I’ve already started hearing it. The dreadful lists of “shoulds” and “need to’s” and “have to’s” from women I know as they prepare to participate in the annual ritual known as “decorating for the holidays.” But nowhere in there do I hear joy or excitement. I hear stress and overwhelm and exhaustion. And I have to wonder what their houses look like that it takes them several weeks to decorate it.
Here’s one thing I’ve noticed looking at old photos and advertisements on Shorpy, Flickr, Vintage Ad Browser, various magazines, and family photos: compared to the decorating extravaganzas of today, most holiday decorations were rather simple. You see a decorated tree, stockings, some greenery on a mantel and staircase, a nativity scene, and Christmas cards.
I’m not really being a grumpy-pants about holiday decorating. My sister collects all sorts of Christmas decorations and she loves being able to put them on display during this time of year. But, if you aren’t enjoying the process and your home looks like an advertisement for Sears or JoAnn’s trying to sell their decorations, then perhaps it is time to do some visual and emotional editing. As they say, “less is more.” Have each person in the family choose their “must have decoration” to display and leave the rest in the box. Ask yourself if each decoration is adding beauty or joy to your festivities. If it isn’t, then it is time to let it go.
Since we had a Christmas-time wedding, we received a lot of decorations as gifts (and punch bowls…5 or 6 of them). At first I felt obligated to use the decorations but then I finally realized that I was just “shoulding” all over myself and we gave the ones that we didn’t like away. And the world didn’t come to an end. Now, I’d say about 90% of our decorations have sentimental value for us. And everything fits into two boxes–one them is for the tree ornaments. It is perfect for us.
This holiday season, decide who will decorate your house: You or The Shoulds.