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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Layer . . . The Key to Transitioning Your Seasonal Home

Over time, there's a secret I've discovered that invites our home into a smoother transition from the first whiffs of autumn through Thanksgiving, right into Christmastide and then beyond, embracing a gentle, cozy comfort through the endless winter's long, dark months.

The secret password is ... layer

Back in the day, I used to decorate for fall and Thanksgiving - orange pumpkins, an apple themed table runner, fun little gourds, rusty colored tchotchkes, apple scented candles, stuff like that.

And then abruptly, barely before Tom Turkey's bones had been turned into a huge vat of soup, we were packing up all things autumnal and dragging out scads of Christmas stuff that had slowly but surely accumulated over the years.

Window lights, tree lights, the actual tree itself {sometimes two}, a grand wreath at the door, at least one manger scene, a million and a half assorted ornaments, an advent calendar, and endless boxes of family memorabilia and vintage decor and all things pine-scented.

It was all so exhausting.  

Frustrating, too, because we had just begun to settle into the decor that had made its grand arrival only a month or so before.  It was kind of sad to say such a quick and abrupt good-bye.

Layer.

This year, I abandoned orange.  Goodbye.  Sorry, but you were never my favorite color to begin with.




It didn't take long to find the big blue pumpkins I craved, one for the brick steps to the front door and a sister pumpkin to hold court by the kitchen door where all the action is.

And instead of looking for some kind of autumn-y wreaths for the doors, I began my hunt for wreaths made up of twigs and big ol' fake red berries.  And wonder of wonders, after a bit of patient searching, I found them primed and calling my name at a local shop.  I couldn't get them on the doors fast enough.


 

Blue pumpkins, red wreaths, blue doors.  A perfect marriage.

Fast forward to mid-November.  The red berry wreaths will stay where they belong, where they are loved and admired, right through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and into the long winter that defines life here in this neck of the woods.  In other words, 'til next spring.

The blue pumpkins will remain 'til they die a natural death sitting out in the damp, freezing chill that's been descending.

Candlelight appeared on our sills in mid-October and will illuminate the house well into February.  It's far too dark around here for too long and their pretty nightly glow is oh-so-necessary.




Meanwhile, I found this adorable wall hanging for all of $14.95 at TJ Maxx this week.  I couldn't grab the last one too quickly.  I'm in love with these very fun bunnies navigating a snowy scene as they travel around their Christmas tree farm.  It's replaced my 1984 cross-stitch sampler ... and will probably stay on the wall well into January.

I love it that much.

And this picture helps me think nice thoughts of rabbits after they demolished my beautiful rosebush, my fledgling maple sapling, and several rounds of sunflowers this past summer.

'Nuff said about rabbits.




And there's a faux pine wreath attached to an old window frame already perched on the mantle because I love it even if it is only November.  And if you look closely, there's an elderly faux pumpkin nestled in its boughs.  I think she'll probably magically disappear right after Thanksgiving while the wreath will refuse to budge well into late January.




Yes, the apple-scented Yankee Candle is still going strong.  But sometime in the next few weeks, she'll burn herself out and be quietly replaced by the pine candles that are patiently waiting their turn on the mantle even as we speak.




And after the Thanksgiving crowd comes and goes, a Christmas tree will make her glorious presence known.  I think my Grandma's fragile ornaments might make an appearance this year since the gang will be elsewhere.  I'm guessing that even after the ornaments come down, the tree will remain well into late January, bare naked except for the twinkling lights that will refuse to take their leave, allowing the darkened house to bask in their sparkly glow, lighting the shadows every evening.

There's an easy flow going on here and oddly enough, the gradual layers that come and go do nothing but lead to that slower lifestyle that so easy eludes me this time of year.

For the decor seems to morph in its own gentle rhythm from one season into the next. 

