Christmas, like many Christian holidays, is actually a reappropriation of a pagan holiday. Christmas coincides with the winter solstice which, in many pre-Christian societies was a time of renewal, rebirth, and reinvigoration. Regardless of your faith, that’s a wonderfully positive attribute to bring to a time of year which can bring many of us down.
For many of us, our most treasured Christmas memories are made in the home. Watching Mom carve the turkey, seeing the gifts we’d always wanted beneath the gaudy paper that’s shredded by our eager young hands, snuggling by the fire with the love of our lives and later seeing the same unbridled joy on our kids’ faces when they open their own presents. In the spirit of renewal and reinvigoration, then, Christmas is the perfect time to add some little touches to the home which will breathe new life into your house, perk up your living space and make this coming Christmas even more special…
Let in the light
Over the holidays, many of us will find this precious time of year tarnished by a seasonal form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This can rob us of our energy, sap our enthusiasm and mute the fundamental joy of this special time.
One of the main contributors to SAD is the loss of sunlight and the mental health benefits that it brings us. Clearly, then, it’s up to us to make the most of every single ray of sunshine we can get to ensure that everyone in our households is full of festive spirit. Depending on your budget, there are a number of ways in which you can do this. The easiest is to throw open your heavy drapes or even replace them with blinds (if your windows are double glazed and energy efficient enough to negate the need for heavy drapes). If you have the budget for it, there are also a range of French and sliding patio door designs which can veritably flood your home with daylight, add a sense of festive grandeur to your living room and give you a beautiful view of the snow-carpeted vista that is your garden.
If your home gets very little natural light (perhaps its surrounded by tall trees), you can compensate for the lack of incoming light by investing in a lightbox which is proven to chase away seasonal sadness.
Do a little (late) spring cleaning
If you’ll be having guests over for Christmas it’s likely that you’ll want to tidy up a little, but a deep clean can have a number of benefits. It can help you to better identify and clear away clutter (which can be visually distracting and detract from the festive ambiance) and give you the feeling of satisfaction and relaxation of knowing that your living space is spotlessly clean. The act of cleaning itself can also be very therapeutic, not to mention a great cardiovascular workout.
Use a real tree
I know, I know, artificial trees are so convenient and many of them are (superficially at least) impressively realistic. And who needs to spend the first couple of weeks of the year vacuuming up pine needles? Nonetheless, there’s nothing quite like the look, feel and smell of a real Christmas tree. We all know that proximity to nature is a proven mood booster and the presence of a real tree can be conducive to mental health while also giving us an authentic festive experience.
Of course, if you’d really rather not have a real Christmas tree (those pine needles can be a pain), there are a wide range of other options…
Deck the halls with boughs of holly… And these other festive plants
Filling your home with festive plants can not only be a great way to get into the spirit of Christmas, but it can also be a great way to make your home feel more alive, vibrant and peaceful. Fortunately, there are a many great hardy festive plants to choose from, many of which will stick around long into the new year. There are beautiful green and red poinsettias, cyclamen, rosemary (which look almost like little fragrant Christmas trees themselves), Phalaenopsis Orchids and of course, seasonal favorites like holly and mistletoe.
These can all lend a sense of seasonal cheer to any room and help even the Scroogiest of guests get into the Christmas spirit.
Whether you have your sights set on big renovations or just a few decorative flourishes, there are many ways to bring that Christmas feeling to your home and make this yuletide one to remember.