Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stress-free holiday decorating

There will be NO stress this Christmas. We will not do that to ourselves this year.  A tough year is an opportunity to be low key, quiet and mindful in our preparations for this most joyful of holidays.  Now let's get started!

Here's all you need to decorate your interior spaces:

       Candles.  I prefer white or cream.  Find them at discount stores.
       Garland.  I prefer real pine garland.  Garden centers.
       Bowls.  Any and all sizes.  Use what you have.
       Music.  All kinds.  Whatever you like.

Start with a clean house.  Yes, that's the catch.  But a clean base makes it easier to keep up.

Spread the candles around the house.  All sizes and shapes are welcome. Place them in votives, in candlesticks, on squat little bases, floating in wine glasses, in hurricane lanterns,  sitting on saucers, etc. Put them in anything and place them everywhere. Be sure that most are in locations and holders that are safe, because you're really going to light them.

You don't have to be this ornate, but it's easy to wire on some pine cones.

Drape the garland wherever you can.  Over the mantel is where I start, but winding up the banister on the stairs is also a classic. You're not reinventing the wheel here.  I pull some of the garland apart and stick it in a bowl because it smells good.

Fill the bowls with whatever you like.  Candy, ornaments, strands of beads or your collection of fake pearl necklaces (how did I get so many of those?).  Baby blocks, pine cones, sea shells, favorite photos, beach glass, little stones, marbles, nuts, fake fruit..  Anything that you find when you walk around your house or look into cabinets and can amass to fill a small or large bowl (no, not laundry).

Music.  Just make a commitment to play music often throughout the season.  Put it on whenever you're home.  You may find that you don't need the droning, depressing, stressful TV to be on so much.

That's it.  You're done.  If you have time, throw a pan of brownies or cookies in the oven every now and then.  They make the house smell so good and you can eat them or send them to the teachers or put them in the employee lunch room.  Brownies take minutes to make (I'm talking from the box of course).

So now the house looks good, smells good and sounds good.  Do whatever you want with the tree.  We've had a few years when all we put on the tree where lights and fake snow.  They looked so pretty.  You don't have to be this simple every year, but if you give it a try I bet you'll like it.

A simple year, with candles, garland, bowls of favorite objects and music can be a wonderful thing.


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