Holiday decor is not my specialty. Decor in general is not my strong point. But the ritual of creating natural decorations as a part of my celebration of the seasonal shifts? That is absolutely my forte.
In 2019, I know “the holidays” for most people are a break from work and the rare time of year when they see family. And while those both have applied to me on different years, my celebration is typically a much more personal one. And it lasts much longer than a singular day or weekend. The making of these garlands and wreaths and ornaments are the celebration. They’re the therapeutic acceptance of change and growth. They’re the chance for me to go out in nature, during each season, and learn what is offered… and what can be given. It’s an exchange of stress for peace. Of baggage for knowledge. Of nights for days and visa versa.
I know how cheesily neo-pagan it is to say one celebrates the “winter solstice”, but I absolutely do, on a literal level. However, my definition of celebration may be a bit different. The seasons have little spiritual significance for me, but they absolutely have mental, emotional, and practical significance. The end of nights growing longer is a huge source of hope and relief. It reminds me both of the peace and slowness that I ought to appreciate now, and the coming busy season that’s full of hard work and sun. It’s a reminder of the preparations that need to be underway for those sunny months. It’s a warning of the physical. The basic needs. As much time as I spend on the internet, I otherwise live a life quite close to the earth. Much of my everyday is dependent on the seasons and their changes.
So you see, holiday decor isn’t just holiday decor. Much of it is symbolic, but much of it is literal. Practical.
It’s the reason why I choose, specifically, to only use materials that feel basic and connected. Real. Growable. Makeable. Reusable, plastic decorations would be many people’s definition of “practical”– and I completely understand that. In our world, few have the time to make their own garlands and hunt their own tree. But since, as I’ve explained, decorations aren’t simply a matter of aesthetics for me, the materials matter. This whole thing is about one’s personal relationship to the earth. Not in a spiritual way (although it can absolutely be spiritual for some), but in a literal way. What happens when these decorations get old and become unusable. A landfill? The ocean?
Everything I’ve used, aside from a few pieces of tape (that I intend to use up before purchasing a non-plastic option), will end up in my backyard compost. They will degrade, and they will go back to the earth to nourish it. To nourish me.
The seasons are cyclical. I believe my celebrations should be the same. Take and give. Repeat.
Also, yeah, I think it looks nice. 😉