How to Have a Beautiful Holiday Without Overwhelm & Still Have Great Decor

We've all been there. All of a sudden the marketers and retailers start telling us we should have orange, brown, and yellow in our lives if we are to be a part of the Fall seasonal bliss. Then, naturally they will want us to have red and green or blue and silver themed everything right after that.

I have a long and deep relationship with the art of decor, so much so that one of my teenage nicknames was 'Martha'...yes, as in Stewart. While exploring the land of fake decorations and crafts for all holidays, the whole concept ended up falling flat to me. Whenever I tried to decorate the way Michael's or Martha wanted me to, my house looked like it was trying to be something else.

Without realizing it I started carving out my own authentic luxury version of decorating that focused more on me having time to enjoy my own experience of the season as well as the special holiday moments and seasonal flare. Decor's job is to evoke the essence of a season and many times that essence relates to memories and tradition. It can also reiterate the way our senses connect to a wonderful new experience that's happening now.

Where Decor Misses the Mark

Do you fill your home with decorations that quickly fall out of style, then keep using those items just to recreate a happy time when the kids were little? Do you like investing in timeless decorations? I know sometimes putting them up takes lots of effort and they can be a large portion of the holiday budget.

I LOVE people who have a major decor commitment and I always enjoy their efforts, but I think there is a fair alternative that fits how busy people really are. While there are increasingly more distractions in daily life, savoring time as the most valued of all your holiday resources is a way to really be present to the joy decor tries to promote. Keeping boundaries on your time can bring in a refreshingly relaxed approach to decor.

Holiday home enhancements can be a thoughtful way of celebrating the current season regardless of what traditional displays expect us to buy or have. If you really want to celebrate a season to it's fullest, it should be more about what's happening now than expecting to recreate a past year's fun and games, or even a special time period of several years prior.

Thank those times for being so special, but in moving on, relish the current ways that fit your lifestyle to be joyful during these times. Recreating the past doesn't leave room for what's relevant now. Often times expecting a new event to be like an old one will be a let down.

Reconnecting with Intention

Rather than rely on the trends in the big box flyers I suggest connecting with the time of year with intention by thinking about scents, food, flavors, visual delights that are naturally occurring, and experiences. Connecting to who you are, how you like to enjoy the season, and how the season might bring you together with the people you love makes for a more lasting and truly enjoyable relationship with a time of year. Eschewing a predetermined idea of what that needs to be can alleviate a weight of expectations.

Dinner with Friends

Let each year's holidays be new while celebrating the things you like about those holidays that were fun in the past. The very act of hunting for a specific seasonal spice or taking a friend to an obscure shop to complete a unique party tray idea may be just the memorable moment of the season you relish the most.

I recommend these specific ways to allow the seasons to naturally roll into your world rather than create a fuss about expectations and trying to be something that takes lots of effort.

Here's how to celebrate more of what's YOU about the holidays instead of the PAST.

Don't Overlook the Basics

Setting the stage for the right mood: Whether you are entertaining yourself or hosting a party, no seasonal mood will work if you have clutter or stress. Be sure your home is entirely decluttered. Every space in your home should be decluttered, even the basement & garage. Why? We can be more present when the physical objects that hold us back are gone. Once your space is absolutely decluttered, keeping it clean is much less challenging. Clutter free homes allow you to see the space in between things - the delightful way the rooms become cozy and dim in the Fall or the wide open view to the changing Fall leaves. Use the Marie Kondo book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and your life will, indeed be changed.

**Seriously, decluttering is the secret sauce part of the whole blog and I do all of these things myself, call us if you need help!**

Cleaning crew: I also advise having a cleaning service if not all year, around the holidays. I hear a lot of people complaining about how busy their lives get around this time of year. Time is the most precious resource that we use to connect with the people we care about. If this time of year is about that, outsource your cleaning so you can be more present and make the most of who you're with. On a budget? Find a couple neighborhood kids who want holiday spending money to help out, that's how I started out.