It’s October 1st – the official kickoff of the holiday decorating season. First it’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving (or simply the fall season), immediately followed by Christmas. I used to think holiday decorating had to be done all at once or not all. It was a huge deal to pull the tubs out of the garage and drag them into the house, wipe the heavy layers of dust and settled road grime off the lids, pull everything out of every tub and find the perfect location for every single item. Then I had to gather up all of the newspapers and plastic grocery bags used for packing, stuff it back in the empty tubs, and haul the tubs back to the garage. A month or two later, I had to find time to bring in the empty tubs, pack everything up, restack the tubs in the garage, and bring in the next round of seasonal paraphernalia to repeat the previous steps.
It got to be too much – just another entry on the never-ending to do list. So I quit. For two years, I didn’t decorate at all. And guess what…
My family didn’t love me less. My friends didn’t refuse to hang out with the woman who failed to embrace holiday mania.
I love my home. It is truly my refuge in this wibbly wobbly world that keeps me so off-kilter. I enjoy surrounding myself with warm, comfortable, beautiful things. But the go big or go home mentality was killing me. It was a physical and emotional relief to skip the seasonal decorating hysteria for a while, but I began missing some of the small touches.
Fall is my favorite decorating season. I adore the warm colors of orange, deep red, brown and gold. Pumpkins and gourds make me smile. I have more tubs of fall decorations than all other holidays combined – even Christmas! I have learned, however, that just because I have a lot of stuff, it doesn’t mean I need to use all of it every year. Nor do I have to decorate all at once. Instead of creating a crisis of autumnal decorating chaos, I’m finding joy in creating these small oases of fall fun as the whimsy strikes me.
A couple of weeks ago I had coffee with friends after which we swung by Hobby Lobby for some casual browsing and cart loading of tiny artificial pumpkins, sunflowers, leaves and gourds. The trip resulted in three small seasonal touches implemented over the course of a couple of weeks. I didn’t make a mess of plastic tubs, packing materials, and 30 years worth of collected fake fall fruit and foliage.
So if you’re a Type A, overachiever, Martha Stewart wannabe, Better Homes and Gardens coveter like me, it’s okay. I’m giving you permission to take a break. Stop driving yourself crazy trying to be perfect and create the perfect holiday environment. Did you know there are people out there who NEVER decorate?
I know, I have a hard time believing it too. Maybe they’re happy about it. Maybe they’re miserable wishing they had a “green thumb” for decorating. I don’t know. This isn’t about them. But we can learn from them. Trust me, you will not die or be abandoned by everyone you’ve ever loved if you refuse to stress yourself out over the holidays. In fact, your family just might think you’re a lot more fun.
Share your decorating tips, stress busters, and photos. I’d love to hear from you.