There is often a tendency to over decorate when it comes to the holidays, lots of ornaments, lots of figurines, lots of over the top glitter and sparkle. And while that can be fun, it takes a lot of time, money, and sometimes can look overdone. Simple is always best, but not too simple. In the words of Einstein, everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. Little did Einstein know he was imparting interior decorating wisdom!
In the above photo, interior designer Mary McDonald (the same designer from our last post) has done an impeccable job with decorating for the holidays. Draping a cedar garland over a beautiful mirror, placing simple round ornaments of various sizes at its peak along with a simple bow. Below the mirror, she placed a container of paper white flowers and placed it on top of some pine branches. As simple as possible, but no simpler.
If the ornaments were not placed at the peak of the garland, the look would be a little too simple. But, with the ornaments the design becomes simple, sophisticated, and elegant. It shows restraint that was clearly considered, rather than showing just confusion at what to do with the garland. I used this idea myself. In our house we have a doorway that opens the foyer to the family room. There, I placed a cedar garland and used the simple round ornaments that are used in the family room decor at the center of the garland, three ivory ornaments in the center and two gold on the sides. That way you are introduced to the color scheme of ivory and gold that you then see as you walk into in the family room. You can do the same, over your own mirrors, your doorways inside or out (although I would recommend not using ornaments outside as that looks unnatural), your mantel. Anything that allows for the draping of garland.
And if you have pine trees in your yard, or even areas that you want to trim from your Christmas tree, clip off some branches and lay them down on a table. It makes for an easy, elegant platform for flowers, pinecones, or candles (either those in hurricanes or flameless candles to keep yourself from starting a fire!). You can quickly, easily, and inexpensively gain a designer look with little time or investment. And you’ll be surprised where you can find fresh garland – I’ve been searching around a lot and found it at Home Depot, a local nursery, a local Christmas tree lot, Whole Foods, etc. I bought my cedar garland at Whole Foods for only $15 for 10 feet so it’s inexpensive. And cedar holds up well inside and doesn’t have the traditional needles so it’s a lot less messy than pine.
And the more natural elements you can incorporate the better. Just like using seasonal food is the best way to cook, using seasonal elements is the best way to decorate. It allows the simple beauty of what’s happening outside your door in, and keeps us focused on the real meaning of Christmas. And even more good news, there is still plenty of time left for this type of decorating. It’s actually best to wait a little when decorating with natural elements. Decorating with a natural garland the weekend after Thanksgiving may not make it to Christmas. But picking it up this week? You just look like you want to make sure you have the freshest garland possible. How smart of you!
And when it comes to decorating your table for Christmas, use the same ideas. Keep it all natural, or mostly natural. Garland, flowers, candles, pinecones. Or, even incorporating citrus food or other seasonal foods such as cranberries. Keep it simple as simple as possible, but not any simpler. And with the extra time and money you have left over from keeping your designs simple, you could spend focusing on the meaning of Christmas, giving of your time through volunteering, helping out those who are less fortunate, etc. Keeping it simple helps us to enjoy the true meaning and beauty of the holiday and season, and lets us have enough left over to do the same for others.