It is safe to say that I find myself thinking, at least once per day, “I’ve become my mother!” This happens most frequently when I’m instructing or guiding my kids in one manner or another (“it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt!” or singing St. Francis’s peace prayer anytime they start bickering). But I also notice the pattern in my cleaning habits (my regular use of the two-minute-one-wipe bathroom spruce-up), my lunch fare (all the leftovers on top of a bed of lettuce) and even my sleep eccentricities (I do the majority of my podcast listening in the middle of the night to lull me back to sleep after a bout of 2 a.m. insomnia). Until the past few years, I would have told you that these characteristics were uniquely my mom’s… but now I guess they are mine as well!
There is one area, however, in which I am decidedly, emphatically different from my mom: my approach to holiday decor.
My mom was a minimalist as far as decorating went, and with the exception of an Advent wreath, a Christmas tree, and a nativity, our house – inside and out – remained bare through the Advent and Christmas seasons (not to mention all the other seasons).
But me? Decking the halls is one of my favorite ways to add festivity and visible reminders of our faith throughout my family’s home. Indeed, decorating is a key tool in my toolbox of family faith formation. Beyond that, decorating makes everyone in my home feel more joyful, which is a noble cause in and of itself.
If you are in my camp of loving to decorate, read on for some Catholic home decor ideas for this upcoming Christmas season. For that matter, if you are in my mom’s camp of resisting decor, read on for some inspiration…and the chance to see that some decorating is both elegant (fits with a minimalist scheme) and simple (easy to put up and take down). Perhaps I'll convert you!
Christmas Decor for the Walls
One way to decorate for Christmas without overwhelming your house is to remove other decor and replace it with seasonally appropriate art. I take down many of the framed paintings and photographs from my home’s living room and hallways and put in their place images that depict scenes recalling our Savior’s birth. I think that this All is Calm print would look beautiful as a stand alone piece or grouped with this Away in the Manger and O Night Divine prints.
Christmas Decor for the Mantle
This gorgeous Nativity Plaque would work beautifully on a wall, yes, but I think it would make a great alternative to a traditional nativity centered on a mantle. The vivid colors make it eye catching, and I think it would look lovely surrounded by votive candles or tapers in candle sticks.
Christmas Decor for the Shelves and Countertops
I love a perfectly placed figurine or statue, and this Holy Family one – with Mary so tenderly holding the infant Christ child close, and Joseph protectively guarding over them – could fit nicely in numerous places in a home. Similarly, this Ceramic Holy Family figurine, with its neutral white, is as versatile as it is elegant.
Christmas Decor for Kids
If there is anyone who enjoys decorating for Christmas as much as me, it’s my four-year-old daughter. She enthusiastically gets involved in my efforts, and then digs into her own, making snowflakes and paper chains, drawing pictures of the nativity and the angels, and artfully placing Christmas books around her room. She would be thrilled if I gifted her her very own plush nativity to place anywhere of her choosing.
Christmas Decor for the Coffee Table
Admittedly, I’m at the stage of life where most decor is best served by being placed out of toddlers' reach. But I love the idea of having a winter-smelling candle (Mmmmmmm, Balsam fir!) in the middle of a coffee table, perhaps stacked upon a few books I’m perusing at the moment, like a devotional for the current liturgical season or a book of wisdom from the saints. Until this vision becomes realistic, I’m decorating my family room table with kid friendly Christmas books. I know that my children would love to see a box like this Holy Family Memory Box on the table as well. It’s beautiful, but hardy too, and they’ll enjoy storing treasures in the box (and then when they get older, I’ll start storing my own Christmas memories in it, like tickets to the Nutcracker and programs from the kids’ holiday concerts).
Friends, throughout this holy season and the Christmas season ahead of us, may you find joy and peace in your surroundings!