Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Please don’t call me Scrooge, but I hate decorating for Christmas. In fact, I hate decorating for all holidays. To me, it falls under the category “another darn thing I have to do.”
So last year, I decided it was time to change that.
I pulled everything out of the attic at one time. My hope was to get everything back into just the plastic bins and get rid of the boxes; that seemed like a reasonable level of reduction to me.
I started early in December, wanting to be sure that anything that went to the thrift store had time to be resold before the end of December arrived: I didn’t want my clutter to become their clutter too.
I got the family involved – very important when sentimental, seasonal, “that item means Christmas to me” things are involved – and we start opening boxes. One of my annoyances, as I’ve already said, is decorating the home – all the little seasonal do dads we’ve accumulated over the years. Most of those were the first to go. Turns out that no one cares very much about little Santas tucked away on the bookshelves orÂ snowmen sitting on the coffee table.
When it was time to decorate the tree, I made this rule: we would all open the ornaments and put them on the tree as always. However, if we opened an ornament that we didn’t like, didn’t care about, thought was ugly, etc., we would put it on the sofa. Anyone else who saw an ornament that they liked or valued on the sofa could pick it up and put it on the tree – no questions, no anger -Â just pick it off the sofa and put it on the tree. There were a few squeals of outrage (“WHO put this on the sofa!!!??”) but everyone stayed calm when I repeated the rule: “No questions, no anger, just put it on the tree yourself.” We probably reduced our ornaments by about 2 dozen and also got rid of 4 or 5 strings of wooden “cranberry” beads.
It was a remarkably painless process thatÂ hugely reduced our supplies. Before, we had 10 boxes/bins, 2 tree stands, and 2 outdoor wreaths. After, we had 6 boxes/bins, 2 tree stands (the smaller of which I declutteredÂ earlier this week), and 3 outdoor wreaths. (Yes, I gained a wreath, which I found at the thrift store. We all agreed that the upstairs balcony looked woefully undecorated, and this wreath was our solution.) My before and after photos are below.
If decorating for the holidays really doesn’t put you in a holiday mood, try my reduction techniques and see if that doens’t bring a smile to your face like it did mine.
Today’s Mini Mission
Â Declutter something you are only keeping because you feelÂ obligedÂ to because it was given to you by someone else.
Remember theÂ November Keep it Tidy Challenge
Today’s Declutter Item
This nativity set took a while for me to decide to declutter for several reasons. It has sentimental value because my parents bought it for me. It is the most real Christmas symbol I own. And I like it because it is beautiful. The problem is though that it really doesn’t fit in this smaller home and will certainly not fit into one that is smaller. I took it to a garage sale I was involved in a few weeks ago and put a price tag of $50 on it. I figured if I must let it go I was at least going to get a good price for it. I set it up to look its best but feared that some overzealous garage sale shopper mightÂ accidentallyÂ break it. I was so glad when someone said they would like to buy it. I couldn’t get it packed up safe again quick enough. I actually knew the person who bought it and she was a secondhand dealer. I was amazed and very pleased that she didn’t haggle over the price and happily paid me the $50. I suppose it was just meant to be.
Eco Tip for the Day
Â Take care of the things you do own so that they may last and last and not have to be replaced prematurely.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast
I thought I had decluttered everything I wanted that was Christmas-related a year or two ago, but yet I went to the donation store a few days ago with a few more items – half of which were Christmas items.
While I’ve yet to actually drag down the Christmas stuff for this year, I did go up into the attic last week & find those particular items to take to the donation store.
I imagine that once I do drag down the remaining holiday boxes – I will no doubt purge a few more items because my willingness & tolerance to keeping things on the off chance I might display it again is wearing thin.
Cindy, I agree that decorating can quickly spiral into another darn thing I gotta do too. My resolution has been to keep parring down until I find a point of equilibrium between enjoying to decorate verses dreading the thought of decorating. Yet with each holiday season, I find the fulcrum keeps shifting & what I found acceptable last year is now shifted back towards the “dreading to decorate” side. So I fully expect to whiddle down even more useless & dread-inducing holiday items in order to at least maintain equilibirium….but ultimately I’d like to get to the point where I don’t have to dread the decorating at all & setting it all up (& taking it all back down) requires little to no effort, anxiety or dread.
