I'm not sure about you all, but this year I feel no more like celebrating Christmas than eating broken glass...I cant help it, I'm just not in the spirit! When I was young, older people would put up a puny tabletop tree and that was it! They'd say "it's too much work" and they couldn't wait for the season to be over..... well friends, I'M THERE!!
So lets indulge ourselves in something superfluous like holiday decorations...
Hanukkah began at sunset, December 20th, and overlaps Christmas, which I think is kind of nice as friends can feel festive together and enjoy each others customs simultaneously.
It's a challenge to decorate your home for Hanukkah as there are no "traditional" Hanukkah decorations to be inspired by. Hanukkah decorations only began to appear in the late 1980's and now have become supersized - like everything else these days. Shown here are some lovely examples which I think don't override the fine line of looking too Christmasy.
Erin Lauder's home in the Hampton's all done up for the holidays!
SET AN ATTRACTIVE TABLE
The boxwood in the containers with the paperwhites and the white daisy's in vases are pretty and simple holiday accents. The owners beautiful white cloth with blue china and glassware make it extra special.
A light blue moire silk cloth is decorated with tree branches sprayed silver with small candle clips (from Michael's Crafts) and used as the menorah on the table. The small blue vases with white and silver colored greens add a perfect softness to the ensemble! Set with the owners sterling flatware, dove gray napkins and silver embellished plates it's harmonious and sophisticated.
A simple 'French Blue' linen cloth is under a an antique set of flatware and Creamware dishes here; the pale turquoise napkin adds contrast and depth. The touch of holly and a curled paper name-tag are simple and understated which is always best.
A nicely scaled dining room is laid with a bare wooden table, gold square chargers and St. Louis cut crystal with beautiful cobalt accents. A very simple row of five non-descript square vases are tightly filled with gorgeous white roses and greens aligned down the middle of the table with the dreidel and gelt at the end.
Simple little bud vases (from CB2) are filled with blue sand (from Michael's Crafts) and used as a menorah on the silver tray. Cheap and chic!
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, so I love to see lots of candles around. Here clear glass and silver candlesticks of similar design have been used to create an interesting vignette. These type candle holders are at: CB2, Pottery Barn, HomeGoods, Tuesday Mornings, etc.
All y'all Jews LOVE food, don't even think about denyin' that!
Decorated cookies are great, they can be used as table decorations, gifts, tree ornaments, etc. Decorative sugars come in many colors also, so anything can become Hanukkah-ish with a quick sprinkle of blue, white or silver!
Around the house some containers with balls, votive's or branches gives a house a sparkly and exciting "Festivus" feeling.
As the 'Christmas' tree is not a religious symbol it's become more widely accepted in Jewish homes over the last few decades. It can be a Hanukkah Tree.... And, God knows the quantity of Hanukkah gifts now parallels that of Christmas gifts....so you'll have a place to keep them instead of on the chair in the living room....
This Traditionally decorated Jewish home acknowledges the beauty of the holiday season with boxwood wreaths and blue Hydrangea's instead of poinsettia's
Another beautiful Hanukkah Tree with matching gift wrap.
You know it's a Jewish home - even the dogs bed is coordinated....You'd never see that in a goyum home!
I love the wreath on the left; use it on the front door, over the mantle or anywhere in plain sight. It's made from beautiful colored balls; the large ones on the back and smaller ones on the front. The one on the right is a crappy fake Home Depot wreath with balls just hung on it - don't ever do something that looks like it only took 2 minutes to do...it's just bad.
How simple is that?? An artificial tree sprayed white with green and blue wooden and ribbon ornaments. It's small, chic and not overwhelming.
WTF? Everything here is bad....two trees is pushing it, especially when they're dumpy and ugly. They should have one very tall elegant tree....I'm not even going into why they have all that fake fur everywhere. Gorgeous apartment - crap taste!
This mantle is simple, modern and fun! The pots with the birch branches hung with small silver balls are very festive! The three-panel art-piece next to the fireplace of the snow covered fir tree is a great way to add a wintry feeling; those panels are thin so they can stack and hide away almost anywhere after the season!
