Did you notice how uplifted you felt when the house was adorned with festive decorations?
For a few weeks a year, we take time to really make our homes look joyful and happy. We bring out favourite baubles and objéts that stimulate meaningful memories. Or we buy something new for the tree, something of the moment that keeps us feeling ‘with it’.
Oh, and the lighting; you can’t skip the lighting! At Christmas, illumination is everything; candle-light, fairy lights, inside and outside, subtle or bright and colourful.
And what effect does all this have? Not surprisingly, it really boosts the spirits, even in pandemic times. The glitter and sparkles throw light into usually ignored nooks and recesses of our domestic worlds. The colours energise and stimulate us into action; wrapping, socialising (albeit online), cooking like never before. And whether your style is kitsch, traditional or contemporary, the results make us smile.
And then what? New Year’s Eve comes and goes and the decorations are consigned back to the loft. The pine needles are gone from the carpet and that dust you hid under the greeting cards (or is that just me!) is removed. It’s a fresh start and time to move forward.
A clean broom through the house is, in itself, invigorating.
But what if we take some of that yuletide decorating energy with us through the year? I’m not suggesting you live in a permanently tinsel-bedecked world (although a few fairy lights rarely go amiss!), but why not keep that focus going? Why not make your home enhance your mood for the whole twelve months?
As 2021 dawns and you put away your festive embellishments, why not look around your home and think about which areas would benefit from a little more attention and how that might improve your whole way of living? Especially if you are one of the many people around the globe who find themselves in lockdown. Sometimes a little change can have a big impact.
1 – Convert the box room into a creative space
Declutter the box room (or whatever space you’re using as a dumping ground) to make way for those creative pursuits you’ve been putting off. You’ve bought the online courses, now it’s time to actually start doing them and create something. You could even start making this year’s Christmas gifts.
2 – Leave the dinner table out permanently
Make space for sitting around the dinner table all year instead of just Christmas time. Think how you could not just catch up, but have conversations with the kids over dinner – and find out what they really think (and what they’re really up to these days). As soon as the pandemic is over, you’ll be ready to make the first move and invite friends round for a long overdue supper.
3 – Review your tableware
Now that the table is out, make sitting down to dinner special every day. I’m not suggesting you eat your fish finger sandwich by the light of a silver candelabrum (but why not?). Replace your chipped plates, or simply use your ‘nice’ tableware more often. You could upgrade to a more glamorous salt and pepper mill, or use decanters for mustard and ketchup instead of serving straight from the plastic container they were bought in.
4 – Magical lighting
Why get creative with lighting only at Christmas time? We put fairy lights up without even thinking, we just throw them up and ta-dah! Why not add lighting to different parts of the lounge instead of having one main light source? With a task light over the armchair for reading you might get through some of those books you were given for Christmas, instead of turning on the TV every night.
Imagine how much more relaxing that would be at the end of a busy day.
5 – Swap the Christmas tree for a real one
As your festive tree is put out of sight, replace it with real plants and embrace the positives of nature within your home.
Through the study of biophilia it has become clear that bringing elements of nature into our homes unlocks many benefits around cognitive function, physical health and psychological well-being.
Whether you decide to gather some fallen foliage on your daily walks, forage in your garden or splash out on a statement-piece indoor plant, you will benefit from nature being close by.
There is a fundamental interaction between a person’s emotional/mental well-being and the spaces in which they spend their time.
Your home should be both a sanctuary and a springboard; somewhere that is simultaneously a safe haven, away from the pressures of the outside world, but is also a strong, flexible platform from which to take confident steps towards a fulfilling life.
I am very aware that Christmas isn’t happy for everyone at the best of times, and the celebrations and decorations can mask many feelings of loss, worry and fear. This can actually be even more of a reason to think about how we can nurture our spaces so that they can support us in managing those emotions; be that organising paperwork, decluttering unwanted items or framing photographs that honour loved ones who may no longer be with us.
If we embrace our homes, they will embrace us back. It therefore follows that if we take time to consider how our lives are impacting on our homes, and vice versa, we have taken the first step towards building a cohesive life.
Revamping your home can kick off a new chapter in your life, but it’s not always easy to know where to start. I have a free download for you full of tips to get going. Click here for the PDF.