Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Holiday Decorating: Do You Bother?

Do you decorate for different holidays? I don't, with one exception, Christmas.

It seems as if every few months the stores are stocking their shelves with aisles of decorations for the next holiday. There is something for for everyone: Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas. The amount of stuff that is manufactured, and which presumably some people buy, is astounding. Flags, doormats, pillows, blankets, tablecloths, mantle decor, towels, dishes, cookie jars, candles, candle holders, wreaths, outdoor lights, indoor lights, soap...the list goes on and on. Billions of dollars are spent on this stuff each year.

This right here? Gives me hives.
Then you have the magazines, blogs, Pinterest, and more, filled with photos of each hostess, and some hosts, trying to outdo the next with their own creativity and quantity of decor. Right now there is a flood of pretty, but elaborately decorated tablescapes. Seeing these give me hives because I think, who has the time, and actually enjoys, shopping for, buying and arranging all that stuff?!?

I'm not trying to spoil anyone's fun here; by all means if you enjoy decorating for the various holidays, then don't let me stop you. I enjoy decorating for Christmas and having all the pretty lights to look at for a month, but that's where the urge ends for me.

I remember decorating my first apartment. I had fun making it pretty and adding my own touches to create a comfortable home that I enjoyed spending time in. But then came the holidays, and suddenly it appeared that my job wasn't done. I began to wonder, with all the neighbors decorating not just for Christmas, but for Halloween, Easter and Thanksgiving, shouldn't I join in to? So I began to collect a black bat here, and some pumpkins there, but I really didn't enjoy it. Finding these things, putting them out, then storing them just felt like yet another chore to me. It wasn't until I started decluttering a few years ago that I finally gave myself permission to get rid of my paltry collection of Halloween decor and to admit that I didn't like it, nor need to keep or display it.

Even after giving up on the manufactured stuff, I still clung to the idea of natural decorations. I bought pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and the like, but I didn't really enjoy that either. So this year I bought nothing and didn't miss it at all.

That's what minimalism is to me, in a nutshell. Re-examining the way we live, the things we do and the stuff we buy and keep, to make sure it's still working for us. Not for society, not to impress your neighbors, just for us and our families. Letting go of the stuff that isn't working? Totally worth it, I promise.


  1. Oh thank you for this!! My mom is one who has boxes for holidays, especially Christmas...the pillows, hand towels, figurines and displays. Yuck. I've always hated it. My grandmother in law is even worse, way, way worse. Now that we have kids, our oldest is asking why we don't decorate. I may have to start doing something, but I'm counting on the kids to make it. If all else fails, I may agree to decorating a tree...outside and live haha! Thank you for saying what I've been thinking for so, so long!

    1. Why does it not surprise me that you're not a big holiday decorator?! :) I could see this might be more fun with kids who were into it. Even the cats get pretty excited about Christmas decorations; one of them is in love with the fake tree. He doesn't try to climb it, but uses it like a giant self-scratcher.

  2. On the one hand, I can appreciate the tablescape as art. I grew up with very elaborate holiday decorations. My mother has 10 or 12 sets of china, most of which we never used...there were only three of us and in a small house with little formal entertaining. She just likes the stuff.

    On the other hand, I felt very burdened by the weight of so much stuff for years. In comparision to my mother and grandmother (and many Americans?), I am minimalist. I did not decorate for halloween. I do not own any thanksgiving decorations. I have one bin for christmas stockings, tree skirt, nativity set, candles and tree lights and two smaller boxes for ornaments. I have plain baskets and leftover pieces of egg dipping kits for easter. I have one cute foam valentine house I made a few years ago that I can't quite bear to get rid of because it reminds me of tasha tudor.
    Nowadays if my house is clean and tidy, it feels ready for any day, including a holiday. If I have our regular dishes on the table with a clean white tablecloth, that feels like enough. I don't decorate the mantel or the door way or the gate or anything else any more. The kids sometimes have art projects from school and I might display those. I no longer have a plastic box full of plastic garland anywhere in my house and that is an accomplishment. ;)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, LeeAnn! And I agree some of these tablescapes are amazingly beautiful. But then I think of what a pain, and sometimes expense they would be.

  3. I am definitely a minimalist when it comes to holiday decorations. I only do Halloween/fall (Halloween door hanging and pumpkin/gourds/mums on my front doorstep) and Christmas (6' artificial tree, wreath on the door, and a few things on my fireplace mantel). Two years ago I had two giant tubs full of Christmas items, not including my tree, so I whittled it down to one tub of items and the tree.

    Those crazy tablescapes give me hives too. Yikes!

    P.S. Love your blog! Found you through Not Buying Anything :-)

    1. Thanks Nicole, I love people who comment! :-) Although I feel the need to confess that I still have 1.5 tubs of Christmas stuff, and a tree. But that's it!

  4. I think the best part of the holiday decorating splurge in the states is getting to laugh at some of the truly ridiculous stuff that people put up on their lawns!

    I really only put stuff up for Christmas. Having a condo keeps the holiday decorations down to a minimum because our condo association won't allow much of anything! I have a couple very traditional family items that I get out, like an advent calendar and a little German-style Christmas candelabra. I have one set of lights that are red and green and shaped like chili peppers. I got all of my decorations as souvenirs from trips, so they serve two purposes.

    I've really never understood holiday china. You really can only use that stuff once a year.

  5. I just do not like cutesy things to decorate with. We put of 3 pumpkins this year with some orage/white lights. I do love lighting and I think it warmed up our front porch lovely. I keep lights up all year. In the warmer months, I put out the one's that you would find in at a dancehall, outside. Makes it homey and inviting. I do put lighted garland on the stairs and our we do white lights on the house, but just the front and simple lines. I do appreciate a nice big wreath with a big bow and I have a Santa decked out in white, classic looking. Christmas tree is a must and we bake cookies. I do add a few extra candles around the house during the holidays but otherwise, I keep it simple. Everything for the "holidays", Halloween included, fits in 2 tubs in the hall closet. and whatever "project" my son brings home gets hung on the refrigerator. :) Homemade art is the best. :)

  6. i'm so with you. i'm not huge on decorating. i don't have the time, the love for crafts, the patience, space, etc. to decorate for every holiday. and now that we have a baby, it just seems ridiculous. he's not going to remember anything and will probably take most of it down!


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