NON DENOMINATIONAL DECORATIONS
This is my favorite display in this missive....simple red calla lilies...Perfection!
The simplicity of this table setting is its beauty. Not some OTT holiday crap, just simple touches all within the same color palette.
Colin Cowee created a swanky table with a silver lame' cloth and gold accents. The green antherium placed randomly around the table in glass vases amongst silver candlesticks is so sexy and makes it very holiday-ish!
(Canadian Home and Garden)
This beautiful and simple display of dried branches and driftwood with pine cones and berries is simple and can stay up all winter.
No huge hurricanes with drippy candles, no twisted heavy garlands, no beribboned festoons, no poinsettia's and no lights! Just a simple arrangement in a simple iron urn using pine, holly, magnolia and white hydrangea's...your done, it's perfect!
Love this collection of mercury glass items.
All of these are from Pottery Barn ! They look antique and create such romantic glimmering light. Don't forget to dim the lights a bit so the candles can work their magic!
One of my favorite things to do is display the beautiful holiday cards I've received. Using a tray or an antique letter-box opened up with them stacked looks awesome. Do not jam them in your existing picture frames, or drape over the Venetian blinds or tape them to the windows.... ever!!
Martha Stewart is always good for a few holiday ideas she's scabbed off of someone else... Here, the mercury glass vases are introduced to the wreath by using the silver balls. The silvery Lambs Tongue leaves in the vases and the sage leaves on the wreath also help tie everything together.
If you have a small foyer something like this is perfect. It looks festive yet quiet and fits the scale of the space. Restraint is the key to successful holiday decorations these days.
This collection of old glass cups, tumblers and vases look amazing grouped as they are here, I love this! Imagine them all lit in the evening reflecting in the window glass...mmmm
It's cool, it's clean, it's modern, it's asymmetric....go for it!
The key to this is that all the items are of the same color! If each ornament were a different color of the rainbow it would look like shit.
Winner of the Low-Budge Glam-O-Rama Prize!
How freekin' awesome is this?? In the top picture clear wine bottles are grouped, not lined up. Below are all clear Ball or Mason type jars with white candles. The secret is: LOTS of jars or bottles; use white candles and don't line them up, bunch them up!
This is beautiful floral work, but it looks like it was yanked off the top of a casket...
If you have high ceilings go tall with whatever you're doing, it's much more interesting and dramatic.
My country home on Maryland's Eastern Shore
With my all white and beige interiors I prefer it very simple and more natural. David Bell used dried orange slices, cranberry strings and apple-green gingham French ribbons on the tree. The fresh flowers were white snowballs and green bells-of-Ireland
David placed magnolia branches from my trees on the property around the antique George III mirror which was much smarter looking than a garland.
In my apple green dining room David used bunches of dried roses and herbs on the tree. On the mantle he used bay leaves and various varieties of melons to repeat the antique prints, he tucked small votive's in between.
On the large banquet style table my sister made me several ceramic reindeer which I had gold leafed. They were placed randomly almost as if they were lounging. The snowballs and apple green roses are in antique alabaster vases. On the buffet is an arrangement of hybrid broccoli and bay leaves.
For Christmas dinner parties in my all white (no beige) Washington apartment I used four large antique gilt candlesticks, they were accented with gilt rimmed Annie Glass chargers and antique white plates with gold trim. The flowers were Lily-of-the-valley in small vases with white and gold glass beads in the bottom.
Country holiday decorations are always made from modest components. A bowl of red apples, holy and pine stuffed into a flower pot with a candle, etc. No flashy ribbons, no foil or shiny stuff.
Is there anything better than an old fashioned Christmas tree?
Who knew Charlie Brown lives in a Victorian Brownstone?
You got's to know I love me an all white tree...
Yes, times were tough but this family's ingenious monument to thrift and capacity of consumption brought them out of their holiday slump. Hmmmm Christmas trees are $50. and 6 cases of beer cost what???
