Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Home care for a CALM CHRISTMAS

Home is an extension of ourselves. We offer that extension to those we love, those we are welcoming in, and those we want to bless.  It's definitely a big piece of our hearts this time of year, but can also be one of the biggest pieces of our stress. (Think hosting, cleaning, cooking, pleasing, gathering family we seldom see and trying to make or keep everyone happy the entire time.) A great way to diminish the stress and chaos is by keeping things simple as we deck our halls.  It's home care...   

I have one Christmas décor bin.  One.  It's a big, clear bin and it's full but it's all I've got.  Each year I buy fresh greens and toss old or broken things that won't make it another year, and don't tend to buy much to replace those items unless I really love it. There is something calm about an empty wall space.  An empty coffee table.  An empty side table. I mean, imagine that you have those spaces open, and friends or family come over.  They have a place to put up their feet and rest... or set a drink down and savor time, or feel rested because not every surface has clutter on it for their eyes to evaluate. Avoiding the temptation to deck every hall or every flat surface creates décor that is both calm and simple.

We hear the word "simplicity" or " "going simple with decorating,"  a lot. This time of year the word simple is bandied around quite a bit but seldom actually seen...  Simplicity is to calm, what overdone is to chaos.  They go hand in hand. Even this season I started out with what felt simple at first, and then found myself pulling one item off here, or there over the next several days.  (In years past, I have been known to undecorated half the house in mid-December because I couldn't take all of the extra in the 1500 sq feet my family of four lives in. I tried to learn from that feeling and start simpler from the onset.  I can always add more if something feels too overdone.)  This year, I purchased a 25 foot live cedar garland from Costco and  used pieces of it all through our home.  I hung a length of it over the office chalk board calendar, a length of it went over our bed headboard as well as on the mantle, and I used small cedar clippings to create bundles that hang from our French doors.  I prefer fresh and natural as opposed to something I need to store each season and the scent is lovely too.  After decorating my own home, I took a moment and jotted down the questions I ask myself as I go.  I suddenly realized that this is how home care works for me.  It felt appropriate to include  this checklist of questions to ask as we decorate and open our homes this season, with the goal of creating a calm Christmas for ourselves and anyone else we plan to welcome inside.

Questions to ask yourself for Home Care, in creating a Calm Christmas:

1) Are there too many pillows? Not enough? Throw blankets, nice textures?
2) Is there too much furniture competing with the addition of the tree and potential extra guests?
3) Are the walls cluttered? (Do I need to remove a few hangings temporarily?)
4) Are there any empty flat surfaces in this home at all or does every flat surface have filler on it?
5) Is my home speaking softly or screaming loudly? (Think: Lighting, sounds, smells, colors)
6) Did I remove everyday décor items when I added holiday items or did I cram the holiday items next to what was already on display? (If I added to what I already had, why not remove a few of the every day items for the month and showcase the holiday items instead?)
7) Is there room on the table for food or has a centerpiece taken over? (Tip: Placing a centerpiece on a tray makes for really quick mobility if a game breaks out and more space is needed.)
8) Have I created spaces where I can easily pull festive party items out of drawers or cupboards for simple yet easy gatherings?  This includes a few stand-by snacks.  A simple array of cold cuts, nice cheese wedges and nuts go great with a bottle of wine, or a tray of cookies work nicely for an impromptu cocoa bar.
9) Have I overdone the "useless" décor in spaces where useful décor is important? (Think kitchens and cocoa bars and such.)
10) If someone came into my home, would they be overwhelmed or rested by the simplicity?

I hope you enjoyed this segment on creating a calm Christmas by caring for our homes.  As always, I love your feedback in comments! 

Here's to a C A L M   C H R I S T M A S


  1. I've enjoyed this calm Christmas series SOO much. Every year I say I'm going to just ENJOY more than DO, and that never seems to happen. I also appreciate all the ways you make things SIMPLE. My house is overrun with STUFF and no matter how often I "declutter," it's just never enough. Maybe sometime you could post a list of "essential things," or how to let go of the plethora of stuff that's ruling my life. Ha!! Merry Christmas! And thank you again!

  2. I adore your style and have been so inspired by this series, especially this post! I haven't gotten to this level of simplicity (yet!) but I am taking notes for next year. Thank you for the inspiration:)

  3. Thank you so much for doing this Christmas calm series, and a belated thanks for your Thanksgiving series. Your posts and photos have always been such an inspiration for me. Thanks again for sharing so many wonderful ideas to help us experience this in our hearts and home.

  4. Thank you for this blog. That's all I can say. You most definitely have made this blog into something thats eye opening and important. You clearly know so much about the subject, you've covered so many bases. Good stuff from this part of the internet. Again, thank you for this blog. Check Now