Ways to Repurpose Holiday Decorations for Your Lake House

Photo courtesy of The DIY Mommy

When all the gifts have been unwrapped and the holidays are over, you’re ready to relax. But instead, you’re faced with an enormous cleaning task. Unless you’re someone who keeps their Christmas lights up all year at the lake (we don’t judge!), it’s hard to decide what to do with all the leftover décor. But before hauling everything into the trash, think again! With a little imagination and a few craft materials, you can easily repurpose holiday decorations for your lake house. Check out these five ways to keep a little snippet of holiday cheer all year long!


Photo courtesy of Art & Home

Over the years as you acquire more tree ornaments, it might be time for some of them to retire. Luckily, there are a million ways to repurpose these holiday decorations. To create a beautiful lake-focused centerpiece that will last beyond December, spray a metallic coat over traditionally shaped ornaments and pair with elements from nature. Have empty space on the wall? Attach your favorite ornaments to a frame and hang them up all year (This works best with flat ornaments that don’t protrude). And of course, broken ornaments happen. In the event of shattered glass, it’s time for a DIY mosaic craft project.

Wrapping Paper

Photo courtesy of The Creativity Exchange

Without fail, every holiday ends with piles of wrapping paper scattered across the floor. Of course, one of the most common ways of repurposing these scraps is by folding them, and using them again next year to wrap gifts. But if you’re particularly fond of some pieces, you can showcase them in your lake house all year. If your lake home has an office or a kids’ craft room, try lining the desk drawers with wrapping paper to brighten up the space. If the wrapping paper has been torn to shreds in enthusiastically opening gifts (hey – it happens!) save the scraps to create collages or other DIY projects at your lake house during a rainy day.


Photo courtesy of Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

Tinsel is a quintessential holiday decoration. Whether wrapped around a tree or gently hung over the fireplace, it adds a bright, festive feel to any room. But don’t just stuff it into an attic closet when the holidays are over! Tinsel has several different purposes throughout the year. If you’re hosting a party at your lake house, cut pieces of tinsel into festive necklaces for your guests to celebrate. Alternatively, you can also use Tinsel as packing material for sending gifts to friends and family throughout the year. Think of how exciting it’d be for your loved one to open a gift packed with gold or silver tinsel!


Photo courtesy of Andaluca

Trees and wreaths are two of the most iconic decorations from the winter holidays. But they don’t last forever. Unless you have a faux tree, these pine materials will dry out over time. However, this doesn’t mean they’re useless! Dried out pine needles and pine cones are perfect to use in creating your own DIY potpourri. Especially at a lake house, a pine-scented potpourri can elevate the calming sense of nature in your home. You could even use these materials to make DIY candles for the same purpose. If you’re working with a tree (and don’t mind a little woodworking), try using the wood at the base to build a birdhouse. Alternatively, hack away and turn it into mulch for your garden.

Greeting Cards

Photo courtesy of My Frugal Home

Throughout the month of December, greeting cards keep piling up. Whether from relatives, friends, or your office, there’s no shortage of holiday cards in your mailbox. However, instead of recycling the ones with less sentimental value at the end of the season, try repurposing them at your lake house. With just a hole puncher and some string, you’ll have a set of beautiful gift tags to use for next year. Feeling even more crafty? Cut the cards into circles (this may require precise tracing tools) and use glue to create covers for mason jar lids. This way, your storage containers will keep the holiday spirit alive and well at your lake house. 

When it comes to repurposing holiday decorations, no idea is too small! We wish you the best in all your DIY endeavors in the new year.

Last Minute Lake-Inspired Gifts

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

The holidays are fast approaching and — let’s be honest — we’re still scrambling to find gifts for friends and family. However, just because a gift is last minute doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal and dull. Especially if you’re shopping for someone who loves the lake, there’s plenty of fun, celebratory presents that they’ll love. So, if you’re shopping in a pinch and aren’t sure what to do, check out this list of lake-inspired gifts!

Big Mouth Billy Bass

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Over its many years of popularity, now in 2020, a Big Mouth Billy Bass mounted on the wall is a lake-house staple. And no, we’re not talking about a regular taxidermy fish. This entertaining vacation home accessory sings and moves his head when you press a red button at the bottom of the wall mount. Traditionally, Billy sings Bob Marley’s iconic hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Newer versions have added other songs to the repertoire, such as “I Will Survive” and “Take Me to the River.” As you introduce each lake house guest to this singing sensation, the fun doesn’t end!

“It’s Lake Time” Clock

Photo courtesy of Etsy.

In our daily lives, we’re continually keeping an eye on the time, trying to meet deadlines, and generally attempting to be productive. But being on the lake presents a rare opportunity to throw time out the window and relax. These “It’s Lake Time” clocks reflect this laid-back lifestyle through home decor. Instead of the traditional analog clock, the numbers are tossed aside, reminding everyone at home to take a step back and enjoy the lake. With this lake-inspired gift, charm takes precedence over functionality. 

