Today I thought I'd write about "Good Enough Decorating" for the holidays.
I love a pretty house for the holidays. I love the ritual of getting out the ornaments and remembering where they came from and what they mean. I love the sparkle and the magic of a decorated house. The look of a darkened room with a sparkling Christmas tree in it? Aaaaaaaah.
The thing is, I really LOVE taking decorations down again in January. Why? My house suddenly feels more spacious and I can breathe more easily again.
I have realized that being surrounded by STUFF irritates me. You see, I would love for my house to look like a magazine spread, with artfully arranged throw blankets and a mudroom with cubbies. But the reality is that blankets aren't what's being "thrown" around here, and I feel like I will one day be overtaken by shoes and backpacks and PAPERS, oh the papers!
I know know know that within the next decade I'll be missing the days of little muddy shoes on the kitchen floor. I know I'll be pining for family to come and share an over-the-top Christmas display with, but for now, I'm just trying to contain the chaos and stay calm.
As a result, when it comes to my holiday decorating, I make a plan that is soothing, festive and inspiring and doesn't make me feel ovewhelmed.
Here's what works for me:
1. Keeping the Colors Calm.
I stick to a color palette that compliments what I already have going on in the house. This doesn't mean chucking all of my sentimental childhood decorations, but it might mean I tweak them, changing a bow here or there. For example, for the past few years I have used all silver ribbons and bows. Before that they were green velvet, and before that red. I find that I am less stressed when my decorations go well with whatever is happening in my everyday decor.
At your house, Christmas may be a rainbow of bright colors or a slew of jolly Santas, and that is perfect! Subdued colors: whites, silver, pearls and blues work for me.
I also don't put everything out. I might just enjoy something for a little while when I get it out of the storage tub, and then put it back in. Just as my poor mom's sense of style got frozen in the 1980's, because that's when she died, some of my decor did, too. I keep it to enjoy and reminisce over, but I never feel guilty if I don't put it out.
3. Working with what's already there.
I also like to work with what I have, so I don't have to move my everyday items into storage.
Lemons in glass jars on the mantel?
I just take out the lemons and replace them with blue and silver balls.
Hurricanes filled with seashells Jan-November? I (gently!) throw Christmas balls right on top.
Even my fake pears in the kitchen get livened up by Christmas balls. When January comes, I just skim the balls off (sounds gross!) and leave the rest where it is.
Also, I don't decorate the kitchen much, because that room is the center of most of my clutter-based anxiety. It is where the papers pile up, the shoes are stored, and the backpacks hang. It is the only way we get in and out of our (garage-less) house.
Adding an Advent wreath and these 3 PB magnolia wreaths is about all the holiday cheer I can handle in there. I save most of my decorating for the more serene areas of the house.
Having 2 Christmas Trees:
This started when, as a control freak I wanted to separate the kids' ornaments from "MY" more "matchy" ornaments. I have relaxed a bit and now some of my favorite ornaments on the "grown up" tree are my kids' paper, glitter and yarn "Names of Jesus" ornaments-- all 24 of them. They are treasures.
Still, having a full-sized artificial tree in our upstairs hallway allows us to hang ALL of the kids' treasures. And the collection is growing. Macaroni creations? Santa? Yoda? Ariel? Yankee Stadium? (Oh yeah, that's Tom's)-- Bring 'em on! The more the merrier.
Before, I felt we had too many ornaments; now, when I see something cute for the kids during the year I buy it for them knowing there is a place for it, but necessarily on my, I mean THE, downstairs tree.
Take our electric white candles in the windows. I got tired of the suction cups releasing and sending them crashing to the ground. This year, our "outdoor" lights will consist of our 2 Christmas trees glowing through the windows.
Also, this year I just didn't feel like hanging a garland on the bannister. It is one of my FAVES.... evergreen, little white lights with sterling baby cups and spoons hooked on with silver bows. Trust me on this, it is sentimental and lovely!
But right now the stairs are a way station for everyone's crap, and I just didn't feel up to it. Kind of like putting lipstick on a pig, you know?
Today this is how our stairs are decorated, and this is a VERY GOOD day:
Who knows? Maybe Tic Tacs and Army men are the next light blue and brown in the world of decor.
Lest you think I'm going to say it's all about reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas and not getting caught up in the hoopla of over-the-top decorating, let me disabuse you of that notion.
Would a woman who blogs about her hair roots really be talking about "going deeper" in that way? Well, maybe, but not in this post. The best decorating tip is one I learned from my mother a long time ago. It makes any Christmas tree more beautiful and therefore any house more lovely.
When hanging ornaments, I go deep into the branches. Each branch is laden with ornaments with plenty of gold and silver balls to reflect the light. Some of these glass balls date back to my parents' first Christmas as a married couple 47 years ago. Hanging ornmanents deep within the tree gives a tree sparkle and dimension.
And to me, a well-dressed tree is the most special decoration of all.