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The Red Hen always likes January.  The fall is exciting with decorating for holidays that are stacked on top of each other, starting in September with Labor Day and the Start of School, and ending with New Year’s Eve.  Growing up in New Jersey, Labor Day was a real holiday and signaled the end of summer, school always started the day after Labor Day.  When I was young I always thought the “Labor” holiday had to do with the start of “Labor” for students returning to school!  So by my count:  1.  Labor Day, 2. Start of School (not so much a “holiday” as an “event”), 3.  Halloween, 4.  Columbus Day, 5.  Thanksgiving, 6.  Sinterklaas Day (I am Dutch–this is the Dec. 6 gift giving day that accompanies the religious celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25), 7.  Christmas, 8.  New Year’s Eve.  Lots of time for decorating and, in school it seemed, we were always cutting out construction paper shapes of something to decorate the school windows and bulletin boards.  While I don’t decorate bulletin boards any longer, I do deck the house for many of the holidays.  I like a little seasonal change to remind me of where I am in the calendar.

That brings me to January.  January is a time to cleanse.  Clean the house, wipe up the cob-webs, get back to basics.  I like to clean, so this is not a chore, and it gives me a chance to look through things.  It also makes me want to think about my house and garden–so I pull out all the books I’ve collected on houses, decorating and also the magazines I’ve saved over the years.  Some of my favorites are new, some are old–very old.  The 19th century books are always an eye-opener.  HOW did the homemakers accomplish it all?  I know many women then had daily chores that then were not looked at for another week, like Monday is Wash Day, Tuesday is Ironing Day, Wednesday is Mending Day, Thursday is Market Day, Friday is Cleaning Day, Saturday is Baking Day, Sunday is a Day of Rest.  Remember the cute kitschy embroidered towels from the 1920s through the 1950s?

Hoping to inspire you, I’ve included photos of some of the books that inspire me!  Start thinking about your house, your garden, your apartment, your work space, your personal space!  No matter if our space is big or small, lining our surroundings with things that inspire us and that we love helps to drive our day more pleasantly!

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~Red Hen