Why We Decorate for Fall

Why We Decorate for Fall

Cathee Poulsen

At the end of every August, when I think I’d rather poke myself in the eye than face another sweltering day, I preoccupy myself by pretending autumn is just around the corner. It’s a wicked game because I know in my part of Central Florida, we very likely can have the A/C on for Thanksgiving Dinner. Never mind the logic, it’s time to decorate for fall.

I’ve been thinking lately about why we go to this extreme? Especially where I live.

  • We will not see fall leaves – till possibly December when maples do change colors
  • We can’t begin to wear sweaters – maybe for Halloween weekend
  • We don’t grow apples or pumpkins

What’s Our Motive?

Those of us who love to practice hospitality, and create occasions to gather, if we’re honest, want to share our creative genius for this season’s decor. After all, we’ve repurposed last year’s seasonal pillows and plaid throws, we’ve made out of town trips to Hobby Lobby and Home Goods, we’ve even stopped at the Dollar Tree to see what we can glean from the cheap stuff. We’ve even bought Mop and Shine (which we haven’t thought of in 20 years) because a friend said if we coat our real pumpkins with it, they’ll last till Thanksgiving.

Every nook and cranny of our homes has a touch of a season we only dream of inhabiting. Candles, tiny lights wound in a circle inside a glass pumpkin, new placemats and napkins, apple cider ready for a cuppa, and the quintessential pumpkin pie, baked early to get us “in the mood.”

And there’s certainly not a thing wrong with any of that!

What’s Different This Year?

There’s hardly a culture or nation that doesn’t celebrate the seasons. Autumn is a time of gathering in the harvest, preparing for winter, making good use of everything grown in the summer. We’ve kept the tradition less in a literal way and more as a season of the heart, because few of us actually farm these days. I think Jesus is pleased when we remember those who do the work to produce the wonderful food we get to eat in this country. And we pray that they prosper and find ways to grow healthier produce and meat. Wouldn’t that be a good thing for us to do?

“Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.” We see those words embossed on pillows, plates and posters. A message we want to be represented by. Words that may influence even those who forget to practice gratitude.

Doesn’t our decor shout out the message that life is good and we want to celebrate that? There are rough places, and many difficulties, sure. But we’ve almost made it through another year and God’s grace has been outpoured on us all.

Our decorations bespeak the unspoken message that we want to be people who make a place at our table for others. Our homes are open and welcoming and point to a community that extends beyond just our family. A way to greet our guests (by inference if not directly) that says “I’ve prepared for your visit. I’ve been expecting you.”

In the soft glow of candlelight, cider and spices simmering on the stove, maybe a pie baking in your oven, may I suggest that you reflect on the abundance of your own household. And pick up your phone and call someone to come and share the bounty with you. Throw a Autumn Celebration of your own where everyone brings a fall dish to share and in the twilight glow of evening, take a moment to feel the wonder of this season. Because that’s really why we decorate.



  1. LOVE your motivation to decorate for Autumn. We live up north where it has become chilly with constant rain. A perfect opportunity to create a festive table setting and eat Fall foods. Thanks for the reminder to help the heart sing through weather that is less than inspirational. May Autumn blessings Fall upon you as you motivate us to celebrate this beautiful season.

    • Jo Beth Viggiano :

      This time of transition and returning back to Florida has given me much to be thankful for this season — renewing friendships and remembering the new friends made along the journey back
      “home.” And even in getting resettled, the colors of the season are so vivid in my memory that it’s hard to resist all the lovely decorations I see everywhere. But prayerfully, I’ll get my own back here soon. In the meantime, I’m blessed to enjoy friends who love decorating as much as I do …. the sights and smells of this special time, not to mention the tastes! So much to be thankful for – most of all, a loving and gracious God and for those Pilgrims searching for the freedoms we enjoy today in the land that we love.

  2. You taught me so long ago the joy of decorating for each season. It brings joy to the humblest home. I’ve collected a tote full of things from many places and hardly need to shop, but I too love the hunting adventure at Hobby Lobby and Home Goods. This is A Year of Gratitude for me and I am overwhelmed by it every day. My blessings are more than I can count. I’m thankful for you dear friend. Thank you for sharing this blog with me and so many. It is a blessings.

  3. And soon you will be up here with us, experiencing the real leaf changes! Can’t wait. Maybe I’ll bake a pie? Maybe Mulligatawny soup?


  4. Lynne Jones Lawler :

    Wishing you, Bob and all the family His most bountiful blessings this Fall.
    Knowing all of you has brought such sparkle to my heart and spirit.
    I am TRULY grateful, thankful and blessed.

  5. Listening to the wild geese fly overhead, seeing the leaves turn brilliant colors, feeling a chill in the air, gathering apples for applesauce made with my little neighbor friends, remind me of you and the lovely things we have shared. I already have small pumpkins and colorful gourds, glorious mum plants everywhere! It is a time for preparation in my life, exciting things ahead. Enjoy to the fullest my friend.

  6. One day you’ll be gone and what will I do then?????

  7. Awesome message for us all. It certainly put me in the fall spirit. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Oh my, I had forgotten to pause and prepare for the beauty and fresh opportunities of a new season. My dear friend gently leads me back to the glorious Christian mandate of hospitality. Is there any greater reprieve and refreshing than to be invited to a warmly decorated home and to be offered delicious food and up-lifting Christ-centered conversation? This blog post by a hospitality specialist reminds us that the Season is now. I am going up in the attic to find the cornucopia centerpiece and those glass pumpkins!

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