It kind of feels like I blinked and we suddenly went from the 4th of July to Halloween. My mailbox and social media feeds are already full advertisements for merchandise appropriate for December holidays.
Unlike last year, we’re not dealing with quarantine. COVID-19 is still a serious issue, but hopefully enough people are taking it seriously still so that we don’t end up in lockdown situations again.
Yet, there are still so many traumatic, complicated problems in the world. You may feel like the last thing you want to do is think about decorating for any seasonal things or holidays. It takes time. It can be a hassle. It can cost money you’d rather spend on other things. Anything you put up, you’ll just have to take down again. That takes more time, and will be an additional hassle.
Believe me, I understand.
With the physical impairments caused by my disability, I can’t decorate at all. Not at all. My kids like things to be decorated, but they’re all of an age where none of them ever really wants to do the actual decorating. Even though I can’t see most of my own house directly through my eyes, I am fortunate enough to have extensive security cameras that allow me to see all of the exterior and the rooms that aren’t bedrooms or bathrooms. so i can constantly see where decorations should be, but aren’t.
I should backtrack here and tell you that I have always decorated for every occasion. I’d decorate my room in my mother’s house, then my boyfriend’s apartment. When we got married, I decorated the interior and exterior of the townhouse, and when we moved to a freestanding house my decorating schemes increased substantially. When my husband was killed I still kept it up, even though my heart wasn’t in it so much, because it made our children happy. A few years after he died, I started to find enjoyment in it more again, and coincidentally my ability to do It even partially by myself kept on decreasing.
Once I started enjoying the decorating process again, irrespective of how I had to get it accomplished, I started looking into why it seemed to make me feel better. I wasn’t surprised to learn that psychologists recommend
pushing yourself to go whatever is ‘all out’ for you, because despite the difficulty in getting decorating accomplished, the end result always makes me feel better.
A front door wreath, a decoration on your mailbox, and/or a themed tablescape can make a huge difference and even boost your mood. Indoor and/or outdoor light displays. Decorative welcome mats, Themed dish towels. Special touches such as these do more than simply add color and cheer to your home. They can improve your attitude and your psyche.
Decorations can be a positive distraction
No matter how satisfied you are with your daily life, sometimes the days can sort of blur into one another. Even though things are much better than during the height of the pandemic, there are still a lot of necessary restrictions and changes in place in many areas. These limitations can add to the feeling of everything being the same.
When you shake things up a little bit by changing things up a little bit, it’s kind of like you signal to your brain that time is passing. It also reminds you that time is precious simply because it’s fleeting. Seasonal and holiday decorating offers us something joyful to do, even when other things in life may be stressful.
Sometimes decorating reminds us of happy times
Does an autumn apple pie remind you of apple picking? Do certain Christmas ornaments remind you of particular Christmas in your life? Does a distinct pumpkin shape remind you of pumpkin picking on a certain farm?
Sometimes, familiar holiday decorations can prompt nostalgic, warm memories about ourselves and our loved ones. The other day, my kids and I were laughing about a memory of one of them having a rather ridiculous holiday freak-out a few years ago, and about how one of them loves to cook on the holidays but always gets really grumpy doing it. These don’t seem like memories that would make anybody happy – but they do make us smile and laugh at ourselves.
It’s also a good reminder that every memory doesn’t have to be Hallmark holiday movie material full of sweetness and light in order for them to ultimately be happy memories.
As a lyric from the Billy Joel song ‘Keeping the Faith’ says, “The good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”
Decorating can energize your emotions
Sometimes, just getting through the day can suck out every last bit of your emotional energy. It doesn’t matter how many people you love, how wonderful your family is, how much you adore your pets, how vital you find your job or hobbies … it’s just a fact that every human being has down days.
It’s long been known that colors affect our feelings and our spirits. Generally speaking, blue can make us feel calm and safe. Green can help us to feel relaxed and refreshed. Yellow is said to bring forth feelings of hope and happiness. Red is purported to inspire feelings of confidence and empowerment. Every color you can imagine has emotional qualities linked to it.
I think most of us tend to think of holidays and seasons in terms of color.
Winter – white snow and icy silver. Spring – yellow flowers and green grass. Summer – ocean blue and tan sand. Autumn – pumpkin orange and brown leaves.
Decorating by using traditional holiday colors can likewise be emotionally beneficial. New Year’s silver and gold, Christmas red and green, Hanukkah blue and white, Kwanzaa black, red, and grass green, Valentine’s Day pink and red, Mardi Gras purple, gold and green, Easter pastels, Saint Patrick’s Day shades of green … certain colors generally represent holidays, and remind you of celebrations with family and friends.
Take control and create traditions that work for you
Sometimes, no matter how much you enjoyed and cherished a certain tradition, it just no longer works for you. People move, places close, families get bigger or smaller, people pass away and other people join families and bring their own traditions to share.
Change doesn’t necessarily mean change for the better, or change to something that’s worse than what came before. It simply means that something is different.
You can’t always control change, but you can frequently control your attitude about it. You can also control some of how your environment reflects changing seasons or passing holidays. The days are going to pass whether you acknowledge them or not; why not use them when you can to lift your own spirits?
What is a tradition in your life that has changed? Would you say it’s a change for the better or for the worse … or that it doesn’t really require you to think of it in either way? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think about that, or about anything else that happens to be on your mind.