Hello! Hope you all are getting into the Christmas spirit! I am having fun finishing up my Christmas decorating! As always, keeping it pretty simple (remember last year’s simple decor?), because that’s apparently the only way I enjoy doing it. I had to laugh at myself earlier, I was remembering that I said I wanted to do more decorating than last year and for a moment I got all inspired and thought maybe I would try to be a little more fancy.
So in an out of body experience, I set up my entry table, gathering room console and mantel with more greenery than usual and stepped back to admire it. Then I immediately tore it all down. Nope. It wasn’t right. Even though it was just extra greenery, I couldn’t do it. I realized when I dreamed of doing more I meant a touch of Christmas in more rooms, not MORE of anything piled up on every surface. Nothing wrong with more if you love it, but in my house is just makes me feel all twitchy to have an excess of anything. And feeling twitchy is not good. So I grabbed all the extra greenery (leftover from our Christmas tree, nothing I bought extra) and tossed it outside.
I was thinking this week that if I felt the pressure to style my house for the perfect photo shoot as a blogger, I’d be all kinds of stressed out right now. I’m GRATEFUL that simplicity in decor is what I’m naturally drawn to. It saves my sanity and is a big part of why I enjoy blogging, because I’m able to be authentic with you all here. I don’t want to (nor do I) bring in extra furniture style a photo, rearrange, or do a lot of extra “styling” in order to get a perfect photo. I avoid putting a crazy amount of pressure on myself to do more than I want to. I always strive to keep doing what I would normally be doing around my house as much as possible, even if I wasn’t a blogger.
I think we would all agree that if we try to be or do something that doesn’t feel right to us in this season of our life, we stress. When we do things for the wrong reasons, we feel pressure instead of joy. That uneasy feeling when you pull out all those Christmas bins might just mean it isn’t the right year (or the right style!) to go all out on the Christmas decor. And that’s OK. Or if you are in a season where you love every minute of all the Christmas glitz or enjoy bringing out all your treasured ornaments, that’s wonderful too! I think it’s more about being authentic and true to yourself and doing what is right for your family than it is about following anyone else’s way of doing things. Don’t you think?
Even though I am inviting you all over Monday to see my house for the Holiday Home Tours, I avoid the big stress of trying to do something “Pinterest or photo-worthy” by just keeping the focus on decorating for myself and our family, to keep our own traditions alive (within the limitations of my own time and energy, of course!). That’s what I want to share with you, our home. I do my best to keep it real for you, too, because honestly it’s more important to me to be authentic, realistic and true to my style, myself and my family than it is to create a bunch of images that aren’t really who I am at all. I have to love my home and live with all the projects I do in real life, too, not just do what might impress for a photo.
I’m really enjoying preparing for Christmas because I remind myself I don’t have to live in a Christmas show house, I just want to create special memories for my family. For us, that means keeping simple traditions, like getting a real live tree that our family cut down together. Last year we cut down a huge tree that we just enjoyed without the pressure to decorate it. My son, Luke, especially loves the tradition of cutting down a real tree and I do my best to keep that tradition alive for him.
I love that we slowed down to make those memories together again this year at the tree farm. Yeah, we have several faux trees in tubs under our house that probably would have looked just as great in photos, but they aren’t the same to my son. It took an hour from start to finish to load up the dogs and go to the tree farm and cut down a tree, but it was time well spent. My son is fourteen and I know there will be only a few more years of creating these memories for him while he is still under our roof! It’s not a burden to keep those memories alive, those traditions matter. He doesn’t care about baking Christmas cookies. He doesn’t care what ornaments I use. For him, it’s about the family going out to cut down a tree and keeping a few other family-oriented traditions.
What really matters to your family?
Those experiences we treasure for a lifetime are what we all really want to create, whatever way we do that in our own family. If I get cranky trying to keep up with Christmas expectations like a crazy woman, it’s my own fault for over-doing or over-emphasizing the wrong things. We are far too hard on ourselves sometimes, we don’t have to do everything. We just need to do what really matters!
So no matter what kind of Christmas decorator you are, all-out decorator or the queen of simplicity, whether you are a blogger or not, remember the goal is creating memories for your family at home, not creating or maintaining a show house!
I think there is a reasonable balance to strive for. Don’t make Christmas so simple that it isn’t magical or memorable for those you love, or so complicated and exhausting that it loses its shine. As cliché as it may sound we need to remember the reason for the season. It’s easy to get caught up in all the decor, the baking, or the gifts and miss out on what our family really needs.
So this weekend let go of guilt for things you don’t have to do, but DO find simple ways to make and keep good memories that your family will remember for a lifetime. Even if it is just you living in your home now, give yourself the gift of a memorable Christmas.