I’ve already gotten something down for this year and realized that I didn’t really like how I packaged some of last year’s items, in terms of what got packed with what. More tweaking again this year, just like you.
I’m with you, Cindy. A few years ago I realized that one of the reasons I’m grumpy in December is decorating the house. So now I put out the wooden nativitiy set my daughter made, the Advent candles and the 9″ miniature blown glass tree from my grandma, a few other candles and we’re good to go. If we’re home for the holiday, we’ll buy a tree and decorate it, but usually we go to an adult child’s house. And I’m such a Scrooge because I don’t focus on red and green which I don’t much like. I used a sage/forest green with silver or turquoise color scheme. It’s my house…and decorations don’t make Christmas for me.
That works for me Willow. I’ve always marveled at people who put up HUGE light or Christmas village or whatever displays. I know some people enjoy it, but that’s just my idea of making work for myself.
Deb J says
Cindy, what a timely post. I want to do this during this week as my friend can help me bring stuff in and we can go through it all. If we have my way we will be able to thrift a good bit of stuff. I’m just tired of it all like you said. I just can’t see putting away all sorts of things in order to replace them with holiday bits and bobs. Shoot. If I could I would get rid of the stuff on the shelves that sit there all year round.
You’re always paring down Deb. I can’t imagine how much you’ll be able to get rid of with your friend’s help.
Deb J says
I’m excited to say that we are getting rid of a lot of things today. 2 wreaths, 4 big angels (3 of which sing), and a bunch of other Christmas stuff. It feels great to have it all going to the shelter.
Wendy B says
It’s very thoughtful of you to send your stuff to the thrift store early. Our thrift store gets tons of Christmas stuff donated – in January! – and then they have to store it for almost a year. To me that’s about as selfish as donating shorts on the first day of fall or parkas at the beginning of spring.
I do try to think about that when I send seasonal or holiday-specific stuff to the thrift store. I’m sure someone somehwere wants a parka in the summer, but not too many people…
Moira Monney says
Cindy, what a great post – and the timing is absolutely perfect! We’ve only just started decluttering our flat recently and last weekend, another 2 big refuse bags filled with stuff had to go. I haven’t started clearing out Christmas decorations; we don’t have a lot of them, but most of the items we do have were given to us by someone else and they hold some sentimental value for me. You’ve definitely given me something to think about.
Grace from Brazil says
We decluttered too but I had forgotten how well we had done. I was dreading it a bit when my daughter wanted to get things started earlier this year because we are moving mid December. But it took us about an hour, tops, to decorate! The most time consuming thing was getting the tree branches opened up. I was so happy when we were done before we thought possible. Everything I kept was just right. And I am so so so glad for all the things I let go!
You’re moving in December and you’ve already decorated? Oh my goodness Grace, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry for you. Glad it only took an hour.
I like your couch/tree idea. I might have to steal that.
Steal away! It worked great.
Candi @ min hus says
“To me, it falls under the category ‘another darn thing I have to do.'” Yes, YES! This is how I feel about decorating for every other holiday except Christmas. I like decorating for Christmas, but I contain it to the living room. I also really love my turquoise tree, which goes with the regular living room decor, rather than clashing with it.
Candi – Where did you find a turquois tree? To go with my decor, I’d have to have a yellow one – doesn’t THAT sound revolting!?!
Calico ginger says
Excellent post as usual Cindy! I have all my Christmas stuff down to 2 smallish boxes and the tree (which hangs,wrapped up like a dead body, in the garage all year).
The best thing I did last year was ditch the electric lights, it’s so much easier to dress the tree and you don’t need to shift stuff around to put it near a power point. AND the tree looked better, the baubles looked softer and more like an”old fashioned Christmas” somehow.
Those lights are pure “landfill hell” anyway as my ex would say – there’s no way of recycling them when they conk out.
Jeannie in Korea says
First time commenter here. I’ve been reading through the archives and finished reading all the ones from 2010. For the past 2 months I’ve been on focused mini-missions to downsize from a 2 bedroom apartment to a studio. Although I’ve decided that it isn’t the right time to move, I’ve been thoroughly loving the decluttering and minimalist living process– thanks in large part to this blog!
I love Christmas decorating- it makes home look so festive and alive. It used to take me quite a while to decorate as well, but last year I decided to only keep 1 shopping bag of my favorite decorations. Hence, I decorated the other day and it took me all of 10 minutes! This included a mini tree and wreath. Happy Thanksgiving to US readers!
