December is a month full of celebrations related to home, light and family.
In the various calendars you can find a wide variety of special holidays including the Dutch Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas as it is called in Western countries, the jewish Hanukkah, Solstice on December 21 which marks the shortest day of the year, the Christian Christmas, the Hindu holiday Diwali, the African Kwanzaa and of course the New Year eve on December 31. I recently heard of two more cool dates not regarding light nor fire but yes to friendship: Ding-a-Ling Day on December 12, a day to remember to call someone we haven’t been in contact with for a long time, and National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day on December 16. I added them to my agenda 🙂.
It is not by chance that cultures around the world chose December for such celebrations. During the gloomiest time of the year we tend to shut ourselves in our warm house, and fight the ancient fear of darkness, demons and spirits (physically but also mentally). As we are not bears and are unable to get into bed and sleep all winter, we tend to look for sources of comfort, light and warmth, among family and friends. We desire to make the gloomy time pleasant and embracing – as the Dutch call it – gezellig. We tend to invite guests to the holiday table and wish to flaunt them with our home and food. Some of us go through house renovation but most of us prefer to settle for a thorough house cleaning and a design refresh.
So with the upcoming holidays vibe, I offer some easy home decor and holiday table tips that can make the difference with a minimum of effort.
Those tips are based on an ancient Chinese theory called Feng Shui. Feng Shui examines the chi (= energy) flow in space. According to this theory every object, living or inanimate, has a unique impact on its environment and is also influenced by its surroundings. The primary goal in Feng Shui is to invite a positive chi into our home. To store it and make it flow freely around us and within us. We have to make sure to avoid any blockages.
If you wish to add a sense of empowerment and excitement to the process of welcoming the new year into your home, you could do so in a number of simple ways:
- Minimalism. Keep only what we love and use.
First and foremost, we will start clearing the house from unnecessary items – free it from cluttering objects. To allow the house to have a positive flow of energy that will affect all areas of life, the house should be emptied of broken or unused objects. Make sure that in the various rooms, as well as in the passages between them, there is no furniture and accessories that block or interfere with movement. The unnecessary objects – furniture, toys, clothes and tools can and should be donated.
- Dust – every object that collects dust stabs the Chi. Energy tends to get stuck in small places like spaces between the closet and the ceiling. It is advisable to avoid these situations and clean the dust.
- Energetic purge – I’d recommend doing an energetic purge once a while, and before New Year is a great time to do it. During purification we release energies that are “stuck” in the corners of the house and replace the energy with new energy. There are all sorts of ways to perform the purification, one of them is burning dry sage in every corner of the house. It is important that the room is clean, tidy and ventilated during the purging.
A touch of paint
- A simple way to give a room a new look is to give one of the walls an accent with paint or wallpaper.
- If painting is too a big project for you, you can just hang new paintings/ art work and scatter complementary items around:
- A new and colorful rug adds new interest to the whole space (note that it is the right size).
- Scattering of decorative pillows in different shades and sizes. This is actually my favorite item as it can really change the atmosphere of the room according to the mood or fashion with a minimum of expense.
- Flowers and plants are always a recommended energetic addition to a home. It is important to keep potted plants nurtured and replace the bouquets as soon as they begin to wither. Plants also act as air purifiers, they replace the carbon dioxide that accumulates in the air with oxygen (see my other articles about it https://www.noffi.nl/embrace-your-living-room-with-plants/).
Accessories to encourage the flow of Chi in the house
- Mirrors – the Chinese call the mirror “the aspirin of feng shui” because of its many uses. Hanging mirrors in strategic areas will reflect, give the illusion of size and depth, increase the lighting, direct the flow of chi and intensify it.
* A mirror is a doubler and one should pay attention to what we double: it is recommended to place a mirror in front of a reflection that we want to double: a reflection of a beautiful view outside brings it home. A reflection of a dining table doubles the number of diners and food and will give a feeling of abundance. be careful not to place a mirror in front of something we do not want to double, a toilet for example.
* Note that the mirror should be clean and flawless and best to hung it at the right height so that both tall and short people will be fully reflected in it. It is better to have one mirror that is large enough to reflect us and not a collection of mirrors that show parts of our body. There are two reasons for this, one is that our body also has chi and it is not recommended to cut it. Second, we are surrounded by an invisible aura and the mirror has to absorb us with our aura.
- Crystals – an important tool in navigating the chi in the room. Its strength depends on the number of its wigs and the degree of its transparency. As light refracts as it passes through polished glass, chi splits and slows down as it passes through crystal. You can hang a crystal in the middle of the window through which sun enters and thus disperse the colors of the rainbow within the room. The rainbow also strengthens the human body (see article about the effect of colors on our body https://www.noffi.nl/impact-of-colors-on-our-lives/). Crystal candlesticks or housewares can also be a powerful addition on the holiday table.
- Wind chimes – they also slow down the chi in space but can also be effective as a sound barrier between an external noise source and the house. The sound produced by the bells or reeds touches the hearts of the people in the house, helps them to ignore outside noises and creates a pleasant and relaxing feeling. It is important to choose the bells carefully so that their melody will be soothing.
A long corridor
A long corridor in the house creates a situation in which the energy that flows through it flows at an accelerated speed due to the narrow and long channel. The goal is to slow down the flow of chi so it will move gently. Otherwise – chi will not reach the rest of the rooms along the corridor, while the room at the end of the corridor will suffer from a direct, strong and aggressive chi flow. In order to slow down the flow in the corridor, we will use objects that will attract the attention of the chi and cause it to slow down: lighting, a mirror on the long wall, a rug, a series of pictures, ornaments along the corridor. These objects should not interfere with the flow of chi, just slow it down.
- If you are about to purchase new furniture, it is wise to choose furniture with rounded corners and arrange them in speciously to allow free movement. A piece of furniture that “blocks” the way will also block the flow of energy.
- Position the sofas and chairs in such a way as to encourage eye contact between the occupants. In order for you to have control (a key element in the Feng Shui method) of what is happening, the sofas and chairs should be placed as much as possible facing to the entrance.
- If you have armchairs in the living room, you can upholster one of the armchairs in a different and interesting fabric and spread its color with the help of other accessories in the room.
- Lighting fixtures – a simple way to change the ambiance in the house is new lighting fixtures, preferably ones that can be dimmed as needed.
To improve the relationship – in your bedroom, allow free passages on both sides of the double bed and place bedside tables on each side of the bed. Paired objects on the west side of the room would also encourage intimacy. They could be a statue consisting of two people, two stones, two flower pots, a picture that reflects a couple or two pictures. I wouldn’t recommend hanging a picture of a lone woman or man in the bedroom.
Festive dining table according to Feng Shui rules
- Position the dining table in such a way that one can move around it freely, even when everyone is sitting. Place an even number of chairs around the table.
- The celebration of the New Year begins in the evening and as such, the use of candles creates a romantic, intimate and pleasant atmosphere. As I mentioned above crystal candlesticks will give a rich, elegant atmosphere with beneficent energies but also colored candlesticks with a background of a bright map can upgrade the look. Candles with unusual shapes can attract the eye. I do not recommend scented candles because they are air pollutants. If you fancy adding fragrance to the festive atmosphere I recommend using clean essential oils. If you won’t be inviting me to the meal you can also use fragrant incense 🙂
I end with a greeting for the new year: