Introducing Christmaximalism: Why This Is the Year to Go All Out With Holiday Decor
Photo credit: Peter Frank Edwards
Nice from the house
The weekend before Thanksgiving, designer Eneia White took to Instagram to unveil a video of her dressing up her Queens apartment in over-the-top Christmas decor. "Since I'm not going home for Thanksgiving, I used the last leg of my vacation last week to cause a vacation explosion in my apartment," she explained in the caption. While she may be physically solo this season, White is hardly alone in her newfound take on Christmas decorations. In a year that has been turbulent, often difficult, and depressing at best - and at a time when we spend more time at home than ever before - there may be no better reason to pull out all the stops for year-end amusement. Early decorating schedules, larger-than-life ornaments, decorations for the whole house: we call this revived passion for Christmas decorating Christian Maximumism - and many of our favorite creatives are trending.
"Let's face it - it's been a tough year for everyone," says Indiana-based designer Amanda Lantz. "There is a certain joy that comes with putting up Christmas decorations. It means happy times, togetherness, family, friends, love, friendliness, celebration. And we all need more of it in 2020."
Because of this, Lantz decided to speed up the Christmas decorations in their Lantz Collective store. "We decided that our customers - and we - could use an elevator," she says.
Designer Josh Young, whose Washington, DC townhouse went viral on Instagram for its early Christmas decorations, agrees: "It's been quite a year for everyone - some a lot tougher than others," he tells House Beautiful. “But given the current circumstances, I still believe the importance of finding the silver lining and celebrating this special, meaningful time of year. I've always found decorating my home for the holidays to be a magical and welcome distraction from our day is. today's life. "
As White puts it, "I live alone. So if I can create a festive and comfortable environment, I can keep my FOMO in check." Though she usually recycles décor from year to year, "I actually invested in new ornaments and décor this year," says the designer.
"2020 hasn't given us many reasons to celebrate, which is why it's more important than ever to get the most out of the holiday season this year," says Houston-based designer Marie Flanigan. "I've seen houses in my neighborhood with Christmas lights on and I'm not a bit crazy about them!"
Photo credit: Aydin Arjomand
Libby Langdon from New York totally agrees: "Some people think decorating is mostly for young children, but we see it as a way to show off the child in our adult selves," says the designer, who usually Spends a full ten days with the equipment her home for the vacation right after Thanksgiving.
And while all-out décor may be a regular tradition for Langdon, it seems that the complexity of this year turns even the arborist into holiday home decorating enthusiasts - often with no other traditions suspended in 2020. "As the best time of the year approaches, I am sad to know that so many traditions are not going to happen," says Chicago designer Jenny Brown. "The only thing that can't be canceled is how we party at home."
In fact, it's no secret that one good thing of a year largely spent at home is a renewed interest in our personal spaces. 2020 saw unprecedented increases in home decor sales, searches for decorating advice, and other signs of a newfound interest in perfecting our nests. So it should come as no surprise that this craze extends to the holidays as well. Like decorating for the rest of this year, decorating for the holidays is one way to make the home a happier place. So why not get as big as possible?
"We've made more emphasis on decorating our vacation home this year as our home has been such a source of comfort for us this year," says Victoria Ford of the Prepford Wife blog. “Decorating early on gave us a sense of normality and routine and brought a little joy at a time when we definitely need it most. And that doesn't hurt thanks to the number of hours we spend at home when we don't travel, we can actually see our decorations this year. "
Going out isn't just visual either: "Don't forget the importance of fragrances in building that holiday mood," says Beth Webb, an Atlanta designer. "Think of freshly cut evergreen twigs and burning wood."
"The holidays should be a joy for all the senses," agrees Brown. "In our house there will be Christmas carols playing, lights twinkling and maybe even cranberry bread baked in the oven."
While we love a good play on words, it should be noted that the spirit of "Christian maximumism" is not limited to any religion or holiday per se: "This year is about keeping our houses festive and our hearts fond memories fill and comfort, "says designer Susan Jamieson, founder of Bridget Beari Designs of Richmond. "Bringing out loved and traditional decorations reminds us to appreciate the little things in life and brings back fond memories."
