“Gifts of Time & Love
Are surely the basic ingredients
Of a truly Merry Christmas.”
I was beyond excited when Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co. reached out to me with an invitation to take part in this year’s Christmas Home Tour. It’s such a great opportunity to connect with diverse design lovers from all over the globe and share our love for this most special of seasons. So welcome to all of you taking this virtual home tour, and especially the readers who have just followed the trail from House of Hipsters on over to our little nest.
KINDLE THE FIRE OF HOSPITALITY IN YOUR HOME
I know it might seem logical to start this holiday home tour with a shot of our Christmas tree, but for me, the heart of the Christmas season is the people who gather here and the memories we make together. Many of those memories are made around a roaring fire in our family room, so that’s where this tour starts today.
I confess that my Christmas mantel decor tends to remain quite similar from year to year. I hang the same pair of warm white, fuzzy stockings for the boys on either side of the fireplace. Then I layer in simple greenery which just makes my heart happy. It’s beyond easy to install, it smells fabulous and it lasts all season. What more could you ask for?
This year, I reached out to the brilliant Lisa Gray from Sweet Woodruff to collaborate on the floral elements in our Christmas decor. She is truly a floral design genius, and one of the kindest, loveliest souls you will ever meet.
We both agreed that the family room, for all its understated glamour, needed to be dressed in something a bit wild and free for the holidays. So while I layered the mantle with boughs of cedar, pine and magnolia leaves, Lisa arranged gestural branches of magnolia and fragrant fronds of evergreen into vases of varying heights and sizes.
LAYER IN THE LOVE
I wanted the coffee table to feel invitational and interactive, so I layered it with details. Antique silver trays filled with gluten free cookies. Coffee table books and a stack of vintage leather books to remind us to slow down and read. A pair of vintage opera glasses that were my grandmother’s (Tate loves to play with them). That gorgeous tall copper candle base from Renwil for a modern edge and visual balance with those effervescent magnolia branches arching beside it.
And my favourite: A tray of carefully wrapped presents to be opened on Christmas Eve.
TRADITIONS TO REMEMBER
In our family, we only really have a few Christmas traditions. We have the same meal on Christmas Eve every year (Chateaubriand). After we eat, we open our Christmas jammies to wear to bed that night. Then the boys get to choose one gift from under the tree – anything they want – to open before bed.
Noah is the only one old enough to truly appreciate this tradition at this point. He carefully weighs and measures each package, trying to sort out what each box contains and what is worthy of being THE gift to be opened on Christmas Eve. It’s so fun to watch him savour the process, and he’s always grateful for whatever he opens, even if he accidentally chooses the box with socks in it.
Tate, on the other hand, is still grasping the concept of WAITING to open presents for Christmas. In fact, he may or may not have unwrapped these packages a good half a dozen times before the brilliant Reid Lambshead from When He Found Her came for our photo shoot together. It would have been adorable if I hadn’t had to rewrap them and stack them just so each time! Of course, now that the shoot is over, he hasn’t touched them. Toddler instincts, man. They’re killer!
TIPS FOR TRIMMING YOUR TREE
When it comes to trimming the tree, you can apply some of the same principles you use when styling a room. The first tip is to choose a palette of three colours/elements and stick to it. This year – taking its direction from the living room – our tree is trimmed with silver, gold and glass ball ornaments. It’s glamorous and simple all at once, and it integrates ornaments we’ve had for years as well as a few new ones.
I consider what goes UNDER the tree to be as much a part of the trimming as what goes on it. That’s why I follow the same rules when wrapping gifts. I choose two papers max (and for me they’ve been the same for a couple of years running – brown kraft paper and leftover Nuvolette wallpaper from Cole & Son). I wrap boxes with lids so I can save them from year to year. They look super pretty under the tree, they are easy to open, and they’re easy to save. This year I finished them with either a herringbone grosgrain ribbon or black-and-white butcher string with a frond or two of incense cedar and a homemade calligraphy tag. Simple.
I also layered my tree skirts for more warmth and interest. I used a traditional circle skirt to cover the tree holder and then layered a reindeer pelt overtop. It integrates really nicely into the room as the reindeer pelt layered over the Morrocan rug just feels like comfort on comfort. Cozy, organic and yet somehow glamorous. That’s what I’m going for!
CASUAL CHIC COFFEE TABLE STYLING
When it came to styling the coffee table in the living room, I felt like a “less is more” approach was the way to go. Especially with what Lisa had planned for the top of the dresser beyond. So out came my favourite vintage silver tray. I moved my crystal geode (one of my all time favourite accessories) onto the tray with a decadent floral arrangement. Those gorgeous Creators Of Objects candlesticks also moved onto the coffee table, and I kind of love them there. I always like having a couple of vertical elements on a coffee table to keep it interesting. Add in a couple of favourite coffee table books, that decorative and edgy black box and a candle and that’s all it needed! Other than a marbled pink and gold glass tray with gluten free cookies on it, of course!
