There is a paradox of relief and sadness when you accept that the holidays are finished. Gone is the sense of magic that permeated your home, the lights, the scent, the warmth, and the promise; all your efforts created joy and excitement. But now they are over, and it is time to put away the Christmas decorations.
There are wreaths on the door to undress and poinsettias on the walkway to be picked up, one or two hopefully having survived the pounding rain and snowstorms that came this year. Candles set about the home are boxed, and wreaths wrapped on the banisters, and decorated in the doorways, will need to be untied and lowered into a garbage bag; if you have gone faux, they need to go into some sort of storage as well.
The centerpiece of all this Christmas delight, the hero of your Christmas story, is the Christmas tree, which can no longer be avoided. After all, we are coming up to February.
So it begins, taking all the ornaments off the tree, packing them in tissue, remembering once more with some, when, where, and with whom they came into your life – unplugging the lights and trying not to get violent when the tangle doesn’t untangle deep in the pine needles that are determined to bite you.
Once removed, they are wrapped around a piece of cardboard or go back into the box from which they came. You tend to your pinpricked hand and continue.
The tree goes out the door to the curb, the needles are vacuumed up, and the furniture you moved to accommodate the tree is pushed back into place. You may have a sense that your room feels larger. There is space again. That is nice. That satisfaction is enduring for some but lasts only the shortest time for many.
You are seated in your favorite chair, reading or trying to. Something keeps distracting you, but you cannot put your finger on it. A little sense of dissatisfaction is present, but it is normal. You are experiencing The Post-Holiday-Everything-Looks-Empty/Boring/Sigh Blues.
Something is missing, and you would like to correct this off-kilter feeling. Perhaps you try to ignore it. You could move some houseplants around or put a favorite bowl on your table, yet you still feel the post-pretty blues.
Perhaps you begin to consider creating a unique, albeit small, decorative addition to enhance the atmosphere in your home – something to take the edge of blah off. Something that will take you into spring. Something you could add for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary celebration, or a birthday so as not to change it out again. Do you do this because it feels good?
It is between you and yourself how much and how little you are prepared to give. Christmas, though stunning and emotional, is tiring. It is essential to gauge your desire; this is to make you happy, not overwhelmed.
There are some questions I suggest you entertain with honesty.
Pinterest is an excellent source of ideas. However, the pinned photos cannot give context to the décor piece. Will it fit in the context of any space in your home? Wherever you want to start, context is boss for success, and so is the demand of your skill level for something complex or easy to create.
If you are thinking of your dining table and it is dark wood, and the walls are covered in wallpaper and patterned curtains embrace the windows; you want something that is simple and easy on the eye that does not conflict but gives the nod to the style and colors of the room.
If you’d like to create a contemporary piece for your clean-lined entryway, you would want to apply the same rule for it to work yet with an echo of what is already there – no clutter and, yet, room for keys and mail.
Pussy willows remind of winter but are gentle and, if kept in water, will sprout pale green shoots.
Pussy willows in a vase, surrounded by different vases with fairy lights sitting on wood or silver, make for an exquisite winter environment.
Cylinders are inexpensive and can make for an impactful piece when clustered at differing heights. What is your preference? What does the cylinder have in it, moss and rocks on the bottom, and fairy lights winding up? The same elements can be manipulated if you prefer a more elegant piece to a rustic one.
Clustered on a silver tray or a cut glass cake stand, the glass provides elegance. Fairy lights in differing heights with white orchids sitting on dark black rocks to anchor the piece; the darker elements should be at the bottom. To transform it into a more contemporary piece, use white stones.
The idea of mirror tiles with battery-operated column candles placed upon them and the taller vase(s) containing the fairy lights with some bottom filler; this is winter’s starry night.
A silver or lovely dark metal bowl filled with clementines is an excellent centerpiece for the kitchen or dining room, and you have food too. You replenish as they dwindle.
There are ways of incorporating ethnicities. A vase of pussy willows standing tall and surrounded inside by painted (anything) that complements the colors you love can take you a long way into spring.
Collecting branches and odd-shaped pieces from the forest or your backyard and having some painting time, you can create these fun pieces to add color to any table, vase, or plant container, and the sun begins to shine more readily. You can do this with larger stones and scalloped shells. Think outside your usual box.
All these ideas are beautiful because you can alter the design easily, move it around, and adjust it to fit a different spot.
Michaels is an endless source of possibilities. They have roses and gardenias in these creamy 2”-3” heads. The white tapioca and sola flowers (look like flowers but are made from a mysterious secret formula – of which I have no clue) can be the flowers you tuck into a vignette.
I use the term vignette; context is the same thing for me. One vase with magnificent blooms on a stand need not have embellishments around it as it stands on its own. With a small surface beneath it, you need only focus on the flowers and the arrangement.
Vignettes are your visual story. Your design comes together when you take various items and place them. Texture, tone, height, light, and space are the adjectives of your visual story; it is Feng Shui adjacent. Finding a cohesive thread is essential; something that ties the visual story together is important. Otherwise, it may feel messy or cluttered, or incomplete.
As mentioned above, a glass cake stand or a silver platter, a black tray, a piece of granite, a slab of wood, whatever delivers the impact of the feeling you want to convey, will serve you well.
Be patient with yourself. It will take trial and error and experiments. You are now a designer if you make it once, don’t like it, and do it over. In short order, you will hit upon the perfect combination of pieces.
It is essential to embrace this idea: trust your gut and your body’s feelings when you look at the piece. This is a visceral experience, not a thought experiment. You will feel it when you have made something that works for you.
And, in the end, you will once again experience, the all-gone-pretty blues.
Have you taken down your Christmas decorations? Which piece was the most difficult to take down, emotionally speaking? Why? Do you think you are ready to create new decoration pieces in your home to match the coming season and beat the after Christmas blues?