I couldn't be happier with the layer upon layer that defines our home.  Not just what fills the rooms.  But for the roots that are growing deep, the memories that are beginning to take shape, and the life changes that have emerged after half a decade in our little house tucked between the ever-changing bay and the deep blue sea.

The exhausting decorating marathons are gone.

Instead, a peaceful kind of gratitude holds center stage.
Linda

P.S.  
I'd love to hear about your holiday home and your decorating hints and your sanity savers ...

P.S. #2
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P.S. #3
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46 comments:

  1. Why not have edible decorations throughout the seasons? Instead of having to take them down and save them for another year we just eat them and put up new seasonal ones. Pumpkins for Halloween hanging everywhere. Replaced with turkey legs hanging off the ceiling and chandeliers for Thanksgiving. Then Christmas puddings and mince pies.

    If it is not edible it is not worth having. Or decorating.

    God bless.

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    1. Turkey legs hanging off the ceiling and chandeliers!

      What a hysterical vision, Victor!

      ;-}

      Edibles win, hands down, every time, don't they. Truly.

      Delete
  2. It all looks so cozy! Right now, I love changing the decorations for fall and then Christmas--and by January, I'm ready for my everyday things again.

    Someday, though, I will probably want and need to simplify more, like when my youngest moves out (my right-hand man). I will keep these ideas in mind! I like things that can adapt to different seasons. Love that bunny picture!

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    1. Barbara, yes! The older I get the more I prize people and situations and possessions that are flexible.

      Maybe that's one if the many reasons blogging's such a good fit!

      Delete
  3. You are such a talented decorator, Linda! I barely manage to set out a few Christmas decorations each year. We are traveling for Thanksgiving this year, so that gives me a good excuse not to decorate!

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    1. I love a good excuse, Laurie!

      ;-)

      Bon voyage ... I'm guessing there might be a terrific race involved? Have a wonderful journey!

      Delete
  4. Jo doesn't decorate much for Thanksgiving. None for Halloween. But Christmas? The house is transformed. She has already had me bring the tree down from the attic and it will make its appearance on Thanksgiving Day. I have a small village I put up and while we don't do window lights, the inner sanctum :) is transformed. I like your idea of layering though. Sure has to take the tired out of the holidays.

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    1. Yay to you and Jo for making the tree debut part of your Thanksgiving day, Bill! I just love that idea ... and those villages are so fabulous with all their details, lights, and colors.

      And I'm with you about taking the tired out of holidays. Preach it, brother!

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  5. I'm right there with you, Linda! I've scaled back quite a bit on my decorating, though I still love to put special things out as the seasons change. And with my recent surgery, I may not change out the autumn decor for Christmas this year, though I'd surely love to! But sometimes it's about slowing and taking in the season rather than scurrying to buy and decorate for the season! Love your challenge for simplicity in all things, my friend! Also love that TJ Maxx painting you nabbed! How cute is that? Oh and one more thing, is that turquoise door your front door? If so, I have one too! We are two peas in a blue pod! Lol!

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    1. Thanks for spending a bit of your recovery time with me here, friend. You said this and I love it -->' sometimes it's about slowing and taking in the season rather than scurrying to buy and decorate for the season!'

      It seems like more of us are craving slow ... and I don't think it's an aging thing. We're yearning for calm and gentle, life-restoring rhythms. Yes, please.

      And yes, the doors around here are painted turquoise and it was just the pop of color this gray house yearned for!

      May your recovery be a lovely time of reflection and hope, dear Beth ...

      Delete
  6. You can decorate anywhere...

    Hanging from bright paper chains,
    gay-coloured magazines
    striped red and white like candy canes;
    they fit our M-16s.
    There's delay on foo gas cans
    for a recorded "Ho, ho, ho!"
    to raise a smile from Santa fans
    right before they blow.
    The mail we most appreciate
    contains peanuts and jam,
    both of which go (deleted) great
    with (deleted) and ham.
    The holidays just ain't the same
    at the Southeast Asian Games.

    Some explanations...

