Decorating for the Holidays

<p>So, we recently relocated and are in a new home, new neighborhood, state, region of the country and also in a new phase of our lives. High school senior about to head to college and older son fully launched. We are in a small and extremely sociable neighborhood in New Jersey. </p>

<p>We have tons and tons and tons of holiday decorations in the basement -- stuff from MIL, stuff from my mom, stuff from grandmothers, stuff kids made, stuff I made, stuff we bought . . . a gigantic amount of stuff. We are just sort of paralyzed by it and oddly hesitant to dig in and sling it all over the house.</p>

<p>This year we're trying to kind of do it "our way" and yes give a nod to tradition but also have a bit of a fresh take on the holidays.</p>

<p>I'm thinking "less is more" this time around.</p>

<p>Thoughts? How do the wise ones here on CC navigate this as they get (yikes!) older?</p>

<p>I was decorating today and this sort of thing crossed my mind. I did not put out all of my decorations this year, I carefully selected the ones I like the best. I filled one bag of things to donate. I will decide on the others. A lot of my decorations are old and many of them were bought for us by my MIL during the early (broke) years of our marriage. That was a nice thing for her to do, but some of the decorations are not to my taste anymore as I am going toward a simpler look. I will most likely hang on to them for awhile and then give them away.</p>

<p>I agree with less is more. I have snuck one or two things out of the house every year for the last few years. I mean do I really want to put out the mauve, wooden Christmas tree from 1987? Remember mauve, ladies?</p>

<p>The problem is that my kids notice when something is missing!!!! It makes me crazy and reluctant to leave anything out. As far as the tree goes, I am ready to go artificial but the kids will freak out and I'm thinking I will indulge them until they have permanent homes of their own. Oy.</p>

<p>I put the candles in the windows and don't bother turning them off. Spot light on the door and wreath and THAT is it for outside. Nice enough and little work to take down. </p>

<p>Putting out my favorites inside also. Less is definitly more.</p>

<p>I've simplified things outside - also do the window candles and just a couple little trees in the front with the spotlight on the front door - looks classic and fabulous. </p>

<p>Inside, again, I stick with mostly things with lights. Simple greens on the fireplace with lights. The tree of course. The stairs banister. A simple arrangement on the dining room table. Stockings on Christmas Eve. Snowflakes on the sun porch windows. I don't get out the wind up musical thingys or the big Nativity set and all those "extras" - no one seems to notice or mind!</p>

<p>Another vote for the less is more!! Love the candles in the windows, few lights on the bushes and spotlight on front door. Love my nativity which has been added to over the years. Switch out quite a few things in my china cabinet for Christmas items, plates, an old pewter bowl filled with the "old fashioned" ornaments from my grandmothers tree. The stuffed grinch and rockin' Santa are no longer put out now that kids are older.</p>

<p>Now that the kids are away at school, we put out the full spread only if we have a holiday party. Otherwise, I limit it. And, sacre bleu, we have skipped having a tree the years we have spent Christmas away from home.</p>

<p>I have saved every last decoration for now because we have the storage space, and I plan to offer that my girls select the stuff they want, either when we move or down-size, or when they move into an apartment, which could happen in a year or two- yikes!</p>

<p>An idea for a holiday party would be to have an "ornament swap", where guests each bring one to three things they no longer wish to keep, and all the ornaments are laid out. The guest then all shop for "new" things, and take them home for a fresh take!
(Book swaps and cookies swaps are very popular, too.)</p>

<p>In recent years, it depends on my mood. I tend to drag out my favorite things first, then decide if I want the rest enough to have to put it away in January.</p>

<p>I have a dilemma this year though. My neighbor across the street has stolen my decorating scheme for the front window. I like to put a garland with lights along the window seat with a tacky fiber optic 3 foot tree in the center. It's pretty at night. Now what am I gonna do?</p>

<p>We are "slowing down" too. Just got our tree up today. It's prob. the latest we've ever put it up since we've been married. I pulled out a few things out to sit on the mantle but nothing anywhere else in the house. Also put our lighted wreath with spot light up on the front porch today. Used to to put lights on shrubs and decorated the mail more. </p>

<p>Also threw away some old decorations today and will take some to Goodwill tomorrow.
It feels good. Our boys prob. won't notice anything different or missing. They lost interest in Christmas decorations by the end of middle sch.</p>

<p>Now that the kids are gone, I mostly decorate with fresh greens and flowers. I have a vase of some type filled with greens, holly and maybe a couple of small ornaments attached in each major room. Poinsettias are on the front doorstep, along with a fresh garland above the door. I have a fresh cedar wreath on the hall tree. We still do the real Christmas tree, but instead of a big one almost touching the ceiling, we have a beautiful but modest Frazer about 61/2 feet that I decorated entirely with mercury glass ornaments from Europe that I've collected over the years.</p>

<p>I love the smell of the fresh pine. To me, that means Christmas.</p>

<p>Have done less and less in the last few years. Kids have grown and we no longer do a holiday party.</p>

<p>That being said, kids still want some decorations. Middle kid asked us not to decorate the tree until she gets home--2 days before Christmas. She is a derivative trader at a top invement bank in NYC. You wouldn't think she was so traditional or sentimental.</p>

<p>I've noticed my kids want certain things. They like traditions. Some decorations' fall within these traditions.</p>

<p>In our house it is candles in windows, lights on the mantle and on the staircase.

