Let’s be honest, some Christmas traditions may change slightly in condominium life. I myself, went from a 12 foot tall Christmas tree spanning a two storey front entrance as a child, to a dwarfed, artificial one that was less than half the size, when I first celebrated solo in my own condo. While there may be some condo regulations and logistics (real vs. artificial trees, wreaths on your suite entry door, balcony lighting, and reduced storage space) that mix things up a bit from how you used to do them, it hardly means they can’t be equally as festive and beautiful. Check out some of the amazing examples here.
If you like something a little less bright and cheerful, but equally elegant, have a peak at this gorgeous dark condo décor from designer Timothy Johnson, in this month’s House and Home.
Another change may be outsourcing your dining room table to a shared one with a common area dining room. Be sure however to reserve it early enough to avoid disappointment. Also consider booking guest suites if your condo has one and you’ve got out of town guests. If you’re having several local guests coming over, consider the amount of visitor parking spaces you’ll require and what your community has available. If you have an excess, you may need to consider neighbouring lots to advise your guests of.
Another logistic many condo dwellers consider during the holidays is niceties and gratuities to the people, some behind the scenes, others front and centre, that make your condominium community hum so beautifully throughout the year. This is often a great time to express your appreciation for all of the little things they do year-round, making your condo a great place to live. Think of the Management, Concierge, Superintendent, Maintenance and cleaning crew, etc. While this isn’t a necessity, it’s become quite common practice. Brickunderground has some great articles including one with personal interviews from doormen and another covering their annual guide.
Keep in mind this is in US dollars and not exactly apples to apples. And remember that monetary gifts are not always the most preferred, particularly if your relationships are personal and long term. I recall when I was younger and living in my first condo, a Christmas card with a heartfelt note along with some of my Christmas cookies were a greatly appreciated gesture by the concierge. Even an extra ten minutes talking to him/her at their desk during non-peak hours helped share the holiday spirit and lessened the loneliness. Remember, it’s not a day-off for everyone, and a condominium truly doesn’t manage itself.
There’s also a lot you can do in a condominium more easily at this time of year, in terms of celebrating with larger groups of friends and neighbours. Consider some of the following.
Gift Wrapping Party – Put on some holiday music, bring some eggnog and /or hot chocolate to your party room and share the task of wrapping all of those gifts still waiting for some “Christmas skin.” Some eager Christmas crazed residents may even want to take on the task of wrapping for others. Consider a small suggested donation that can go toward an event for the following year.
Shopping Night –Consider sharing a last minute shopping spree with neighbours and friends. Carpool and hit some malls or stroll the local neighbourhood streets together and double the joy.
Polar Express Movie Night – Rent your community theatre amenity if you have one and get the gang together to watch Polar Express, A Christmas Story or any classic. Will Ferrell’s Elf is one of my personal all time favourites.
Holiday Ornament Decoration Party -Get your artsy, creative types together and use the shared spaces to inspire the decoration of some ornaments.
Dessert and Baking Party – Most of us if we’re fortunate, get invited somewhere for a holiday event, and none of us want to show up empty handed. Invite some neighbours over for a bake-off, or reserve your community’s catering kitchen and/or dining room to share some culinary Christmas spirit. Pinterest has some amazing ideas – strawberry snowmen, reindeer water bottles & popcorn sacks that require minimal equipment. Bring them as host/hostess gifts to holiday parties, or share with your building crew and let them know how important they are.
Holiday Marketplace – Some communities are quite large with an even larger number of residents with areas of expertise and entrepreneurial endeavours that could serve as a source for unique holiday gift giving ideas. Ask your Management if you can set up a holiday marketplace and have vendors bring the shopping directly to you and your community. Some appetizers and wine will make it even more of a festive setting, all in the comfort of your own home, with the added luxury of no hectic parking lot or cashier lineup woes.
Other condo holiday traditions I’ve seen have great success over the past two or three years are Christmas Food and Toy drives or Potluck Christmas Brunch with neighbours. A holiday high tea has also been a hit in some communities over the past few years. Think of the abundance of all of the festive flavours that make for a great holiday delight. (Think David’s Tea Ginergbread Cookie & Snow Day flavours).
So, however you choose to celebrate, consider one or many of the above. And remember, as with a lot of things in life, there’s strength in numbers, and this is a great example of how a community of residents can willingly join together and add to the joy of the holidays.
Merry Condo Christmas to all!