Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Holiday Decorations: Discovering My Style

Let's talk about holiday decorations. Specifically Halloween decorations.

Okay, theoretically, I am 100% on board with holiday decorations. I'm all about anything that makes holidays more fun and magical for the kids, and decorations do a lot toward building ambiance and anticipation and all that.

But when it comes to actually paying money for decorations? I start to get all Scroogey and stingy, because holy cow this stuff gets expensive fast! And most of it is super kitschy or horrendous anyway (at least, the cheaper stuff is). And then there's that whole thing about these decorations only being used for a few weeks of the year, a month at most, and then they have to be stored for the rest of the year. The Marie-Kondo side of me (or the fact that we live in a rather small two bedroom apartment) simply abhors the thought of storing decorations.

The exception is Christmas. We have and store a decent and growing set of Christmas decorations because, well, because it's Christmas. I am thoroughly invested in growing my nativity collection, and we have tons of ornaments and sentimental keepsakes things that I am more than happy to store all year because Christmas is Christmas.

But every other holiday? Yeah, I basically have nothing, and then I feel a little bit guilty every year when these holidays roll around because it's like I'm being lame and grumpy and failing my children or something. But then when I go to the store with the express purpose of picking up some decorations, I just get depressed at the money being asked for such trivial and stupid things and buy nothing.

Halloween decorations are the worst for me. You guys, I just can't do them. I can't do the tombstones or the fake witches flying into windows or the skeletons or whatever. I'm fine when I see these types of decorations in other people's homes, and I know my kids would love them, but I just can't bring myself to pay money for such stupid stuff (no offense meant if you have these type of decorations, I fully recognize this is a personal taste issue).

In years past I've just gone the general "fall season" decorating route with a friendly scarecrow and a few pumpkins that can last from September through Thanksgiving (but let's be honest, last year I was in school, and the year before that I had a newborn, so I can't actually remember the last time I put decorations up in September or October).

But then, a few weeks ago, I caught sight of this picture over on Pinterest (apparently I pinned it sometime?) and suddenly I had a vision. I had an idea for a few simple, easy, cheap, and most importantly NOT kitschy looking Halloween decorations that I could pull off for nothing more than the cost of a few white pumpkins and an hour or two of my time. So here's what I came up with this year:

I can't do blood and gore or even cutesy when it comes to Halloween decorations, but remember how much I dig black and white? I can do black and white. That, to me, feels infinitely more classy. This was also incredibly easy (cut out a dozen or so bats from card stock, tack them up, scrawl Happy Halloween on the chalkboard, done!), and the boys loved it. Bats are pretty cool with the four and under crowd, apparently.

Halloween Decor, Black and White Pumpkins, Bookshelf Holiday Decor

I don't happen to have a fireplace mantel, so I have to make do with just decorating the bookshelves in my living room. I grabbed a couple white pumpkins, then used black permanent marker to fill in stripes and polka-dots. Add just a touch of cobweb and, voila! Simple but fun. My husband thinks it looks a bit Tim Burton-esque (I suppose he has a point), but I like it. I was going to do a chalkboard triangle banner too, but I haven't gotten around to making that yet.

So, maybe these pictures don't look like much (guys, this is me we're talking about, I have not turned our space into a full-on haunted house), but here's what I discovered I want and need from my non-Christmas holiday decorations:

1. Classy look that fits easily with the decor already in my home.
2. Cheap.
3. Simple.
4. Real and seasonal. By this, I mean I like using things like real pumpkins or foliage or whatever natural stuff that is super festive but gets thrown out at the end of the season (this may not be the most cost effective way to do decor, but in season this stuff is usually cheap and/or free, and real is always better than fake).
5. No storage/low storage. This one goes with why I like #4, but also, I like the bats because even if I decide to save them they'll take up all the space of the three sheets of card stock I cut them out of. I can handle that.

The one downside to decorations like this is they actually require a bit of time/crafting ability, which is not something I always have. Obviously these craft projects were of the super simple variety (my favorite!), but they still required a few hours of work (would've been a lot faster if I'd had a die cut or something for the bats, but alas, I had to cut them all out by hand), and I have a feeling that next year if I'm in the middle of my first semester of Ph. D work, I won't have time for anything even this simple. But I'm excited, at least for this year, to work on finding and making decorations for each holiday that fit the criteria above (if they turn out, I may even post pictures). It's nice to have finally figured out my style and taste for this type of decor.

I'd love to know, what are your holiday decor tastes/styles/ideas? Especially ideas, I'd love some more that fit my criteria!


  1. I feel your pain! Just this year, actually, I decided what I wanted for my Halloween/fall decorations was pumpkins in a variety of textures. So I have a ceramic one, a fabric one that I made, a wooden one, etc. Nothing scary. So far they all fit into one bin.

    I think my winter decorations might be up your alley--after all the excitement of Christmas is over, I always need a little something to get me through the long, cold, dark, month of January. So a few years ago, we started cutting out paper snowflakes, then I would laminate them. (We put the name of the person who made it and the year on the back first.) Then I tape them up onto my windows or cupboard doors. They are in all different colors, and yet so far a 3-year collection stores flat into one small box. It's awesome!

    1. Ooh, I like the sound of your textured pumpkins, that is fun! Also, I like your idea of decorating with paper snowflakes. Our Januaries aren't really long, cold, or dark, but paper snowflakes sound like a great way to "fake" winter around here. :)