The busier life gets, the more streamlined my home becomes. I have purged, organized and arranged my life and my home to be my minimalist retreat. In order to make the cut and stay, an item must either be something that is useful to me now or something that I love. Not something cute, not something I like, but something I really love that brings me joy every time I look at it.(Thank you Marie Kondo!)
However, I also love decorating for seasons and holidays, and this is a challenge. I've struggled with this over the years, and today I'm going to run through 5 ways I've found to embrace the season without upsetting my minimalist soul.
1) Don't be afraid to adapt the season or holiday to fit in with your personal decor preferences. Autumn doesn't have to bring bright orange pumpkins, and Christmas would still be Christmas without red and green ornaments and lights. Take the symbols of the season and reinterpret them with your choice of colours. For me, this means that the pumpkins in my house are white, black, and a touch of muted turquoise, but you can go with whatever colour fits in your home. I have seen beautiful arrangements of blush and grey pumpkins that look amazing. I do suggest that whatever colour you choose, you temper it with a couple of white pumpkins to soften the look, but go with whatever makes you happy. My Christmas decor is every shade of blue green, from palest aquamarine to deep teal. Whatever colour you choose, repeat it often enough to make an impact.
2) Choose one theme or motif for the season and repeat it. For example, my Hallowe'en decor is all about the witches, and you'll find it on my door wreath, my table and on my mantel. You could go with jack 'o' lanterns, ghosts, black cats etc., but pick one and repeat it. My Christmas decor this year will be all about forest animals....deer and foxes. There are many to choose from...angels, stars, snowflakes....pick one and run with it. The other option for unifying seasonal decor is to carry through one dominant colour (see 1). So you could decorate with black cats, black witches, black candles etc.
3) Spread the decorations throughout your house instead of massing them together as large displays. So rather than having a mantel/fireplace completely covered with decor, place a few beautiful items there and then scatter touches of the season throughout your house. A beautiful jack 'o' lantern cookie jar on your kitchen counter; a small display of candles and a black cat in your half bath...you get the idea. The eye is never overloaded by the decor, but instead can appreciate each individual element as it is revealed over time.
4) Keep the rest of the decor simple and understated so that the seasonal decor can shine. As an example, if you have a sideboard that is usually covered with family pictures, leave only a few of your favourites, and intersperse some of the seasonal decor with them. This way you can appreciate the seasonal pieces without making the overall effect cluttered and overwhelming.
5) Don't decorate too early for each season. I know this might upset a few people, but give each season its' special place in the year. Don't start decorating for autumn in July, Thanksgiving in August, Hallowe'en in September, and Christmas in October. You, as well as your family and guests, will tire of it before the season even arrives.
I decorate for autumn at the end of August, Thanksgiving a week before the holiday, Hallowe'en October 1st, and Christmas on December 1st.
6) Oops...consider this a bonus! We are dealing with multiple seasons and holidays, so start with a base and layer on top of it. For instance, the autumn season stretches from September through November, and there are two holidays in there. So decorate for fall with whatever theme/colour you choose, then for Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving pull out some of the autumn decor and replace with holiday decor.
For me, this means displaying black and white pumpkins for fall, then for Thanksgiving I will replace a couple of the pumpkins with Blessed or Thankful signs, or I will spin my white pumpkins around to show the other side where last year I used Chalk Couture to add words to them. (See video here.) For Hallowe'en I will replace some of the regular pumpkins with jack 'o' lanterns.
When the holiday is over, I will replace these items with the regular autumn decor pieces. For winter, I will decorate with my woodland animals and then add in some Christmas signs. The unifying element will be colour. After Christmas I will remove anything that screams Christmas and replace it with winter themed items.
This prevents you from having to completely redecorate every time a holiday rolls around.