I love the holidays but what I DON’T love is to spend lots of time putting up decorations that will not be there more than a month. That’s why I try to keep my decorating to a minimum. I know there are many of you who would love to spend the afternoon creating cute tabletop displays or seasonal swags for the fireplace mantle but I am built differently.
Of course I like my home to look festive during the holidays but I have a definite limit on how much time I want to spend putting it up. To be specific, I spend about an hour to decorate the home. So what’s my plan? Here’s the basics:
Buy Decorations on the Cheap
One of the happy memories of my years as a teen and single woman was going to the post-Christmas sales with my mother every years. Even my father was in on the act. Not long after opening all our presents, Mother and I would grab the sale papers and huddle together at the dining table. As we would plan our attack, Dad would retreat with a slice of pie to a safe spot in front of the TV. We were post-Christmas sale ninjas, able to hit several stores in a mere two hours, purchasing at rock-bottom prices for next year.
That’s not the only time I would buy holiday decorations. Whenever I was in a thrift shop or at a garage sale, I’d keep my eyes out for holiday bargains. One of my favorite things is a set of four ceramic letters (with holes on the top for candles) that spell N-O-E-L. It’s part of our Christmas tradition that at least once while they’re on display my husband will sneak into the living room and rearrange them to say L-E-O-N. Anyone who knows him will understand this odd behavior.
Have a Storage Bin for Each Season
For each season – spring, summer, fall, holiday – I have a large plastic storage bin. Ideally the bin is in an appropriate color (pink for spring, blue for summer) so that I don’t have too much trouble finding it in the dark recesses of the garage. Slowly over the years I have accumulated fun, easy to install decorations. The items stored in the bin stay dust-free, rarely break, and are on hand when the urge to decorate hits.
Execute the Decorating Plan
Then comes the day (or really the hour) when I am prepared to decorate. The appropriate bin comes in from the garage and I start flinging things around. Well, it’s not quite that wild and crazy. First I change tablecloths, pillows, and table runners to something appropriate. Then I deploy swags and garlands in relatively safe places – over the fireplace, framing a doorway, wound around wire shelving. Lastly I put out the do-dads like that ceramic N-O-E-L my husband enjoys. Elapsed time: 60-90 minutes.
The Moral of the Story Is…
It doesn’t take much to be a little festive for the holidays. Sure, you can create all sorts of decorations that would make Martha Steward proud but is that really necessary? If I were you I’d spend more time enjoying the company of family and friends. That will give you holiday memories long after the do-dads have been packed away for another year.