When I tell people I’m a Minimalist, they tend to assume I don’t have anything to sit on in my house and that it’s stark and sterile. While I don’t really have comfortable things to sit on, I do have a couch and chairs. I also decorate my home, to the surprise of some, seasonally. While my definition of decorating seasonally may differ from the techniques of many, I do still like to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
Christmas is a big holiday in the United States, as it’s really the time of the year that businesses make money. We’ve got lots of gifts to buy, but also seasonal decor. Every year what’s “in” for Christmas changes and any good citizen will update their decor. Trevor and I fell into that trap when we got married and ended up buying three themes for our Christmas tree that we could rotate through. The tree we featured in 2014 was our favorite tree of the lot. Now we skip the kitsch, un-sentimental, and highly festive décor opting to display the items we’d once buried and packed away because they were old and represented our holidays individually, not the new holidays we’d have together.
Trevor’s talked about the Minimalism and Christmas relationship before, and I highly encourage you to check out that post for a more in-depth look at how you can still practice Minimalism, and enjoy the holiday season.
We have a simple artificial un-lit tree that we light up with white LEDs that we keep on their spool.
Our topper is a light-up pinnacle from Hallmark, which we absolutely adore (this is how I’d describe almost all of our Christmas decorations, so I’ll try to not say it too frequently).
The tree skirt was hand-made by my mother sometime in the 80’s, or 90’s, and has a small tree motif with a ruffled edge. I’d tossed around the idea of making my own, but I’ve settled on the idea of hanging on to this one for as long as it can stand up to the kitties.
Our tree this year is the same principle as last year, but it grows and changes just like we do. This year we’ve added three new ornaments: a 2015 “meow” photo ornament to mark the year we adopted Lev, a sand dollar wreath to commemorate our trip to the Caribbean with all the places we stopped located on the back, and the miniature bird ornament for this year from Hallmark (which I can’t open until Christmas). All the other ornaments are from our childhoods, or hold special memories for us.
Typically this means we made the ornament, remember making it, or remember hunting for it to hang it on the tree every year. Granted, we don’t have all the ornaments from our childhood, just the ones that mean something to us and are in good condition.
We used to go all out with wreathes and I’m not particularly sure why. I mean, I do like them, but we used to have two of them…and we’ve only ever had one door to hang them on. This one is artificial, but its very full and we take care to keep it protected the rest of the year that we may be able to use it for years and years to come.
I find the wreath isn’t so much for me any more as it is for neighbors and guests. For some reason I associate it with being welcoming and warm; it kind of sets the tone for our place, in my opinion. I find leaving it plain makes me happy every time I see it, that I am excited to see it and start to feel very festive, which is what your decoration should do in the first place.
Details and Decorative Items
This is where, I find, most people go a little crazy as it’s so easy to do with new items coming out every year, one new item can add a lot of life to your gear. I try my best to keep our principles in mind when it comes to this category of decorating, and do my best to keep the clutter to an absolute minimum. Christmas for Trevor and myself is all about tradition and sentiment; we try our best to reflect on past Christmases and the way we do that is through our tree ornaments and our home décor. If every ornament on our tree holds importance to us, why wouldn’t we treat our decorations the same way?
I’ve got a matryoshkya doll that my Aunt and Uncle gave to me…I want to say when I was 13? She’s stunning and hand-painted with wintry scenes and metallic gold paint. She looks amazing wherever I display her.
Trevor’s mom gave us a pewter mistletoe ornament a few years ago as a Christmas gift, but we’ve never actually put it on the tree. Instead, we’ve hung it on or wreath, or around our home. This year it’s settled in the doorway above our bedroom as there’s a nail there imbedded in the frame that’s been painted white several times. It seemed the perfect place for it in this apartment.
We also use blankets and pillows to add life and texture. I made the cases featured in our video this year before Trevor and I had totally figured out what we wanted to do with winter pillows (we rotate covers seasonally). Unfortunately we aren’t big fans of these and we’ll be recycling some other fabric we’ve got around the house in order to make new ones after Christmas and New Years is over.
It might sound a little silly, but this is actually my favorite way to decorate seasonally. Candles are the perfect little package! Colorful, scented, and can be disposed of once you’ve used them up, candles are such a huge part of how we set the mood for the holiday season. Their warm glow creates such a warm and cozy atmosphere that entices snuggling up with a great blanket, or sipping hot cocoa with Trevor while we admire our Christmas tree.
I went a little crazy this year, but we tend to pick up scents that are seasonal and now holiday specific. Winter in Pennsylvania lasts until March or April, so I think we’ve got plenty of time to use up these little guys. Most of the candles are from Target, but the tea lights are from IEKA’s VINTER 2015 collection.