Getty ImagesI feel like I should make the effort to festoon the house with snowflakes and lights. Most of the houses in my sleepy little New England town slipped into full fall regalia the instant the leaves started changing; now they've moved on to inflatable Santas and brightly lit reindeer and trees that sparkle with tiny white lights. People around here hang out cute little flags with various icons celebrating various holidays at various times of year and, as in the department stores, the holiday-themed adornments appear the day after Thanksgiving, if not before.
Not at my house. Oh sure, we've picked up and decorated our tree, but it's inside the house, not on the front lawn. There's a single electric candle in each window, but splendid decorations? Nope. Because, truth be told, I don't have the time. But, also, I don't have the inclination. Forgive me, Martha Stewart, for I have sinned: I don't decorate.
That's not quite true: I happily hang stockings for each of our five children by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and all of the holiday cards we receive immediately go up on the kitchen walls for all to see, but that's more for the sake of tradition than anything else. I'd much rather pour my efforts into making homemade gift baskets and baking up a storm. In general, I don't decorate. I don't have an eye for it, or the patience, or, frankly, the budget to hire someone else to do it for me.
This goes beyond changing the look of the house with the seasons. Picking paint colors paralyzes me; I would be quite happy to paint every room in the house some shade of white and then hang art everywhere, except that I don't end up hanging art anywhere. I'm serious; we moved into our current home in 2001 and I only got around to repainting the kids' bedrooms last year and haven't hung a thing on the master bedroom walls. Luckily for us (and for our neighbors), my can-do-anything husband picked up some mad styling skilz somewhere along the road; it is thanks to him that there are wreathes on the door and a centerpiece on the table during Christmas dinner.
I see shows on TV and read articles in family- or women-oriented magazines about decorating on a dime and cool color schemes and fantastic holiday knick-knacks, and I understand that I'm supposed to love to decorate. I'm supposed to get tired of the same-old look and long for something new, something trendy; I'm supposed to wonder how to make my family room pretty yet practical. I know people who routinely repaint walls or move furniture or even, shockingly, redesign entire rooms on a whim -- you walk into their homes and it never looks the same way twice.
I don't really understand this.
So, when the topic turns to redoing one's living room because November morphed into December, or searching for special china for a single meal, or decorating one's mailbox for each holiday? I REALLY don't understand this.
Someone explain it to me... do you redecorate with the seasons? Why or why not?
Lylah M. Alphonse is a full-time editor, a freelance writer, and mom and step mom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day on Work It, Mom!, and blogs about writing at Write. Edit. Repeat.