No space, or old like me? Get a small tabletop tree and one big lawn-size garbage bag, then on January 2nd dump it in and you're done.
There something so original about this woodpile in Scandinavia.
The graphics done with white spray-paint and the random letters spelling N O E L work!
OMG Wreath-a-roni baby!
Get out of your box this year and get a cool one; don't just pull one off the pile at the supermarket. If you don't want to do much this holiday at least do a wreath, it's a wonderful welcome for you and your guests. If it sheds, it sheds outside...and it will put you in the holiday spirit, dammit!
If you're doing a big whipped-up party then go-for-it, go nuts. Hang shit on every surface...but make sure that after the party you don't have some half-baked lookin' mess. I love the red and white room on the left with the paper Moravian stars and Pier-1 glassware, it's clean, cheap and cheerful. The white room on the right is a bit more upmarket; it used huge-ass bouquets of tulips on the table and simple bunches on the mantle - nice!
These mantles are fun and festive, and not too crazy with color and too much crap all over them.
Simple things can have big impact too. The plain garland gently swailing over the bedroom mantle is perfect - no bows, lights or glass balls... just plain = good! The red bookbinding's on the lower mantle is just enough to imply the holidays without going commercial.
On both of these mantles greenery and objects from around the house are used to create an interesting ensemble. My mother could take a few branches and snap it, twist it, stick it and weave it into a beautiful mantle or tablescape. She'd zhuzh it up with holly berries, magnolia leaves, pine and some pine cones and it was truly perfection! It just takes practice and restraint.
This above is not the product of my mother....there's wayyy too much shiny crap!
Small accents definitely make big impact!
A small vase in the powder room or bedroom looks Christmas'y and low-key. If you have a holiday party place a small gently scented candle in the powder room too, it's a nice touch.
Don't have decorations that are so big that you have to walk around them, they'll make the room look small. Also, don't use lights on very many things indoors, it looks commercial.
Love the candy canes wrapped around the candle with the ribbon here.
Less is more!Same idea two ways: One, simple and cheerful, the other is totally overwhelmed by all the other chazerai.
Miles Redd created a stunning display in this foyer, it works beautifully within its surroundings too.
Here is the absolute opposite from Miles Redd's display and I love it too. It's honest and charming.
Don't ever place all the plates on the table like this unless you live in a china shop. This is showing off and bad etiquette....and that's not what I teach at Master Class....
Have some old silver pieces around you're not using? Now's the time!
Give it a quick polish and use it!
AN ADDED BONUS
BAD HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE STUPID...
Really??? Now Santa's gone all political in desert-storm camo with God Bless America sign???
Lazy Ass Neighbors
Shame they couldn't have children...
It's all just a blurr after a while
Maybe they shoulda kept some of that money they spent at K-Mart and bought a better house...
It's kinda good... but it's bad at the same time...
Miracle on 34th street (Baltimore, that is)
Yes Virginia, there is a tree made of hubcaps!
This photo isn't blurry, its how your brain interprets it
SOME OF THE THINGS I PERSONALLY LOVE AT HOLIDAY TIME
Saks Fifth Avenue
The Square in Front of The Plaza & Bergdorff's
The Tree at Rockefeller Center
Simplicity Defined in Maine
Stunning holiday lights hanging over the main streets in Vienna
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria Germany
Abandoned Wooden Church in Russia
The Tree at St. Peter's, Rome
Cookies that kids made for other kids
Dogs that don't mind ice between their toes
Random sightings of beautifully lit trees
Snowy lanes that have been plowed for walking
The Congressional Christmas Tree in Washington, DC
Seeing our government acknowledge fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and friends now gone
My house "Foxtail Cottage" in Florida
Seeing a Cardinal in a snowy landscape
Florida at Christmastime
My lifeblood on tap
Happy Holidays and Have a New Year filled with Love, Laughter and Friendship!
To The Forty Eight Thousand Readers That Read The Master Class Each Week in Twelve Countries!
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
You can do it, I'm here to help!