Christmas maximalism is the key to lifting your mood this festive season

Article by Lisa Marie Corso / /
December 15, 2020 /
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The silly season has arrived and the countdown to the new year has begun. For many kissing goodbye to 2020 will be easy, it was a tough, strange year we’re happy to leave behind. But before we give up on 2020 completely, it offers a slither of redemption: the festive season.

With restrictions eased and the opportunity to reunite with our friends and families, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are a chance to celebrate coming together after being apart. After spending a year at home, we’re looking forward to getting the Christmas decorations out of storage and transforming our homes into a festive wonderland without abandon.

While organising the party and glazing the ham are important when bringing Christmas festivities to life, decorating our interiors is just as worthwhile a consideration for elevating our mood this festive season.

“After a very hard year, having the house look fun and festive can be a shortcut way to feeling a bit better about ourselves and the world,” says Lauren Rosewarne, a social scientist at the University of Melbourne. 

“Particularly when we’ve all spent a disproportionate amount of time in our homes this year, decorating for Christmas is a way to make the house look different and special and denote that we’ve entered a distinctly different part of the year.” 

Whether you’re new to or have always embraced Christmas maximalism (or Christmaximalism for short), interior designer Sarah Shinners encourages we embrace it after a turbulent year.

“Everyone has been so secluded for most of this year and I think it’s really nice to be able to look forward to those celebratory moments now that we can,” she says.

“If you’re coming home to a beautiful [Christmas] tree it can really lift your mood and really extend the joy, instead of the Christmas celebration just being on that one day.”

While guests usually expect an edible feast for Christmas lunch, Shinners also shares a few tips for creating a visual feast.

She recommends leaning into a loose colour palette and tones for decor and table settings.

“I definitely think colour is a massive influencer of mood and you should gravitate towards those that make you feel warmth, joy and happiness,” she says.

“The colours don’t have to be beholden to a traditional Christmas theme, unless that’s what you love, then go for it.”

The festive season is also an opportunity to play and experiment with decor that you may not want to live with for the other 11 months of the year, knowing they’re only temporary fixtures.

“Holidays are a break from the ordinary, a kind of bonus round, where we get to be a bit more silly, a bit more frivolous, and where we’re less preoccupied with good taste and are embracing of the gaudy and the silly and often the extreme,” says Rosewarne. 

For the full Christmas maximalism effect, Shinners recommends thinking about festive additions to your home as layers working with the senses including decor for the eyes, fresh foliage for scent, and music for the ears.

“Bringing in all of your senses can really add to the mood, for instance a real Christmas tree or beautiful green foliage on the table that smells of pine trees.”

Lighting is also another consideration from the glow of festive lights to sculptural candelabras as dinner table centrepieces.

Weaving in personal touches to the decor is also a sentimental touch, Shinners adds.

“The crafty decorator in me loves making custom Christmas crackers or layering the table with a bit of personalisation like that, where you can really go to town with wrapping them in different fabrics, ribbons and putting your own jokes inside while adding some fun to the table.”

For Shinners, Christmas 2020 is not the year to be subtle with our festive decorating.

“This year is going to be more about the party, spending time with the family and reminiscing on the good old times, having a cocktail and saying bye to 2020.”