We moved this fall into a small, mid-century modern condo. To live in such spare, clean-lined space, we had to subtract, minimize, edit, and edit some more, including most of our Christmas decorations. There isn't room to store them anyway, and in truth, I'm not so interested in anything elaborate or fussy anymore. Particularly in these simple, white rooms that are about the architecture and not objects (except, of course, for a comfy couch, rugs, paintings, books....).
The trick is to look at your stuff with fresh eyes and use only what you love right now. In such a tradition-bound season this can be a challenge...but so worthwhile to create a space that pleases you, that feels like the holidays yet is also personal, fresh, not too much trouble to put up or take down during this already hectic time of year. (Greg Graves, if you're reading this - How DO you and Gary do it?? I'm the minimalist to your maximalist...)
A friend gave me an artichoke-shaped beeswax candle (from Big Dipper Wax Works, burns 50 hours). It inspired me to pare down decorations to beeswax and white candles, cream/white flowers, greens and a freshly cut tree bedecked in amber lights and the animal decorations we've collected for decades.
Isn't the point, of decorating for both the Solstice and Christmas, to bring the scent and beauty, the nourishment and the "otherness" of outdoors inside? During these hectic days, I long for simplicity and quiet beauty, not ribbons, bows, gilt and gaudiness.
Whole Foods carries the Big Dipper candles, and I found one shaped like an allium, and another like a star to join the artichoke sphere on the dining room table. A noble fir wafts its scent all through the apartment, one of the many pleasures of living in a small space. (I've written a story, with "before" and "after" photos of the condo renovation, which will run in Pacific Northwest magazine next month...)
Here's the look for the holidays - so simple to create, and, thankfully, easy to stow away again (or toss/recycle in the case of candles and greens) in a few weeks...
Cream and white Glassy Baby candles with greens (a mix of fresh and fake) and battery-operated lights.
The beeswax candles plus white tealights in clear glass, on the dining table...the white and gold runner is from West Elm (comes in silver and white, too....)
The bird ornament on the tree (at the top of the post) is from Cultus Bay Nursery on Whidbey Island, and the walrus-on-an-iceberg, below, is one of my daughter's childhood favorites.
Rose hips in a chartreuse vase, cream tulips and candles on the kitchen cart....Encaustic paintings by Whidbey island artist David Price (his work is shown by Museo Gallery in Langley and now at Patricia Rovzar Gallery in Seattle - he's one of the featured artists in both galleries this month).