December is a popular time to light up the world. There are hundreds of festivities, from Bahrain’s Independence Day fireworks to the surreal Aurora Borealis colors of the Arctic sky. It’s a special time of the year in my Canadian homeland, where lights remind us of the shared values and dignity of all cultures. They are a unifying symbol and a fundamental element for celebrating the holidays.
As an interior designer, I’m often hired to help families make their homes festive and inviting during the holiday season. There are endless ways to highlight the many different customs and beliefs, but the key focus should always involve LIGHT. It’s an important symbol for welcoming family and friends. But knowing how to use it can be challenging. This is especially true in a world filled with plastic lights and commercial hoopla.
So here are a few easy tips for creating a special holiday mood that is warm and personal:
- Bring light into your home. Pick a few central points inside and out, and “keep it simple”. A Christmas tree decorated in white lights or fresh greenery interspersed with ornaments, decorative Christmas trees in various sizes, candles, nutcrackers or other decor on top of a mantle, bring the fresh scent of pine and create a pleasing “scape”
- Create a focal point. Depending on what beliefs you celebrate, a fireplace is the perfect place to gather as a natural focal point. Don’t despair if you don’t have one; a coffee or dining table filled with layers of different candle heights or a ceremonial menorah placed in the middle is all you need to make a special centerpiece. And, don’t forget to add fresh greenery to your tablescapes too.
- Use your imagination using existing colors and styles. For example, if you have modern furniture, consider using contemporary metallic décor with fresh greens and lights to dress a place in the room. If your style is more traditional, opt for natural elements like fresh berries, pretty plaid ribbons, pine cones and decorations with an earthy feel.
- Don’t overdo it. A mixture of fresh greenery and cedars with a family keepsake photos or simple ornaments surrounded by small votive candles (you can use the small battery ones too) on an entryway table are an elegant welcome.
- Consider DIY (do it yourself) projects, like handmade place cards for dinner or crafty decorations if you have time. Memories are made enjoying creative and fun activities with family and friends. Pinterest and Houzz offer some great personalized ideas using inexpensive pine cones, cinnamon sticks with twine, and a host of other materials.
For me, holidays filled with light convey the most important message. Sparkle is fun but what’s special is never commercial. Light up your holidays by celebrating time with those you love. My greatest wish is that happiness and peace always light up your world. As always, Felicia Gimza