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Holiday Decor: A Compromise

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Holiday decorations in our home are a bit of a struggle every year, and it’s the one time of the year I have the toughest time compromising for one very big reason:

I hate Christmas. More specifically, I hate Christmas decorations.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the holiday season in general. I like the good mood most people are in, the twinkling lights, all the cookies and candy, and yes, even snow (as long as I’m not driving in it). However, as someone who lives the other 11 months out of the year in a simple, clean, clutter-free house, Christmas decorations represent the very opposite to me, and it stresses me out.

I would love to have one of those homes with a simple tree, and the only sparkle coming from twinkling lights. Instead, I usually end up with a house covered in sparkly garland, snowflakes taped to the walls, and an enormous tree covered in mismatched ornaments. Why do I end up doing this to myself?

My husband.

He lives for this shit. This is the only holiday he actually likes, and he pitches a major fit every year when I want to simplify things. He gets all geeked out about buying ornaments, stringing random glittery things all over the place, and generally annoying me by making every Christmas song into something raunchy or gross.

In fact, the mantle you see above isn’t how I originally decorated it. When I did it, there were no tiny houses, candy, and the only toys were the nutcrackers. I also have candles up there that I actually lit every day for about a week (now I can’t because everything up there is a legit fire hazard).

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As we do every year, we struck a compromise. I let him indulge himself with this “tiny town” idea he had, but that was it. Hence the tiny houses all over the mantle and on the ground – like I said, when he gets an idea, he goes for it.

In exchange, there will be no snowflakes taped to the walls (if you can’t tell, that was my least favorite of his past ideas) and no extra stuff around the house. Christmas is kept to the living room only, and frankly, I’m okay with that.

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Someday, I will get my Pinterest-worthy holiday, but until that day comes I have to live with Christmas as a combination of what I want and what my husband clearly needs.

Besides, after Christmas is over, I get my living room back…and I can’t wait to do some redecorating. 🙂

Spooky Fireplace

Spooky Fireplace

I’m not a huge fan of decorating for Halloween, but this year I thought I’d try to at least update our mantle with a few spooky details we had around the house. As it turns out, we had plenty of things around the house that worked! I’m hoping that, with a few small changes, this will work for the rest of fall too!

Here’s what I started with:

Spooky Fireplace

Our mantle is always a hodgepodge of stuff that I like, and a few things my husband threw up there recently. Sorry for the fuzzy picture – our living room is basically a cave, and taking decent photos in there is pretty much impossible. 

To start, I cleared everything off the mantle and gave it a good cleaning/dusting. Then, I went around the house and found a bunch of things I thought might work. Yes, we had the skull lying around – it belongs to my husband, and while I don’t remember why he has it, I knew it would be perfect. I also dug up some old books, and a few candle holders I bought recently on clearance at Michaels. 

Spooky Fireplace

The antique books have a piece of styrofoam under them, so hopefully that will keep them from sticking to the mantle. I also found a few Halloween-appropriate books in my husband’s collection, which I just removed the dust jackets and placed up there. The owl is my old makeup brush holder, and the black votive holder with the bird came in a set of three from Michaels for $3.

Spooky Fireplace

On the right, I added the copper candle holder, which was another clearance item from Michaels (I think it was $3-4 or something). The other stuff on the mantle are things we had around the house that fit into the fall color scheme, and will probably stay up until I get all Christmas-y around here in December. 

Spooky Fireplace

After about 20 minutes of fussing around, this is what I ended up with:

Spooky Fireplace

While I would have loved to replace the Monet print with something more fall-friendly, I never found a good replacement for it. Ideally, I’d love to find a mirror to put there to add more light, but I’m still on the lookout for a great antique one. 

While it’s definitely not over-the-top, I think it’s a great, subtle update that works for the season!