For Brooklyn designer Natalie Kraiem, this means that the decoration of her Hanukkah table is particularly personal: "I always fill the table with traditional dishes like latkes, mini-donuts and desserts to remember the miracle of Hanukkah," she explains . And while her palette is usually a traditional mix of blue, white and metallic, Kraiem says, "I always like to put something special on each plate, such as a personalized small gift and a note."
In addition to the festive element, the decoration for the holidays allows us to use the DIY muscle that many have tensed more than ever this year. “People are craving ways to make their house feel more like home without calling a contractor or placing orders for things that will be reordered by the end of time,” explains Lantz.
In her shop, Lantz filled baskets with ornamentation and arranged sprigs of food on mantels, while in her house Brown had strung the kind of popcorn garlands she made as a child and created centerpieces with oranges and cloves. In Washington, DC, designer Josh Hildreth mixed wreaths, garlands, and tartan ribbons on his cherry red front door, and in Sag Harbor, New York, Langdon admits, "I'll still set the table for lunch and dinner, even if I do just am. " and Keith! "(We've been on the wagon that sets every meal as a special occasion for months).
Photo credit: Gordon Beall
For children in their home country who are tired of the virtual school, this can also be a reason to look forward to the holidays earlier. "I like to decorate the table with my children to have fun," Kraiem explains her Hanukkah tradition.
As for Flanigan, the 2020 push to take stock of family and tradition inspired her to go more traditional with decor: "I plan to stick with nostalgic Christmas decor, including traditional red and green accents, tartan Plaids, sparkling white and a herd of tree, "she says.
The concept of Christmas decorations as a way of honoring family is renewed in a year when many will not be together in person, which makes these memories all the more special. This has long been the driving inspiration for Matthew Bees, who is known for transforming his Charleston home into a true winter wonderland. “Decorating holidays is in my blood,” says Bees (whose home is pictured earlier in this story). "Both of my grandmothers were obsessed with Christmas decorations, and as a kid, the Christmas season was my first opportunity to express my creativity in design. Recreating all of these wonderful memories is a popular part of the season."
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The idea of tradition meets new ideas is a common thread for those who want to become bigger and bolder than ever this year. "I'm an outdoor decoration traditionalist (classic wreaths on every window, please!), But I would LOVE to bring in something fun and spunky this year," said Lauren Lowe of Atlanta-based Lauren Elaine Interiors. Your ideas? "Something like an illuminated sign that says 'Everything will be fine' or 'It's almost 2021' (see this Etsy shop!)."
Another great opportunity for new traditions? Outdoor models created with COVID security aspects in mind. "Creating cozy outdoor spaces will definitely be a focus," says Jamieson. "Baskets with blankets, backyard chimneys and chimneys warm hearts and bodies. Decorating outdoor areas as festive little meeting places brings joy inside and out."
However, since we maximalists happily entangle ourselves in meter strings of lights and evergreen garlands, it is important to note that the root of all this decoration - in fact the root of all decoration - should be JOY. That said, if twinkling lights and bells are more stressful than happiness, there is no shame in skipping: "It doesn't matter how you decorate your halls if it becomes a source of stress for you and your family," says Brown. "Let's all do what makes us happy this Christmas season and take advantage of the slowed pace. You can be sure that there will be plenty of freezing cold sleigh rides and dumped Santa queues in 2021."
After all, the root of Christian maximumism is the best of the holiday spirit. "For me, Christmas - and the decorations that go with it - is a time of hope, love and magic," says Langdon. "We need that now more than ever in our lives!"
And ultimately, as Christmas decor enthusiast Garrow Kedigan suggests, celebrating year-end celebrations that will bring us to a better place to start over the next year is inherently optimistic. "This year in particular, I think that we must all embrace the Christmas season with a positive mood and hope for 2021."
Inspired? Here is what to buy for the Christmas decorations of your dreams.
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