I was, for the most part, raised in Southern California. Maybe that is why, for a long time, I never much understood the enthusiasm that came with the arrival of autumn.
The leaves on some trees change, sure, but those are mostly few and far between. Local businesses get into the spirit of things with pumpkin spice-flavored coffee and apple-themed treats, but it always felt like something of a marketing ploy. And then there’s Halloween – well, suffice it to say I’m more of a Thanksgiving kind of gal.
But then I met my husband. He is from New England. And as our years together came and went, I began to notice a kind of melancholy washing over him each fall.
He missed seeing the leaves on trees all around turning red and orange as fire. And the taste of fresh, authentic apple-cider donuts. The changing weather is much more subtle here in Southern CA, and even that tiny difference was yet another loss from the home he knew as a young man. He missed the New England autumn.
As I began to look for ways to make our home together feel more like autumn, I noticed a shift in me, too. The littlest changes to our home suddenly made the changing season feel more lovely, more meaningful. It’s a sensation that is hard to describe. I guess you have to experience it to understand.
There is no shortage of how-tos on the internet that can help you decorate your home for fall, so I’m not going to waste your time with a forty-slide gallery showing you pictures of pumpkins and fake leaves.
Instead, I am excited to share three – just three – tiny things I’ve discovered make a big difference for me. It isn’t a lot, but I’ve found that sometimes, a little goes a long way. Without further ado, here are three things you can do that will invite the spirit of fall home into your home this autumn 🍁
1. Make hot, mulled cider
Don’t buy it! Find a recipe that sounds good and make it from scratch – it is so easy. Enjoying the drink is only part of it.
What I love most is the smell. Cloves and cinnamon and ginger and oranges – indescribable! The scent of mulled cider on the stove is transformative in a way that wicker baskets full of tiny gourds just can’t match. Then, of course, enjoy a hot mug of it in your yard on a cool autumn evening.
2. Dried floral arrangements
I enjoy decorating quite a lot, but lately, I’ve noticed that buying new decorations for seasons that last a couple of months feels wasteful. Often, I forget that they are even there. But my daughter-in-law turned me on to a trick that I love – dry your flowers!
I love this for two reasons: Firstly, I love keeping flowers and floral arrangements around the house no matter the season, so it never feels as though I am buying superfluous decorations. Secondly, it is basically just upcycling decor that would otherwise go to waste once they died.
Just bundle them with some twine and hang them upside down for a few days. The greens will dull down somewhat, and the colors will take on a reddish hue. Then, put them out in a vase – no water necessary! The dried flowers will last the whole season or even longer if you care to keep them out.
3. Autumn accents of orange and red
Is it obvious? Yes. Does it work? Also yes! If you must buy anything, buy blankets and pillows that are red and orange and yellow. Keep a blanket basket that holds them during the year and break them out when autumn rolls around. This trick works exceptionally well if your day-to-day decor doesn’t use these colors, as the contrast will make them pop.
Some years, I don’t have time or energy to completely redecorate my home. Sometimes, fun new decorations are out of the budget. But every year, I make mulled cider, dry whatever flowers I have on hand (my husband is wonderful at buying me flowers!), and bring out my fall blankets. It makes a world of difference!