Holiday Simplified Workshop for Eureka, Pontiac and Bloomington Announced

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Holidays, Simplified

The University of Illinois Extension is here to help you have a less stressful holiday season! Learn how to make and use evergreen swags, create healthier desserts and discover ways to stick to a budget at our "Holidays, Simplified" workshop. The workshop will be held multiple times in different locations. The first workshop will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 1 at the McLean County Extension Office (1615 Commerce Parkway in Bloomington). The second workshop will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, December 2 at the Livingston County Extension Office (1412 S. Locust in Pontiac). The final workshop will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, December 5 at theHeartline Community Room (300 Reagan Drive in Eureka).


According to research from the American Psychological Society, many people, especially women, experience high levels of stress during the holidays. They may have to decorate the home, buy presents, plan dinners, organize family events, all while managing the stresses of everyday life and without breaking the bank. It can be an overwhelming task for us all.Our "Holidays, Simplified" workshop will teach skills and tips that will help you check tasks off of your to-do list.

Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup, will show you how to make an evergreen swag and different ways to use them in your holiday décor. Buying greens and making your décor can drastically reduce your decorating budget without compromising the ambiance of the holiday. Additionally, swags can be used as a quick personalized gift for a party host, family or co-worker. After Kelly demonstrates how easy it is to make swags and other holiday trends, you will be sure to use your new skills for many years to come.


Nutrition Educator, Jenna Smith, will help you create healthier desserts for the holiday season, assisting you and your family in avoiding those unwanted extra pounds. Desserts do not have to be forbidden nor tasteless. Jenna will demonstrate easy-to-make recipes packed full of flavor. You will taste multiple samples and take home a packet of recipes.


Consumer Economics Educator, Pam Atkinson, will give you tips on sticking to a holiday budget. Following her budget tips will alleviate the money stress we are all bound to feel before and after the holidays.

A few quick and easy tips from Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup:

-Don't want to spend the money on buying branches of different greens? Buy a tree and cut it up into pieces with your garden loppers.-Use your existing décor! If you love birds and already have décor dedicated to them, then shape your holiday theme around birds.

-Learn to make a bow. Bows add splashes of festivity just where you need it.

-Buy potted flowering plants for a long lasting floral display. They are best kept away from heating vents and indirect light. Dunk them in a sink full of water to fully soak the root ball.

-Cut a few branches from the landscape, string them with lights and place them in a vase. If you cut from spring bloomers, they will not produce flowers. However, a few random cuts will not make a huge difference.

-Search for pine cones, dried flowers and seed heads now before the snow falls.Bring your friends, enjoy tasty treats, take home your very own evergreen swag and get a goodie bag full of items from this workshop dedicated to alleviating the stress of the holiday season.

The registration fee for the workshop is $20 per person, which covers the cost of the food and materials. Please register at or call the McLean County Extension Office at (309) 663-8306.