Martha, Martha

Let’s just get this out in the open right now. I am no Martha Stewart. That fact becomes woefully obvious to me around the holidays! Everywhere I look I see a dozen new ways to create something fabulous for the season. Gifts, packaging, elaborate decorations, and gourmet feasts, you name it, the holidays cry out for a homemade touch. It is enough to have me crying out for more hours in my day! The main problem is not my lack of inspiration or desire to have everything just so. I have limitations! I have no staff.  No holiday decorating budget. And I value my sanity. And honestly, I am just not that crafty. I’ll admit it.

I realized early in my domestic life I would have to find my own simple style for the holidays and go with it. There was no hope of hand carved holiday ice sculptures; it just wasn’t going to happen! The times I have attempted a Martha Stewart holiday have been enough to cure any aspirations of achieving Martha status. While I am all for creating a festive atmosphere, I have to accomplish it in such a way as to maintain my holiday cheer and keep the birth of Christ in focus. I want it all, like many women. I want the Martha Stewart holiday ambience AND the energy to remember the reason for the season.

So, how can we have it all during the holidays? First of all, we really don’t need to pull out all 231 boxes of red and green decorations to start our Christmas decorating. Really! Let’s simplify things. Martha wouldn’t use those dusty old relics anyways, so I think we can safely leave those in the attic this year!

But don’t worry, you don’t have to whip out your glue gun, sewing machine, or carving tools either. We can do this an easier way. For starters, get yourself a roll of ribbon. Ribbon can make anything festive. Then start looking around your home for items that are already pretty! Repurposing things is a great way to get that homemade charm without the crafty frustration or time commitment.

For instance, you can take a set of silver spoons or cookie cutters, hang them on a ribbon from your cabinets, chandelier, or stairway and voila, you have charming décor! How simple is that? Anyone can do this, crafty or not! Crafty folks can still hand-embroider their stockings if they need more to do. Ribbon works for everyone. No fuss, no expensive investment, just an old-fashioned holiday.

Here is another idea that looks like you slaved over it for hours, but can be whipped together in nothing flat. Look in your craft box for some beads or fuzzy pom-poms. String them on some wire and you’ve got yourself some garland! It will be far more charming than that gold glittery stuff, and it will only take you a matter of minutes. You can do this while you are watching a holiday movie and make enough to hang all over the house if you want. You could even make them for gifts! Your friends will be amazed at your talent and you will smile every time you see your handiwork.

Want something really easy and environmentally chic? Grab some fruit and vegetables! Toss your artichokes or apples in the center of a holiday wreath placed on your table, or fill an apothecary jar with red and green apples for an instant organic display. That’s it! Having a centerpiece you can eat is VERY Martha. She is always multi-tasking.

You can even use your favorite traditional decorations in fresh ways. Do you have a gravy boat or glass sugar bowl collecting dust? Just rinse it out and fill it with jingle bells or small glass ornaments. Put your holiday salt and pepper shakers up on a footed cake stand to decorate your sideboard. Hang your wreaths from ribbons on bed frames or windows instead of on the front door. Hang small ornaments on your swags. You can do this!

Simple creativity gives you the satisfaction of a Martha Stewart moment without overshadowing the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth. And that is a very good thing!

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Luke 10:41 NIV

©2007, Melissa Michaels
Photo credit, Melissa Michaels

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