Lake Themed Ornaments

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

If your gift recipient typically puts up a Holiday tree every year, they’ll love a lake themed ornament. The best part about this gift is that you can customize it to fit their personality. Does your lake-dwelling friend have a sense of humor and enjoy fun, slightly cheesy decor? If so, they’d love this ornament featuring Santa and his reindeer enjoying drinks on a pontoon boat. Or rather, if your gift recipient prefers a simplistic style, try something like this rustic wooden ornament with a hand-painted duck swimming in a lake.

Lake Coordinates Flag

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Your lake-dwelling friends will love this adorable gift from Zazzle to hang on their front porch. If your gift-planning isn’t too last minute, you can even customize the flag with their lake house’s coordinates to add a personal flare. The striped design features with a paddle insignia evoke a classic, nautical look that’s perfect for the lake. You can also print this same design onto a pillowkeychain, or koozie. Whichever gift you think will suit your lake-loving friend best! 

Lake House Guest Book

Photo courtesy of Etsy.

Whether you have time to personalize it or not, your friend will appreciate a guest book for their lake house. It’s much more than just a coffee table book — it’s a chronicle of notes from anyone who’s enjoyed the home. Your friend will enjoy looking back on everyone’s messages (including yours) for years to come. Depending on your friend’s style, you can choose a sleek book with a textbook cover or a more casual spiral notebook. To make the gift more complete, include a nice pen or a set of fun, colorful pens like Muji. This way, guests will have their designated writing utensils to showcase their personal style. 

We hope these lake-inspired gifts help your holiday shopping process this year! 

Creative Ways to Celebrate the Holidays During the Pandemic

Photo courtesy of @photomasha_symchych via Twenty20.

During the holidays, we often write on the Lake Homes Realty blog about hosting. From hosting a game day event during football season to inviting guests for Thanksgiving, we’ve got you covered.

Our interest in hosting is because we understand the importance of sharing your lake house with friends and family. With stunning views of nature, more outdoor space, and generally cozy vibes, it’s a perfect venue for hosting.

Unfortunately, during the pandemic, we can’t celebrate the holidays in the same way. The CDC is recommending small gatherings, wearing masks, and minimizing travel. So, we have to get creative. This holiday season, try some of these social distancing friendly alternatives at your lake house!

Zoom Holiday Dinner

Photo courtesy of Proflowers.com.

Since the pandemic began, loneliness has been on the rise. Since indoor dinner parties with out-of-town guests are no longer an option, we’re feeling the lack of connection more acutely this holiday season.

However, thanks to technology, Zoom dinner parties are “a next-best” alternative. You can send a video chat invitation to multiple guests for Thanksgiving, and everyone can join from their dinner tables. You can even do activities like “show and tell,” where each guest gets a chance to show off their cooking skills for the evening.

If your guests do not all know each other, utilize Zoom’s “breakout rooms” feature to enable your guests’ side conversations. 

Host a Small Group Outdoors

Photo courtesy of @beachbumledford via Twenty20.

According to experts, spending time with others outdoors (and with a mask) presents a lower risk for catching and transmitting COVID than indoor gatherings. Outdoor events are where lake houses have an advantage.

There’s usually plenty of outdoor space to celebrate the holidays at the lake! Utilize the backyard of your lake home to create a venue for a socially distant gathering. If it’s chilly outside, center several chairs six feet apart around a heater or fire pit. You can encourage guests to bring blankets to stay warm! 

If you host an in-person gathering, it’s an excellent opportunity to decorate your backyard. String lights, tablecloths, and a bar cart can evoke a welcoming atmosphere for your guests. You can even set up a speaker outside for some background music!

Online Gift Exchange

Photo courtesy of @Anikona_ via Twenty20.

Of course, Secret Santa is not the same virtually. There’s no pool of wrapped gifts in the center of the floor, and countless thank-you hugs as gifts are exchanged among friends and family.

Just because we’re far apart doesn’t mean the celebration has to end. It’s still possible to host a gift exchange online! Just be sure to plan ahead of time. Using a website like Sneaky Santa or Elfster, enter each participant’s name into the drawing. Once each person has been assigned a Secret Santa, allow plenty of time for mailed gifts.

After everyone’s mail has been received, host a Zoom event for each member to reveal their gifts and guess their Secret Santa. To make the event more celebratory, ask your guests to wear their favorite holiday sweater! 

Virtual Costume Party

Photo courtesy of Southern Vines.

Although Halloween has already come and gone, you can still host a fun costume party for another upcoming holiday like New Years Eve. Whether it’s a costume party (and contest) or another fun theme that you choose, everyone can show off their fun outfits. Consider hosting it over Zoom or another video chatting platform for New Year’s Eve. This could be the year to begin some new traditions.

