Nov 282011

I know you may find this hard to believe but I don’t decorate for the holidays. Shocking…I know. I just don’t. It’s not in the budget and as often as I move, lugging around a box full of ornaments and tinsel just doesn’t fit with my current lifestyle. Oh, there was a time when I went all out for the holidays. Back when I owned a house and thought I was going to live there for a long time I did the place up right. A tree, painted black and hung upside down in the window. A reindeer, gutted and hanging from a tree limb. Santa’s head on a pike by the front door. Pardon me….”sniff“, sorry, guess I’m just a sentimental old fool. Anyways, no more.

Now my mother is the complete opposite. She lives for this time of the year. When I called her over the weekend she had just begun decorating. She has more decorations for the front door than I have in total possessions. By the time she is done there won’t be a inch of her home that doesn’t look like the spirit of xmas took a big shit on. I offered to help but since my decorating ideas involved fire and dumpsters I ain’t allowed around til everything is up. But it’s what she loves and it makes her happy.

From a minimalist standpoint the holidays may present a dilemma for some of you. How to maintain a minimalist ideal but still cozy up the joint for the season. Hey, it’s ok. If a dead tree, some hosiery on a nail, and colored tinsel is what it takes, go for it. A home all dolled up for the holidays is one of those special moments of the year. Made even more special by the depression that sets in when all of it comes back down in January. But there I am getting all sentimental again.

So what to do? Firstly, are you living in a permanent or semi permanent spot? A house you own, an rv, a boat, whatever. Someplace where you will be for a few years? Then have at it. But if you want to keep a minimalist attitude about it, here are some tips…

Set a budget for what you will spend on decorations and stick to it. Shop for bargains at the discount stores and get your money’s worth. It ain’t necessary to stick a snowman, an elf, or a bow in every little corner of the place. Keep things simple and basic.

Set aside a single box and limit your decorations to whatever will fit in the box. Nothing more so you won’t have a ton of shit to deal with, packing and unpacking every year.

If you want a tree go for the real thing instead of the fake ones. Find a smaller one that doesn’t cost as much or needs as much decorating. If you have a garden or whatever, you can mulch it up afterwards and add it to the compost heap.

Try your hand at home made decorations…you know, the kinds we used to have before the stores hijacked this whole holiday season and turned it into a capitalist wet dream. If you have kids or grand kids, get them involved. Make edible decorations, or one time use things that can be recycled when all the hoopla is done with. Remember the old popcorn on a string trick? They still make popcorn and I suspect you can find string somewheres if you look hard enough.

Got a friend or relative with old decorations who may be throwing them out? Refurbish them and use them for another year or two.

Again, there are no rules here. You can still decorate up a place and keep a minimal balance. It just takes some resourcefulness on your part.

But if you are like me and tend to move a lot, the idea of a lot of decorations is rather foolish. If you miss all that mistletoe and decking the halls, rather than spending money on decorations find friends or relatives that do decorate and hang out at their place. Let them deal with all the mess and bother of putting them up and taking them down. Sneaky I know, but it beats spending your money on all that crap.

The point is, if decorating for the holiday is what is important to you, then do it. If keeping a minimalist attitude about the whole thing is important. Then stay with it. You can still have a few boughs of holly without breaking the bank or adding to the clutter.

Capt. Fritter

Since it is my first holiday season in Key West, I decided, what the hell…


A bit over the top, I know, but so what.

  4 Responses to “Decorating for the holidays, minimalist style…”

  1. In my 64 years of life I have helped decorate a few trees. My favorite will always be the year our then 6 year old daughter and I made gingerbread men and strung popcorn with cranberries and hung those along with candy canes on our tree. I still smile whenever I remember that.

  2. your little tree has the same charm that charlie brown’s christmas tree has.
    remember it? with its one little red ball?
    always brings a tear.
    but, a tear for happy.