The honest to goodness hardest part of the holidays for me is decorating. I don't know why. My mom was a virtual Martha Stewart when it came to decorating for the holidays. I'm just not. I do try, and I have the best of intentions, but I don't. Then, I feel bad. Bringing the atmosphere of the Season into the home is really important to me. Here are some tips I've learned if you're like me, wanting to go all out, but not quite sure where to start.
1) Pick a date. Write it in stone. For a lot of people, this is Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday. For us, it is November 14. That is the day the Nativity Fast starts in the Eastern Orthodox church, and when we as a family turn our hearts and minds towards the Nativity season. Whatever day you pick, this would be the day you pull out all of your boxes, put up your tree… do what you have to do. Set this day aside. Take it off work if you need to. Plan on a special dinner (or order pizza!), crank up the silly Christmas songs, and tell the kids what's going on. If you can get to a prayer service at the end of the day, after the work is done, that's a wonderful way to pull it all together in our hearts. But–and this is the most important part– NOTHING happens BEFORE this day. Not. a. thing.
2) Get with your spouse. Figure out what decorating traditions are important to you, and what are important to him. Meet in the middle. For us, it's absolutely necessary that we use the stockings that my grandmother crocheted for us. It's not Christmas without them, we're not buying new stockings. This is a tradition from my family that will be carried on. For my husband, he needs a real live tree. Not an artificial one. I hate the idea of all of those needles all over the floor, but we compromise.
3) Pick a theme. This could be anything–angels, snowmen, specific colors (my mom does blue and white), whatever. Picking a theme helps you simplify when you're in Hobby Lobby surrounded by a plethora of lights, bulbs, and decor. One theme, and stick with it.
4) Pick a sacred place. This is where you put up your Nativity set, or anything else you need to remember the true meaning of the season. For us, this is going near our prayer corner. Pick something that is somewhat accessible, so the kids can look at it and see the Christmas story before their eyes. Also, for this one, get a kid-friendly set. You don't want to put your grandmother's antique porcelain nativity on the coffee table where your three year old will inevitably break it. If you have a set like that, by all means, put it out, but have one set down low that the kids can look at.
5) Keep it simple. You don't need to be Martha Stewart here. A few well loved and well planned Christmas decorations will do so much more than a million and one trinkets. Feel free to check Pinterest, browse through the aisles of the decorating stores, but remember, the season is about love, it's about family, it's about a Gift that surpassed all gifts throughout time. The decorations should accentuate, not overshadow.
There is so much to do for the holiday season. Simplifying and focusing on the traditions that are most important to YOU and YOUR family is the key to ensuring not just a beautifully decorated home, but a beautifully meaningful Christmas season.
Kristi and her Prince Charming have been married 14 years, and are the parents to six amazing blessings. They live in middle Tennessee, where they love meeting with other homeschoolers, health and fitness, and Doctor Who. You can find Kristi blogging at The Potter's Hand Academy. Also check her out on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.