    Foo gas is an improvised mine consisting (typically, in Viet Mam) of a fuel drum buried in the ground, containing an explosive charge at its base and filled with diesel fuel. These were usually used to protect firebase perimeters.

    The first (deleted) is an all-purpose seven-letter adverb, and the second one's even worse, standing in for 'lima beans'.

    If you really want to know, look up what the c-ration meal of lima beans and ham was really called in Viet Nam.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. What I'm hearing you saying Andrew, is that yes, we can decorate anytime, anyplace. Thank you for the sad reminder that all is not calm, all is not bright in many places around the globe. And that hard memories linger long after traumatic events are long gone.

      Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

      Delete
  7. I love your ideas and totally agree!!! We have scaled WAY back on our decorating and keep it very simple, yet heartwarming and cozy. The wreath I show in the picture on my latest post is one that I am leaving up year round. All I need to do is change the flowers and flip down the fall scene over the "simply blessed" sign, and it will turn into a Christmas scene! We decorate with primitives in our home, and it lays a perfect foundation for decorating for all four seasons. Berries are a huge plus and lots of stars, too - I love it all! God is so good. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. PRIMITIVES!

      Oh, my absolute favorites, Cheryl! If I could wave a magic wand, I'd replace my old oak with chippy pine cupboards and tables and goodies from a former time when people made-do and were thankful for whatever pieces they could pull together.

      I'd love to see your holiday home ...

      * smile *

      Delete
  8. What a smart way to go, Linda! Now you've given me some inspiration as to how I want to approach decorating in the future here at the Orlando Compound. :) As I think I've mentioned here before, we already keep Christmas to a pleasant hum, but it would be nice to have some flexible fall "ornaments" in the future.
    Blessings!

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    1. 'A pleasant hum' with some flexible ornaments at the ready.

      That's sweet music to my ears, friend ...

      Delete
  9. Our decorations have become quite simple due to space constraints and as we get older, Linda. Your thoughts of keeping the tree out longer reminds me of something we've done here at our condos. We have a large Commons Area for any of us to use, so we usually set up a big tree there. After the New Year we used to change the ornaments to big red heart ornaments for Valentine's Day. I LOVE that rabbit pic! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. I love the idea of keeping a tree up as long as possible. Yes, please to hearts surrounded by twinkling lights come February!

      Delete
  10. I love your idea of creating a better flow between the holidays instead of abrupt starts and stops. I'll have to think about how I can incorporate this myself... Thanks, Linda!

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    1. 'Instead of abrupt starts and stops.'

      Yep, that works, a reflection on how the seasons gradually fade and re-emerge in different attire. A lovely rhythm, Lisa ...

      Delete
  11. I love this! Decorating doesn't come easily to me, but I do find it brings me joy when I have a few simple things that don't overwhelm me. A fall scented candle (usually something with apple and cinnamon), a simple little pumpkin or gourd, the Christmas banner I hang every year between the living room and kitchen that makes me smile every single time.

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    1. You've got it, Rebecca --> 'a few simple things that don't overwhelm me.'

      Exactly. A scented candle, a little pumpkin, a loved something special that makes its appearance each year.

      Bliss.

      Delete
  12. Linda, how clever you are to layer and only use what you love. I am afraid I am always putting up and taking down in my ever changing seasonal decor! I love pulling out all the stops for Christmas as long as I can!

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    1. You are the queen of stunning table settings, my friend! I am quite inspired by the beauty you set forth on your blog!

      Delete
  13. I have just finished your beautiful and sweet and lovely and peaceful blog of "Layers!" How refreshing and peace-inspiring with all the news reports of problems everywhere.

    {via email}

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    1. Absolutely. I find myself watching less news and turning off the TV much quicker these days and to simply enjoy home.

      I want to live out more of a Philippians 4:8 faith - thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.

      Delete
  14. This is such a peaceful solution to the collision of holidays we're going to experience this year. I'm getting whiplash just thinking about the first Sunday of Advent happening during Thanksgiving weekend. Train wreck!