Jeannie, thanks for the Thanksgiving well wishes!
When I first came across 365 Less Things, I did the same thing & back read through the archives in order to catch up with the rest of the class!
Jeannie in Korea says
I’m up to March, 2011 now –still having loads of fun decluttering 🙂 I missed Thanksgiving with my family again, but I’ll be home in LA for Christmas and to ring in the new year- that hasn’t happened in ages!
I don’t like decorating either. We have one shoebox of Christmas tree ornaments.. I’m not sure if they are okay after our mold clear out. I kept them because they were stored in the attic, and were only in the house for a few weeks, but that was during the really bad time. We’ll see, I hope so. I don’t feel like Christmas ornament shopping :/
In addition to a tree we can light some candles, bring in some branches, make a wreath, whatever..
Those tiny twinkle lights in the garden look nice.
Wow, just one shoebox. That really is minimalism decorating. If your ornaments didn’t survive, don’t go ornament shopping. Let them come to you one at a time; you’ll enjoy them more that way.
Well done Cindy on your decluttering! I have decluttered heaps of Christmas gear as well – used to have trees (small) in every room when the kids were little, even decorated the toilet!!!! What was I thinking? Now I have pared right down and avoid tinsel like the plague 🙂 However at work the office looks like a giant box of tinsel has exploded! I can be a bit bah humbug regarding that kind of over decoration, but hey at least I know Christmas is on the way!! And it signifies the start of the wind down to the end of the year (our office closes for 2 weeks, yay!) so it’s all good. My reaction to the ‘tinsel explosion’ is a bit of a good natured joke, I was off the day the office was decorated so I got sent some photos on my mobile.
LOL – decorated a toilet! What….exactly…no…wait…nevermind!
lol – I can understand the amusement – but after all the toilet is a room that you actually spend some time in – several times a day.
there is a toilet in my parents house, in which you can find a huge floor to ceiling pinboard, that is holding postcards, pictures, poems, funny newspaper articles, calenders, etc. always something new, always something to look. when we were little, there was also homework, like vocabulary or multiplications, grammar rules and stuff like that…
on the other side there is a stand with childrens books (thats my mothers weakness) and every christmas between all the regular things that are hung up, there are christmas items to be found. and the books are always according to the season. I like that decorated toilet a lot.
I don’t think a lot of Aussies decorate as much as Americans do, though these seems to be changing, if the stuff on sale at all the department stores is any indication!
We’ve always been low-key decorators and I actually enjoy getting the Christmas stuff out on the 1st of December. The kids and I put up the (plastic) tree and spend about an hour hanging the decorations on it, arguing over whose turn it is to put the star on top, while sipping celebratory drinks (champagne for me, sparkling cranberry juice for them) and listening to my Christmas tapes (yes, I STILL have tapes!!) I buy one tree decoration each December and it has to be handmade, and this replaces one generic shiny ball on the tree.
I’d LOVE a handmade wooden nativity scene but have yet to find one that is perfect, so will do without 🙂
Shhhh…I know that I got a handmade Mary, Joseph, Jesus this year for Christmas, and I’m really looking forward to it. It was made by Judy King, the wife of an Episcopal priest, who makes a lot of religious art. I already have a St. Francis statue that she made, and he’s wonderful. http://www.etsy.com/shop/judyking?section_id=7451870
Wendy W says
I buy a decoration every year for both of my children 19 & 16, so by the time they leave home they will have some to start decorating their own tree
Great post today, I am excited to finish going through my decorations this year. I have already taken many items to the donation center and since some things needed to be replaced this year, I believe that there will be even more items to go. Less will be more this year for me. I do enjoy the decorations, but not the process of putting everything out or putting everything away. It never goes back the same way it came out either. I agree, Cindy, most of the decorations that I sit out on shelves do not excite everyone in the house, so most of that will go. As long as the major things are there, like the tree, we will be fine. We will do a wreath and I have kept a small table that has been working out well as my holiday display table. Too much can be overwhelming to the senses, better to get rid of the excess.
We have 3 wreaths outside, an advent wreath on the DR table, 2 advent calendars for the girls (reused from year to year), a trio of Christmas trees that I made, a German pyramid, Christmas mugs for thw whole family (love using these all through December), handmade Christmas stockings, about a dozen treasured Chritmas books, and the tree with decorations. Plus I usually buy one or two poinsettias. Sounds like a lot when I write it all out.
