by Randi Destefano
“Collect what you love” is something I always tell my clients. If it doesn’t make you happy, if it’s someone else’s love, then leave it in the store! This same personal rule applies, especially during the holidays. Most of us love to decorate for the season. With space often being at a minimum, it’s a good idea to think through the things you’ve been collecting over the years.
For most of my married life, Santa Claus collecting has been a passion of mine. I’m not even sure how it started. Maybe it’s the bright red suit, since red is a favorite color. But over the years, my tastes have gone from “any old Santa” to ones made by hand.
I used to group them together to create a big impact. But these days I prefer to create vignettes and display them in a special setting.
Woodland Santa (with Cammo Santa)
Hand carved Santas for my pilot husband, my love of tennis, and Sewing Santa. He’s carrying little rolls of fabric and a sewing machine!
And, to round out the collection… Santas made from old quilts.
My friend Stephanie started her collection 30 years ago, just because she loves Santa! Her home is beautifully decorated…from the Santa ornament tree to the bookshelves.
I love the way she used ceramic Santas to create focal point displays.
We all have our reasons for starting a collection. For my friend Deb, it was a love of antiques and a love of holiday decorating. I’ve never seen so many antique Santas in one place! She’s done a wonderful job of displaying them so that each one can be seen up close and personal. Here are a few of her favorites…
This Santa is one of Deb’s largest, and in excellent condition. He was definitely a “find”!
As you can tell, Deb loves vintage Santas. In her words, “They make me smile and feel happy inside. I hope they do that to others too! Holidays can be stressful for so many people. I just feel the joy and excitement with my Santa family!”
Yes, holidays can be stressful. But if you can find one little thing to make someone smile, you’ve found the true meaning of Christmas!
by Randi Destefano
At our house the season officially begins on Thanksgiving Day when the local radio station begins playing Christmas music 24 hours a day. And Christmas music is exactly what I need to begin the big task of sifting through the chaos and clutter to decorate my downsized house!
Over the years, our decorations have changed in color and content. Our tiny collection of tree ornamentsand manger scene have somehow evolved into boxes and boxes of items that need to be stored…somewhere! This was easy to do when our girls were growing up and our house was much larger. A room underneath the stairs was perfectly packed each year by my husband, Tom.
Now, two downsized houses later, the decorations are safely tucked away in an off-site storage shed. And so, it’s off to the shed I go to bring everything home for a few weeks of Christmas bliss!
Three trips later, boxes are unpacked, everything is laid out for viewing, it’s beginning to look a little chaotic, and I’m feeling a little on edge. In this downsized house we live in now, space is very limited, and moving furniture is out of the question.
I must admit that I’ve grown accustomed to having less accessories on display. A clean, uncluttered look is what I’ve grown to love, with the sense of calm that comes when you enter each room.
So with this in mind, I’ve learned a few things about myself and the way I need to decorate for Christmas in this smaller space.
1. Know your tolerance level. If you do 90% of the decorating yourself, don’t take on more than you can handle…even if family members beg for more!
2. Hire someone to help you with the “tough stuff”. You love the railings wrapped with greenery, berries, bows, and ornaments. You and your family place a lot of value in that look, but you just go crazy doing it all alone.
3. Set new decorating traditions. Smaller homes mean less space to decorate. Shake it up a little with some new decorations, or a new location for your collectibles. Stop decorating the railing for a year. Re-evaluate what you put out and where you put it. And remember, if you bring in something new, you MUST take something away !
4. Decide where to and how to display your Christmas collectibles. Less space to display might be a sign that it’s time to retire the Dickens Village that used to take over your entire formal living room!
5. Learn when to stop! I know that it’s so easy to keep going. Believe me when I say that I’ve been there. You want this house to look as beautiful as your last house. And you think your kids would be so disappointed.
But sometimes you just have to say ENOUGH and realize you would rather be calm and peaceful in an uncluttered space. When the excess decorations are packed up and passed on to the next generation to cherish and enjoy, then you can truly enjoy Christmas in your downsized home.