By Elaine Markoutsas
The holidays may not be as robust this year or shared with as many family and friends as in the past. Still, there’s a real longing for some festivity.
There’s something comforting about lights, the smell of fresh evergreens, sparkly ornaments, the warmth of gold and the glimmer and romance of candles. It feels good, the nostalgia for Christmases and Hanukkahs past with loved ones – the good times.
If you’ve procrastinated, you may not find exactly what you want on retail and catalog websites. Frontgate, which packages an assortment of themed ornaments for a particular look and style or color sold out of its Delft Blue collection in November.
Don’t stop dreaming. Borrow the idea for a smaller tree, gathering a range of blue ornaments in different sizes. Maybe even make some of your own. Perhaps you’ll find one special ornament to live with your tried-and-true heirloom pieces.
Each year there are so many fabulous ideas for decorating, from designers, bloggers and stylists. On the CB2 website, the talented Kara Mann, who has design offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, shows how she brings a little glam to her holidays.
Mann’s look is striking because of its elegant, chic simplicity. An entertaining vignette, for example, shows a burnished brass-finished mirrored gallery tray with glasses paired with a gold necked decanter. The pieces are set on a painted white sideboard. A pristine white feather tree stands off to the side; a 30-inch feather wreath hangs above.
A magnolia garland, with its warm copper underside, nestles on a stone fireplace mantel, with a trio of tall brass-plated steel candlesticks. Modern stocking holders are a vision in half white marble, half gold. Mann’s newest furnishings have found a simpatico partner in CB2.
Gold, of course, is the go-to metal for visual warmth. It’s especially winsome with white, both enhanced by candlelight or warm white battery-operated fairy lights. One of the prettiest swags at Crate and Barrel features white jingling bells, lined in gold, slung from a gold rope over a doorknob.
One idea for transporting to an amazing winter wonderland comes from an online wall covering company, Wallsauce. Its massive murals, available in both paste and peel-and-stick, are designed to cover entire walls. They’re particularly engaging as a backdrop in a holiday setting.
Look behind the sofa in a living room, and you gaze into a black-and-white image of snowy Central Park, lined with snow-covered trees and streetlights glowing along the way. Another design is a perky modern folk art depiction of stylized Christmas trees and reindeer, all fancifully colored and decorated with polka dots and chevrons.
Adding greens — real or faux — are an easy way to spruce up some rooms. Pottery Barn has leather-wrapped rectangular mirrors, which hang from leather straps on hooks. A set of six, adorned with pine wreaths with red ribbons, makes a compelling focal point on a dining room wall.
Among embellished stockings are a couple of standouts. Metal artisan Jan Barboglio’s Bota de Navidad for Neiman Marcus, places metal milagros, religious folk charms that are traditional votive offerings in Mexico and Latin America. Instead of appliques of fabric, the artist attaches silver and gold metal pieces on a creamy stocking. Another, embroidered with rosy flowers on a teal ground, has a fluffy cuff.
For those looking for a bit of nostalgia, snow globes always delight. Mackenzie-Childs takes the beloved Santa Claus figure, with gifts, and nestles the glass globe into a fanciful gold sleigh, its side panels in the brand’s signature black-and-white stripes and checks. It’s available at Neiman Marcus.
Candles can add romance and magic, and the holders can be architectural, like a modern menorah from Neiman Marcus. Mercury glass or glittery glass votives add not only a shimmery elegance, but the candles deliver the intoxicating scents of the season as well.
The price range for decorations is considerable, from a few dollars to $7,500. But take heart: If some of the more expensive decorations are beyond your budget, there’s always DIY or the after holiday sales.