I have started to trade in my pumpkin spice for a tiny bit of gingerbread. Emily’s bedroom and bathroom are fully decorated for Christmas. She always gets her decorations up first. That girl LOVES Christmas. I have one of my trees up and all of the rest of my fa la la la will follow within the next three days. I am super excited. Most of the presents have been bought, but I have not wrapped anything yet. I will start on that this week, too. As I drive around town, I am starting to see others getting in the festive spirit as well. As someone who decorates anything that will stand still long enough for me to wrap some ribbon around it, I feel that I have enough experience to offer some friendly advice on holiday decorating. My children feel that my friendly advice is really more like unsolicited bossing, but I beg to differ. I have learned so much from working with many different holiday decorative art forms: lights, garland, wreaths, bows, ribbon, Santas, etc. It would be selfish to keep such wisdom to myself.
First, let’s decorate for one season at a time, please. If you are still enjoying your fall decor, by all means keep it up. Hold onto those orange pumpkins until they are ooey gooey puddles of pulp. Let those jack o’ lanterns cave into themselves and turn black and melt right into the straw bales upon which they are sitting. Mums can be kept in pots long after they have been frozen by frost and turned brittle and crumbly. It’s all good. Keep any and all of this out in your yard for as long as you like. BUT, if and when you think you might want to decorate for Christmas, you need to take ALL of the fall away. No mixing and matching of fall and Christmas. No inflatable Santa next to a moldy pumpkin. No scarecrow next to the baby Jesus. No candy canes stuck in the pot with the dead mum. You can’t string Christmas lights on your straw bales. I’m sorry, but that is a hard and fast rule.
Next, think about perspective when it comes to size. If you have some sort of reindeer (metal, inflatable, wooden, etc.) in your yard, use them as a guide for sizing. Reindeer are generally larger than penguins, for example. If you choose to have both reindeer and penguins in your yard, because you are just festive that way, the reindeer should be much larger than the penguins. You should not have 8-foot tall penguins and 3-foot tall reindeer. It is visually confusing. And a little frightening.
Another thing to keep in mind is measuring. Even just simple calculations can save you from some real decorating nightmares. For example, if you know that your house is 100 feet long and you only have 80 feet of lights, do NOT start to hang lights on your gutters. You will not make it to the end of your house. We will notice that you did not make it to the end of your house. Even when it’s dark. We will notice.
Trees grow very tall. That is one of the things that makes them so beautiful. It would also make it very difficult to put Christmas lights on them. If you have a very tall tree in your yard, no one expects you to be able to string Christmas lights on it. You would need special machinery to do that correctly. It’s best to just leave it alone. Do not feel obligated to wrap a few strings of lights around the very bottom of the tree, where you can actually reach. You don’t need to hang Christmas balls on the low hanging branches, either. No candy canes. No garland. Maybe just stick to the little trees and bushes, where you can reach the top.
My last tiny bit of advice has to be less is often more. Cars should not almost wreck when they drive by your house because the drivers are goose necking, trying to take it all in. Whatever you put up, has to come down. I mean that, too. Take it down. You have until mid-January.
All joking aside, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Take time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.