Emma needs inspiration:
I’d love to get some ideas for non-Christmas-holiday decorations. DIY would be especially treasured. Something more winter solstice-based…or really just not anything overly Santa Claus/presents/Christian-centered.
I am really awful at bringing details together, and I would love some offbeat advice!
What can I do to my home to make it wintry, but not Christmas-y?
So, you’re kind of non-specifically celebrating winter, yeah? I get you. I’ve found lots of ways to get seasonal but avoid all things which speak to specific beliefs.
Winter solstice celebrations are often light-centric.
Click through for a tutorial on a really simple way to make an ice lantern infused with wintry bits.
Light up hanging planters to make them pull double duty — green and flowery in the summer, subdued and pretty in the winter.
“Christmas lights” are becoming less Christmas-centric and more awesome-home-decor. The big colorful bulbs are so cheery. Seeing them makes me feel like the nice old lady at the office made me Christmas cookies.
Things to make
These simple crafts can be accomplished in a fairly short period — they might be a nice meditation on a dull December day.
Two sheets of cardstock paper + scissors + tape + interesting stick = oddly simple festivity log!
Make a swirled lacy snowflake. Click through on the image for the VERY simple instructions.
This gorgeous Felt Holiday Wreath comes in a easy-to-make DIY kit.
The description calls these poofy pine cones miniature Christmas trees, but eff that. These are just cute. Everything looks festive with a rainbow poof stuck on it! Festivity and winter are like peas in a pod.
Oh, the ever-popular bunting. So “joy to the world” is a great thought on its own, but it’s certainly evocative of Christmas. Could you string up a sentence bunting that says, like, “Man is the measure of all things” or something?
Do you have awesome secular decorations that highlight the season? Get ’em out in the comments — you too, below-the-Equator.
Comments on Agnostic seasonal decor: it’s winter, not Christmas
If any other Aussie/Kiwi/South (or southern) African types stumble in here this year, any other ideas for summery secular holiday decor?
I just made a bunch of decorations out of salt dough and I’m loving them! The dough is just 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour mixed together until a dough is formed that has a smooth, not sticky, consistency. Then you roll out the dough and can use cookie cutters or make free hand shapes of whatever you want (don’t forget to punch holes if you want to hang them somewhere, I have mine hung all over the apartment on bottles, vases, lamps, etc). They take a while to dry and aren’t necessarily much to look at when they’re plain but you can use paint to finish them off; I used an awesome gold acrylic paint for mine. Twine is good for hanging them but you can use anything you want.
I love making decorations this way because it’s easy, fun, cheap to pull together and completely customizable!
I’m confused by the comments linking Santa Claus with Christianity. Wut. If you’re going to go back far enough to link St. Nicolaus or Father Christmas to Christian traditions, might as well go back further and grab the winter solstice celebrations that were around before the church hit.
I would argue that today’s jolly Santa is pretty secular. I have even heard of Christians that are anti Santa, since he’s no baby Jesus.
Anyway, far be it from me to care if you want Santa decorations or not. I just think it’s a stretch in today’s day and age to link his current incarnation with religion.
(I personally dislike the modern Santa in appearance so I stay away from him too. I love the older versions like the Scandinavian tomte or nisse or the Russian Ded Moroz or even Victorian versions which look like kindly mountain men to me and therefore remind me of my father.)
I would say that for me the season is all about bringing in greenery and light, two things that are usually lacking (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Snowflakes and penguins are neat and I like them too but I’d personally rather celebrate warmth (think glowy lights, velvety fabrics, plush knitted things and jewel tones) rather than be reminded of Antarctica. 😉 That said I think all you Off Beat folks sound super festive and know what works for you and that’s awesome!
I think it’s more the link with the specific holiday of Christmas than with Christianity, maybe.
The kiddo and I made “solstice stars” out of cinnamon dough and dried orange slices. I don’t do very much decorating but these are both fun to make and make the house smell awesome! I like to use dried herbs also.
cinnamon dough: 200f oven for 1-2 hours, 2/3 cup applesauce, 2 bottles(2 1/3oz) cinnamon
Orange slices take about 3 hours at 200f
Nobel Scientist Snowflake templates!
– stuff from nature: bare branches, branches with berries (buckthorn have neat black berries as well as points at the end), teasels, rushes, cat-tails, and pine cones are easy to get even if you’re not outdoorsy.
– stars, as already up in the picture
– snowflakes in various forms, as in the picture
– wintery birds. Everyone knows about cardinals, but also chickadees, mourning doves, woodpeckers, blue jays, and others hang around all winter. And little finches!
I know this is years later, but this year (2018) at Target (in the USA) they’ve got all of these 6″ or so stuffed plush songbirds in winter gear… hats and scarves and little vests… and they’re absolutely ADORABLE. And there’s like 10 different designs… one could totally scatter them across their mantle or top of your entertainment system.
2 years ago I made a pine cone garland. I hung it over windows and this year the mantle. It’s those cinnamon pinecones (or any larger ones) super glued to a rope. I made a twisted white rope out of cotton yarn but if I had it would have used a jute type pre-roped item. It’s seasonal, nature based, and very attractive, if I do say so myself.
I decorate for winter as well as Christmas with winter decorations I keep up until the Spring equinox. And I like my outdoor display in December to be agnostic so that people of all faiths & no faiths can appreciate it. (And people of non-Christian faith feel less alone in a very Christian area.)
My winter decorations are a lot of whites, silvers, blues, teals. Snowflakes, icicles, snowmen (which can be hard to find without trappings of Christmas like red & green, holly, candy canes, Santa hat, etc.), evergreen greenery. My lights are all snowflake lights I got at IKEA many moons ago and also clear hanging icicle lights. I’m always keeping my eye out at Christmas time for winter decorations (esp. because they’re all gone by the time I’m ready for them in January.)
One that I didn’t see mentioned above is sleigh bells. They come in all sizes & colors, sometimes the cutouts are shaped like stars or snowflakes or hearts, and they’re great to put on an evergreen wreath on your door (you can hear when people come in easier).
This year the challenge has been: I’ve moved to a new apartment that’s very old that has few power outlets inside, and NONE outside. (And I can’t run a cord under a door or through a window because we already have problems with heating & insulation.) So all lights have to be battery powered or solar, and rated for outside. The dollar store also had battery operated icicles 2/$1, snowmen solar walkway lights, and white paper lanterns with blue snowflakes all over them w/ battery operated lights in them. But my favorite thing I got at the dollar store (Dollar Tree) were 2 signs in gold & silver that said Hope and Peace. Good messages for all, regardless of the season.