Season of Simplicity
At the Picket Fence blogger Vanessa Hunt keeps her Christmas decor a mix of family favorites, neutral new touches and wintry accents that stay up all year long.
At The Picket Fence blogger Vanessa Hunt keeps her Christmas decor a mix of family favorites, neutral new touches and wintry accents that stay up all year long.
Traditions play a central part in Vanessa and Robb Hunt’s Christmastime adventures. First comes the family outing to cut a fresh tree for the formal living room, always topped by an angel they bought for their first Christmas together 20 years ago. “We saved up as newlyweds to buy an angel at a department store,” says Vanessa, who co-authored the book, Life in Season: Celebrate the Moments That Fill Your Heart & Home, with her sister and fellow At the Picket Fence blogger, Heather Patterson. “I’m always tempted to try a fancier tree topper, but the angel is so sentimental to us, and it is just so true to who we are.”
Those traditional elements, including children Ian and Lauren’s childhood ornaments, are incorporated into fresh decorating ideas each Christmas. This year, Vanessa chose a neutral palette for her decor, using nonseasonal, multipurpose items such as wrapping paper, ribbons, vintage containers, statuary, greenery and real paperwhites to carry out the new look.
As a wife, mother, blogger and speaker, Vanessa has a limited amount of decorating time, so any new plans she devises are chosen for their expediency as well as their beauty. Quick put-up and takedown are essential, and first preference goes to items that can keep the house looking sparkly well into the winter months—long after the Christmas tree, ornaments and cookies are gone.
Faux garlands on the mantelpieces, coupled with large pinecones for texture and twinkly lights for sparkle, are countered by a mini lemon cypress tree and lush poinsettias with a hint of color, all of which serve to extend the season and keep things merry.
And no Christmas is complete without the hot cocoa stand at the Hunt house. “My kids both help with that and ask when it’s coming out,” Vanessa says. “We keep it stocked all winter long for when their friends come over.” At the first sign of spring, the space becomes a showcase for spring flowers and birds’ nests.
BELOW: Vanessa, Robb, Lauren and Ian Hunt make Christmas tree cutting a yearly tradition, this time at Eola Tree Farm in Salem, Oregon.