The important thing is that they are things that truly make Christmas special for you and your family. Besides, you were able to reduce your items by a tremendous amount, therefore, what you have left are only those things that are treasured items.
I think it is great you all having a big clearout of the Christmas excess that has accumulated over the years: it’s like seeing stuff for the first time when you check in with habit vs who you are now/what you actually like and want.
Until last Christmas, I had never decorated my place at all – no trees/cards up/decs, nada and I am in my late 40’s.
Last year I got married, we got a titchy real tree and a few decs and it was really lovely. All decs fit onto a 1ft square box and the tree has been in the garden all year and will be brought back in and I can’t wait!
And this year I have just bought an advent calender for us both which all feels enormous fun: each little pocket I can put a chocolate and a little note naming one simple thing I love about my husband. We don’t wish to exchange presents.
Sounds fantastically minimalist and wonderful. Love the handwritten notes – sweeter than candy.
I hadn’t thought about it sounding minimalist Cindy, but gosh, yes it does doesn’t it! Go me :O)
creative me says
One advantage to having a home with no “hidden” storage… it limits the temptation to collect too many Christmas decorations! In my house all the Christmas stuff must fit in my Grandpa’s antique steamer trunk. That’s my rule. So when I absolutely MUST buy that pretty decoration that is on clearance, then I also MUST get rid of an equal volume of existing decorations because that trunk is F-U-L-L
Respecting limited space is the best way to keep any collection under control. Good job for stikcing to one-in, one-out.
Debra F says
NOOOOOO!!!!! The horror! LOL
I am minimal in everything EXCEPT Christmas anything. Our house looks like a Christmas bomb goes off every year. Last year we were renting and didn’t put lights up and it just didn’t have the same feel. I am so excited that we have a lounge room at the front of the house so everyone will see our tree and we are getting a real tree for the first time. Every room will have something Chrismassy in it and the Christmas movies and CD’s come out. Bliss.
I do wonder if we will change our mind when the kids grow up but I doubt it because hubby is as bad as I am.
*wanders off singing “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”*
Wendy F says
I finished writing my post and came back and read yours Debra F, I feel like such a grinch now.
You go girl! Merry Christams :)â›„â„â›„â„â›„â„â›„â›„â„â›„â„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸŽ„ðŸ’ðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸ’’ðŸ’’ðŸ’’ðŸ’’ðŸ’’ðŸ’’ðŸ’’ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸŽ†ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™
Debra F says
Not a Grinch Wendy F just different priorities. It’s funny because the post on crafts are no good for me. I don’t understand whole rooms dedicated to crafts just like others don’t understand my Christmas decorations. each to their own.
Funny thing: my parents never really decorated besides the tree. After all the kids moved out they started decorating the house. Now they have a house that the tour buses put on their lists to visit. The same thing happen with their next door neighbour and neighbour over the road.
Merry Christmas to you too
BTW just read your post. I am an Aussie. Also when I say every room will have some thing Christmassy it might only be a hand towel so not too over done.
If you use and decorate with all your Christmas stuff, then it’s not clutter – it’s a hobby that you love. More power to you and your decorating.
We have a neighbor who decorates like crazy for Christmas and for Halloween. It’s amazing. I wouldn’t want it to be me, but I love to drive slowly by their house ever time I enter or leave the neighborhood.
Wendy F says
I suppose I can understand the Northern Hemishere preoccupation with indoor Christmas decorating, as you are inside. In Australia we usually have Aircon on or fans whirring away to keep us cool. Neighborhood parties in the street, picnics and general outdoor activities. Plus the kids finish school for the year in early December. Then they have six weeks holidays. With all the end of school activities, presentation days, class parties, end of year trips away and general Christmas expectations of whose family you are spending the big day with, decorations are not a priority for me. I really think Christmas decorations are the ultimate in household clutter. They are equivalent to the good china or expensive linen that you only use when guests arrive. Christmas decorations are aspirational and emotional clutter to me. If I want to see awesome decorations I can check them out at the local shopping centre. Give me a clean, uncluttered home, full of happy, healthy people and I will be celebrating! Cheers
Christmas can be very stressful in the US for the reasons you mentioned. The school semester is ending, and every club, orchestra, group has some kind of party / presentation, plus there is generally at least one big end-of-year project that has to be completed. In addition, my eldest’s birthday is just before Christmas. Then we have the Christmas pageant at church, etc. The kids only get two week off from about Dec. 20 through the New Year, so it can be a whirlwind, and sometimes an unpleasant one.
