Tips for Seasonal Decorating
Be it Halloween or Christmas, live in harmony with Mother Nature, the changing seasons, and decorate your spaces in sync with the world around you.
Ancient man lived in harmony with the cycles of the moon and changing seasons to predict growing and harvesting times. With the advent of electricity, we weren’t dependent on the sun any more to tell us when to wake or sleep. And we moved more to urban living, away from the agrarian society we came from. We started to become detached from nature and its cycles. With a separation from nature, we risk becoming un-balanced and un-centered.
SAD, seasonal affective disorder, is caused by not getting enough exposure to sunlight. The result is a lack of melatonin being produced in the system, causing depression and anxiety. There are special light boxes that are available for SAD sufferers to sit in front of to absorb “produced” sun’s rays.
So what does not going outside, or displaying Santa decorations in August, have to do with home design? A lot, it turns out. I believe that in our hectic world, we can literally go through the day without stepping outside or walking in nature. We go from the house through the mudroom to the garage. We get into our cars, drive into a covered lot, and walk into our place of business. Repeat in reverse on the ride home.
Our homes and offices are sealed to prevent drafts, air is recycled throughout the living space, and windows rarely open. From a health standpoint this is horrible, especially in the winter months. From a design standpoint, does it make sense, unless it’s for a party or a themed room, to decorate for Christmas when we haven’t even hit Halloween yet?
Bau Biology is the study of the health of a building or “sick building syndrome.” This was first studied by the Germans in the 1970s. They studied the effects of ventilation and electrical systems, construction materials, and techniques on the health of the building’s occupants. We’ve all experienced this when one person in an office gets a cold, then everyone gets sick.
Invite Nature Indoors
In my first book, Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In, one of the chapters focused on “bringing the outside in” to live more in harmony with nature and try to get back to our roots. Being outside in nature, whether it’s walking barefoot in the grass, watching birds, sitting in your beloved hammock or working in the garden, you derive the benefits of all that Mother Nature has to offer. If you live in a northern climate and being outside isn’t feasible 12 months a year (unless you’re a snow bunny!), you can still invite nature indoors through:
- Opening a window or door for a couple of minutes a day to circulate air throughout the house.
- Displaying artwork or photographs of outdoor scenes.
- Having a tabletop fountain.
- Including plants, flowers, and herbs in containers.
- Decorating with furniture and accessories made of natural materials.
- Filling a decorative bowl or apothecary jar with stones, sand, or any other tactile item found outside.
- Including bowls of live, growing grass or catnip.
As far as decorating is concerned, accessorizing your home and/or office with the seasons is easily done and creates a great energy in your space. One of my clients decorates her formal dining room and living room according to the season and holiday. It helps to set a festive tone the house and gets everyone in the mood for upcoming holidays. I have a friend who collects dishes; she has 4 complete sets of dishes in 4 different colors and themes. At every solstice or equinox, she has a party to “unveil” her Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer set of dishes. It’s a great way to use decor pieces she loves, have a party, and set the tone/mood/energy for the changing season.
Decorating which is NOT in Sync with the Cycles of Nature
- Decorating for a holiday too soon. By decorating too soon, you aren’t living in the present, but in the future. You must live in the present to BE present in your life right now.
- Having a mish-mash of seasons/holidays (autumn leaves scattered on a table with a snowman collection). By having a mish-mash of items out, you are scattered (or at least displaying that you are), create an atmosphere of not being here or there, and surrounding yourself with indecision.
- Having seasonal items up way past the expiration date (we’ve all seen the holiday lights left up until May). By leaving seasonal/holiday decorations out past their “due date” you are living in the past, or at the very least surrounding yourself with a lazy and procrastinating atmosphere. It’s a lot like filling your space up with clutter. You’re not inviting new and positive energy into your home. Instead, you’re creating rather dead, stagnant energy in your space and inviting the scorn of your neighbors and other passersby who will judge (we’ve all done it!); and that only sends negative energy your way.
By trying to live in harmony with Mother Nature, the changing seasons, and decorating our spaces appropriately, we will be in sync with the world around us. This will help to reduce stress, anxiety, and some depression as we will be living in the present, not the past or the future. Will merely going outside for 15 minutes every day, taking down the Valentine’s Day hearts by March, and not displaying snowmen year round bring you a stress-free home life? No, but you will be more present in your present, and that’s all any of us can ask for.