There's no shortage of advice on Christmas decorating, from the very ostentatious to primitive make-it-yourself. One approach spares no expense and the other assumes you have limitless time to collect pinecones, glue felt, tie ribbons, and weave garlands of fruits and berries (not bad alternatives to vegging in front of the TV, but messier).
I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've discovered some ways to make decorating less of a dreaded chore and more of an anticipated joy.
Once the calendar turns from October to November, I dig out Amy Grant, Josh Groban, Pentatonix, and George Frideric Handle for some non-stop Christmas music. I begin boxing up (and labeling!) decorative items that will be replaced by Christmas decorations. If we're hosting Thanksgiving this year, the full bore decorating has to wait until Black Friday, but I want to be ready.
Most of Christmas is packed up in the basement, where every year I vow to do a better job of sorting, eliminating, labeling, and storing reminders of Christmases past. This year, I promise myself, I will buy enough clear boxes to store everything neatly enough to make even Marie Kondo ("I love to tidy!") applaud.
So, here's what I've gleaned from years of experience and reading lots of inspiring articles:
- Inventory what you have before shopping craft fairs, Christmas markets, and HomeGoods. You'll be amazed at what you forgot you had.
- Choose a theme, whether Hallmark-movie-cozy, farmhouse, retro, natural, or mod-century modern, whatever you decide. You might choose different themes for different rooms, but that's a bit complicated for me.
- Gather and sort your decorations by rooms. Check light strings to make sure they still work. Give away usable things that no longer spark joy. Lots of thrift stores will be happy to re-home your treasures.
- First things first: set up your favorite nativity set. Whether the kids made it from clothespins or you inherited an old set from Grandma, Jesus is the reason for the season.
- Get the family involved, make it fun, enjoy the process. Let others use their creativity, even if it's not exactly how you'd do it.
- Make the outside welcoming with wreaths, garland, lights, doormats. A recent trend is to decorate your garage doors; if that's your thing, have at it.
- Use colorful pillows, blankets, and baskets to accentuate your theme.
- Display Christmas cards creatively.
- Above all, make your home welcoming!
Relax, there's no best way to decorate for Christmas, and sometimes "good enough" is good enough. No one was scurrying about, decorating their homes to welcome Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem that first Christmas night, when the angels appeared to humble shepherds and said,
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
This Christmas, may our homes and our hearts be prepared to welcome the Christ Child, the Savior, Jesus.