Hi Cindy! I like Christmas and do have a tree, decorete it and tops. That’s my Christmas decoration. I know some people that go over the top, but I am already stressed out with Christmas. As I said once I like to tell people what we want at our house, within a bugdegt and they give our gifts. I like getting things I will use. Well, this year, a relative who really should know better, decided that instead of giving my husband clothes (which they did not wnat to bother to look for – I offered to go buy it and they would pay me), but they said they already bought an “alternative” gift. Oh I am so pissed of at that! What is a “alternative gift”? I have been going on and on about my decluttering, my want to buy only strictly what we need, not go over the top, my very restrict budget this year (would it have hurt to buy him clothes?) and they go, because they can’t be bothered and buy him an alternative gift. I was counting that, at least a trouser for him would come as a gift, for I always say what he needs. And they do this. Please somebody help me calm down. Oh jeez what kind of useless stuff have they got him because they don’t want to buy him clothes because they think he is too fat and can’t be bothered?
Wendy F says
Hi Andre’ia, Hopefully it is an expensive alternate gift that you can return and receive a great cash bonus to spend on what you want.
. Otherwise do not fret, I can’t wait to hear what it is!
maybe its an invitation for a museum, restaurant, exhibition, adventure park, brewery, etc. that they thought your husband might enjoy? maybe they actually started to put thoughts into this, because you have been going on about it… maybe not, but there is no reason to get mad at them. just because you go straight edge, you cant expect all others to follow.
I know it feels very disrespectful when your explicit wishes gets ignored, but some people just dont get it. my brother and his girlfriend did this last year on christmas. we agreed on no gifts and then I got a raclette (hot stone for cooking things) – one of the most useless items I ever owned. I asked him this year, if he wanted it back. he said no, I should keep it for “one day”. I will sell it, and make very clear which kind of gifts I want for christmas.
Thanks Lena and Wendy F! I shouldn’t have been so mad, but I did not like the way they have been conducting things. I think my madness has more to do with they not listening than with this “alternative gift”. I am sure I am not going to like it. Very sure. They are cutting back costs and I do hope that they did not buy something cheap and useless for him. I will tell you after Christmas.
It’s frustrating when we can’t get people to do what we want – believe me, I am strong willed and generally assume that people will fall in line when I boss them around – but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. Try to take a deep breath…it’s only one item and it will be useful or it won’t…but no need to blow a gasket yet.
Thanks Cindy! I will try to accept the gift gracefully…and ditch it real fast if I don’t like it 😀 ! I will try not to be so mad at this sort of thing. It happens every year, no matter how hard I try and tell I am decluttering…
We have one smallish artificial tree with laser tip lights, plus one smallish bag with decorations. Takes half an hour tops to get up and decorated. I put presents around it. A few Christmas cards on shelves (less these days with ecards) and that’s it.
Eight years ago we were in the States for Christmas and I was astounded at the amount of decorations everyone had. One woman’s house had every single surface covered, made me feel totally claustrophobic!
Less is more!
I think I shall do some thinning out this year. Mind you, I know I don’t need to consult anyone else in this family as they would all have stopped decorating about five years ago. They don’t see the point of it. Maybe that is because there is so much of it out in the town etc. Two of my immediate family work in a supermarket and they have already had their fill of Christmas.
ALREADY had their fill? That’s pitiful taht the store is pushing Christmas so early.
Usually, where I live, decorations start mid november, but at Wal Mart, it has been up since OCTOBER. So it does get too much way ahead of time.
I agree Wendy, although I’m not really a Christmas person, I feel the longing for decoration every year. It’s just that autumn is rather depressing for me and as for now sun sets at about 4p.m. – and due to rather foggy weather it feels dark from about 2:30p.m. As you know, it will get even worse until christmas. In addition, it’s cold. It’s actually a horrid time of the year, way too dark, and therefore all these christmassy things have their appeal and right: mulled wine (or a sans-alcohol alternative), hot tea, endorphins trough chocolate, rich and rather fat warm food, cuddly blankets, candles and candles and candles.
