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Reflections, Decisions, and Wisdom


Layer Upon Layer of Autumn 

Beauty for the Thanksgiving season is showing itself in mirrored reflections. It’s a good time to get going on holiday decorating. But let’s not overlook that it’s way too early to go glitzy! You can do what I call “layering”.

A little at a time, layering provides a foundation that lets you add more elaborate elements as the season deepens.

I like to begin with simplicity—pine cones, pods, and life-like string greenery. Robust, autumn-ish choices have the feeling of nature. Later on, they can be easily transitioned into a Christmas decoration with the addition of brighter, bolder elements. I’ll tie red ribbons on each upper corner of this mirror and let the sashes stream down the sides. 

Decisions That Reduce The Urgency of Decorating

Decorations set a magnificent tone for the upcoming holidays. Whether they are derived from nature or traditional decorations, consider easing into the process a little at a time. It makes for a much less stressful time as the days roll closer to Christmas.

The decisions I make regarding how to decorate will ultimately come down to choosing those objects—ones already in place—which will get the most embellishments. I don’t add a lot of holiday-specific items to what’s already in my home. And I don’t remove a lot of things to make room for decorations. I decorate mantles over fireplaces, arches over windows, lighting sconces, staircase banisters. And I don’t overdo it.

Having been an interior designer for 34 years left me somewhat experienced, but it was my mother’s quote (one of her many) that left its mark on me.

“Don’t gild the lily.”

The expression is a condensation of Shakespeare’s metaphor in King John:

“To gild refined gold, to paint the lily . . . is wasteful and ridiculous excess.”

That Sounds Like Wisdom

I attended a great conference last weekend. In one of the breakout sessions, I was reminded of some words of wisdom. They aren’t a perfect application for holiday decorating, but you may find them useful:

  1. There is no right way to do the wrong thing.
  2. There are wrong ways to do the right thing.
  3. Make decisions you can ethically and morally support.
  4. If in the process of making a decision it feels wrong, it probably is. Rethink it . . .
  5. (Because) there are many chances to make the wrong decision.

This was another takeaway: How you do anything is how you do everything. 

And another: If a man in a forest offers his opinion and there is no woman to hear it, will he still be wrong?

I thought you’d like that one!

A Reflection From The White House 

If you would like a random justification to begin your own decorating, it may help to know that beginning early is a good thing. Before I retired from my interior design business, I had the unique opportunity to be part of the team that decorated the White House for Christmas. It took a week to accomplish the assignment, and it began before Thanksgiving.

If you think there is some similarity between this photograph and the other two, you’re not mistaken. The decorating experience I had at the White House taught me a lot about using beauty to enhance already-beautiful elements.

Don’t smother what’s already beautiful. It shouldn’t take over-done embellishment to bring your surroundings to their height of glory.


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