Some folks look forward to following their Christmas traditions each year. Others want to break through the clichÃ©s and breathe new life into their decor. Whatever the approach, everyone can benefit by taking a page from Japanese culture during the holidays. Their Zen and minimalist styles offer refreshing new angles on both new and old Christmas decor!
Facts About Japanese Christmas Traditions
In the past, you may have mixed Scandinavian or German Christmas traditions into your home, but what about Japanese ones? Japan doesn’t have a long history of Christmas. It’s only in the last century that they’ve started enjoying the holiday as a time to eat Western food, celebrate with friends, and enjoy light displays. It’s not so much their Christmas traditions that we can borrow, but Japanese aesthetics in general!
A Zen Christmas
For most of us, stress, excess, and busyness are so normal around Christmas time that we hardly question them. It’s time to take a lesson from zen!
Zen is both a Buddhist philosophy and traditional Japanese design. It emphasizes peaceful simplicity, balance, lack of clutter, harmony, and a love of natural elements. If we bring zen into our Christmas decor, we can carve out a sanctuary of peace in our home, bringing relaxation and higher quality time to our loved ones.
Elements of Nature
Elements of nature are key in zen and traditional Japanese decor. A Christmas tree is already an important piece of nature that we bring inside. Adding more houseplants into the design“”like Chinese evergreens, palms, ficus, or orchids””make the space more peaceful and harmonious, purifies the air, and creates the feel of a Japanese Christmas.
Japanese homes often include natural colours, like green, the grey of stone or slate, and the beige or brown of wood. These neutral tones naturally make us feel comfortable and at ease, and they jive with zen design. We don’t have to give up red in our Christmas decor, but we can easily borrow a page from Japanese traditions by focusing on natural colours.
Minimalism is a style that’s always gaining popularity and comes to mind whenever we think of Japanese culture””but how can we apply it to Christmas? We can opt for a tiny tree, like a bonsai or Norfolk Island pine. We can also create a miniature succulent garden. Above all, we can pare down our Christmas decor to the essentials. In a minimalist design, nothing is out of order or lacking purpose. The whole effect creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
Cherry blossoms are a famous symbol in Japanese culture. Of course, they occur in the spring, not in the middle of winter. But if you’re going for a Japanese look, there’s no reason why you can’t include floral displays at Christmas. Cut flowers, poinsettias, Christmas cactus, and flowering tropical houseplants all bring a burst of blossoms into your home.
Abundant Christmas Lights
Even though they emphasize minimalism in their designs, one thing the Japanese don’t hold back on is Christmas lights. Light festivals have become major events in Tokyo and other major cities in Japan. They last from November or December all the way until February. Perhaps this love of lights stems from the older tradition of Japanese lanterns.
Whatever its origins, adding lights or lanterns to your Christmas display is another way to bring a piece of Japan into your decor.
For more winter decor ideas, visit one of our garden centres in Sherwood Park and St. Albert!