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    1. Train wreck indeed, Michele! You make me realize that maybe the biggest reason to rethink how we decorate is so that we have the soul space available to fully focus on what matters most.

      And it's not wreaths and trees and stuff, is it ...

      You've pulled me back to what matters most.

      Delete
  15. So loved your post today, gives me ideas and ways to rethink what I've always done.

    {via text}

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    1. Oh that makes me so happy! It was fun to write! I'm so glad you're here, friend ...

      Literally.

      Delete
  16. Hi Linda, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on decorating. I did something similar to this a few years ago and it transformed my seasonal decorating perspective. :-)

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  17. I think you're on the right path. In recent years, my efforts to scale down have been thwarted by my husband. He simply LOVES ALL the Christmas things. It will be interesting this year - new house, new spaces and chance to make things fresh...but....I know a little of what's coming. Thanks for sharing. And I absolutely love that red berry wreath! It would look fantastic on our black door!

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    1. Red on black looks sharp!

      And 'I know a little of what's coming' made me smile big.

      Just think, now that he's home more, he just might want to take care of ALL the decorating, Debby!

      Good luck.

      ;-)

      Delete
  18. Ahhhh, Linda. I like this idea for decorating through the crazy holiday season. I haven't put up much for decorating over the past few Christmases, as we've traveled to visit family far away, and the idea of having to take everything down after coming home exhausted doesn't appeal to me. But, I have some simple Christmas decor I like to put on my one seasonal shelf in our family room. I change it out every few months. So that, and Christmas-scented candles will probably be the bulk of my decor.

    I've never thought about decorating and changing in layers. That sounds so much more relaxing than the way I've been doing it. I'm filing this away in my "Great Ideas" compartment in my brain for another year.

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    1. I agree with you, Jeanne ... sometimes a lovely candle and just a few favorite treasures give us pleasure.

      Absolutely!

      Delete
  19. That bunnie wall hanging is too sweet!! And I love this idea of layering...and allowing my decor to do double (or triple) duty. Why have I overlooked this idea for so long?? I love the fall decor and then Thanksgiving but, I agree, by the time it is the season for Christas decor...I'm tired. And done. Your concept is brilliant!!

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    1. Let's hear it for triple duty decorating, Jennifer! To enjoy what we have even as the seasons gradually change without looking at our watches to see if it's time to change things up yet again.

      Sounds like we're two peas in a pod!

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  20. Linda! You found the perfect wreath. That was like what I am looking for, for the whole fall/winter season. But I couldn't find one. May try again in December. What I did find was a delightful fall wreath at a thrift shop. Loved it. I bought just a few decorations for fall/Thanksgiving, and my table top Thanksgiving tree will morph into a Christmas decoration come December, when I put its leaves in a bowl and hang red ornaments on it instead.

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    1. Betsy, hi! Don't you just love finding unexpected treasures at little thrift shops?!

      And that morphing tree is a super idea, from leaves to ornaments and maybe into springtime?

      Too fun ...

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  21. Sorry about what the rabbits did, Linda! Thanks for the tips you shared here. Many blessings to you!

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    1. Yes, I've forgiven them. But not forgotten.

      * sigh *

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  22. Brilliant! We layer our clothes, so why not our decorating! I don't decorate for Christmas every year, but I love this idea--It took me 7 years to decorate my office for everyday living, so this scheme will make decorating overall a lot easier!

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    1. Oh I love that analogy with clothes, Anita! And you're right, all our decorating activities could become easier / even more fun if we approached them more relaxed and playful.

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  23. I have fallen for this new set of decor (trucks and trees) also. I haven’t found my truest delight yet but I know it is out there. Love that berry wreath too and it pops with turquoise door. I love your decorating style—-always have.

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    1. I always loved checking out your Christmas tree ornaments, Buds ...

      Those were the days.

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