On the radio show this morning, and for most of November, I’ve been discussing my maturing Midwestern perspective on the transition from Fall to Winter, as well as Christmas and holiday decorating. The act itself, at least for me, is a way to calibrate my mind, body and spirit for the coming celebrations and gatherings – not to mention the more peaceful moments in between. The times when I tend to stuff my stocking of a brain with more reflective, authentic and nostalgic thoughts when not a creature is stirring… except maybe me… and my Jack Daniels on ice.
It’s a combination of factors this year that have led me to a place of such comfortable cheer. Sorry, I got stuck in my Night Before Christmas narrative for a bit. Moving right along. I guess it’s just that for the first time in a long time, I feel even more connected to the spirit of this season… and feel compelled to personally crush Christmas. Maybe just like the drink in my glass, it all distills down to a sense of gratitude. For my family, my friends and an insatiable need (and occasional neurosis) to create something special. So in an effort to boil it all down for you, here are three ways to give your season’s sled the nudge it may need to crush Christmas in 2018.
1.) Adopt the “hospitality-mentality” this time of year. Think of yourself as the ultimate Christmas and Holiday Concierge. Remember your offerings do not need to be extravagant or expensive to be considered special… as it’s often times the personal and thoughtful details you introduce that are the most well-received. Think of your house and it’s amenities as the ultimate gift to your guests, and try secretly surveying them in advance to identify the things they enjoy in this special season. From food to fun, there’s nothing better than a “How did you know!?” experience to warm the hearts of your family and friends. So, do a little homework… and design accordingly. After all, holiday parties have a reputation for moving people from the Naughty to the Nice list… and vice-versa.
2.) There are ZERO decorating rules during the holiday season. Anything goes! And I’m not just talking about your Christmas decorations. Consider pushing together groupings of mismatched chairs to make sure everyone feels welcome. I personally love the look of vintage spectator chairs… but folding chairs will absolutely do. Don’t have enough serving space?! Create a buffet with two saw horses, some plywood and an inexpensive, colorful Christmas tablecloth! It’s not really about the bar anyway! It’s about the bounty of beverages for all to enjoy. Create environments with careless disregard for your already over-thought interior. Surround yourself and your guests with as much decoration as your home can handle. This year, I suspended a collection of vintage sleds from the ceilings of my lower level. And you know what, I’m not stopping there. Really go for it this season! And consider decorating areas of your home that have not been blessed with the Spirit in Seasons past.
3.) There’s always room for a little more Christmas. Leaving alone the obvious “style manger” analogy, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the most interesting interiors always leave room for more inspiration both large and small. Don’t let your design and decoration become static or stale. Always be searching for Spirit this Season in more ways than one. And there may be no better functional and decorative time of the year to embrace layering your look than at Christmas. A sense of authenticity should be baked into everything you do, everything you say and everything you display this Christmas and holiday season. So bust out the old photos and send them off to be turned into ornaments! Find creative ways to string together Christmas memories of the past in your decorating. Framing and displaying old family Christmas cards is an easy one. Reminiscing and laughing about our shared holiday memories connects us in so many ways. The design of your home should both facilitate and enhance those important and personal connections.
In my year-round search for authenticity, I like to patronize and promote the small, independent shops and the sole proprietors that help me introduce a little local in to my layering. One must-visit place this (and every) season is the Cornerstone Shop in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Owners Bruce and Karin Bennett, as well as their amazing merchandising team always find both traditional and innovative ways to help you celebrate, authenticate and decorate for the holiday season. In a recent visit to their shop, I was inspired by the wonderful style diversity I found in their vast selection of seasonal offerings. Here’s a quick peek:
Other honorable mentions that will most certainly inspire you to pack up your sleigh are:
Twill Cottage located in Walworth, WI
Angelus Home & located in Walworth, WI
Vintage Bliss located in Beloit, WI
Midwest Retro located in East Dundee, IL
Boxed & Burlap located in Delavan, WI
Pesches Floral & Gifts located in Lake Geneva, WI
Please remember to support your local, independent businesses this Christmas and holiday season as you search for inspiration. Now back to my projects at hand… enjoy your Sunday, everyone. More from our house to yours in the weeks to come.