I've been decorating the house for the holidays this weekend. This is one of those holiday activities that I don't have a problem with. For one thing, I don't let it stress me out. I give myself plenty of time so I can afford to take my time. I don't feel obligated to put out every decoration I have every year. When I start getting tired or grouchy about it, I take a break.
But also, my Christmas decorations add to the meaning of the holidays for me. I've learned to decorate with the mantra, "If it isn't beautiful, useful, or meaningful, I don't need it." And most everything I have now fits that criteria.
I have a small collection of Nutcrackers I put out. These are meaningful to me -- I took ballet for about 8 years and was in the Nutcracker all but one of those years. The Nutcracker is a significant part of the holidays for me.
I also have a collection of small tomtes I set up around a Swedish Christmas tree on the dining room tables. Tomtes are Swedish elves that are said to live in the barns -- the kids put out food for the tomtes on Christmas to bribe them into not playing pranks on the family the next year. These are a connection with my own Swedish background and my husband's upbringing in Lindsborg, Kansas.
We also have a Christmas in Lindsborg collection of ceramic buildings from his hometown. Again, a connection to our past -- and they're beautiful.
I have a small tabletop tree that I decorate with several sets of felt ornaments that my mother made, a different set every year. There's also a nativity set in almost every room of the house.
And of course, just about every ornament we put on the tree has a story behind it.
There are a few things I would get rid of -- and I weed something out probably every year. But the house decorating is a holiday tradition that passes my Scrooginess test and stays.