CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS PAST
Antiques dealer Nicole McCay shares her secrets for achieving vintage holiday charm.
Check out this antiques dealer’s expert tips on manifesting vintage holiday charm in your home.
With traditions and nostalgia
taking center stage this time of year,
it’s not hard to see why the holidays bring renewed love for the old. Southern California-based antiques dealer Nicole McCay takes her collections of vintage treasures and accents them with Christmas touches every year, for a home that’s filled with festive cheer and vintage charm. Here’s how she gets the perfect blend of natural, vintage and holiday décor to get her family in the Christmas spirit.
“I create the perfect holiday
look for me by mixing in natural elements with my
Manmade holiday decorations are all well and good, but there’s something extra special about bringing in the accents Mother Nature has to offer for the holidays. “I create the perfect holiday look for me by mixing in natural elements with my vintage goodies,” Nicole says. Accents such as evergreen garlands, boxwood wreaths, holly sprigs, pinecones and, of course, a real Christmas tree bring the outdoors in for the season.
LAYERS ON LAYERS
Nicole displays her antiques in layers: stacked and staggered on tables, in cabinets, on shelves. She keeps the collections contained in carefully curated vignettes, grouping her treasures in places that keep her home from looking cluttered or museum-like. Nicole says another important element of decorating with antiques is being intentional about making her spaces feel approachable—that’s why many of her collections are out in the open, not behind glass or stored in a cupboard.
“I have many open-shelved areas where you can get up close and explore,” she says. The trick is to incorporate Christmas décor without overwhelming what’s already there, so sprinkle some Christmas cheer with a sprig of holly here or a Santa Claus figurine there.
CREATING YOUR COLLECTION
When shopping for holiday treasures, take your time. “For me, it’s all about going slow and checking every nook and cranny,” Nicole says. “I think we’re able to unearth more treasures that way.” She found a trio of antique German wax angels wrapped and buried in a box—something she might have missed if she weren’t so meticulous.
Also be friendly. Nicole stops to chat with every vendor she visits, and she’s made some long-time friends that way. Not to mention that the vendors she’s friends with will shop with her in mind and give her great deals.
Lastly you should be shopping year round for the holidays. “It’s getting harder to find [Christmas décor], so grab it when you see it!” Nicole says. You’ll get better deals, too, if you shop for the holidays when the décor is out of season.
DASH OF GREENERY. Nicole spices up her kitchen nook with a fresh garland woven into the chandelier— she loves the way fresh greenery makes her home smell during the holidays. A cheery red table runner complements the natural vibe. The transferware and vintage silverware aren’t just for display; they are used on special occasions.
|LEFT| WARM WELCOME FROM SANTA. The entryway displays a forest of colorful bottlebrush trees and a large Vaillancourt Santa Claus—a splurge purchase of Nicole’s. A snow-covered town of cardboard putz houses and a painting of a Christmas tree complete the look. Down below, part of Nicole’s vintage suitcase collection is displayed with pride.|BELOW| CURIOUS AND CURIOUSER. A curio cabinet full of Roseville’s Blackberry pottery and antique transferware gets into the Christmas spirit with pinecones and other natural elements like a bird’s nest and a hive. The antique books scattered on the shelves tie into the orange, brown and green color scheme.
HOLIDAY FEASTING. The formal dining roomfeatures a mix of real and faux garlands in the chandelier, as well as a centerpiece made from a bowl full of mercury-glassornaments. The bright bulbs bring a pop of color to the natural, neutral palette. The pale greenwall color allows the white-painted furnishingsto really shine.