Home for the Holidays

Decorating for the season By Rachel Kelly

Decorating for the holidays

The holiday season has our eyes turned inward toward home. More time spent at home around loved ones has us pulling out the throw blankets and piling on the pillows. This season's decor has us creating spaces for more time spent doing indoor activities, making room for holiday gatherings and fostering a feeling of festivity. It’s important that your space reflects what’s most comfortable for you. It’s important that the place you wind down and spend the most time mirrors your individual feelings, memories and style. Decorating for the season means something different for everyone, however, there are common priorities that just might spur your holiday humbug into action.

During the holidays, especially during the winter solstice, it can get pretty dark. One of the themes of the holidays is to bring light into dark spaces. Lighting has a way of creating mood. The same is true in our homes during the holidays. Switching out light fixtures, adding new lamp shades or hanging twinkle lights from dark corners makes for an instant cozy space. Plus, it’s festive! Bright lights are only necessary while reading, otherwise soft light (such as what comes from a fireplace) creates comfort. Since electricity is a fairly recent invention, it makes sense that our bodies would prepare for sleep and relax more in less invasive bright light. Candles are another inexpensive addition to any space during short winter days. Hanging tea light fixtures along stairwells and hallways makes the switching on and off of lights unnecessary, which is especially convenient if half the house has already gone to bed. In some cultures, it’s customary to place candles in window sills to share light with neighbors during the holiday season. This tradition doubles as a way to bring comfort in the home as well.

More time spent indoors means more activity, not less, happens in your home. Wintertime is a time for rest and rejuvenation. Our space can assist us in time well spent. It’s not the time for big renovations, but there are simple strategies that everyone can use to open up and declutter our space for the holidays. If you have kids, this might be a good time to build each of them their own creative corners in an out-of-the-way favorite spot, complete with its own light source, pillows, and organization that works for their needs. Actually, this might be a good time for you to build your own creative space, filled with things that both bring you joy and allow you to do whatever makes you feel most constructive. Everyone needs a hub—a space that’s just yours. Otherwise, everyone’s indoor activities go everywhere, and there doesn’t seem to be a place for anything. Encouraging each person in the household to create their own space brings ownership. For common spaces, pay attention to how you and others naturally do things. If there’s a place where people seem to throw their towels, that’s where the laundry hamper goes. If a favorite family activity is movie night, then maybe buy some extra oversized pillows that tuck away in a basket at the side of the couch. This holiday season, bring ownership to your home by tailoring your space to fit your needs.

Usually when it comes to the holiday color scheme, don’t choose anything that doesn’t already work. Nobody needs a complete holiday revamp every year. If you’ve chosen pretty basic wall colors, and generally your regular aesthetic is quiet, solid colors, there is lots of room for color during the holidays. Colored lights to wrap up the stairwell, silver tinsel hung from the windowsill, red bows over the doorways. Your tree might just be a jumble of color, filled with ornaments that carry with them memories that grow every year. However, if in your house you already have a lot of color, you might want to tone down the holiday decor with simple glass tree ornaments and white twinkle lights. Another simple decoration is hanging dried flowers from the tops of the windows, this freshens the air as well as looks festive. Live flowers that will last through the holidays, or even through the entire winter season, is always a welcome look set in direct contrast to the dreary outdoors. This season, choose a color scheme that brings life to your indoors.

As you pull out the traditional decorations this holiday season, don’t be afraid to get rid of whatever doesn’t bring you joy. Sometimes those old holiday decorations can really pile up and gather dust. There's a reason that we tuck those decorations away most of the year. As you cultivate your space, think of what works for you. Create and open up your space for the things you like doing during the holidays, whether it’s holding holiday parties or crashing on the couch for a good holiday movie. Create a space for others, but also don’t be afraid to prioritize something for yourself that helps you to feel productive or cozy. It’s your home, and it reflects you and those you love. This holiday season, decorate in such a way that reflects your fondest memories and encourages the activities that cultivate joy.


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