How to craft a ‘Corporate Housing Christmas’

Katie Smith, December 14, 2018

Make Your Own Decorations

If you are staying in corporate housing over the Christmas period, you may not wish to spend money on Christmas decorations which can be expensive and impractical to transport when the time comes to vacate the property. For those on overseas business assignments, it can be tough to be away from home at Christmas... Especially for those travelling with young families.

Don’t let the thought of spending the festive season in an undecorated house make you (or your kids) feel blue; instead, embrace to the opportunity to get crafty! Making your own inexpensive and eco-disposable Christmas decorations is the perfect solution for cheering yourself up and getting into the Christmas spirit at minimal cost! Check out these three fun festive ideas:

1. Christmas Potpourri

Making your own Christmas potpourri is a great way to make your corporate housing smell like Christmas! Drying oranges in the oven is a great start; their natural scent is wonderfully festive, and they can be used in several different ways to decorate temporary accommodation.

  1. Start by slicing oranges into 1cm thick slices.
  2. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Place them on a metal cooling rack over a baking tray.
  4. Place into a low oven (100°C) for about three-four hours.
  5. Turn them over every half hour or so to prevent them from sticking to the tray.
  6. Allow the slices to cool completely.

Once your orange slices are dried they can be displayed decoratively in bowls, like potpourri, along with dried cinnamon sticks and whole cloves which also smell lovely (and are available in most supermarkets). Best of all, when the season is over, these can be easily composted with food waste!

If you want to go a step further, try threading the oranges and cinnamon sticks onto strings or wire to form hanging decorations, wreaths and garlands for display. For extra bursts of Christmas colour try drying red chillies or green limes to add to your project.

2. Paper Snowflakes

As many of us will remember from childhood, paper snowflakes are the ultimate in quick, easy and cheap Christmas decorations. You can use whatever paper you have available (recycling scrap paper is a great eco conscious idea). All you need is paper and scissors! Start with a square of paper then...

  1. Fold the paper in half diagonally to make a triangle
  2. Fold the triangle in half – then fold again into a third
  3. Fold again (you can fold as many times as you like)!
  4. Cut the "top" off your folded snowflake - you can do this as decoratively as you choose
  5. Carefully shape your snowflake by cutting holes and patterns into your folded paper
  6. Gently unfold the paper to reveal your finished snowflake design!

The finished paper snowflakes look particularly effective when hung together in a group from curtain rails, door handles and shelves (all great ideas to avoid making holes in the walls of serviced apartments)! Also, when the time comes to take down the decorations, these can easily be recycled.

3. A Foraged Centrepiece

If you are lucky enough to be enjoying your international assignment in locations where pine trees grow, why not take an outing to go Christmas foraging? A weekend woodland walk can wield some excellent all-natural decorations for your corporate housing (as well as getting you out of the city)!

Holly, pinecones and twigs of pine are some great examples of abundant natural materials which can be easily sourced throughout the northern hemisphere. Always remember when foraging for your decorations, never to touch or collect any material which you cannot confidently identify.

Your festive-finds can be decoratively placed along mantle pieces to create an effective winter display within your temporary accommodation. Try placing the foraged materials around a candle stick on a tray or dish to create a lovely Christmas centre piece for your table (of course you will need to ensure the lit candle is not left unattended for fire safety reasons).

If you would prefer not to use a candle (or your corporate housing provider does not allow them) create a simple Christmas arrangement in a vase or bowl, this will no doubt enhance the seasonal feel of your apartment.

When you are finished with the collected materials you can simply return them to the natural environment where you found them. This gives you another great excuse for a countryside walk and allows the items you had ‘borrowed’ to decompose slowly as part of the natural woodland cycle.

Merry Christmas to you!

Christmas can be anywhere! Celebrating your holidays from home, alongside embracing local traditions, is equally important for avoiding homesickness and ensuring that you get the best experience out of your international assignment and temporary accommodation.

Hopefully, this article will put you in the festive mindset, with a proactive view to crafting your very own ‘Corporate Housing Christmas’. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (no matter where you are celebrating)!

Written by Katie Smith, Assoc CIPD - Head of Special Projects - HR, Talent & Content at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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