by Randi Destefano
With Thanksgiving behind us, in our house the Christmas decorating begins as soon as the last guest leaves. The boxes are pulled from their storage center under the stairs, collected in one big room, and finally opened.
Yes, it’s pure chaos for a day or two. And the older I get, the more I find that having a plan of attack is the best way to get it finished…and enjoy myself in the process!
Pulling out photographs of past Christmases to remind myself where to place each treasure used to be where I started. But it’s really more fun to start with a fresh palette every year. After all, our tastes change, our lifestyles change, and so does the amount of free time that we have.
Though some Christmas decorations get passed on to my daughters and others are donated, I always keep the special ones that bring a smile to my face. They bring back memories of where we were when we bought them, or the special friend who gave them to us.
My plan varies each year, but there’s always a plan, and there’s always a theme. This year, because I knew exactly how it should look, my Christmas decorating began with the mantle, and the “Woodland Christmas”.
One by one, the cherished Santas are placed.
Next, the greenery is spread out to fill the space, and lighted branches are added for sparkle. Finally, the details are carefully placed. Because red is a favorite of mine, there are always berries. And then, to finish it off, the pine cones, pods, and stockings are added.
Ta Da!!!! What do you think?
Merry Christmas and Happy Decorating!!!!!
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.