With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start setting up some decorations. Here are a few suggestions for easy, beautiful but minimalistic decorations for three popular, end-of-year holidays: Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukkah.
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Kwanza Decoration Suggestions
1) Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanza in 1966 as a way to celebrate family and African culture and heritage. It’s modeled after African harvest celebrations.
2) Kwanza means “first fruits” in Swahili.
3) The Kwanza colors are meant to symbolize the joining of all people of African descent. Green represents the African land, black represents the African peoples and red represents the “shared blood” of all those with African heritage.
- Simple Woodland Kinara: You can make by hand a “woodland” style Kinara (which symbolizes the shared past, present and futures of African Americans) using a soft wood, like cedar and a drill. In other words, you’re using a simple piece of unfinished, raw wood for the holder. The end result will look natural and minimalistic, while still acting effectively as a candleholder.
- Fruits and vegetables: Arrange seasonal fruits and vegetables in a simple, wooden bowl—a traditional wooden Ghana bowl is especially preferable.
- Black, red and green: You can decorate your home with the three Kwanza colors. Tying decorative ribbons around vases, stemware, or even on bannisters is an excellent start, or you can also drape a traditional Kwanza-patterned blanket on your living room furniture.
- Unity symbols: A star, sewn together using different shades of gold-colored fabric, can work well as a unique but minimalistic unity symbol.
- Traditional folk art: Traditional African folk art, like wooden statues, textiles, or even masks, can be arranged throughout the house.
- Flowers: Since Kwanza is associated with a traditional harvest celebration you can add natural floral touches to your home, such as tropical flowers and plants that are bright and colorful.
Hanukkah Decoration Suggestions
1) In Hebrew, Hanukkah means “dedication.” The holiday is also called the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, or the Feast of the Maccabees. The holiday commemorates the Maccabees’ victory over the Syrians—and the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem—in around 165 BCE.
2) When the Maccabees first rededicated the Second Temple, they found they only had enough oil to keep the Temple lit for one night—but the oil lasted for eight days.
3) Hanukkah is celebrated over eight days, and the first candle is lit in a Menorah—starting on the second night, a new candle is added each night until the eighth is reached.
4) Latkes, or potato pancakes, are popular on Hanukkah. The dreidel, which is a four-sided top, is also a popular gift.
- Minimalistic Brass Menorah: A minimalistic brass menorah features nine individual candleholders. It’s made from polished brass, and it’s both highly functional and elegant too. Simply arrange the brass pieces as you wish and fill them with candles.
- Rustic Branch Menorah: Take a piece of wood, such as an oak branch or even driftwood, paint it gold or silver, and use it as a simple Menorah.
- Napkins: When decorating the dinner table, you can wrap individual napkins up with simple blue ribbons—you can then decorate these napkins with simple beads and foil chocolate coins.
- Mirror Garland: Since Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, you can light up the interior of your home with a DIY mirror garland paired with basic white-lights.
- DIY Wax paper candleholders: Another simple DIY project that’s perfect for the Festival of Lights, DIY candleholders are elegant, minimalistic, and truly beautiful.
- Handmade Hanukkah candles: Textured candles are easy to make, and they pair wonderfully with other minimalistic decorative touches. Simply roll up sheets of bee wax to make natural, elegantly-designed candles.
Christmas Decoration Suggestions
1) The word “Christmas” is derived from the Old English phrase “Christes Maesse” (that means Christ’s Mass).
2) In England, Santa Claus is known as Father Christmas, and in Brazil and Peru, he’s known as Papa Noel. Santa Claus is also based on St. Nikolas of Myra, a real life saint.
3) The first Christmas tree decorations were actually apples, and the Germans made the first artificial Christmas tree (out of dyed goose feathers).
4) The largest artificial Christmas tree stood at 170.6 feet!
- Evergreen branches on the bannister: drape fresh evergreen branches along your staircase bannister, and fasten them using festive ribbons or gold wire.
- Holiday centerpiece: Take a glass jar, and fill it with colorful holiday items—like oranges, peppermints, or small pinecones.
- Unique displays: Take traditional glass or metallic vintage ornaments and arrange them (along with natural touches like oranges or holly) on a decorative platter.
- The Easy Advent Calendar: Number various-sized, red envelopes (1-25) and arrange them on a wall to form a minimalistic Christmas tree. Small, lightweight gifts can be stuffed inside each envelope.
- Starlit Trees: Use bare, simple trees and decorate them with a dazzling array of sparkly lights. These starlit trees are very straightforward, inexpensive and beautifully minimalistic.
- Homemade Gold Triangle Garland: Create a homemade garland that features simple, tree-like geometric shapes—note: gold paper gives it a nice warm touch.