Two years ago I saw some cute table name cards on Pinterest and decided to make them for Thanksgiving. It was the first year we hosted, and the cards were basically rosemary springs woven through paper Those stupid things took me so #@!$%%^ long that I just got mad thinking about it. The rosemary needles would fall off when I wove the sprig through the holes that were too small or too big, and the paper would bend and look stupid. After a few were made successfully I felt obligated to finish the job and that took hours. The learning moment came after a few glasses of wine and advise from oddly rational family members -- I then committed to keeping the holiday home decor situation simple going forward. Here's how:
1. Get rid of crap.
Retailers do an excellent job of making you want to buy buy buy this time of year with their pretty tablescapes and perfect everything, but I advocate for the opposite: getting RID of stuff you don't need will make the inevitable influx of people, gifts, food, leftovers, hand-me-downs, etc. feel less overwhelming. In particularly, go through your open shelving, kitchen drawers and closet to just purge. No one needs 3 can openers, college tee-shirts and dry markers. Throw it out or donate it and I guarantee you'll feel better. For supplementary reading on this topic, read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up".
2. Add one strong pop of color.
My favorite simple way of getting the house festive after executing tip # 1 above is to add one bright color in small ways, but repeatedly, throughout the house. In December, it's red (for me, but you could do gold, silver, white, or others)... very bright, saturated Christmas red. I add some bright red candles to our table, put a bright red throw blanket on the couch and even have a red doormat at our front door. Red berry branches are also some of my favorite flora to put in vases, on a cheese plate when hosting, or incorporated into a table setting. As a side note, I like the real ones over the fake, but do what you have to do.
Lighting plays a huge role in people's emotional well-being, so accordingly, to make your home festive and fun, you need the right lighting. My top hack is to OD on Christmas string lights and candles. Scatter them around, inside and out. There are battery operated versions of each that come in handy in various situations, but overall, turning off your electric lights and enjoying the string lights and candles is an instant win. Add some wine to the mix and you are golden.
Pinterest, catalogues, and Instagram can provide a ton of inspiration, and I will gladly admit that I love it. I look at pretty pics and pretty things ALL THE TIME and get ideas from all the visuals. BUT, you don't have to recreate what you see. You probably can't, or wouldn't want to because staged professional interior pics aren't actually livable. Maybe we should do a post on that? LET US KNOW. In the mean time, keep it simple and enjoy.