and that fully applies to holiday decor,” says Tchi. “Keeping things genuine and simple in your holiday decor, choosing items from the natural world or simple handmade items, will not only promote a more genuine, warm and truly intimate time during holiday season, it will also conserve your precious life energy that is usually more susceptible to depletion during colder season.”

A few good rules of thumb: don’t overdo it with candles in areas with little ventilation (and opt for soy-based or beeswax options when you can), bring in plants in creative ways, and decorate with natural materials whenever possible.

When You’re Celebrating

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If you’re already feeling holiday burnout (too many parties, presents to buy, cookies to bake—we get it), then feng shui can be used to keep your mind and body at ease, too. Tchi advises walking in nature, meditation, and journaling to restore your energy, but a few changes in your home can help you to sustain yourself in celebrating season, too.

“Since this is the season when we tend to spend a lot of time indoors, the quality of air and light become very important for your health and well-being,” says Tchi. “Indoor pollution is often worse than outdoor, so it’ important to make a habit of clearing the air in your space, especially in the cold season.” Use an air purifier, as well as diffused essential oils, to make the air in your space clean and refreshing.

Tchi also advises having several layers of lighting in your space—lamps, wall sconces, overhead lights, even holiday lights—to make your interior feel extra-calm. “Color is light, too, so bring colorful items that evoke a sense of happiness in you, as well as images with happy, high-energy memories, be they from travel, cherished family moments, or just places in nature that speak to your soul,” she says.

Above all, the holiday season is meant to be a happy one, so even if you start to get overwhelmed with the little details and the stress of planning, take the time to step back and enjoy the sanctuary that is your home. When in doubt, remember that balance is key.

More holiday tips:

The Christmas Tree Hack You Never Knew You Needed

DIY Christmas Ornaments That Look Anything But Homemade

Psst: The Best Expensive-Looking Holiday Decor Is at Target