Well folks, it’s the most wonderful time of year again. ‘Tis time to deck the halls, trim the tree and untangle the effing lights. For those overachievers who are already done, congratulations! You are annoying! This one is for the rest of you, and no pressure, but you’re a little behind the eight ball. Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “’We have all day Saturday, a little Home Depot, a little Valley View and home just in time to crank the Mariah, open a bottle of red and get to work…it’ll be fun.” Please stop lying to yourself. The likely reality is that you will be drunk by 6:45, on the brink of divorce by 7:30 and screaming at your kids — “Mommy Dearest”-style — about ornament placement by 7:45 sharp. Not exactly Norman Rockwell.
On Sunday, panic mode will set in and you’ll begin to exhibit frenetic behavior. The voice in your head that says, “just get it done” will be at full volume and set on repeat. You will no longer concern yourself with “minor details.” You will put a red bow on the Halloween wreath still hanging on the front door. You will forgo all fire safety and plug 12 sets of lights into the same outlet. You will boldly display the faded nylon poinsettias your mother-in-law gave you. Your results will beg the question: why even bother? If you need evidence of this phenomenon, please stop by my neighborhood and see the house where the owners placed just one of those light nets atop a single random shrub and called it a day. Tell me they weren’t just checking the box.
So how do you avoid becoming a drunken whirling dervish and come up with a result you can actually be proud of? I think it starts with developing a methodical game plan and a strong set of rules. So put down the staple-gun, come down from the ladder and ponder some guidelines to trim by. Hopefully, they will set you on a course for your calmest and most attractive holiday yet.
Rule # 1
Keep the bigger picture in mind.
Rule # 2
Vintage: Think Zooey Deschanel, bird motifs, Hampden thrift shops, milk glass, Anthropologie, boxwood and Etsy.
Mod: Think Lady Gaga, graphic shapes, Home on the Harbor, bright white, CB2, lacquer, and the BMA store.
Woodland: Think Snow White, acorns, Irvine Nature Center, birch wood, your yard and Terrain.
Grand Traditional: Think Charlotte Moss, magnolia, Scully & Scully, Sunnyfields, bows and Horchow.
Once you pick your look, consistency is key. If you are going kitsch, then by all means gather your hub caps and flamingos and get to work. If you are going rustic, start gluing your pine cones and moss. Just don’t mix the two! They will cancel each other out and look like one hot holiday mess. Want to incorporate multiple styles under one roof? Keep them in separate rooms. A brightly colored and more casual tree in the family room (put the kids’ macaroni ornaments on that one) and a dressier one in the living room will keep things cohesive.