‘Tis the season to get overwhelmed with stress and give yourself a migraine and cold sweats just thinking about decorating your house for the holidays!
We all love how our house looks when it is all decorated, but the task itself seems like climbing Mount Everest. We can get ourselves so worked up about how arduous the task appears. I know it feels like the biggest task of my life at times.
How can we change our mindset on this?
Recently, I held a "Holiday Blitz" challenge on Facebook Live, a free 5-day "get ready guide" for the holidays. To those of you who took part, I hope you found it super useful. The printables are available here and the videos are still on Facebook.
During the challenge, I discussed how women have many roles that they play, and how we have different things to do all the time that leave us feeling like we are always working. The holidays are a time where there is a lot of pressure on the female head of the home. She needs to produce great food, decorations, and gift ideas, and be the host for guests, just to name a few.
When it comes to decorating, we tend to put up every decoration we have because everybody loves them, right? Well, yes, but would they even notice if we didn’t use EVERY decoration? Well, most likely, they wouldn't!
Where to start?
It was around 10 years ago that decorating my house took on this momentous feeling. I used to love it, but so many things led to a change for me.
I've tried various approaches over the years to get back into the swing and take joy from festive decorating, and the approach that has worked best is a giant purge. We all have that box of decorations sitting in the basement that we no longer use.
You collect all these decorations and wish you had a space, but really they are just guilt in boxes and it is okay to get rid of them. Yes, go ahead and donate them. You will not need them in the future. And you will not miss them either!
That doesn’t mean you can't ever add new things, just as long as they make sense to you. We bought a Christmas tree (ours have to be fake as I am allergic to real trees) around 10 years ago and, at the time, I loved it. Then Christmas tree technology really moved on and I got pre-lit tree envy, but for years couldn’t justify the cost. This year though – I bought it! Or rather, them. I got a few… but they were a great addition for us, as I’ll explain shortly.
This year, I decorated my entire house in 3-1/2 hours and I’m going to share my secrets with you. I break it down into 4 steps.
I always decorate on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The kids are on holiday and I’m off work, but my husband isn’t. So he gets the gift of leaving the house looking normal and returning to it fully decorated. This year, it fell perfectly that our housecleaner was coming that same day, too.
Block out time
I started optimistically by blocking out the whole day, but life happened and I couldn’t get started until 12:30 pm, rather than 10 am as I had originally planned. I already knew I had to be done by 6:30 pm. We had family coming in from out of state, and it was likely that my husband would finish work early. I was a little stressed at losing a couple of hours in the morning, but knew that I had to get it all squeezed in somehow.
Start with the hardest part
For me, the hardest part was always setting up the old tree. So I started with the smallest of the new trees. It took me no time! I was amazed. Then, I moved onto the bigger tree and assumed that would be simple, too. I shifted the furniture around and "ta-da," in 20 minutes I was done and had a beautiful big tree. Getting the new tree(s) saved me so much time and so much stress. It will alleviate so much worry for me next year.
Keep going until you’re done
At 2-1/2 hours into it, and with the Fall decorations down, nativity scenes set up, wreaths hanging, and baby Jesus in his wooden manger, I was done. But I wasn’t done. Those tree ornaments weren’t going to hang themselves! I made excuses. I even hid the ornaments on the other side of the room. I so desperately wanted it to be over already.
But I didn’t quit. Our ornaments are separated into boxes by which tree they go on. I put the living room tree ornaments on and it was so fast and easy. By this point, I realized I had been so close to giving up and had been moaning about something so simple. I looked at what I had left and made a plan. I changed some things up and put things in new locations. Yes, I gave myself permission to change my own rule! We get so locked into tradition sometimes that we lose the sense of things.
By the end, I was exhausted. So I had a coffee and took a nap in the time that I had to spare. My husband was thrilled when he got home and I was so pleased with myself that I actually got it done.
You are in control. You can ask family which are their favorite decorations (do this before you put anything up so you know they actually remember it) and you can take away the pressure of having to put up all the other things that they don’t mention and won’t notice aren’t there anyway. Ease the pressure on yourself where you can and bring back the joy of holiday decorating.