The holiday season is upon us. October has Halloween. November has Thanksgiving. December has Hanukkah and Christmas. Decorations start popping up everywhere – in stores, along downtown streets, in the Botanical Gardens, and in yards. How much decorating for the holidays, if any, do you plan to do?
When my children were young, I decorated for every season and holiday. Macramé skeleton anyone? Now, not so much.
Why do people decorate for the holidays?
1. Family Tradition
They’ve always done it. Every year a family that I know gathers at Thanksgiving and makes an ornament that expresses something they are thankful for in the past year. Then this ornament goes back to their own homes and is displayed. Personally, I can’t imagine Christmas without a tree and stockings.
2. It evokes memories
As you handle old decorations you remember their origins. This ornament came from mother’s tree and this one came from our trip to Italy. While I don’t hang it, I still have my Christmas stocking from when I was little. I can remember some of the sweet surprises that were hidden in its toe.
3. It gives you happiness and joy
There is nothing better than that first cup of coffee or tea in the living room while it is still dark outside with the tree lit. Or for me, getting up in the morning and looking out my bedroom window and seeing the lights decorating the shed house in our back yard. These past two years people are especially longing for happiness and joy. Many people have had grief and loss and they are looking for comfort and even healing. The upcoming holidays gives us something to look forward to.
4. It makes others happy
Small children and even the older folks in your neighborhood look forward to yard holiday decorations from Halloween through Christmas when they are taking their walks. I keep the holiday lights lit all night so that when the school busses roll by in the early morning, they can see them. I hope that someone gets a lift. Even if you are not over the moon about decorating for the holidays there may be someone in your home that does love the décor. I always love the look on a small child’s face when they see the lights and decorations going up. The same may be true for someone elderly.
5. It is a backdrop for entertaining
As humans we are social beings that like to entertain at times. Decorating for the holidays makes get togethers more festive and more welcoming.
6. It is something you can control
So much has happened this year that is not in your control. You do have the control to make your home your refuge. If you can make your home a holiday wonderland it can give you a feeling of control that has been missing.
Why do people not decorate?
1. It adds to the clutter
Some people have spent months clearing their living space. The idea of putting things out just for a holiday seems overwhelming this year. The very thought of going up into the attic and pulling down decorations that will then have to be put back away after the holidays is just too much.
2. They are not going to be home
If people are traveling for the holidays and especially if they are single, they don’t really feel like going to the bother of decorating for the holidays. Maybe a wreath on the door and they are done. They will enjoy other people’s decorations instead.
3. It makes them sad because they are grieving a loss
For some people, the holidays are a dark time. The holidays may evoke difficult childhoods or they are grieving the loss of a loved one. If decorating triggers stressful memories, then it may not be beneficial. Even if people have normally enjoyed the holiday decorations, this might be a year to skip. If decorations spark sadness instead of joy, why do it?
Decorating for the holidays does not have to be all out or not at all. Think of it as make-up. It is something that is not essential but depends on your taste. A few choice pieces might be all you want to do this year. Consider lighting a scented candle that reminds you of holiday’s past. Put out a real tree or decorate with some live pine branches to get that holiday smell.
The most important thing is to do what feels good for you. Whether it is an all-out decorating blitz, avoiding it altogether, or somewhere in between. Get in touch with your “why” and then act accordingly.
Enjoy this holiday season in your own way.
If planning for the holidays seems overwhelming or you find yourself stuck and unable to move forward on any other organizing project, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.