Embracing the holiday spirit one task at a time has real benefit
Photo by Barbara Cleary
I have made no secret about my reluctance to decorate for Christmas. It is not just Christmas, either. Decorating for holidays and events is not my interest; not my forte.
That is not to say that I hold in disdain those who go all out with enthusiastic joy to decorate for whatever reason, whatever season. I rather appreciate people who have not only the talent but the energy to transform their home, their car, their port-o-potty into dazzling displays to delight us.
There is real benefit in putting some effort into holiday decor, though. For those like me, who cringe at the thought of hauling box after box after box of decorations from the attic, holiday decorating can be easily accomplished in two painless ways.
The “Less is More” Approach
Of the two ways I have found to successfully decorate and still make everyone almost happy, the “less is more” concept works pretty well.
Essentially, what you do is hone in on the two or three things that are a “must” for the holiday-minded in your household. Christmas, for example, connotes what I consider two big-ticket items: our tree (as seen in the photo above), and a Nativity scene. The key is that these need to be strategically placed so that they catch the eye as soon as someone enters the space, and people automatically think, “Wow, look at the decorations!”.
Our entry hall is a great spot for the Nativity scene because getting anywhere in our house necessitates passing through the entry hall. What is even better is that with a living room open to the rest of the house, the Christmas tree is in full view from both the main floor as well as the upstairs hall! The nice thing about it is that you can choose which things to showcase.
This brings me to my next suggestion:
Practically Decorating, or Decorating for Function
If I am pressed to do more, my go-to idea is to decorate for efficiency and function.
Normally I would leave our formal dining room absent of anything I need to dust or periodically shake out. During a holiday decorating season, though, I will pull out table protectors, table cloths in holiday colors, placemats, napkins, and a centerpiece early on, because I know we will have at least one family meal with our good dinnerware and use my mother-in-law’s sterling silverware.
The table is set minus the plates, glasses, and silverware, and stays that way throughout the holiday season. When the eventual family meal or meals are completed, it is easy to replace the soiled items with fresh ones ready for the next gathering.
Another nice thing about this is that the table, simply decorated, becomes a place to put pre-holiday gifts of wine or spirits, homemade confections, and the like, thereby adding them to the overall effect. I have even gone so far as to replace the kitchen table placemats and napkins to continue the theme to another room. Living in a multigenerational home where things like napkins, candles, and placemats hold a special place for my in-laws, it makes them happy to see their things of years gone by still finding use by another generation.
Turning my focus away from what is a daunting task to transform every room in our house into a holiday masterpiece, and instead just choosing those things that mean the most to those I live with has helped me embrace the season in a healthier, happier way.
I still go to it at a snail’s pace, but it does get done. I have even found that the one task at a time approach, along with these other ideas, helps me build a deeper holiday spirit.