Therefore, I personally do decorate, but in a very tradidtional way: real greens, real candles, some ribbon and a few special decorations. I also make sure to always have home-made cookies, nuts, tangerines and good tea on hand and/or on display. Many of these items are consumable and gone after Christmas and I avoid having special dishes, candle-holders and the like – I just use the ones I always use, I might pop the cookie-plate up with a few little twigs from a fir tree or something. Most of our special Christmas decoration are wooden figurines we inherited and the like. Not completely minimal (that would be only the fir branches), but not very much alltogether either.
I think it sounds wonderful, and I very much understand your desire to go “cozy” as my cousin Kerri calls it.
I can’t remember where you live. Germany?
Yes, from Germany, you remembered quite well! 🙂
I stopped doing Christmas decorations when we moved from Ireland to New Zealand and suddenly it didn’t feel like Christmas any more because it was summertime. Decorations don’t matter to me any more. We have one tiny stuffed Santa that was a gift, and a tree with some tinsel and baubles that get hauled out in June for our “Midwinter Christmas” but that’s it. Easy.
As for decluttering an item kept out of a misguided sense of obligation, I did that two weeks ago and then saw it in an op shop today while I was with the person who gave it to me! Thankfully they didn’t notice or most likely didn’t even remember they’d given it to me in the first place 😉
Colleen Madsen says
Hi Jenny, welcome to the blog page although I know you have been reading via Facebook where I have enjoyed your interaction.
It is funny that your love of Christmas waned once you moved south. It had the other effect when I experience my first winter Christmas. It felt like I was living the first real Christmas of my life. I have to say that, like you, it no longer holds the same appeal now that I am back in the Southern Hemisphere. Oh well it was good while it lasted.
As for that obligation item of yours. I think that most of my relatives don’t look at my blog much but if they do they are bound to spot the occasional thing that they had gifted to me in the past. Many of them are voluntarily coming around to the same way of thinking as I am so I don’t think that they would care anyway.
Thanks for the welcome here, Colleen!
I think we are all prone to forgetting what we gifted to other people – at least, I know I am! – so many of those items that appear on your blog might go under the radar anyway and your relatives might not even notice.
My sister is visiting right now and yesterday she was drinking coffee from a mug that she gave me many years ago and I have guarded carefully ever since, through many home relocations and earthquakes, because of that. She didn’t recognise it even when I made a point of asking! She did think it was nice but had no recollection of giving it to me at all. Funny 🙂
I think that’s quite natural, given that we “own” the presents we buy for others just for such a short time. I often recognise things, I “passed on” to others after I have used them for quite some time: I might exclaim at their house “oh, you still have that blue vase I gave you!”, but things I bought new just to give them away… no, I don’t think I remember many of those. Just not enough time to get aquainted with the item, I guess.
I think it would be hard to decorate when it’s summer, although I live in the southern U.S., and it can be very warm. We’re at the beach right now, and the kids went swimming this morning. The water was cool but the air was warm and pleasant.
Colleen Madsen says
This Christmas I have one box of decorations. A far cry from the five boxes I returned to Australia with from the US. I don’t expect I will declutter any more of them this year but you never know.
Everyday is a good day to feel joyful and blessed, why wait for one day a year. No decorations or material gifts necessary.
I live in New England, where it looks like a Currier and Ives print all winter long, but since our adult children have families of their own, and our grandchildren are all teenagers, or near-teens, Christmas has become even more minimal for us than it was when I thought it was already minimal.
Even though I LOVE reading all the home decorating blogs, where every nook and cranny of the blogger’s home is decorated to the hilt, I’d never want to live with all that stuff in my house, and it would be way too much hassle to deal with anyway.
Several years ago we stopped decorating large, real Christmas trees, and I got rid of a lot of those decorations.
I’ve been feeling the urge to get rid of some more decorations I don’t think I’ll put out again, so will probably go through them and pass along to my daughter anything she’d like, then I’ll donate the rest.
Each year I like to hang a real wreath in my kitchen, for the fragrance, and put a poinsettia on the hutch, or somewhere in the living room. I like to fill a candy dish with the holiday-wrapped Hershey’s Kisses or something too, but that’s pretty much the extent of the decorating around here, and it suits us just fine.
