Sunday, October 30, 2011

Holiday Madness

Well, it appears the holiday madness has started if the shopping frenzy I witnessed on Saturday is any indication.  I went for a little journey to my favourite craft shop and people were definitely in a mood to be purchasing items.  With all the holiday decorations out on the shelves and displayed temptingly thoughout the shop, it would have been easy to fall victim to the insanity and buy items which I doubt would ever be useful or decorative in my flat.  It is sad that some people go to all the trouble to decorate their homes with all the latest pieces and fall victim to the colours dictated by all the chic interior decorators.  Whatever happened to showing a little creativeness and decorating your home to suit the colours you favour along with the type of pieces that suit your particular and individual type of decorating?

I have not got a clue how I will decorate this year.  Other than a wreath on the door and a few little decorations sprinkled about the flat, I really do not allow myself to buy into the premise that if I were to decorate every room, deck the halls with festive boughs and have a miniature Dickensian village winding its way around a holiday tree, that the holidays would be all the better for my efforts.  I am not one to get too wound up over the holiday season.  It is a nice time of year to visit with friends who may have landed in the vicinity to visit other family and friends.  Of course, I will bake a number of goodies and have little gifts for guests who are expected to drop by.  But, I cannot and will not be held hostage by a season in which one can easily spend much more than they budget and still be paying off the debt come the next holiday season.

Maybe I am sounding a little dour and not trying to play nicely with the holiday crowd.  But, when people get so wrapped up in their shopping that they are grabbing things wildly off of the shelves and not really thinking about their purchases, I have to wonder about them.  Are they buying gifts that will really appeal to the recipient or are they purchasing gifts that they think will make them appear to be in the know of what the hits of the season are this year?  Far better to take a little time to think about the person for whom the gift is intended and maybe make all or part of the gift.  Purchase a pretty container and fill it with homemade cookies, candy or whatever.  Maybe a pretty glass jar filled with scented pinecones with a festive bow tied around the base might be just the ticket.  I am just saying that sitting down with pen and paper in hand and making a list of ideas along with a plan of action as to how to proceed this year might save a lot of time, money and prevent the inevitable mental letdown.  You know, the one where you feel that you cannot do anything right, least of all, pick out a gift that the intended recipient will enjoy.

Back in the craft store, people were loading up with all sorts of tree trim, figurines, chargers, strings of lights and filling their carts with candles, bolts of ribbon, and premade artificial holiday arrangements that were marked to half price when we have not even reached the first of December.  What does this tell you about the pricing?  Maybe I am a tad cynical since I once worked in the floral industry.  But, if a store can afford to mark down items this early in the season, then perhaps the items were massively overpriced to start with and even at half price, still command a hefty investment.  Premade bows are displayed in all their splendour with a rainbow of colours, patterns and designs parading down the length of the bolt.  But, again, the cost of having a designer make these ribbons had my heart rate racing.  Four of these lovely bows would feed a small family for a week.  Seriously, it is time that we stepped away from the displays, put our credit cards back into our wallet and walked out of the store, went for a coffee and gave serious consideration to how we tart up our homes to show our holiday spirit.

My vote is that we all look at the decorations that we have collected over the years.  Some of them are truly past their prime and need to hit the dust bin pronto.  Other decorations could be spruced up with a few less expensive additions and some reasonably priced ribbon.  Another thought might be to have a holiday swap  and get all your friends together along with their used but still attractive decorations.  Maybe if everyone traded off their old and brought home some gently used decorations, everyone would be happy and feel good about decorating hearth and home.  I would love to hear what you have to say about this idea and what you think about the holiday madness in general.  Do you fall prey to all the insanity or are you able to remain clear headed and stay on target budget wise?  I suspect that this is all a matter of priority.  Many would rather die than use the same decorations year after year and feel that if they did not follow the colour trends, that they would end up being on the worst decorated home list.

I enjoy seeing certain decorations year after year.  They remind me of holidays past and bring a sort of tradition to the day spent putting out a few much loved treasures.  I do like to see a different wreath up on my door each year and since I am able to put one together myself, the cost is minor.  Add to the fact that someone generally buys my used wreaths, I do not feel too badly about this little indulgence.  A wreath on the front door or in my case on the door of my flat, welcomes people to the home and says a lot about the person who placed the wreath on the door.  You can easily spot the homes that bring in a decorator to put up the decorations and follow a dictated theme each year.  When you come to visit me, you will see what intrigues me this year and how I incorporated these ideas into my way of decorating.  I do enjoy decorating, but I just do not feel the need to go overboard and have my entire flat become a Winter Wonderland with flashing lights, moving figures and holiday music played nonstop from mid November until the dawn of the New Year.

There now, I have had my little rant and I feel much better for it.  Just to show that I am not a total heathen to the decorating gods, I have put up a little Hallowe'en decoration and incorporated it into my autumn wreath.  We do not celebrate Hallowe'en, but some of the neighbours, myself included, like to take part and see who puts up an innovative display.  One door down the corridor sports a wicked witch in black with the body made out of straw strands and hangs low enough that Molly Cat on one of her sojourns into the corridor, runs past and tries to grab a piece to bring back home.  I must admit that I do chuckle at this, but get Molly home sans any little souvenirs.  I did not spend much on my little decoration, but it suits the purpose and since it will be taken down on the first of November, there really was not any reason to be outrageous and have a towering Frankenstein hovering outside my door.  I mention this because someone I once worked with got into the office early one year and when I turned on the lights as I entered the room, the over sized Frankenstein was hovering over my desk area and I have to admit I was quite taken aghast and uttered a few unladylike words which no doubt made their way back to the culprit who arranged this little vignette.  Consequently, I do suggest to keep in mind whether or not your display is age appropriate or the type which might necessitate the use of an AED to jumpstart one's heart.

Artistically, I am working on holiday cards, some wreaths for friends, along with a few other things that friends have asked me to make for them.  Since I am the one at home with some time to spare, I can easily make up little decorations, place marker cards, along with other requests.  I enjoy doing these little things to help out.  But, I also have a stash of canvas that is calling out to me to open it up and get messy.  This will happen, but may have to wait a week or so until I finish off my own holiday cards so that they are ready to send off at the appropriate time.  I have decided on a colour theme, but not the actual scene to be portrayed on the card front.  That will come to me as I look through my treasure trove of rubber stamps and my collection of pretty Japanese papers which I promise to make use of this year.  Well, a little of it.  It is just too pretty to use and yet to keep it in a drawer is pointless, no one gets to enjoy it and that is not why it was made in the first place.

Have an artistic week!  Share with us how you decorated for Hallowe'en if you did and what your plans are for decorating for the upcoming holiday season.  You just might inspire one of us to try something new and get out of a rut or maybe show us that it is possible to decorate and stay on budget.

Sincerely,  Rutheemac 

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