Sunday, October 6, 2013

31 Days of Inspired Holidays: day 6: Decoration

I assume you didn't really have time yesterday to go through the decorations you found... so you'll have to do it today.

Pick a theme for your Samhain decoration. Most people don't think about this one minute. It's obvious. Halloween, black and orange, ghosts, witches, monsters, black cats, ravens, perhaps a little green and purple. Shadows and night and Gothic... but, firstly, this is not Halloween, this is Samhain. Our New Year. Secondly, black, night and horror is not automatically associated with Samhain. Maybe you prefer other colors. Maybe you would prefer a little more earthy harvest theme for your Samhain, with browns, oranges, yellows and greens, like pumpkins.

Plan your outdoors decorations. I don't like big, flashy light shows, but I like some lights outside. It is getting quite dark high up here in Sweden, so the little happy spots of light greeting bypassers in the gardens and windows is a welcome addition to the winter darkness.

This is Skogskyrkogården, The Woodland Cemetery, 
a UNESCO world heritage site
and a working cemetery in Stockholm, at All Hallows' Even. 
This is Swedish Halloween. 
A sober and serene holiday to remember the absent loved ones.

 Lights, of course, are not the only option for Samhain outdoors decoration. For example this: dancing gowns or this: ghost flowers would be interesting.
I really, really, really dislike the witches used as decoration. Like the "hanged witch" or "crashed witch". But, I doubt any witch would use decoration like that anyway. I suppose we all share the opinion.

Plan your indoors decoration as well. Start a walk-through at the door, and note where you might add a bit of holiday spirit with some holiday decoration. Don't overdo it, though. You don't need to fill every free spot with holiday decoration, and you shouldn't, either.

But some things to ponder and consider:

What do you want to show outside your home? Front door? Windows?

Are you allowed to decorate the front door? (In some residential areas the neighborhood doesn't approve certain decorations, some landlords don't allow anything outside your door, etc. Find out, also the fire hazard regulation and so on.)

Do you want a wreath or something else? What?

What is the first thing you see when you enter the home? What do you want it to be?

How do you plan to show the holiday cards, and in which room?

Mantelpiece, low bookcases, windowsills? They can be decorated very similarly. Do you plan to?

Do you plan to have specific holiday plants or flowers? Where? Which color?

Candles? See that you burn the candles safely and don't add burning flotsam close to flame. Never allow candles to burn alone in the room, unless you are 100% certain that if something happens and the candle falls over, it won't burn up the place.

In Denmark they have something called "kravlenisse" - "yule tomtes" made of paper that were attached to bookshelves, picture frames and other such places.

In Sweden there's a tradition to have "julbonad", a print with seasonal motif, usually with tomtes or a nostalgic illustration of a family celebrating ideal Christmas. This started probably sometimes in the 18th or 19th century, when country people wanted to make their sooty cottages nice for the feast, and added pretty pictures painted on paper - that was quick, easy and cheap way of decorating, and after the feast these pictures could be reused for the next holiday, or burned if they were too worn and dirty, and replaced with new pictures.

How about tabletops? How do you set the dinner table? Do you need to use one table for everything, or do you have several tables? Do you need special holiday centerpieces, napkins, flowers etc?

Do you plan on having a "candy bar" - or cake table - in the living room so that people can go and take some goodies as they watch the holiday movies, or what ever they do?

Do you plan on having a "crèche"? If so, where?

How about kitchen? Do you want to have special holiday textiles, potholders, towels etc?

Sofa and chairs, any special cushions or plaids for Samhain?

And so forth and so on.

Room by room decor planner printable

As you remember, yesterday I asked you to go through the holiday decor and see what needs to be cleaned, replaced, mended, thrown away or purchased. Add to that list when you have decided how you wish your home to be decorated.

It is good to collect ideas and inspiring pictures about holiday decor as well, and I love Pinterest as such a collection place. This is my Samhain board where I have gathered images and articles that inspire me.

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