Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Decorating, Being Content, Doing Less

These last few weeks I’ve been slowly getting out our Christmas decorations. As I do every year I challenge myself to put things up in a different way, to be creative with what I have and create a new look. And like in years past I’ve found myself searching through magazines, websites and blogs for inspiration. There’s a lot of inspiration out there for sure, and that’s a great thing. Except when it becomes a bad thing.
You see, I’ve noticed something very interesting, the more I look around for ideas the less content I am with what I have. I feel more paralyzed in my decorating, simply because I feel like I have to go buy something new to complete the look.
I was digging through the bins that store our Christmas decorations and I started thinking about Christmas growing up. I fondly remember the kitschy things my mom decorated with. There was the plastic Santa face (that’s what we called him). He hung on the wall and played a music box version of Jingle Bells when you pulled the string. There was a little ceramic red boot that Mom always had plastic holly in. And then there were all the amazing things my Grandma had at her house.
As I was thinking of all this I realized that I can hardly remember all the specific holiday things that my mom decorated our home with growing up. What I do remember is the heart of it. She took time to make it special, no matter what we had. And I sure don’t remember her bringing in a bunch of new things every year. I’m coming to an understanding this year that decorating for Christmas is as much about making our homes beautiful as it is creating memories for the people who live in our homes. I don’t want my kids to remember the stressed out mom who got crazy trying to recreate all the cool things she saw in a magazine. I want my kids to find comfort in the sameness of our Christmas decor from year to year, even as I work in new touches. And really, I want to choose to be content with what I have while looking for new and creative (and thrifty) ways to add to. Because the heart of Christmas is not found in the decorating, it’s found in a tiny little baby who came to bring life. It’s about celebrating that, not a magazine worthy home.
So in light of that I’ve decided that I won’t be buying anything new, except one desperately needed tablecloth for Christmas dinner.  And even at that, I’m checking the thrift stores first.  I’m finding myself doing less and that is so nice.  Staying home and enjoying a slow pace leads to peace all around.  I am choosing to be okay with what there is and what I have, even if it’s not perfect and even if I don’t absolutely love it.  Christmas is about so much more than that. 
Do you decorate the same every year, or do you try to switch it up?
(This is an edited version of a post from last year but all these pictures are of stuff I’ve done this year, nothing is new but everything is tweaked a bit, making it all seem new.  And if you like this whole idea of doing less check out what the Nester had to say about it today.)
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  1. Great post! I've been going through the same thing, trying to change it up, finding that I need to go out and get more "stuff" to make it look nice. I even started thinking about how I would decorate the tree next year!

    Then I began reading Radical this week.

    What a joke to think that I need more decorations to celebrate our Savior's birth. You're absolutely right, Christmas is about so much more.

  2. i love all your decorations!

    i become overwhelmed so easily i always have to tell myself to close the computer and walk away.

    :)happy weekend!

  3. i'm right there with ya on the 'less is more' mindset. it is very tempting to get caught up with though, isn't it? i try to just add one thing per season be it handmade or purchased (though if i do purchase it's usually after christmas when it's on sale to use for the next year)

    I was quite pleased with this years addition - a wreath created with stuff I had lying around or that was given to me.

  4. Such a sweet post! It blesses dad and I that you have such fond memories. We do too! I agree with Debbie's comment. I recently read Radical too. It changes your thinking, that's for sure. Dad's going through the decorations this afternoon and just commented about the "Santa"....we can't find him! :( Did you know he's older than you? I think he's older than me too!!

  5. LOVE.THIS.POST!!! so true...I do use the same things each year, adding in what the children or I create- and maybe a little new ribbon here and there...but we try to keep our hearts focused on the real meaning of Christmas...our Saviour's birthday!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Many Blessings!

  6. I love the post and it's authenticity. so glad i found your blog....

  7. i agree with you completely gina! i've been moving much slower this holiday season and it feels so good. when i move slower i can reflect on what is important during this season and that's my ultimate goal.

    p.s. i love the way you put everything together this year. it's really lovely!!


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