What happens when you look at the holidays through the lens of a designer? Specifically, holiday decorations. Does the way you decorate communicate something about yourself on a deeper level? Something a Myers-Briggs test would never reveal? We did a little digging, drank a lot of Costco eggnog and came up with a few archetypes we think will shed some light on the subject, specifically, the mindsets and motivations of people when they grab their decorations, ladders and get to work. Take a look and then tell us if any of these people are someone you may know (wink, wink).
The Purist: It’s a Wonderful Life. Miracle on 34th Street. Opening gifts on Christmas Day instead of Eve. Driving around neighborhoods to see other people’s Christmas decorations. This person sticks to tradition. No deviation from the norm. She has a real respect for the tried and true and decorates in a classic way. No blow-up snow globes or dancing Santa dolls here. We’re talking a couple of reindeer or snowmen in the front yard, life-sized Santa on a sled, maybe a Nativity scene, tinsel around the front lamppost and the old-fashioned string of lights on gutters and bushes. We mean the big, honking multi-colored throwback lights. The Purist uses the same decorations each year and usually keeps them in the attic or garage in a box marked “X-mas Decorations” with a Sharpie. In today’s volatile, chaotic world, Purists use the holidays to ground family and friends by creating comfort, familiarity and stability.
The Perfectionist: Gordon Ramsey meets your eighth-grade English teacher. This Type-A person believes in the idea that “anything worth doing is worth doing absolutely, positively right.” In other words, “it’s my way or the highway.” Often they are a mom, grandmother, great aunt or persnickety dad with an Art history degree. Highly meticulous and detail-oriented, this person knows the religious impact of the holiday, but staunchly believes that “the devil is in the details.” Serious attention is paid to color schemes, accuracy of gingerbread houses and the symmetry of lights on the Christmas tree. This person will align Christmas ornaments with the same energy and focus of an exhibit at the Franklin Institute. Traits often extend beyond holiday decorations and apply to Christmas dinners and marine-like wrapping of presents. The Perfectionist also awards major points to authentic looking shopping mall Santas.
The Sentimentalist: This is the person in your home or office who wants to know “if you’re in the Christmas spirit yet?” Holidays are festive and highly emotional. Especially true for those with babies or toddlers in the house. Every decoration has a sentimental value that stirs the spirits of every Christmas past. For families with older children, the Sentimentalist will hang Christmas tree ornaments made by the children of the house at various stages of development. Which would explain the hand-drawn pictures of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer from 1991, a taped-up Darth Vader ornament with a crack in it or a soapbox derby car ornament from little Bobby’s Cub Scout days. If you’re a Sentimentalist, your house is part festive home and part museum.
The Minimalist: Hey, it’s the holidays. They hang a wreath on the front door, put up the artificial tree in the same corner of the living room and they're done with it.
The Exhibitionist: They know they're an attention hound. Their home is a blank canvas to create a masterpiece. The holidays are the Super Bowl and Academy Awards rolled into one. The Exhibitionist creates a spectacle of light bulbs, animatrons, ribbons and plastic that would make George Lucas, Walt Disney and Prince jealous. They spare no expense. They take no prisoners. Peco loves their ass.
The Whateverist: Some tinsel here. A string of lights there. A different string of lights over there. The old plastic snowman out front. There’s no rhyme or reason to decorating, no hidden agenda for the Whateverist. This person knows decorating and getting into the spirit are important, but simply doesn’t take it too seriously or go crazy with planning. Whateverists are born improvisers and choose to decorate on the fly. There’s a balance of pride and pragmatism at work here. Whateverists decorate because it makes the people around them happy and it’s a great way to do something together. In the end, isn’t that what really matters?
We know we’re just scratching the surface. So help us out. Tell us what archetype best fits you or better yet, send us an original archetype. All we ask is that you submit it in the form of an “ist.” There might even be a free fruitcake in it for the best one we receive.
SUBMIT YOUR ARCHETYPES HERE
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE…