Category Archives: Seasonal Decorating

Holiday Decorating #1: There’s Something About Merry

“You’ve got to have style. It helps you get out of bed in the morning.”

Diana Vreeland


Nothing says Happy Holidays like RED

It’s impossible to overlook how our holidays have been hijacked

by Economic Concerns and Retailer’s Anxiety.

What happened to the spirit of “The Gift Of The Magi” (O.Henry, 1906)?

Why Are We Decorating?


A History Lesson: From the time man lived in caves, he decorated his abode and the immediate area during the winter months until the very first signs of spring could be seen. It was thought that adorning the bushes around the entrance with clusters of berries, nuts, pine cones or other natural found treasure would entice friendly tree spirits (whom he believed had fled to avoid the harsh weather) to come home, bringing good luck and good hunting with them.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Saturnalia was the ancient Roman festival celebrated during the month of December.

History records this several days long blow-out fete as the probable source of the phrase “party like the last Roman”.

The early Christians had the inspired idea to hide their celebration of the birth of Christ in the middle of all this debauched carousing. The Romans were clearly way too happy with their own celebrations to object, if they noticed at all …or so the story goes.

When in doubt, act as if. Like when you do something nice for some else: somehow you feel better too. Consider this: the time and care you take to create your own home-grown holiday cheer could very well generate moments that the dearest memories are made from.

Holiday Fatigues: In the same way you dress appropriately for the weather and any occasion, why stop at your closet door? Interior Style is all about how you live with your décor year round. It’s also represented in the choices you make to celebrate any holiday.

Have your holiday decorations suit your style.

For example, If your home is cool and sleek, standard Christmas decoration just look wrong. Conversely, if you lean towards a more traditional style, would a silver tinsel tree really say “Your Home”?”

There’s no time like the present to review the customary trappings of holiday celebration with a fresh approach and a more creative vision by asking yourself a few questions based on your old assumptions about what constitutes timely embellishment.

A fresh approach may be all that’s needed to jump start your season.

New spin on  the usual decorative suspects:

  • You don’t have to limit yourself to a white Christmas. You could have a hot pink themed Yule Tide…or any other shade that suits your fancy. Artificial trees can be flocked in any color. If you are up for the drama, a basic black tree is all the statement you will need.
  • It doesn’t have to be a fir tree. It could be any kind of tree.
  • Twig trees are big this year. The ultimate in minimalist statement, they don’t even shed pine needles.
  • Who said you can only hang bulbs? How about hanging Christmas cookie cutters with ribbon. What about cut paper ornaments? What about Origami figures in silver or gold foil?
  • Another way to go is with a monochromatic palette. A silver tree with white lights, white ornaments and just a small gesture of red could be stunning.
  • What if all the presents were wrapped in black glazed paper with white ribbons? Or, keep it really simple and inexpensive and use white butcher’s paper for wrapping with scarlet ribbons.

Disciplined uniformity is very beautiful.

Deck The Halls, Etc. Where do local florists and party planners buy their flowers and potted plants in your area? Wholesale nurseries will often sell retail too. Buy wreaths of magnolia leaves and twisted grape vines as a base layer to entwine the greenery of your choice. You will of course find holly, poinsettias and fir trees there as well, but most likely at a better price than the local retail lot.

Though red and green are traditional Christmas colors, the season is a joyful one, so don’t limit yourself. Brilliant, beautiful colors can say Happy Holidays too. Use a rainbow of colors if you so desire. Try experimenting with different colored lights too. Deep blue, mauve, or even copper colored lights could offer stunning new options.

 While you are decking the halls, say Happy Holidays to Mother Earth too. If you haven’t noticed, a green approach is often the less expensive one too. Holiday decoration is another area where re-cycling is a great idea.

Go on a mission to locate lost treasures for conversion to decoration. Make the Ghost of Christmas Past your friend while trolling the local flea markets and junk shops in search of traditional ornaments, garlands and holiday figurines from yester-year. You might also find holiday themed linens, dish ware and glassware as well.

Nostalgia wears well this season.

Your treasure hunt might yield the makings of a small vignette representing a child’s delight. A little sled (maybe quickly repainted), a stuffed teddy, a few dolls and small wrapped gift boxes clustered under a tiny tree could make a charming scene on a tabletop or in deep indoor window ledge.

Pick your pleasure. Regardless of style, the best decorating advice ever is to remember to give gifts of warmth, kindness, generosity and joy to all during this season and all the rest of the year.

These are gifts that cost nothing…yet create the kind of “interior design” we can all cherish and aspire to.

Related Posts

Rethinking Design Rules

Get Your Own Designer Look #1: Vision Quest

Get Your Own Designer Look #2: Balancing Act

Get Your Own Designer Look #3: It’s In The Mix

Decorating With Flowers & Trees #1: Say It With Flowers

Decorating With Flowers & Trees #2: Meet Your Greens


Photo – by Horst P. Horst, 1970,