One thing I’ve never liked about the holiday season is the proliferation of store-bought décor. Plastic trees, mass-manufactured ornaments, and objects emblazoned with Santas, elves, and reindeer are not only a drain on our planet’s resources; they’re also extra things that must be stored, unused, for eleven months of the year.
I’m certainly not against decorating for the holidays; I simply think we can do it in a lighter, more elegant, and more environmentally-friendly way. Here’s some ideas:
Decorate with nature. Spread evergreen branches across your mantle, or spruce up your table with sprigs of holly. Gather pine cones into a bowl, or place a few poinsettias around your home. Natural items give us a true appreciation of the beauty, and bounty, of the season.
Decorate with food. A garland of popcorn or cranberries is a lovely way to adorn your tree or mantel, and a plate of festive Christmas cookies (not to mention the divine smell of them baking!) is enough to put anyone in a holiday spirit.
Decorate with photos. The holidays are all about family—so what better way to add warmth to your home than with a special display of family photos? Dig out those dusty prints from yesteryear’s celebrations, or make a slideshow of digital ones on your TV, computer monitor, or digital frame. Reminisce over your family history, or simply laugh at your hairstyles and fashions from decades past.
Decorate with color. An item doesn’t have to be holiday-themed to qualify for display. Any object in a seasonal color—like a red throw, green vase, silver candleholder, or gold-rimmed plate—can just as effectively set the mood.
Decorate with handmade items. The holidays are a perfect time to showcase the creativity of your household. For a particularly delightful effect, ask children in the family to create special artwork for you to display. Their Santa drawings and paper chains are infinitely more charming than department store baubles.
Decorate with recycled materials. If you’re crafty, the cards, ribbons, and wrapping paper of Christmases past can make simple seasonal touches around your home. (How about some gift wrap origami?)
Decorate with candles. Some strategically-placed tea light, votive, or pillar candles lend a warm, magical feel to a holiday gathering. (Of course, make sure to take all appropriate safety precautions!)
Decorate with music. The sounds of Bing Crosby crooning classic holiday tunes—or your twelve-year-old playing them on the piano—creates just as wonderful a seasonal ambience as any visual display.
And for the die-hard minimalists: admire other people’s décor. Go on a holiday house tour, visit a botanical garden, or explore your hometown (or a neighboring one) for festive seasonal displays. It’s a great way to get your holiday fix with no stuff, no fuss, and no clean-up!
Do you keep it simple when it comes to holiday decor? I’d love to hear your strategies for a festive (yet clutter-free) look!