With the holidays just around the corner, idle thoughts turn to scenes of cozy family gatherings—of laughter and music, and the tang of pine in the air. It’s tempting to think that these moments arrive complete, but there is some measure of preparation involved in setting the stage. Here are some simple things you can do to prepare your new Odessa home for the coming festivities.

Hygge for the Holidays
You may or may not have heard of this Danish word signifying coziness and all-around well-being…but advice from experts in the winter game really pay off around the home. Scatter candles around your main living spaces (extra points for holiday scents like fir, spiced orange, or wood smoke), and light them for a warm, intimate glow.

Stock up on Warmth
Winter in Odessa may be short, but it brings some cold days and nights! Have some cozy blankets on-hand for guests to wrap up in while watching TV or reading a book. Blankets with a holiday motif can be artfully draped on a chair or sofa or use the ever-popular red and black plaid to tie in the classic Odessa western theme for a true western Christmas look. A selection of herbal teas available is a nice touch for visitors to your home—set up a small tea station so that your guests can help themselves whenever the craving for a cuppa hits. Set up a cart or tray with tea needs. Mugs, a variety of teas, and honey sticks are a nice start but feel free to add more. You can also switch this up with hot cocoa and put out mini marshmallows, crushed peppermint, and whipped cream as toppings.

Be Prepared For Guests
Holiday travel can be exhausting, and not every traveler remembers everything they need. Have a small stockpile of common toiletries on hand to bridge the gap. Some good basics are toothbrushes, travel size deodorant/shampoo/toothpaste, and cotton swabs.

Keep Things Fun
Have a variety of seasonal games on hand for after dinner. There are many holiday trivia or traditional games that you can purchase, but there are also some great ideas online that require nothing more than a pen and paper or maybe a printer. Have a stockpile of possibilities and mix things up for family fun in Odessa this Christmas season.

Bring the Outside In
Sure, Christmas trees are standard, but to really get a holiday feel, spread the season with some holly sprigs over the mantle. Create an artistic centerpiece of birch branches and berries. Buy a fresh, live wreath for the door and add your own small decorations for a personal touch. Set a yule log in the fireplace and enjoy the ambiance that you’ve created in your new Odessa home.

Prep the Playlists
Be ready to set the scene with a background of classic (and contemporary) holiday hits. Create a playlist or find one ready-made on Spotify or Pandora, and let nostalgia wrap you in a musical embrace.

Stovetop Potpourri
One of the simplest things you can do to set up your home for the holidays is to give yourself an olfactory boost. The sense of smell is the sense most closely linked to memory, and holiday scents can evoke feelings of happiness. Fill a pan partway with water and add orange slices and a small handful of cinnamon sticks and cloves. Simmer on low and your house will be infused with a lovely spicy citrus smell that is a proven mood lifter.

Even if 2020 means your Christmas looks a little different, you can make your beautiful Odessa home feel warm and cozy for the Holidays. A little forethought, a few special touches, and Christmas 2020 in Odessa could hold special memories for you and yours.