Every year when Jeff and I start talking about decorating for Christmas, I always say the same thing: “I don't want to go overboard this year. I want to keep things simple.” I usually end the conversation with an impassioned statement. I say, “Christmas should be an accent!” So each year when we begin decorating, I try to keep it simple. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not as successful as I hoped I’d be.
I guess to truly understand my statement one has to go back in time about thirteen or fourteen years. Jeff and I were just two young kids at the time. Of course, we thought we were old, but we were mistaken. Even then I decorated in the “primitive” style, but looking back at the pictures, I really did not have a good sense of what the word primitive meant. Thinking about it now, I am still not certain that I have a complete grasp of what the word primitive means. However, I digress. Back in those days, Christmas decorating was weeks long. We would literally remove most of our everyday decorations and put them away so that we could make room for Christmas. Christmas was everywhere. Oh my! It truly was everywhere! Of course we thought it looked good, and honestly I guess it did. We enjoyed it, but it was so “in your face”!
Over the years, as my decorating style became more focused, so did our Christmas decorating. We were not where I wanted to be, but it was becoming a little more simple. As my collections went from “primitive” to “early,” I wanted our Christmas decorations to make the transition too. This meant that we had to rid ourselves of lots of Christmas decorations. I always say that Christmas decorations are some of the hardest items to part with. I think we just want to hold on to them forever because they bring back so many memories. However, once we started purging, I think we both felt better.
We started focusing more on the collections that we had in our home and how we could make those collections seem more like Christmas. I started focusing more on using sprigs of greenery to liven up a space and added little red berries to give a splash of color. I started adding handmade Christmas decorations that had the same early feel that I was going for in the rest of the house, and I had to ask Jeff to stop using so many lights. These all seem like simple things to accomplish, but it took more than five years for it to really evolve. Of course, I am far from being where I want to be. Each year I get a little closer, but I think all people who have a passion for decorating would say that our houses are always changing and they are always evolving. The last thing we passionate decorators want to become is predictable or stagnant. So, each Christmas I keep plugging away and working hard to “keep it simple”.
Let me tell you, it is not easy to decorate simply. I used to look at pictures of houses that were decorated simply and think, “Well, that doesn’t look hard.” However, it really is. To force myself to have an editing eye is really difficult for me. I try all the time, but it really has taken me out of my comfort zone. The more I do it, the more I like it though, and I am optimistically hopeful that by the time we get into the saltbox, I will have an even better editing eye. For now, I am just enjoying the process.
Christmas is a time of peace and joy. It is a time that our houses should reflect who we are and the things that we hold dear. It is a time that we should appreciate the simple things in life. When we truly focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the simplicity that the season can bring to our lives, we will have more peace and PEACE MATTERS!