I think if I lived in New England, I couldn’t resist decorating. However, since my children are 12 and 10, it’s hard to predict what it will be like when they’re out of the house. My in-laws never decorate any more; they’re always somewhere else, although apparently my MIL owns a whole bunch of those collectable Christmas houses / villages. I’ve never seen them, and she is NOT into decluttering, so I suppose the houses will stay in storage until my in-laws pass, and then my SIL and I will do something with them. My SIL is from Taiwan and didn’t move here until about 5 years ago. I wonder what she thinks of all the holiday decorating? I know our wedding traditions were a mystery to her.
Jo H. says
Cindy, I am going to use your solution to the dilemma of decluttering tree ornaments – so simple but I never thought of it 🙂
I’m definitely going to declutter my Christmas stuff this year, donate the surplus, and just focus on a few decorations that mean the most to me. In the past I think I felt like I had to have a lot of decorations for the kids, but they are older now and won’t care if we don’t have Santas all over the house. I think it will be very freeing when decorating is pared down and doesn’t feel like a chore!
Colleen Madsen says
Good for you Deanna and welcome to 365 Less Things. I must ask my children one day whether they were ever really into all the decorating I used to do or whether I only thought they were. If they were, I wonder what age they stopped caring and how long after that I kept it up.
We donated our 6′ tree last year and ended up with a 2′ tiny tree this year. We’ll put up lights, but I’ll be passing on large tree-sized ornaments to my mom (who has a 6′ tree and no ornaments). I don’t think I can declutter much more but we’ve been down to one bin already, so it’s okay.
We hang homemade family tradition stockings. My grandmother made them for her grandchildren. My mother (her DIL) made one for all 18 of her grandchildren, and for some of her great grandchildren (including one of our grandchildren). I made one for the rest of our grandchildren. Each is unique, with a Santa, deer, stars, bells, and small birds, rabbits, and anything else on hand. Jingle Bells are sewn on the bottom and children love shaking them. Other than that decorations are pretty scarce–the big artificial tree left when our children were grown (gave to youngest child–who is one who decorates everything in sight for every holiday–definitely never my style). We have a small artificial tree that fits nicely into a garbage bag and is left decorated, so when it comes out of the bag only a few items have to be put back on the tree. I get a laugh at some of the looks it gets from the grandkids.
Colleen Madsen says
Hi Nana, I like the sound of those stockings.And I love that you leave the decorations on the tree and pull it out of its bag every year ready to go. Economy of movement thats for sure.
I definitely do not belong in this neck of the woods! Christmas is huge in my home and my decorations vary a lot as I do theme my Christmas. It is the only holiday I decorate for and I love it. Perhaps I should send Colleen some pics of my Trees and ornaments so you can all see decorative clutter to your hearts content and then shut the window hahaha!
Whilst we are renting and waiting for our home to be built, I decided to go all out and let ‘Kringledom’ explode all over the house. I have 1x8ft tree 1x7ft tree 2x6ft trees 2 metal frame trees to hold my Swarovski crystals 1xfibre optic small tree 2xtable trees 1x2ft tree for my Winter Wonderland display a lampstand that turns into a Narnia-esque Lamp post and 1 by twig type tree that I have all my Sentimental ornaments hanging on it, plus all the snowies and santas you could possibly imagine, and 6 rather sizeable reindeers scattered throughout! hahaha have some of you fainted!!!! All year round I have clear benches and minimal stamped on what I have. Come Christmas I am happy to be nicely cluttered up and really enjoy the Season.
I will be de-cluttering again in the New Year as some things just don’t survive the ordeal and I happily get rid of things. All I have purchased for this Season is Ribbon and some small extra baubles to decorate my ‘Cindy Lou Who’ tree. Apart from that I have only purchased extra chocolates and sweets heehee!! A girl needs her energy to decoarate.
Enjoy all 🙂 🙂 🙂
Deb J says
Wow, Dizzy, you go all out! It sounds like our house used to be. When we had lots of room and lots of energy we went nuts. Now we are pretty low key. It sounds like you have a great time with it and that is what counts. When it becomes a chore you dread then you can declutter.
I so agree that holiday decorating can turn into a dreaded chore. I love the simplicity of my minimal decorating now, and trips to the attic are few and far between. I enjoy reading about others de-cluttering as well!