A side note on decorating holiday cookies: If you follow me on Instagram you my have seen my InstaStory of me and Tate making these cookies. Moment of truth? Baking with toddlers is not for perfectionists. It’s not for the faint of heart, either. So…after surviving the baking part with most of the cookies intact, I decided to forego the beauty of perfectly piped icing. I just dusted them with icing sugar and called it a day instead. And you know what? They still looked pretty, they still got eaten, and no one died of a lack of decorative detail. Sometimes you just have to pick your decor battles, you know? I’m calling this one “icing sugar dusting for the win!”
LE PIECE DE RESISTENCE
When it came to styling the top of the dresser, the real design challenge actually revolved around doing justice to Ashley Woodson Bailey‘s stunning piece “Fringe.” Enter the creative genius of Ms. Lisa Gray of Sweet Woodruff. All I said to Lisa was “let’s treat the top of the dresser like a mantel.” She quite literally took care of the rest, and she totally took my breath away in the process.
Total. Floral. Ecstasy.
I seriously want this in my house ALWAYS. I mean, weekly Sweet Woodruff floral installations wouldn’t be decadent or over-the-top, right? One could even say they are the necessary dose of beauty required to survive in this world, am I right?
DINING IN FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The last stop on this tour is our little dining room. I mean, I couldn’t do a Christmas Home Tour without setting the table! After all, hospitality over the holidays is my favourite. So, out came the good china and the real silver and the crystal stemware. Add in some herringbone napkins I scooped up at HomeSense, some calligraphy place cards I made and finished with sprigs of rosemary, and the table was almost complete. Almost.
The centrepiece started with several pairs of Renwil Two Pence candlesticks staggered down the middle of the table. Then Lisa layered in a mix of evergreens for truly timeless Christmas elegance. We almost stopped there, but decided we needed to bring in some of the floral magic from the living room by adding in a few gorgeous blooms to finish the look. The nice thing about this tablescape is that the greens can stay, and I can add in fresh flowers or fruit over the next few weeks whenever I want to take it up a notch.
If you’re doing a tablescape like this for yourself, you can put the roses into water picks to keep them fresh for longer. Just hide the picks in the greenery and you’re good to go! Easy peasy.
The other element that really makes the table setting for me are the lambswool seat covers on our Ghost chairs. They’ve really transformed the comfort level in this dining room from “eat dinner and retire to the living room ASAP” to “eat and linger over dinner as long as the conversation carries you.” Many of you have asked where to get these beauties for yourself, and the great news is that I now have them available in my new Etsy shop!
THE ESSENCE OF ALL ART IS GRATITUDE
Thank you for sharing your creative genius with me. Your time. Your hearts. You are as kind and as talented as they come. I am beyond grateful to have worked with you both on this special tour!
MY CHRISTMAS WISH FOR YOU
“I just like to SMILE.
Smiling’s my favourite.”
– Buddy the Elf
This time of year is so beautiful, with all its sparkle and celebration and festivity. But it can also be hard for some.
So my wish for you, wherever you may be, is that you will be filled with HOPE this Christmas. My wish for you is that you will experience PEACE, regardless of your circumstances. And my wish is that you will know deep JOY, the kind that is not dependent upon the gifts that are wrapped under the tree. The kind that comes from choosing to focus on what matters most, and from making memories with the people who matter most.
It’s my wish for you, and it’s my wish for me, too.
Happy Holidays, my friends! May your days be Merry & Bright.
Here’s to soaking up even more holiday inspiration as you follow along on this beautiful Christmas Home Tour to the home of the lovely Ms. Craftberry Bush. There’s so much beauty to see, my friends, and so many different ways to celebrate! Savour it all as you find your own way of telling the Christmas story in your home.
Be sure to visit all the homes on the BSHT 2016 Christmas Tour:
White Buffalo Styling Co | Julie Blanner | Hi Sugarplum! | The House Of Silver Lining | The Inspired Room | Restless Arrow | Cuckoo4Design | A Designer at Home | Dimples and Tangles | Place Of My Taste | The Chronicles Of Home | Sarah M. Dorsey Designs | Style Your Senses | Cassie Bustamante | Jones Design Company | The Makerista | House Of Hipsters | The Curated House | Craftberry Bush
COMING THIS THURSDAY:
Zevy Joy | withHEART | Nesting With Grace | Life On Virginia Street | My Fabuless Life
COMING THIS FRIDAY:
The DIY Playbook | House Seven Design | Katie Gavigan | Bliss At Home | Simple Stylings | Megan Pflug Designs | Inspired by Charm
“The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel”
– Lauren Daigle