I belong to the minority of people who don’t go hog-wild over holiday decorating. This time of year in North America feels crowded and cluttered to me. I experience a feeling like a sort of claustrophobia or mental bloating as I gaze upon retail and living space resplendent in faux Victorian holiday decor.
I tried to conform to the standard a few times, to please my friends, but my home felt less homey, and more cluttered. The investment of time to assemble and dissemble everything intruded into my already crowded holiday season calendar. I finally ended up donating most of my Christmas stuff to Goodwill and keeping only a few of the simplest items.
In fact, I don’t bother decorating for the holidays until around mid-December, largely in reaction to the early dominance of glittery stuff. Some people impatiently install Christmas right after Hallowe’en. I’m also not very keen about Black Friday.
I’m not a Mr. Scrooge, though. I like the idea of people behaving well. I appreciate the understanding of people who relate to my point of view. I especially like those who take comfort in the fact that my home is a haven, away from the obligatory hustle, bustle of the holiday season.
In that spirit, I have three arrangements that de-emphasize mass and complexity for your consideration. Their appearance is all about open, airy simplicity.
A red enameled wooden Japanese vase is a very light-weight container. It was turned from a wood that is hard, yet light enough to allow for a gentle design. Because it is unstable and vulnerable to moisture, I decided to place a trellis of a fern frond as the anchoring place for dried roses and silk fillers. The finished arrangement remains exceptionally free of bulk.
A Bakelite plastic vase, also of Japanese origin, presented a problem of bulky appearance. Even though the material is quite light in weight, the bulbous shape is visually heavy and difficult to balance out with flowers. The piece is not conducive to a traditional Ikebana, either. I decided to echo the red and green vase detail with a sparse spray of red blooms and green leaves.
I wanted to break all the rules in the use of a vintage, “grandma vase” of USA origin. These were usually filled with a formal poesy of flowers that were popular in the 1940s and 1950s. My contrary mood, though, dictated that I should go with a wispy, almost Spring-like appearance. I thought of my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoying their Summer, as I assembled this one.
I hope you come away from the non-conformist nature of these arrangements with ways humanize your busy holiday season.