Take it Down a Notch! How to Decorate for the Holidays if You’re an Introvert

December 03, 2018 0 Comments

Take it Down a Notch! How to Decorate for the Holidays if You’re an Introvert

I’m feeling ambivalent about decorating this year. On the one hand, I love the sparkle and glow of holiday ornaments, Christmas trees and wreaths. It makes me happy to pass through the front door and enter a wonderland of cheery decorations and the aroma of cinnamon and pine. I love a collection of wreaths above doorways. And if I had a fireplace mantle, I’d be sure to plop a few decorated trees and favorite ornaments on top.

But this year, sometimes I feel like just hanging an ornament on a doorknob and calling it good.

So, I think my decorating plan this year is to find a comfortable, satisfying halfway place. Enough Christmas to remind me of why this time of year is special but not so much that it feels like Santa’s workshop on steroids.

I’ve been looking at blogs featuring decorated tablescapes and fireplace mantles, entryways and living rooms; it’s the de facto post this time of year. But don’t get me wrong: Those displays are gorgeous.  

And overwhelming. 

The only thing missing here is the Eiffel Tower. (photo: Thibault Taillandier - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Someone please put the truck back in the garage. It's blocking the gravy boat. (photo: Country Living)

If you’re an introvert, like me, too much clutter, pattern and color can create a feeling of, well, near hysteria. It’s. Too. Much.

After all, I have to stick to the same grocery store that I’m used to; otherwise, a feeling of panic rises and I lose it. For God’s sake, throw me a carton of yogurt and let me get out of here!

A dining table loaded with small trees, candles, eight tiny reindeer, Santa and his elves, 12 drummers drumming, 14 silver bells, a partridge in a pear tree… well, that’s nice, but it irritates me when I have to give up elbow room to a holly covered napkin ring the size of a bicycle wheel. Or when I can’t see my dining companions for the forest. “Honey, launch the drone so we can find Uncle Harold!”

I want to go into those lovely decorated spaces and cull. 

There were years when I did, myself, hyper-decorate. I had 6-7 large bins of holiday decor which would go up right after Thanksgiving. By December 1st, I was ready to move into the nearby Motel 6. Or hop into one of the empty bins, pull some tissue paper over my head and whimper.

Last year, I managed to reduce my holiday decor down to 4 and a half bins. A lot of tree ornaments made in China went to the thrift shop. The shiny tinsel and glittery beaded garlands accompanied the ornaments. I confess to off-loading some of my mom’s hand made ceramic figurines. Yes, I’m the bad daughter. I think I got rid of the Nativity set. I still fear being doomed to an eternity in hell for that.

But I did buy a few things, such as some strands of tiny lights that I adorned a bookshelf with. I’m feeling okay about them except when I use my TV remote, which, oddly enough, also turns on the lights. Why do they include that annoying rapid flashing light setting that makes you feel like you’re in a high-speed car chase?

Then there’s the dog factor. You know what I’m talking about. My sister’s Nativity set includes one wise man who’s not so wise anymore given that one of my dogs chewed his head off. My dog Jemma thinks that anything made of felt is a chew toy. I’ll never be able to get that lovely, large felt covered acorn to look like an acorn again.

Of course, you folks with cats have your own issues. Posted images of downed Christmas trees, with the cat’s manic eyeballs peering out from the boughs, became a meme. And rightfully so.

So, to finally get to the point of this post… How does an introvert decorate for the holidays?

Six Tips for Holiday Decorating If You're An Introvert

  • Decorate only one or two rooms in the house. Believe me, finding decorations in rooms after you’ve hauled the bins up to the attic is really irritating.
  • Pick one holiday element to decorate your dining table. Try placing three or five smallish trees in the center. Generally speaking, dinner guests should be seen and heard. You can always put the annoying guest at the kid’s table.
  • Take the Disney color spectacular down a notch by choosing a palette of earth tones and ONE bright color.
  • Use natural elements. In places where December is a colder month, you’ll find a lot of lovely dried flowers, branches and leaves outdoors. And you won’t have to store these items for the following year.
  • Take a look at your collections. Do you really need 72 angels fluttering around your home? God won’t be upset if you take the choir down to just a handful of cherub-faced altos.
  • Don’t place any decorations anywhere that will require you to move them so you can get to the other items in that space. You’ve decided you want to read War and Peace for the holidays, so why set up a battalion of glittery glass ornaments to protect it?

Not to Add to the Clutter, But... My Holiday Ornament Collection!

Speaking of collections, I created a set of metal oval holiday ornaments. They aren’t large or gaudy. They’d look lovely hung on a smallish tree or from a branch. You can see them here in my shop. And right now if you buy more than five of them, you can get 20% off. Just enter code HolidayOh at check out.


Happy Holidays to all of you, especially you introverts. Remember, if you can’t deal with holiday clutter, don’t indulge! Or go spend the holidays in a yurt in some quiet forest.

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