<p>Remember those aluminum trees folks had that had the rotating light shining on it way back in the 60's?? I never had one, but wanted one. Last year H did one better and gave me a fake 6' pink xmas tree for xmas. This year we are using it, instead of our usualy real tree. Tacky I know, but I am excited. D is excited, H pleased that he doesn't have to buy a real tree, and S resigned. I must be going through a midlife crisis but I am excited. Anyway, I want to have a whimiscial tree and already have many decorations that will do great. Bought some fabric at the fabric store to use for a skirt but having a heck of a time finding a whimisical tree topper. One I found for about $15 would have cost $39 to ship! So I am still looking. Want to keep it under $30 and am open to ideas, homemade or store bought. TIA!</p>

<p>I gave up on candles in the windows years ago, I hated having to walk around and turn them all on.</p>

<p>We put up icicle lights today. We'll get a tree (real) eventually and a wreathe very soon. I don't always put up everything, but will at least have that much. Just got back from a Christmas party and loved what they'd done putting a string of Christmas lights behind a sheer curtain in their dining room. Easy to do, and very festive.</p>

<p>Juniebug, how about hanging that tacky fiber optic tree upside down? :cool:</p>

<p>We used to have lights on every bush and tree in the front yard. As the lights strings go bad, I toss them in the garbage and do not replace them. So this year we will be down to just a few bushes.</p>

<p>This is the last Christmas that our family of 4 will be together. Next year, D will be getting married and either she celebrates with her future-in-laws or there will be 5 of us. We are decorating and doing everything to the hilt !! My kids are in their late 20's and have always spent every Christmas and Thanksgiving home even though they went to college, live and work on the opposite coast for many years.</p>

<p>Last year we spent the first Thanksgiving away from home in NYC where both kids live. It was easier for my H to take more time off than the kids. This year when I told my S we will be going there again, he asked "What?! I am not coming home?"</p>

<p>Hope he still feels the same way when he gets married.</p>

<p>Fake tree with lights and lights around the roof. No kid to watch decorate, so I'm not putting stuff I have to take down. Everything is still boxed in garage. Last real tree was Son's 1st yr of college, we never decorated it.</p>

<p>We're keeping it simple, too. This year, I'm sticking to red and white. I'm not even unpacking the family ornaments because each are individually wrapped and it takes forever to repack. We are hosting the annual friends' holiday party this year so each room downstairs will be decorated.</p>

<p>I usually go all out, but this year I only put up a few items. Each day I think to myself "but what about decoration x, y or z" The house feels naked, but it will be easier to undo the holiday decorations. </p>

<p>in 2007, I spread out all of my decorations on the basement floor. After I decorated, I put the left overs into multiple containers and labeled them "not used in 2007". Well.....they are still untouched and the labels are still staring at me, but at least I don't have to dig through them each year. Maybe this will be the year I donate......then again, they are waaaaay back on the shelf..........</p>

<p>A couple of years ago, I ruthlessly culled the collection down to a couple of Sterlite bins. First to go were things I hadn't put out for several years -- why hang onto them? Then I tossed the things I'd never really liked, or that don't fit my current taste: the cross-stitch Christmas tree from Aunt Minnie, the tacky fabric wreath I got at a charity sale, the hand-me-downs from Mom that I hadn't even liked as a kid, the set of ornaments I got on sale 20 years ago. It's really freeing now to pull that stuff out and find only things I love.</p>

<p>I think the key to this project was that I did it as I was packing everything up after New Years, rather than as I was decorating for Christmas. By then, I was sick of the stuff, and a purging frenzy came over me. Every item had to pass the "Is this worth finding the room to store for the next 11 months?" test.</p>

<p>lol, I adored our silver aluminum Christmas tree with the rotating light wheel as a kid. Would sit for hours mesmerized by the dazzling beauty of it all!! Wish my mom had bequeathed that to me instead of the endless boxes of hand-me-down ornaments and doilies.</p>

<p>We are in a new house and feeling our way on this. I think the candles in the windows, spotlighted wreath on the front door is a terrific strategy. But here is my question -- what if you have a large window above the front door that you can't reach to light up in any way. No, not going to go buy a super high ladder! Will the house look as if it has a blank hole for that window if every other window has the candle light?</p>