It was our first Christmas as a married couple. Our small apartment had all the Christmas touches I thought was essential, the only thing was i had not been the one responsible for keeping them beautiful before! As our first guests arrived I was truly dismayed when they just used our home like if it was, well a home! They put clothes in the hallway, books on the tables, cameras on my newly ironed tablecloths, wash bags in the bathroom! They did not want to sit quietly and not move so that my decorations stayed decorative.
Luckily it did not take me long to rearrange my ideal looking Christmas from an advertisement to a place where friendship could thrive, without Santas getting in the way. Since then I have some untangling rules about the things I do put up for Christmas and any other festive occasion.
Do not add, deduct.
Holidays takes place, not only in our hearts, but very much in real space and time. Holidays normally crowds these physical spaces more than the rest of the year, with people, with stuff, with food. Which should make it evident that for all of us who live in normal houses, we need to make room for the holiday to happen, not fill up the space we have with clutter.
Decorate only surfaces where no-one sits, eats,perches or lounges.
Oh yes, to have a meal in a magic forest of snow-fairies and angels is a thing to remember for every child that has experienced it, as I did when growing up. Oh no, having to take these darling creatures off the table and rearrange them every time someone spills something is not. Now I decorate the banisters, the fireplace and the windows. The place is transformed, and keeps that way.
Make it big and make it again.
I always decorate the mantel. It looks impressive, it never is. The stuff I use for this decoration stays in one box, then I add water and greenery and I am done.My wreaths are big, green, undecorated and go on the same hooks and the same doors every year…and the outdoor ones are fake. Out of the box, on the hook, back into the box. I add one big thing every year, but always something that will be reused or recycled or can be used the whole year. This year I have bought a big clam shell and filled it with pine cones.
If you need it make it nice.
Instead of adding stuff, I replace. I use my green towels all year of course, at Christmas I make sure they are on top of the stack. I put red flannels on the bed and Christmas towels in the kitchen. Very sensible. Then I do something totally unnecessary, which I love. I push our ordinary mugs, cups and plates to the back of the cabinets and put my Christmas China to work. Some settings are left on a tray on the dresser, signalizing to everyone that enters: just a minute and we’ll have coffee!
Which is what it’s all about isn’t it? Making time and space for friends and family to enjoy the company of each other, to strengthen what binds us together. You are welcome!
Believe me, I know better than most how frantic and exhausting it is possible to make the season of peace and goodwill. The main story on Indexyourlife in December will be my way to a Christmas free of tangles.
In December my brother and I write an advent calendar blog together in norwegian.You may visit at JULEFRYD or Christmas Joy. This year we will be writing or sharing thoughts and joys of gifts, giving and sharing. We will post there every day, and I will share some of that blog here on indexyourlife too.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.Today they are from yesterday’s visit to Solvang.