Water is the element of the winter months, when it’s coldest outside and the hours of daylight are briefest. It is a yin time of year, no doubt about it. There are many ways you can balance the yin with yang though, and below are a bunch of tips I’ve come up with to help you do just that, and create balance and harmony throughout this holiday season.
A Christmas tree is of the wood and fire elements. It is triangular, is decorated in lights and colorful ornaments often containing the color red – this all indicates the fire element. The tree itself is wood, green in color, and really whether you have a live one or not, its growth energy signifies wood. Safety is the most important thing to consider when bringing in and lighting a Christmas tree, you don’t need me to tell you that. Keep live ones well watered with warm water – it seeps through the trunk more easily than cold and don’t keep it too close to a fireplace or candles, or in direct sunlight (direct sun dries out a live tree).
Try not to block the flow of energy (Chi) in your home with bad placement of your tree. Keep walkways and halls clear to walk freely without obstruction. If you have a choice, the best place for your tree is in the south of your home or of a room. This is because the home element of the south is fire, and fire is activated by more fire and fueled by wood. Activating the south brings you luck with your reputation, recognition and fame, among other things.
You can benefit from a Feng Shui standpoint, no matter where you place the tree by decorating it in the colors, shapes and materials that fuel or activate that specific sector.
It is common to see Christmas trees taking up a large, front picture window, however, if it blocks the sunlight (direct or indirect) usually nourishing your home through that window then it might not be the best place for it. Remember we need all the daylight we can get in the winter.
Sectors & Good Colors/Shapes to Place There:
South – Fire & Wood Colors, Triangular & Columned Shapes
Southwest, Center & Northeast – Earth & Fire Colors, Square & Triangular Shapes
West & Northwest – Metal & Earth Colors, Round & Square Shapes
North – Water & Metal Colors, Wavy & Round Shapes
East and Southeast – Wood & Water Colors, Columned & Wavy Shapes
Poinsettias are an appropriate choice for this time of year not only because of their red color (even the white ones are superb), but because they brighten and give energy to the interior of your home during these winter months. Keep them watered and healthy (away from pets and small children) and they will work to promote positive Chi throughout.
While I celebrate Christmas myself, and it’s most natural for me to apply Feng Shui to this holiday, Hanukkah is an energizing holiday as well with all of its sparkle and color. There is a lot of metal and water in the colors of this holiday, so the lit candles on the menorah bring the perfect contrast of the fire element to convey more equal balance. The candles themselves are cylindrical, a symbol of wood.
During dark hours of this holiday season, it brings you wonderful yang energy to enjoy lights outside your home as well as inside. Get those twinkling strings of lights out and let them brighten the night! The more they sparkle and twinkle, the more energy and good fortune they encourage to your home!
A good decorating tip in general is to use and love what you have. Sentimental attachment to things that never make it out of the box in the basement, or just decorating with ornaments and items out of habit that you don’t particularly like are not good reasons to keep them. Donating these kinds of items, as long as they are in good condition, is a wonderful way to keep good karma and good Chi. That being said, also steer clear of over-decorating. This brings about the aura of clutter which we all know does not serve us well.
Some great entertaining tips given in my blog at Thanksgiving time apply to any gathering. Here is what I wrote about entertaining:
Always have a large mirror in your dining room that reflects the table. This doubles your abundance and wealth.
Never keep clocks on the walls in a dining room. Clocks where you eat symbolize the passing of time to your death.
If you have a round or oval table, this is best. This rids the sharp corners and ensures that everyone faces each other.
Use the good china for your family on holidays. What are you saving it for?
If you can, try to have everyone seated boy girl boy girl etc… to keep the balance of yin and yang even.
If you know everyone’s Kua number, it would be great to have everyone face their auspicious directions!
Don’t have your lights too dim. Keep yang energy prominent with brighter lighting above your table.
Have fun! Sometimes having family together that you don’t usually spend time with could be awkward. Get out some board games or bingo and use something small like scratch-off lottery tickets as prizes. Games can really bring people together, and the fun you have creates wonderful positive energy in your home.
Start a gratitude journal: pass a small book around the table for everyone to write what they are most grateful for. Just a thing or two, no long pages of writing! Keep it for all of the years to come and add to it each time you are all together.
The person sitting closest to the door often leaves first. Use this info to your advantage!
Do not overeat! Easier said than done, I know. Just try.
A few more to add on this subject: A relative of mine has been keeping her father’s ashes in her dining room, which overlooks their dining table. This is not the place to display the urn, and it’s also not the place to display photos of relatives, friends or anyone who has passed on. This creates a hugely increased yin atmosphere and like clocks, “shines a light” on the passage of time. It is also said to increase health risks. By the way, yes – this particular relative is experiencing health complications.
As the “mom” of two amazing dogs who I love so much, animals – real, photos, paintings, statues, etc… – are not a welcome addition to a dining room. They are said to symbolically devour your food, which cuts down on your abundance. My dogs know to keep a distance from the table while we eat, except when my dad comes over who constantly sneaks them food under the table!
Keep in mind what other people have in their homes when exchanging gifts. If they have a lot of clutter, giving them more of it is not the best Feng Shui for them, or you. Be thoughtful in that respect. I’ve said before, while “gag gifts” are a lot of laughs at the time, what will become of that gift when the holidays are over? I’m not suggesting gag gifts are bad Feng Shui. On the contrary, they bring smiles and happiness and this is always good. Just consider what comes of that gift if it is not a particularly useful one.
“Regifting” is good Feng Shui IF: It is in great condition, and you believe the recipient will really love and use it. If you give a gift with the intention of unloading it onto someone else, if it is in disrepair or is just not of value to you or the person you are giving it to, don’t give it. This makes me laugh as it reminds me of the perpetual fruitcake that gets “regifted” from relative to relative because nobody actually wants a fruitcake! If none of these examples pertain to you, pass along whatever you believe would make a wonderful offering.
Be considerate and thoughtful. If you give someone a new purse or wallet, don’t give it empty. Slip a few dollars in it. This brings them future prosperity. If you get them shoes, add a shoe horn, pair of socks or shoe-shiner for them. This provides them comfort in their wear. Gift cards are fantastic. They may seem boring in the moment to some, but it is a thoughtful way to allow them to pick out what they want, even if it is one of the no-no’s below. This way, if they buy a pocket knife with your gift card for example, it didn’t come directly from you, only the means to buy it did.
The gift naughty list (no-no’s): Gifts of weapons or anything sharp is never a good idea for any occasion. Clocks and watches, while a popular gift really only magnifies the time ticking away for the recipient. Sending flowers and plants around the holidays is a wonderful way to bring positive Chi to a loved one, just make sure they don’t have sharp thorns. This includes roses that have not been de-thorned and cacti.
A note about bonsai: I’ve seen many beautiful holiday-decorated bonsai plants, but I’ve been taught by my own Feng Shui mentors to avoid giving them. This has been debatable among Feng Shui professionals pertaining to bonsai in general, but it has always been my knowledge that bonsai plants represent suppressed prosperity, and being held back by the tight trimmings, unable to prosper or flourish.
No matter what you celebrate, who or what you worship or how you choose to do it, stay mindful of the true meaning of the holiday, and of the light in the world, and try to keep it year-round. We see a lot of negativity on the news. Don’t forget that the kindness and genuine goodness of people is a given – it could not possibly be reported on regularly because it happens every second, in multiple locations by millions of people simultaneously. Kindness breeds more kindness, so why not pay it forward every chance you can?