So I was recently asked about inspiration. Where does it come from? This got me thinking about my “creative process”. I’ll admit it sort of floods in the moment the inspiration hits so trying to figure out the steps or the process is a bit tricky but I will give it my best shot.
Since we’re headed into Christmas lets work with that. If you walk into any store they are decked out with holiday bling. They may have trees decorated and they may range from traditional to modern and will work in anything from peacocks to antique orbs. Depending on the store they may have mountains of dishes and other table items with different prints and colors, all to capture the essence of the holidays, but with so many different styles where does one begin?
For me it’s all about the aesthetics. It’s also why I look for beautifully photographed cookbooks when I am cooking. I need the image to “speak” to me. A well executed design from color, to scale, to shape will make all the difference and stick with you, or well at least it sticks with me.
Back in 1994 there was a remake of Miracle on 34th Street. This is yet another movie that was seared into my memory for its beautiful aesthetics. From set design to costumes this movie paid attention to every detail of the feeling it would invoke through its images.
What I took away from this was the layer upon layers of texture and decor. Add this to my years doing decor for department stores like Mervyn’s and Macy’s and everything just started to fit together. So I guess inspiration isn’t a flash, a moment, or an epiphany, but rather an accumulation of experience and inputs from all around us.
Other holiday classics like Charles Dickens, The Christmas Carole or Dr. Suess’, How the Grinch Stole Christmas also drive a big part of my inspiration. When Ron Howard re-imagined Dr. Suess’ beloved tale in 2000, it was a rich and detailed world of colors and textures. Again layering on and looking at every detail. Also, having grown up in the San Francisco, CA. area I was well aware of the Gingerbread House at the Fairmont Hotel as well at other Gingerbread masterpieces at other near by hotels. These giant and elaborate designs showed yet another piece of holiday tradition that was painstakingly put together paying special attention to every single detail.
So when I go to decorate my house for Christmas I think about all these influences. I think about how spaces “flow” together. How nightlines into other rooms need to be taken into consideration. The first step is picking the place for the tree. It’s important to me that the tree not only be the focal point but we able to be enjoyed from the most vantage points possible. Then it’s onto garlands. These need to be evenly spread throughout the house and balance a room. You don’t want to have all your decor on one side of the room and make it feel like you forgot about the rest of the room or the rest of the house.
Then it’s onto poinsettias. For this it’s all about scale. Scale is the hardest thing for a novice to get right. Professional interior decorators will all agree if you get scale right the rest will come together. In my opinion poinsettias can almost never be too big. This is where a Costco membership really comes in handy. For a gallon sized poinsettia it’s $13.99. At the grocery store or home improvement store regular sized poinsettias can run about $19.99! Costco also sells a 4 pack of the smaller ones for $19.99!
Since I don’t spend the money on real Christmas trees I instead take about the same amount and spent it on poinsettias. Now, living in this large house I am finding I am going to need to start including an annual budget line item for poinsettias. This year I had I think 15 poinsettias!
One other fun detail is when thinking about your holiday wreath remember they don’t have to go on the outside! If you live somewhere that an exterior wreath isn’t practical put it on the inside of your door! Heck if you want get two identical ones and put one on the inside and one on the outside! Doing this I am able to enjoy my wreath and not have to be in the -11ºF weather to enjoy it!
So to wrap up my holiday tour of my home and thinking about inspiration and the time I put into decorating my home I want to end with this: When looking to create an inviting home and one that brings you joy and happiness think about your holiday decor. Yes, it takes a lot of work, and yes it can be costly, but here it’s just my husband and I and I still took the time not because I wanted to show off our awesome decor but because I wanted to make a home the enveloped us in the spirit of the season. Making a house a home is about these special touches. It’s about putting in effort. It’s not for other people, it’s for those who live there. To make it feel like there’s a connection beyond a place to eat dinner and sleep. It may be too late in the season to do much about your own holiday decor this year but now is the PERFECT time to start planning for next year. Buying decorations or even artificial trees after the holidays you can often find great deals. Oh, and if it is too much work for you, invite people to help. Having a holiday decorating party!
So go find your inspiration. Take notes. Make plans. And have a happy holiday, merry Christmas, happy Chunkah, and learn about 12th night!