Thursday, December 04, 2008

Decorating to Scale

Several years ago, we bit the bullet and got an eight-foot live Christmas tree. It took up a fairly large corner of our living room, but it was majestic, with all the lights and ornaments. Everyone who came over commented on it. I was pleased with it for about a week, but as Christmas grew near, I found myself wishing we could speed through the holidays and just get them over with.

We took the tree down right after New Year’s, and I sighed with relief when that tree was dragged outside. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. Wasn’t Christmas the most joyous season of all? Why was I so anxious to see the end of it?

I finally realized that the tree had been too large for our space. The whole time it was in the house, I felt encroached upon, a little claustrophobic, and like I was being crowded out of my own home. Sure, it was a lovely tree, but it was demanding attention because of its size, rather than commanding it because of its beauty.

The following year, I was able to pick up a five-foot artificial tree at Walmart for $10.00. Yes, I was very pleased with myself. We’ve used that tree every year since, and I love it. It’s simple to put together, it’s easy to store, I got a screaming deal on it, and it’s appropriate for the size of our space. Now that we live in a trailer, I’m even more grateful for it, as it complements the space we have rather than taking it over like some alien thing from another dimension.

As we decorate our homes, not only for the Christmas holiday but the others throughout the year, we should keep in mind that decorations are meant to enhance the space we have, not crowd us out or take over the house. If you’ve only got a fifteen square foot living room, and you get a tree that takes up an entire corner, the tree becomes the boss as you must step around it and essentially play host to it for the entire duration of the season. On the other hand, if you have a large living room or an alcove that will take a big tree, you can have your ten-foot wonder and live happily with it, as you’re not having to make way for it every time you pass through the room.

The same goes for other areas in your home. If you want to put garlands on your banister, but the rail in question is very thin, you might consider a thin garland. If you want to hang lights on your windows, but you only have small windows, use small lights. Whatever your goal in decorating this holiday season, keep in mind the space you have and the amount of energy you have to invest. Otherwise, decorations can become a burden rather than the joy they were designed to be.

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Julie said...

That is a great point. I found myself only putting up the tree and nativity set this year, and avoiding putting up all of the other extras that I have collected over the years. I think that your observation is exactly the reason why I made that choice!

Kara said...

So glad to know we are not the only ones who opt for the smaller, more comfortable sized tree. We have 4 ft and 8 ft artificial trees. Our oldest wanted to put up the 8 ft tree so bad this year. There simply is not room for it in our home. The base is at least 5 ft across. So, we told her maybe next year. The 4 ft tree is up (we set it on top of a box covered with a tree skirt so it's about 5 ft tall) and we are loving it.

Nichole Giles said...

I bet your tree looks so pretty in your living room. It's always so exciting to get the decorations up, however small or large. And you're right, if your decorations take away from your comfort, they're too much for your space. I'm glad you've found something that works for your home and still makes you feel happy to have it up.


Kim Thompson said...

Great advice, Tristi! It makes me not feel so bad about leaving behind half of the Christmas decorations when I moved.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Tristi, you always get the most incredible deals. Man. If only I were brave enough to join the throngs of shoppers after Christmas . . . :)

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