As the seasons change and we move from summer into fall and winter, we are often inspired to change our decor for the holidays and to look for gifts.
While this can be a magical time of year, it can also feel commercial and overwhelming.
You may worry about how to decorate for the holidays or find the perfect gift for family, friends, clients, or co-workers.
How can you stay aligned with who you are, while creating the perfect space that you enjoy and want to share during holidays?
How can you find the perfect gift while staying within your budget?
How can you maintain your sense of peace and well-being throughout it all?
Here are some tips that may help you navigate the season while staying true to yourself.
When to Start Decorating for the Holidays?
When it feels right for you.
Some people love to decorate for every occasion and others like to keep it simple. I am one of those!
As the seasons change, your view of the outdoors changes. I like to stay connected to the colors and smells of the outdoors by bringing in natural elements to decorate with when I find something that inspired me. This helps with an internal longing most of us have to be connected with nature and other life, called “biophilia”.
This is one reason pumpkins and other gourds, and the colors of the falling leaves (red, orange, and yellow) are common during Halloween and can be used to spruce up your decor in the fall. See my blog article on Three Reasons to Change Your Decor in the Fall for more ideas.
It is also one of the reasons people like to decorate with evergreen boughs, wreaths, and trees in December.
So if you enjoy the fall colors, you may want to re-decorate around mid-October to be ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here is and example of an Edesign I did to celebrate the colors of fall. I incorporated some of my own fractal art, from my “Simorgh” design which was inspired by the Persian legend of the Great Simorgh, the most beautiful bird in all the world.
Holiday Decor Inspired by the Great Simorgh.
You can take many of those warm reds and oranges into your winter decor.
If you celebrate Christmas, the typical colors include reds and greens, silver, gold, and white.
Note how in the design below, I just changed a few things from the fall decor in the dining area above to decorate for Christmas.
Here is another holiday-inspired Edesign with a similar color scheme and featuring my “Great Conjunction” fractal art.
Make your own holiday color scheme with what feels right to you, using your favorite colors.
Rules of Thumb for Decorating Your Mantle or Other Focal Point.
Holiday decorating often includes taking one special area or focal point, such as your mantle over your fireplace, the center of your dining table, or on a buffet, and decorating it for the season.
Determine what one item you want to highlight and give it space to shine. Select something that has a story to tell about you, your life, family, or adventures. Let it be something that allows your guests to discover, like a treasure, something about who you really are.
Decorate around it using the rule of threes, and layering with different textures, and heights.
Your color palette should work with the rest of the room, but don’t be afraid to add a pop of color here that draws the eye to this place of honor.
In the example above, the art is what is highlighted by its size, central position and the lighting. The buffet is decorated with party items, all of which are unique fractal art designs I created. The wine cooler features my “Bioluminescence” series, the serving tray features “The Sea” art topped with coffee mugs with my “Spring” collection, and the cutting board to the right also is based on my “Spring” design. All the colors of greens and blues tie to the art and are related to water and plants, which is also the feeling that the art evokes. As guests go to enjoy a glass of wine, cup of coffee or fruit, they discover beautiful art, all of which have a story behind them.
Should you bring a fake or real plant as a hostess gift?
I prefer real plants because of the wonderful smell, they contribute to clean air in your space and help bring the outdoors in (biophilia). Be sensitive to whether your host has pets and do not bring something poisonous to cats, dogs or whatever pet they have. Why not try a Chinese Money Tree to bring your host good fortune and great Feng-Shui? They are also pet-friendly! Or try a watercolor blue, purple or pink orchid, or an interesting air plant, also pet-friendly.
See an example in my Edesign below, with a blue watercolor orchid on the coffee table and Chinese Money tree to the right of the sofa.
What do you get the friend or family member that has everything?
Why not treat them to a unique gift made by an artist, rather than a mass-produced item from a big box store.
Items that can be used for celebrating and entertaining and are small and practical can be a great choice. They can be given individually for a small budget-friendly gift or given together for a nicer gift.
For example, if the person enjoys wine, why not give a nice bottle of wine with an art-inspired wine chiller. For a more elaborative gift, include an artist-created serving tray, coasters, and even a cutting board to serve cheese on. I have a variety of designs in my store on Society 6 which can be mixed and matched.
Is the person not a wine fan? Give the items above and a bottle of sparkling cider or other non-alcoholic drink.
Or, most people enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or other hot drink. Give a set of coffee mugs with their favorite drink, and add a tray and coasters if you like or even a cutting board to serve fresh pastries or other delights.
Give a beautiful glass tray with an artist’s design filled with cookies or chocolates or other treats. These glass trays come as small, medium, or large platters and are beautiful for entertaining or as a centerpiece on a table. See all my designs at my store on Vida.
You could consider a beautiful scarf or tote bag created by an artist. We all need bags for trips to the office, gym or grocery store. And who doesn’t like a beautiful warm scarf for the cold winter months. Here are a few examples I created with my fractal art, available at my stores on Society 6 and Vida.
If you know your friend or family member is getting ready to re-decorate or paint, why not give a gift card for an Interior Design or color consultation.
The key point is to find something unique that you have taken the time to find just for them. Find something in colors they like. How do you know? See what colors they normally wear.
What kind of gifts are best for professional relationships?
You could get them a small piece of framed art in colors they love that could be displayed on a bookshelf or mantle or on the wall. Something small, such as an 8 x 10 framed print allows many options for display and does not pressure the recipient to make it a focal point of their decor in case they do not prefer it over other pieces they want to highlight.
Why not a set of notebooks made with unique artist designs for all their great ideas? The gift supports your favorite artists and shows the recipient you think they have great ideas worth recording. Shown below are a few of my fractal art designs. Many more are available in my store at Society 6. A set of three makes a nice gift.
When you buy someone a holiday gift, should you think outside the box or keep it safe?
You should do what feels right for you.
I like to think outside of the box, and look for something uniquely made by an artist I think they would like. As an artist, I often design something just for the recipient. I create a fractal art design in colors I know they love or that works with their decor.
Art is very personal, so for a gift, I would design or select something small such as a glass serving tray, notebooks, a cutting board, a scarf, or a tote bag as in the examples above.
Unless you know them really well, avoid something large that would be hung on a wall all the time. You don’t want them to feel obligated to make it a major part of their decor if it is not something they would have selected for themselves.
What are some holiday gift ideas that are over done and need to be retired?
Lilies for Easter are toxic to cats. Holiday ornaments are also something most people don’t want or need. Gift cards you buy at the grocery store always make me feel as if the person did not want to spend the time or effort to find something thoughtful for me and looked for something quick and easy. Although I enjoy being able to select what I want with a gift card, it can have a negative feeling associated with it for some people.
Guidance during the holiday gifting season
Treat others how you would like to be treated when it comes to the thought and care involved in finding a nice gift. Pick something that shows the receiver you really thought about “them” and who they are.
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