At Lake Homes Realty, we understand how tough it is to navigate hosting at your lake house during the pandemic. However, we hope these tips help you to stay as connected to your loved ones as possible during the holiday season! 

Evergreen Ideas: Five Tips for Bringing the Outdoors In This Winter

Evergreen trees on lake with cloudy sky over mountains

What do the names arborvitae, white pine, fir, cedar, and cypress have in common? Depending on the region of the U.S. where you live, these are evergreen trees you might find outside the window of your lake house. At a time of year, when dreary skies are typical, these trees evoke a sense of comfort and warmth. They also can inspire holiday decorations such as wreaths and garlands that invite a sense of cheer into your home. As a general trend, lake homeowners often look for ways to bring the outdoors in.

Incorporating elements from the great outdoors into every room of your house is a great way to establish a rustic, comfortable feel. In keeping with this theme, incorporating evergreen plants into your décor is sure to bring a little extra brightness to your lake house this season. Further, according to David Ewart, director of Pavilion Broadway, “an increasing number of studies show that houseplants, flowers, and foliage improve our physical and mental environment by reducing our stress levels, encouraging relaxation and making us feel closer with nature.” So, for the sake of your tranquility, we have some tips for incorporating natural elements by bringing the outdoors into your lake house décor this Winter.

Wreaths and Garlands

A great thing about these decorations is that they can work in any area of the home. Whether you hang an evergreen wreath around your entry mirror or wrap a garland down the banister of the stairs, they are sure to liven any room. It’s also an easy DIY project. Stephanie Plymale, CEO of Portland-based Heritage School of Interior Design comments that you can “utilize leftover branches from the base of your Christmas tree or cut fresh evergreen branches from around your neighborhood. We recommend shaping your wreath around a wire base and using a natural burlap to complete the look.”


Tree branches as winter decoration
Photo courtesy of Made In a Day.

Although the vibrant, dark green color of evergreen leaves is enticing, don’t forget about the branches too. Even without the foliage aspect, branches can make great decorations by themselves. If you have small branch pieces, home décor blogger Jeneva Aaron recommends repurposing a vintage mason jar as a vase set on an end table with evergreen branches inside. “Depending on how long winter lasts in your area, you might have to swap out the branches from time to time because they’ll dry out,” she notes. “However, this is such an easy and inexpensive way to decorate your lake house during wintertime.” Kathie Emhof, a Buffalo New York-based interior designer with Transitions Home Staging Designs, also recommends incorporating branches into your look, especially driftwood and birch branches. For the latter, she recommends placing greenery behind them and tying them in a bow to dress up the house. For tips on incorporating driftwood into your décor, check out this article from our website.  

Accent Pieces

Evergreen sprigs as accent pieces in DIY vase
Photo courtesy of A Piece of Rainbow.

Not all of your winter evergreen decorations need to be large wreaths or branches. Small accent pieces can go a long way to increase a room’s vibrancy. As another way to bring the outdoors in, Plymale recommends cutting small trimmings of evergreen plants and grouping these in mason jars with sprigs of cranberries and twigs. She also suggests adding fresh evergreen swags to bookcases or mantels. “You may opt to mix in cranberries or holly for a more traditional holiday look or leave pure evergreens for understated elegance,” she offers. If you need an accent piece for a coffee table or end table, you can place small pieces of evergreen plants on table trays. Emhof adds, “on my coffee table I have a wooden tray with ornaments and use evergreens as a filler. It looks pretty and festive.”


Dried hydrangeas on mantle christmas decor
Photo courtesy of House and Garden.

Although flowers may be the last word that we’d associate with the middle of Winter, they are certainly not off-limits for your decorating this time of year. One method of incorporating flowers into your December décor is by drying them. Emhof specifically comments that “dried hydrangeas look spectacular in your house in the Wintertime, and they typically fade to a pink, purple, or golden color.” You can also include a combination of dried plants and lowlight house plants such as amaryllis or an orchid in your arrangements. The bright pop of red or purple, depending on the flower you choose, will signal to your guests that Spring is just around the corner.


Christmas stove potpourri
Photo courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs.

Immediately after hanging up a freshly cut garland, that comforting smell will waft through your house. To enhance this homey scent that is a hallmark of the holiday season, Plymale advises making a simmering potpourri. She instructs, “In a large pot of water, simmer evergreen clippings, fresh orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon sticks for a DIY holiday diffuser.” There’s also nothing wrong with choosing a holiday candle to mimic this warm Winter scent. Whichever you choose, you’ll be bringing the outdoors in by appealing to more than one of the five senses.

We hope these tips help inspire your green thumb, even in the middle of December!