Change it up for the hol­i­days

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - MELISSA RAYWORTH

The hol­i­day sea­son is syn­ony­mous with tra­di­tion. But that doesn’t mean you have to fill your home with the same hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions in the same color scheme ev­ery year.

“Un­til four years ago, I was Scrooge-y when it came to hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing — a re­sult of see­ing the same old thing over and over again,” says Brian Pa­trick Flynn, a Los An­ge­les-based in­te­rior de­signer and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of’s “Hol­i­day House.”

But af­ter find­ing ways to “rein­vent the look and feel of Christ­mas for my own home,” Flynn says he “re­dis­cov­ered how much fun sea­sonal styling can be when you make it your own.”

Here he and two other de­sign ex­perts — Jon Call of Mr. Call De­signs and Betsy Burn­ham of Burn­ham De­sign — of­fer sug­ges­tions on shak­ing up hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing.

Su­per stock­ings

Call’s fam­ily takes a cre­ative ap­proach to Christ­mas stock­ings: On the night be­fore Christ­mas Eve, they make new stock­ings by sew­ing to­gether large pieces of felt (in­ex­pen­sive at any craft store) us­ing a sim­ple blan­ket stitch.

“We let our imag­i­na­tions fly when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing the out­sides, and top off each one with our name and the year,” he says. “Mak­ing th­ese stock­ings gives us all some­thing to do the night be­fore Christ­mas (Eve), and we share mem­o­ries and laugh­ter along the way.”

Ter­rific trees

A Christ­mas tree doesn’t have to stay parked in one place. Flynn rec­om­mends putting a small tree on wheels (maybe in a vin­tage metal wagon or an old metal wash­tub with cast­ers on the bot­tom) so you can change its lo­ca­tion when you’re en­ter­tain­ing to cre­ate space or to bring ex­tra hol­i­day style to a dif­fer­ent room.

Another op­tion is ditch­ing red and green tree dec­o­ra­tions for an un­der­stated color pal­ette.

“This year I cre­ated a tone-on-tone tree us­ing all shades of light gray,” Flynn says. “To do this right, it’s all about hav­ing a bal­ance of tex­ture, fin­ish, shape, scale and pro­por­tion.”

Try a white tree if you’ll be us­ing light col­ors and neu­trals, or a green tree with dec­o­ra­tions in earth tones.

To shake up your tree’s dec­o­ra­tions, Call sug­gests go­ing with a theme.

“Last year for a client, I in­dulged in masses of vin­tage mer­cury-glass or­na­ments of all sizes and shapes. Sil­ver was lit­er­ally drip­ping off the tree. It was spec­tac­u­lar,” he says. “This year we are chang­ing it up a bit and cre­at­ing a com­pletely edi­ble tree, in­clud­ing childhood fa­vorites such as home­made pop­corn balls, small sacks of choco­lates tied with a rib­bon and hung from the branches, and pun­gent ginger­bread.”

No tree at all

If you have min­i­mal space, Call says you can skip the tree al­to­gether with­out los­ing any hol­i­day cheer. In­stead, clus­ter to­gether a bunch of white poin­set­tias. They set a hol­i­day tone in a fresh way, he says, and in a large group look “al­most like snow­fall.”

Or cre­ate your own “tree” out of branches: “In my kitchen, I love to fill a large gal­va­nized pot with arm­fuls of branches full of red berries,” Call says. “As the sea­son pro­gresses, I sim­ply clip in­com­ing cards to the ar­range­ment so that ev­ery­one can en­joy. It’s be­come a tra­di­tion over the years, and ev­ery­one loves to come and check out my ‘fam­ily tree.’”


In this photo pro­vided by Brian Pa­trick Flynn the de­signer Flynn for uses a vin­tage metal wagon as a tree stand, so that this piece of hol­i­day decor can eas­ily be moved to any room where guests are con­gre­gat­ing.

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