I know some of you get your kicks from decorating every nook and cranny of your homes with Christmas decorations: you have every kind of Santa; you have nativity scenes and train sets wending thru winter wonderlands; your roof is draped with icicle lights; you have bells and baubles and angels and fake snow; you may even have blow-up reindeer on your lawn. And in your garage (basement/attic) you have boxes and boxes of decorations you simply don’t have places to display.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
I’m a holiday minimalist. Even in the old days, when we had a big house and kids at home, our decorations consisted of The Tree, which was carefully thinned out so our ornaments could have space to breathe, the ornaments (most of which were made by us or in some other way special), and The Tree Thinnings, which were arranged on the dinner table and mantel with a few special decorations and candles among them. The stairway always had a tinsel strand winding up the banister. That was IT.
It still was a fair amount of work to assemble and dissemble, but it was very much US.
Now I live alone in a small urban condo. I have a 30″ tall twig tree with LED lights (and decorated by my grandson with tiny pompoms) that collapses to almost nothing after New Year’s. I get my tree thinnings from walking around the neighborhood after a windstorm, and from a friend’s yard. Some nandina berry clippings from another friend, lilies and clementines from the grocery store, and a handful of ornaments I have in a little box under my bed. That’s it.
But. The papier maché snowman my older son made for me in kindergarten 40 years ago has his place. He‘s fallen off the mantel to knock off his hat more than once, and yet he lives to lord it over another holiday. The two table reindeer were a gift from a dear friend at about the same time, and my children think they’re ridiculous, which makes me love them even more. All these things give me enormous pleasure and they travel with me to wherever we celebrate the holidays. Last year, they went to Oakland; this year they’re going to LA. I think next year they’re going to France.
What this means is I can focus on what’s most important to me: the people I hold dear. What about you?