I grew up in a home where my mom decorated for every season. It wasn’t an all-out Easter-fest or Christmas explosion, but for each season and holiday there were new items out on display. When Dan and I moved into our first home, I really wanted to recreate that. I loved having holiday decor for the entire year. It made me feel festive!
Until I started to hate it.
I hated storing and keeping up with it. Also, dusting. Who loves to dust? (Hint: it isn’t me!) All these things and decor items I had accumulated (see my stuff addiction) started to make their way out of my home.
Why, for us, it all had to go.
After decluttering our whole home in 2017, I was left with one fall wreath, a Christmas wreath, an artificial tree, and three tubs of Christmas decorations that was overflowing. After our son was born in 2018, I knew I didn’t need my fall wreath anymore – it became a hassle to store! The Christmas wreath went for the same reason.
Christmas crept up on us in 2018. As always, I was thrilled to decorate the day after Thanksgiving! I opened my over flowing boxes of festive, Christmas decor. Immediately I knew none of the store-bought, clearance sale, holiday items sparked joy in my heart.
All of that store-bought stuff just wasn’t right. To make Christmas special, the way my parents did, I needed a tradition. My tree was now decorated with only handmade ornaments or ornaments purchased on vacations. We ditched the tree skirt in favor of a red quilt sewn by my great-aunt. And see ya later tree topper! We didn’t need it anyways. Extra lights for the tree? We bought a pre-lit one for a reason.
How to feel joy with decorating for the holidays again.
If you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you came here because you’ve had enough of the nonsense of a consumer-driven, hyper-commercialized Christmas… and literally every other holiday. Think about why you really celebrate Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July, etc. It isn’t just to give gifts and spend more money than you should.
Re-evaluate why you celebrate a holiday
Before you go crazy shopping for that perfect gift or a perfect centerpiece for you dinner tablescape, think about the true reason you’re doing this.
Is it to celebrate the religious meaning behind a holiday? To spend quality time with loved ones? Or are you buying things because the master marketers in commercials tell you to?
Decorate from what you have
After you know the true reason behind why you celebrate a holiday, remember what you already have.
Pull out all of your decor for the holiday or season. Yes, ALL of it! Un-box your holiday decor. Further group the items with other items that are similar. You might realize you have duplicates!
Once everything is un-boxed and categorized, begin to decorate from what you have. If you get into decorating and find a place where you are lacking an item (like a stocking hook for your mantle) put it on your 72 hour list and move on. You can purchase it later.
Deciding what to discard
When you’ve finished decorating your home, look at what you didn’t use. Why didn’t you use those items? Before you discard all of the unused holiday decor (or pack it all back up), ask yourself these questions:
- Has my style changed since I purchased this item?
- Is the item outdated beyond what I consider “stylish” and will use?
- Did the item break in storage?
- Did I purchase this item just because it was too good of a deal to pass up?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you should discard the item. Try selling it on a marketplace or donating it to a charity shop.
Perhaps you answered “no” to some of those questions. Continue to ask yourself:
- Does this spark joy in my heart?
- Did someone close to me craft this item by hand?
- Did someone close to me gift this item to me?
When an item creates that warm fuzzy feeling (or as Marie Kondo puts it “sparks joy”), you should keep that item. But why did you choose not to display it?
If you want to hold onto an item because it does give you that feeling of joy, try to display it. This way it can provide you with joy all season long. Whether you pass by it every day or only see when you open your front door, it will give you that feeling over and over again.
If you have a large amount of items that you did not use to decorate but still would like to keep, look at what you’ve decorated with. Does all of that bring you joy and happiness? Swap things out and then discard the remaining, unwanted items.
Purchasing new items
When you go to purchase new items for your home (from your 72 hour list hopefully), look for:
Can you live with the item of consideration for years to come? Or are you just purchasing for the thrill of it and because it’s inexpensive.
Try shopping at local craft fairs. Most happen in the early spring and late fall. You can find them by doing a quick Google search or going on Facebook to look for events.
I minimized my holiday decor down to one-third of what it was.
In my post-decluttering mess, I snapped pictures of the items leftover that were to be discarded. I listed them on Facebook for a fair price. It all sold within the same day.
I felt so free. No more overflowing tubs. No more dreading New Year’s Day when all that stuff was to be packed away. All that is left is half of a tub of handmade decorations and the fake tree.
Letting go of all of that commercialized Christmas nonsense was the best decluttering win I had experienced in a long time.
Bonus: my son’s first Christmas was stress-free.