Sunday, November 29, 2009

Apologizing for not posting is becoming an annoying habit. So I won't. I'll just jump back in -

I appreciate all the sympathies and good advice about my decorating reflections and woes in my last post. Friends commented here, privately, and over on my Facebook page. Nothing I didn't already know, but it's always hard to give oneself the same advice you'd easily pull out and hand to someone else. I'm going to just decorate for my own pleasure, as little or as much as I want, and not feel guilty if I don't pull out all the stops in this transitory year.

The next question becomes, what do I want to decorate? How do I want to decorate? If I want to make a big impact, I should pick a style and go with it. Colorful fun retro? Paris shabby chic? Velvety Dicken's Victorian? Botanical and foresty? White and glittery frosty? Golden Yule? Whimsical pastels or Faery Bling?

I've been wandering through stores and surfing through the internet in search of inspiration, to see what calls to me this year. Unfortunately, nothing is the obvious favorite. I love it all. But I only have one house, a few rooms, so I can't do it all.

The other night I caught a show on HGTV - 25 Great Holiday Ideas. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the show, and there were some cute ideas. But honestly, there was nothing there that I hadn't seen done before, and often better, by all the creative bloggers I've visited over the years. Just thought you all should know how AMAZING you all are. You're definitely the best place to go for my own inspirations.

Of course when it comes down to it, if I manage to decorate at all, it will undoubtedly be with a hodge podge of things I already own. Not a problem, since I have far too many boxes. It'll be like shopping in my garage, only without a checkbook, and with mittens and gloves.

Instead of the big tree, I might just put up my smaller teddy bear tree. I haven't had it up for a number of years because I got tired of the younger cats knocking it down. Now that the cats are older and fatter, maybe they'll leave it alone. Ditto on my tree collection. I could put up my winter forest again, maybe add a few faeries. Set up a Yule altar. Bring out my holiday dishware. And gather a bunch of candles on the mantle. That seems doable.

And now, instead of spending the afternoon searching for accompanying photos, I'm gonna wrap this up and go start the holiday clean up in the studio. I just realized (a long held holiday tradtion, misjudging how soon everything has to be done!) that the month I thought I had to "whip this all up" is truly only a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For a number of years now I've thought Halloween/Samhain/Dia de Los Muertos was going to end up being a no family, quiet affair only to have family and visitors and fun all fall into place at the last minute. That happens a lot and I've come to depend on a "wait and see" attitude towards the way I want holidays or events or trips or even just afternoons to progress. Things usually have a way of coming together in the end if I do what I can to nudge things along and keep an open-to-possibilities attitude. Sometimes what comes together is what I wanted all along, sometimes it's something new and wondrous that I couldn't have experienced if I'd tried to plan it because it's not anything I could have thought to plan.

This year, again, it seemed like no one was going to visit and as October progressed I decided to stop fretting and simply enjoy each holiday activity for it's own pleasure, whether I shared that pleasure with others or for myself alone - whether it was the first cup of pumpkin spice tea or a walk under colorful fall foliage - and not worry too far ahead about the holidays themselves. I reminded myself to enjoy the season as it unfolded instead of putting too much emphasis on any one day or event. Ultimately I did enjoy the whole month and the culmination of the holidays were undoubtedly, unexpectedly full with plans, travel, and activities I could never have anticipated. I'm only mildly bummed that I only managed to drag out one box of Halloween decorations and that I only set up a few things.

On to the next holiday season -

The coming winter holidays will be very different for our family this year than from past years. The traditional activities and date markers won't apply, we won't be all together at one time but instead the three of us (myself, hubby, remaining teen) will be hopping from place to place spending separate time with each of our childrren and their families. It will all be new and uncharted territory. Much of it won't happen in my home. I plan on approaching it all with the same "enjoy the season not the day" attitude.

Free Cartoons Wallpaper :Christmas - Tea Party

Still, along with the "be open to new possibilities" attitude, there has to be some planning of activities. Looking back on October, I'm happy with it for the most part, but I never truly did the decorating I wanted. I don't know why it didn't happen. Things just got in the way. No one else seemed to care (or help). I think activities and events took priority over decorating, including harvesting and football. Now I'm looking ahead to that stretch from Thanksgiving through New Years and wondering, with no big family gathering planned for our house, how will I approach decorating when it's really all for me?

Well, all for me and Hubby and teen William. But I'm the only one making it happen. I've had enthusiastic drag-out-the-boxes teen sons. William, the one remaining at home kid, is not one of them. I'm not sure if he even cares about decorations. I know Hubby enjoys the decorations - the seeing them part though, not the putting them up part.

So, without a big family to decorate for, what kind of decorating do I want to do? How much? I don't have any little kids, even the grandkids won't be here for the most part, to inspire me or compel me to put up a tree or bake cookies. I don't have a single family gathering to string garlands or clean house for. Since no one else will decorate or even help (unless pressed, grumbling, to do so), how much do I care about decorating, in relation to all the other holiday activities that will vie for my time and attention?

Do I want to decorate with my traditional boxes of stuff or do something different because I can? Since we won't, for the most part, be doing any of the activities we've traditionally done in the past, this is a year where I'm having to reinvent the holidays. This opens up lots of new possibilities but it also doesn't give me the structure that in years past have helped guide me. I could just muddle through or I could take things by the reins and go in a new direction, a direction that could be more meaningful to me than just "taking it as it comes". Although, taking things as they come often work out quite nicely. Hmmm. And sometimes taking things as they come, I end up looking back and wishing I'd taken more control.

It just occurred to me that maybe I worry about the decorating so much because I come from a family of BIG decorators. Obviously it's about activities or gatherings as well. We certainly have our share of family activities and gatherings, but the gathering bit was constantly in flux. Fun, but in flux. The one constant that the holidays revolved around for me was the decorating. Perhaps that's why it matters so much to me. Maybe it's not really about the decorating at all, maybe it's about bigger meanings and smaller rituals, not the ribbons and bows. Maybe it's not about decorating or not decorating that's bothering me at all. Maybe it's about, once again, reinventing the meaning of the holiday season. And maybe I already knew that. Hmmm. Thanks, me, for talking this out with myself (and hehe, with you guys too. Thanks for listening.)

So, first things first. I can't really even consider decorating - how much, what style, how soon, what purpose - until I tackle some serious cleaning and decluttering. AGAIN. I'd made big strides this year but I look around the house now and wonder where those strides disappeared to cuz, the house is obviously out of control once more! (I think because I feel the clock ticking on the last child leaving for college and I'm waiting to do some major rearranging - so everything already feels "temporary" once more).

So sit down. Have a cup of cocoa. And tell me - What sort of holiday decorating strategy (or none) do you use?