“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou

There is science behind the joy holiday decorating can provide. As Dr. Deborah Serani, a psychologist, professor, and award-winning author explains, “It creates a neurological shift that can produce happiness. Decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.”

Many of us need some extra light in our lives and decorating this holiday season can be a simple way to find solace in a turbulent world. Whether it comes from joy experienced as a child or an adult, the season delivers an opportunity to think back, fondly, on better days.

It’s plausible that living alone during the holidays could affect your decision on whether to or how much to decorate. Perhaps you’re traveling and don’t want the burden of having to return to a cluttered mess upon your return. (My Christmas tree, for example, is usually on the curb before sunlight on December 26th. It is not so much because I disliked the look or the smell – instead, it was my initiative to have the floors cleaned and shined before going to bed.)

Lynn Peretz, a retired marketing director who lives alone in Delray Beach offered her plans to decorate for Hanukkah this year, “I will have a candled menorah inside and an electric menorah on the window sill facing outside. Seeing the lights is important and reminds us that there are still miracles to celebrate.” Lynn adds that she will be displaying classic blue and white stars, even if they’re just for her. “We honor the 8 days the cruse of oil lasted as the foundation of yearly traditions to celebrate Hanukkah.”

Americans are accustomed to seeing lit-up Christmas trees starting to pop up in major retailer chains even before Halloween has past. I for one, often shake my head thinking it is way too early, however, just seeing them is a clear reminder that this year is ending – and a new one is on the horizon. I have always enjoyed seeing homes lit up Clark Griswold style.

While many of us don’t have money in this year’s budget for such fanfare, here are a few tips on decorating within one: 

  1. Choose one part of the home to focus on,perhaps the room you’re most likely to spend time in.
  2. Shop at thrift stores;there are almost always holiday decorations on the shelves.
  3. Make your own ornaments with crafts and items already at home.
  4. Use natural componentslike branches, pinecones, seashells, or other items you can find on a walk or hike (this will also combat COVID-19 isolation).
  5. Don’t buy extension cords or surge protectors from dollar stores: these types of electronics are cheap but they are also made inexpensively and one bad connection is all it takes.
  6. Set the mood when people enter your homewith a simple, well-placed front door wreath.
  7. Shop for next year’s decorations after this holiday season is behind us – retailers tend to mark down these items exponentially.
  8. Gingerbread houses are a holiday staple, and with more time on our hands, baking old favorites is an inexpensive way to share the joy.
  9. Remove clutter– you are more likely to enjoy your decorating experience and the finished product if you do a purge of unnecessary junk prior to the season.
  10. Flowers are a must this year– even if it’s just poinsettias and pine, bring what’s outside indoors particularly if you are in a cold climate.

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