Change it up for the holidays
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 HGTV.com’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.
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.”
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 HGTV.com 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.