Do holiday gatherings drive you crazy? Do your family get-togethers result in more stress than harmony? The problem may not be you or your loved ones. It could be your house.

As you prepare your home for the holidays this year, take a few moments to consider some of the following tips based on the principles of feng shui, the ancient art of enhancing positive energy within an environment. By enhancing this energy flow, known as “chi,” within your home, your holiday season is more likely to become a time of relaxation and goodwill.

•Banish clutter. This is one of the most basic feng shui rules, serving as a starting point for almost every other feng shui activity. As holiday decorations come out, some everyday items may have to be stored to prevent a cacophony of competing objects.
“It’s not relaxing to be surrounded by so much stuff that you don’t know where to look next,” says Linda Binns, owner of Harmony Inside & Out, specializing in holistic health and feng shui consulting. “People fall into the trap of thinking that they have to put out years’ worth of decorations, whether they really like them or not, and somehow make everything fit around all their regular items.”
Binns suggests only displaying items you really love and not overloading your environment, which constricts the flow of positive energy and creates discord.

•Balance your color scheme. While you may love the bright reds, greens and golds of the holiday season, these colors augment existing energy and should be balanced with more calming shades, such as cream, blues and pale hues.
“There are places and times when you may want to create a lot of energy, and that’s where you can mass those bright holiday decorations,” Binns says. For example, holiday meals can be more exciting and jovial when bright and shiny table settings and decorations are used.

•Decorate for harmony. Your choice and placement of decorations is crucial to the atmosphere of your home and to the harmony of those who enter. As mentioned above, too many bright colors can create an overly-stimulating environment and increase the risk of tension. Yet not enough holiday items will result in a “dull atmosphere,” Binns says.
She suggests that small rooms contain decorations that have a matte finish, rather than lots of reflective surfaces, to help absorb excess energy. The flowing shapes of ribbons and fabrics also help create a soft, gentle atmosphere.

•Don’t overdo the Christmas tree. You may love the sparkling lights and pretty ornaments on Christmas trees, so bigger is better, right? Wrong.
“Evergreen trees naturally have a spiky, ‘yang’ shape that can disrupt the even flow of energy in a room” Binns says. “Just as you wouldn’t want to overpower a room with a piece of furniture far out of proportion to the room’s size, too large a tree is not conducive to a relaxing, harmonious feeling.”
Binns says that the yang energy of a Christmas tree can be tempered by using cream and other muted colors among the brighter ornaments and by putting bows or fabric garlands on the branches to help soften the tree’s harsh edges. Also, it’s important to place the tree away from seating areas to ensure the comfort of friends and family.

•Make holiday meals memorable. Excitement is added to holiday mealtimes when the table is set with hard, shiny items such as silver serving pieces, sparkling crystal and brightly-colored holiday china. Red napkins will also create a festive mood, while green napkins and cream-colored linens will tone down the table.
Speaking of tables, round or oval are the best shapes for feng shui-friendly dining. The absence of sharp corners and hard edges helps energy flow freely and gently through the room. If you do have a rectangular dining table, make sure your guests are not seated too close to the corners, which can cause a feeling of unease during the meal.
In addition to the setting, the foods you choose are important to the overall experience. Binns, a trained nutritionist and holistic health practitioner, says, “It has been found that too much sugar or rich foods create a sense of fatigue and overwork the body’s digestive system. Excess alcohol overstimulates the liver. As with most things, moderation is key, and serving plenty of fresh vegetables will help balance richer dishes.”

Binns adds some general advice: “If people feel cooped-up or claustrophobic, they will be more likely to argue. So remove any unnecessary furniture, open the windows briefly to refresh the atmosphere, and use water features, like small fountains or floating candles, to create a calming influence.”

Candles emit natural energy and supplement the relaxing effects of dimmed lights. Fluorescent lighting, especially when added to the already stimulating effects of holiday decorations, creates an energy drain and should be reduced. Finally, add some relaxing music to your environment and turn off the TV, shutting it into a closed entertainment center if possible.

“Feng shui is an ancient practice that really works to enhance a whole array of areas in our lives,” Binns says. “By surrounding yourself with things and people you truly love and following some basic tenets, you can create balance, harmony and relaxation, which will carry you through the holidays and into the new year.”

Author's Bio: 

Linda Binns shows you how to be more successful in all areas of your life by working with your environment. Get FREE Feng Shui Success Secrets. These powerful and practical secrets can help you transform your life – go to now.

Linda Binns is author of Feng Shui for Your Relationships: Changing Your Environment to Create Better Relationships. She has been a Feng Shui Practitioner, Author, Speaker and teacher for over 10 years. She has appeared internationally on television and radio and in local publications. Linda is also the founder of The Feng Shui Success Institute – which teaches in-depth Feng Shui training and practitioner certification.