I talk about minimalism quite a bit here on the blog but have to admit I’m not sure where I fall on the scale in terms of Christmas decorations?
I feel like we decorate less than many other people?? But then I know others that do nothing at all by way of holiday decor.
Growing up, every surface in our house was transformed. Towels and potholders and candles and…everything…got switched out for something festive. I have very fond memories of the cheery atmosphere, but can’t imagine recreating the same level of holiday decor in my own house.
DECORATING strategy + STORAGE
It sounds a bit ridiculous to describe my “decorating strategy”, but I do think I might be unique in this regard? I decorate from mid-November (we put up the little tree in the basement just before Levi’s birthday) right up until Christmas, putting out a few things at a time.
It feels less overwhelming to break the process into smaller chunks of time and I have the chance to slowly tweak things as I go (I’ll sometimes remove decorations that I’m finding to be a nuisance; for instance, earlier this week I switched out the Christmas cookie jar I had repurposed to hold our kitchen utensils as I was finding it to be impractical).
In terms of storage, my biggest tip would be to store decorations by zone/category. I have the downstairs (artificial) tree with all the ornaments and lights in a single spot in our storage room. I have another tote that is JUST things for the upstairs (real) Christmas tree – ornaments, lights, tree skirt, star. I wrap our mantle swag in garbage bags and stuff it into the rafters of our storage room and then put all the swag decorations in a single small box, which sits on top of the swag. All our artificial wreaths (3) go in a giant bag along with the metal wreath hangers. I have one more giant tote that is a catch-all for the remaining Christmas decorations – Abby’s mini-tree, Christmas books, festive stuffed animals and all the other accumulated miscellany. I would say about 30% of this stuff doesn’t get used and it’s definitely time to eliminate some of the items that are perpetually going unused; I have 2-3 Christmas platters I never use but always feel obligated to have on hand. I see dozens of them at thrift stores this time of year, so know I could replace them easily for very little expense if the need ever arose…
Now, without further ado, here is a little holiday tour of our home. Festive minimalism, I hope!
There isn’t much in terms of decoration downstairs.
The tree and the swag are our main decorations.
Abby decorated the swag by herself this year, and I love how it turned out. I leave the lights wound in from year-to-year, but package all the trimmings up in one small box. The star in the center has battery-operated lights, but I almost never go to the trouble of turning them on.
I love our little hutch nook, and I give it the tiniest of facelights with some star ornaments ($Store) on the pussy willow branches, some bottle brush trees, more of those homemade white houses, and one little silver present ($Store) by our $3 thrift-store lamp.
Years ago I made several minimalist nativities (my Dad cut them out and Mom helped me stain and silhouette them); I gave all the rest of the sets away as gifts. I love putting this out at Christmas.
I usually string up our Christmas cards over the patio door, but since it has been recently refinished (but still needs paint touchups and a curtain) I didn’t have a logical place for cards. I ended up sticking them into a giant bowl, but this felt…decidely unfestive.
I decided to use some preexisting holes and string them over the kitchen sink. It’s not really enough space, so I can’t separate the cards out as much as I’d like…but it will do.
- Abby has a little Christmas tree on her dresser
- Levi seemed uninterested in the decorating, but did accept a tiny nativity set for his desk.
- I have a wreath up in the bathroom and a festive tin to corral the toothbrushes/toothpaste.
- The kids both put stockings on their doors
- I have a wreath and stocking on our French door between the dining room/kitchen
- A very cute Christmas nightlight.
- Christmas magnets and some Christmas artwork we’ve done together on the fridge.
MY FAVOURITE DECORATION
My parents received this Avon Under the Mistletoe Christmas Potpourri wax figurine for their first Christmas as a married couple (50 years ago this August!). It has broken in a few places but what’s important to me is the scent.
It smells like Christmas. Every single year I would sit and smell all the Christmas decorations as they came out of the giant tattered box and everything – right down to the box itself – smelled of this “Christmas Potpourri.” I almost cried the year my Dad got rid of that tattered cardboard box, but I shouldn’t have worried. A year in the new box and all the decorations, and the new box, smelled exactly like Christmas.
They say scent is the most potent trigger for memories and this is definitely the most distinctive scent from my childhood Christmases – maybe the most distinctive scent of my entire childhood? When John and I got married my Mom asked if I wanted to have the figurine. Yes, please!
It is my most treasured Christmas decoration and every item – from ornaments to stockings – are permeated with this scent!
Last year I found a duplicate at a local thrift store and bought it as a back-up…just in case. It smells the same as my inherited original, and I was glad to invest $3.99. This way, if one of my kids forms the same sentimental attachment, I can part ways with one figurine and still have one for myself!
Nothing. Does staging and sawdust count?
We don’t even have working lights on the front of the house this year. I’ll ride the renovation excuse until I can’t…This just happened!
Our neighbourhood isn’t known for going over-the-top with Christmas decorations (I feel like pressure to go all-out with exterior decorations spreads; if one person has an elaborate display everyone else feels the need to follow suit – or not).
Next year I would love to have a bigger (real) wreath, some jugs filled with greenery and berries and a white spotlight on the whole thing? Maybe some lights wrapped around our front tree? We’ll see. For this year, having a completed exterior feels like more than enough (and our Christmas tree is very visible from the street as well; I love peering through windows and spotting interior trees, so we’ve careful to place our tree in a position for passersby to see it).
That’s a wrap. Fairly minimal but a friend (maybe she was just being kind?) told me she thought our house was very festive. I can’t/am not trying to compete with people who have elaborately themed trees or cover every surface with garlands and switch sheets, shower curtains – though how very fun and festive, and tea towels.
But when the lights are off and the tree comes on, it really does feel magical…
What about you? Any sentimental ornaments or decorations? Do you tend toward the minimal side or do you go all-in on the Christmas decor?