Happier Jump-Starts: Tips For Holiday Decorating

happier-jumpstarts-120714It’s that blessed time of year… the days are shorter, the demands are greater, and P.S., you’re supposed to be super-happy right now, haven’t you heard? If you’re feeling stressed-out by the season, clearly you’re a Scrooge. (Or, you know, human.)

Many people love dressing up their homes for this month of festive holiday cheer, and some do not love it and do it anyway. Here’s our take on sure-fire holiday decor that’s sure to make you happier.

If you love to decorate, do! Does it make you happier? Do you see it as a joyful experience rather than a chore? Then have a blast! And don’t worry about whether it’s all perfect or meets with the neighbors’ approval. Provided that you’re not setting up a neon glo-dome projecting disco lights directly into someone else’s bedroom window, what you do on your property is your business.

If you don’t love to decorate, don’t! There is no law stating that you must decorate for the holidays. Not even if you’re super-religious. Not even if your mother says you should. Not even if Martha Stewart herself appeared to you in a vision to demand that create a table centerpiece out of pinecones, tinsel, and solid-gold acorns. It’s okay. Not everyone likes to deck the halls. Be honest with yourself.

Find fabulous compromises. If you have children, chances are you have an entire box (or two or three, depending on how many kids and how old they are) of kid-created decorations designed to make you ooh and aah. It can become… a lot. If you’re not a decorator or you don’t particularly love everything in the box, designate a corner or a wall where the kid(s) can showcase their goodies. If you are a decorator—one who loves for everything to look fancy, and feels that pipe-cleaner reindeer damage your aesthetic—do the same. Find small touches that are easy if you’re not big on a whole holiday makeover or tone it done from your dreams of a complete Winter Wonderland if the rest of your family isn’t into it. There’s always a way to make it work.

Figure out what matters to you and do that. If you love a cheesy decoration of questionable taste because it reminds you of important things, use it. If your family gathers ’round for the lighting of the candles or the trimming of the tree and you love it, do that. If you don’t celebrate anything at all but find yourself oddly drawn to a “Season’s Greetings” sign, give in. Or if you simply want to leave your home exactly as it is no matter your holiday plans, because that leaves you more time to enjoy family and friends, more power to you. Seriously.

Remember your holiday mantra. I don’t know what your holiday mantra is, but mine is, “This is not important in the grand scheme of things.” It helps me remember that the flurry of holiday activity that sometimes makes me believe every cookie swap or door wreath is theverymostimportant can pull me away from what really matters. So if I find myself muttering at tangled lights or otherwise bemoaning my lack of decorating skills, I stop, take a breath, and focus on what really matters. (It’s the food.) (Kidding! Just kidding!)

The best decoration for any home is inhabitants who are enjoying life. Everything else is just window dressing.

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