Happy Holidays to all DesignDestinations.org Readers
It’s a funny time of year for me. Bittersweet. Missing those not with us. Remembering holidays of yesteryear. At the same time I love the new traditions being established and memories made. I try to remember advice from the Buddha.
The Buddha says: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
One constant is my love of holiday decor and music. I’ll never get tired of observing and enjoying how people here and around the world recognize this festive season with lights, decor, symbols and sometimes goofy stuff.
This year it occurred to me that I have no idea where many of the traditions so enthusiastically celebrated originate, so of course, I headed to Google. I’ve combined some of what I learned with photos I’ve taken as I learn to be a better photographer.
What do your Holiday Decorations Say about you?
Probably the most intriguing post was titled what do your holiday decorations say about you? Your “style” reveals more than you think, but that’s a whole blog post. Maybe I’ll tackle that question next year.
Interesting to me for this post is that I learned that decorating your home with vibrant lights is a way to communicate “neighborliness.” Many times the decor reveals the wish to be connected with the neighbors.
So, try not to snicker when you see the overdone ones. The intentions are admirable.
Relive the Magic
One psychologist claims that the earlier you put up Christmas decorations, the happier a person you are likely to be.
According to Steve McKeown, “In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood.”
I’m not sure if these were put up early but they certainly make me feel happy.
The custom of affixing fruits, vegetables, dried flowers, herbs and other plant life to wreaths, swags and roping traces it’s roots to homes at the beginning of the 20th century. Colonial Williamsburg picked up on the trend and made it popular around 1936.
This expanded to pots and planters which morphed to all kinds of variations.
Perhaps putting up decor reminds one of a lost loved one and when they were alive. Sure does me. I miss my Mom particularly at Christmas because she loved, loved, loved Christmas. We couldn’t decorate too much, buy too many presents or sing too many silly songs.
Decorating helps me to feel connected to her. I’m wondering if any readers can relate.
Christmas Tree Tradition
No one knows exactly when trees were first used but the general consensus is that it was 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. The modern day practice grew in popularity when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert installed a tree at Windsor Castle and then used it surrounded with presents as a back drop for a royal portrait. The woodcut was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1848 and the practice exploded.
I found two different accounts of first electric lights
The first version is that outdoor Christmas lights were developed when the American Insurance companies tried to get a law passed banishing them because of the fires candles with real flames started. In 1895 an American, Ralph Morris invented the electric lights, popular today.
A second version is that Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, was the clever person who dreamed up electric Christmas tree lights. In 1882, not long after Edison had invented the light bulb, Johnson hung a string of 80 red, white, and blue bulbs on the tree in his New York City home and invited journalists to come and gawk at the illuminations.
Table Top Holiday Decor
I personally love table top decor. Don’t know the history of holiday decor, but I did find out that using centerpieces became more of a thing when the idea of a buffet luncheon or dinner started to take off in the 1920s-30s as a new trend. Instead of putting all the dishes out family style and passing them around, or in wealthier households having someone pass or plate the dishes for you, people put the food on a separate surface and brought their plates back to the tables. That left a gap in the middle of the table. A creative hostess plunked down some flowers and a tradition was started.
Upside Down Christmas Trees
It’s actually not new. I learned that hanging fir trees upside down goes back to the Middle Ages, when Europeans did it to represent the Trinity. But now, Christmas trees are shaped with the tip pointing to heaven, and some think an upside-down Christmas tree is disrespectful or sacrilegious.
The trees were recently introduced to retailers for in-store displays, so more ornaments could be displayed at eye level to the buying public. And they left more floor space to hold extra stock of decorations.
Some conservatives see upside-down trees as yet more proof of liberals’ politically correct war on Christian traditions. “It’s like an upside-down world … the bizarro world,” said Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s former campaign manager.
Make of that what you will. Happy Holidays– upside down or not.