Having recently visited the White House for their annual Christmas party, I couldn't help feeling mesmerized by the holiday decorations. Obviously, the work of an expert designer was at hand. It made me feel good, and at the same time, it gave me the urge to go back home to decorate some more. This year, the trees were decorated in various themes such as books, cards and even Scrabble pieces spelling out words.
I always promise myself to not overdo it with holiday gifts and/or decorations. But somehow, I end up overdoing everything. Decorating for the holidays, no matter what faith or religion you practice, is invigorating and gives one a renewed sense of optimism and excitement for the time spent with friends and family at this time of the year. The sparkles of bright ornaments, the shimmering garland and the twinkling of hundreds of lights are symbolic of our hope and desires of prosperity for the future.
There are different types of approaches to decorating for the holidays. One sure way is the traditional format. Some families will add ornaments each year to make their holidays decorations a work in progress. Each addition may be a souvenir from a faraway destination, a vintage ornament from a relative or an ornament to celebrate a marriage or new birth in the family. In the end, these traditional holiday trees are what I call hodgepodge trees. There is no rhyme or reason to these trees except that in the end, they are a summary of holidays past.
Others choose a particular theme to develop their decorating scheme. One year it might be a tree full of flamingos in pink, and another year it might dip into the ocean with a collection of shell and marine life ornaments such as seahorses, fish, clams and shells. These trees are always a novelty because of the wide variety of themes, ranging from basketball teams to hobbies. Your theme all depends what aspect of your interests you wish to highlight.
Another successful approach to holiday decor is choosing colors to guide the decor. For example, one might use a single color to do all of the lights and ornaments. This is a striking approach and one that is compatible with any style of decor. An all-red tree stands out and delights almost everyone.
Another approach with color is colorblocking. Basically, this pairs opposite colors to make a statement in a design. For example, you could choose red and green, black and white, or yellow and blue lights and ornaments. These trees are great because sticking to your colors is the only rule. You may choose to install all your lights in one color and then all the ornaments and garland in another, or you can mix it all up as a new concoction. Trees are fun, and the more outlandish the idea, the better the turnout.
Decorating for the holidays doesn't mean loading your house up with 100 Santas and reindeers everywhere. Holiday decor is meant to lift the spirits of everyone. It also doesn't mean strictly adhering to religious notions. There is no reason why everyone can't participate in showing off a great sense of style, whether it's a festive menorah celebrating the Festival of Lights or a brightly lit Christmas tree. Make decorating a way to make everyone that visits your home feel the verve of the season ... So make it glisten, and make it bright.
Joseph Pubillones' column, "The Art of Design," can be found on Creators.com.