Wednesday, October 12, 2016


One of the biggest challenges of downsizing to our condo has involved holiday decorating.  Now, the husband and I have always been at odds when it comes to turning our home into The Museum of Seasonal Tchotkes, but that never stopped me in the past. Besides, our former house was large enough that it could handle the several boxes of ceramic figurines, plastic flora, and wooden fauna that represented every important milestone of each year. I decorated for Autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Winter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Spring, Summer, and the 4th of July. (August was the middle child of months - ignored.) Alas, with almost zero storage and barely enough solid surfaces (unless you count the tops of toilet tanks,) those glory days of turning my home into a three-D version of an elementary school bulletin board are gone. But, that doesn't stop me from remembering the glory days.

A few well-placed pieces can get the entire household in the spirit!
I can pinpoint the exact  moment my obsession with seasonal themes took hold. Pier 1 Imports - 2:14 p.m. - September 3, 1992. Up to that moment, my idea of decorating for a holiday was a tree, a wreath, and a few plastic poinsettias at Christmas. Halloween? A pumpkin on the stoop. Then, I spied them - leaf-shaped cloth placemats each in a different autumnal color!
I mean, come on!!
At that time, I had a toddler and a new home, which meant limited funds and even more limited time. But, how easy and inexpensive would it be just to change out the placemats a few times a year? Snowman-shaped for winter, embroidered flowers for spring, and margarita imprints for summer! Plus, placemats were toddler and dog-proof, so it was a sound investment.
"You say that with a straight face?"
Little did I know that placemats are the gateway drug to SDOD (Seasonal Decorating Obsession Disorder.) Once I got the new table-top features home, I realized nothing else matched! One shopping trip later, I had leaf-themed seat cushions for the kitchen chairs, a bowl full of gourds as centerpiece for the table, throw pillows etched with the lyrics to "Tis A Joy To Be Simple," and real pumpkins in every corner of the house (until they attracted fruit flies and were replaced by cheap plastic ones from Michael's.) If I had my way, I would have turned the interior of my home into a miniature Connecticut town, complete with a wooden bridge strewn with autumn leaves in the front hall and a pumpkin stand where one could purchase cups of hot apple cider in the corner of the kitchen. Alas, I did not get my way as SOMEONE in our household didn't approve of the installation of a fully-functioning indoor stream and the rental of a miniature pony to pull a tiny wagon filled with candy corn and popcorn balls over the bridge. Humbug!

SOMEONE'S idea of sufficient Halloween decor.
At any rate, through the years (24 to be exact) I did manage to accumulate enough decorations that I needed my very own storage area. Once I had a complete section of the basement designated for my stuff, I felt compelled to organize it. By organize I mean color-coding, labeling, having typed lists of contents to go in each bin and photographic evidence of where said contents were to be placed throughout the home. Soon, the universe heard my plea and plastic storage boxes were created with colors that matched each season!!! Orange and black for fall/Halloween, red and green for Christmas, pastels for Spring, and ocean-blue for summer. Also, coffin-shaped boxes for the tangled mess that was my outdoor Christmas lights. It was all so DIVINE!

"Oh, honey. I wouldn't go THAT far!"
Then, we downsized. I now have exactly one shelf in the garage to hold my seasonal knick-knacks. The whole thing has thrown me off my game! I have things tossed in any old box (some of which are..dare I say...CARDBOARD!!)  I'm ashamed to admit I haven't even so much as switched out my hand-soap scent to match the month. My hands are still reeking of lilac IN OCTOBER! Look. Normally, around this time of year, I've got ears of corn and bales of straw transporting all sorts of insects into my home while creating ambiance. This year? I've got this:
They aren't even orange. 
I have learned from this experience, though. Life goes on, my friends. With or without gigantic blow-up pumpkins on the front lawn. Sometimes, less is more, and the more you accept less, the less you'll need more. 

At any rate, enjoy the upcoming decorating season, my fellow divas and divos. Though I'll miss my turkey-shaped topiary and life-sized caroling pilgrim statues, I think I will be just fine. Besides, I've got a whole bag of chocolate to eat  myself  pass out to the kiddies very soon!


  1. A fascinating look onto seasonal decorating. I am, and I am ashamed to admit, decorating impaired. I read Martha Stewart Living and look in wonder and awe, at pictures of houses in which coffee cups match and there are no rolling tumbleweeds of golden retriever hair. You have inspired me: no longer will my Christmas look as if the ornament box threw up on it. No longer will I avoid leprecauns, gilded pine cones or the Hallmark store. As God as my witness, I'll never say "crap, did we forget to buy a Christmas tree?" again.

  2. You've got one last chance before the dreaded downsizing begins! Go all out. Put a giant blow-up Santa on your lawn. Drape every piece of artwork in your home with garland. Remember this rule: 100 lights for every foot of tree. And, don't forget to purchase festive hand soaps for your powder room.