When the seasons change and we head into the holidays, I tend to turn more indoors, cozying up for my long winter’s nap and lots of merriment and memory-making. Yet for the longest time, that involved first hauling box upon box down from the attic. Then, with the mountain of decorations in front of me, I had to find the space for all of them! Pushing the frames on a shelf together to make a spot for a figurine that I didn’t even really like, moving furniture around to try to create more room, filling every nook and cranny with something festive until my home felt so full and busy I totally missed the joy it was all supposed to bring.
Making my home festive for the holidays is something I love doing, but I wanted to look at my decorated home and breathe a sigh of relief, instead of being bombarded with wall-to-wall clutter. I know I’ve found more holiday cheer in paring back, in using fewer pieces but genuinely cherishing and appreciating those pieces, and in not bookending the holidays with dragging tub after tub in and out of storage. I thrive in these chilly months when I create a space that is both beautiful and simple.
Here's my tips on how to do it:
Take your cues from nature. I decorate to follow the seasons, and so my main source of inspiration is nature itself. It’s also my main source of actual decorations! I love bringing nature into my home to decorate with. There are tutorials aplenty to guide me through weaving grapevines into a wreath for fall and adorning it with moss, acorns, dried flowers, and grass sprung to seed. But if you’re like me and handmade wreaths are more aspirational than realistic for your life right now, don’t worry! There’s more than one way to bring nature inside! Pull the car over and clip some wildflowers and grasses off of the side of a road - the plant life native to your area is always going to look the most beautiful and cohesive with the season. Trim off some pine or juniper sprigs to put into a jar, put some bittersweet branches in a vase on the table, fill a basket with gourds and squash to place on the island counter. These are great ways for those of us that aren’t quite up to amateur wreath maker status to bring that fall feeling into our home! They don’t require much time or talent, and are very friendly on the budget.
Keep your decorations simple and versatile. One of my favorite decorations is a rustic wooden box that my husband made for me. I keep this box on my table all the year through and simply embellish it with different things based on the season - dried flowers in the fall, sprigs and berries in the winter, artificial pink roses during the springtime when I’m longing for more color in my days, and fresh wildflowers in the summer. You probably have a similar staple piece in your own home! Rather than finding shelf space and adding pieces, find ways to pop in little nods of seasonal decoration to the items you already have. You’ll avoid cluttering a room and still have a nicely decorated space. I like to make the most of the actual architecture of the house itself when possible as well. One of my favorite ways to decorate for Christmas is to wrap our stairway bannister in garland and tie Christmas cards to it as we receive them during the season. Getting holiday cards from my friends and family gives me all the warm fuzzies, and I love having their photos surrounding me all season long.
Utilize doors and windows. Making the most of your doors and windows is a great way to bring in the holiday spirit without adding clutter to your home. The simplest way to do this is by hanging wreaths in your windows. This is obviously a timely thing to do during the Christmas season, but don’t forget about using wreaths to bring out the beauty of the fall and spring seasons! Doors are also a great place to decorate that doesn’t add clutter. I have a pair of decorative skates and a mini sled that hang in my home. Bells are also a fun thing to hang on doors, adding both visual and musical cheer! And don’t forget mistletoe for doorways!
Want more home and lifestyle tips from a small-town, midwest mama?