Holiday, Seasonal, Tips, Timesavers & Troubleshooters


Inspiration for Christmas Decorating

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

39dd4e69-4597-4a6e-9f4b-24e

Can you believe it’s the last month of the year? I think I’ll just slip into it, continuing our Fall focus on the gorgeous trees of Newport and choosing one specifically to inspire this Christmas 2016’s decorations — the English beech.

As the garden and grounds clean-up finished here at Parterre, I collected some of the elegantly curved  beech prunings. Once these were sprayed a gloss “Colonial Red” (whose depth of color adds character to the evergreen selections throughout the house) it was time to start first on the front door. The bundle of nine foot beech branches on either side of the door make such a statement in their simplicity that it didn’t seem necessary to add my customary pine roping. Adding branches along the lantern’s supports complete an informal “arch” effect around the entire limestone front door molding. A cheerful, big red bow on the black urns supplies a holiday finishing touch while the seventeen year old clipped hornbeams create their own frame to the tableau.

6e8c38b5-fb0c-4963-9dee-42a

The heavy corded roping that is the lantern’s own embellishment was one tradition I couldn’t forego (it is actually a curtain tie-back, repurposed).

80d963d9-0b4e-44a0-9ac0-4f6

There is a very different use of the beech branches as the theme is carried into the entry hall. Here, in antique hand-painted porcelain vases, each red branch has been carefully chosen to create the desired spray effect. While delicately positioned, they are still just strong enough to hold small red Christmas balls (note: even without this holiday touch, the unusual arrangement is a welcome addition to the hall).

d9134e93-fc68-4346-b5a1-b4a

And this year some leftover branches inspired an easy to do as well as visually effective wreath that honored the theme of Newport’s trees.

c219dcb2-d828-4813-b00e-f91

While decorating is still on my mind, I’d like to pass along some key points from my friend Jim Donahue, who decorates the Preservation Society’s mansions for Christmas. If, like Jim, you had to create a different theme for a total of forty-six rooms and twenty-eight Christmas trees each year, you’d have improvised some efficiencies, too! His mantra?. Organization is the key to time management.

 HOLIDAY DECORATING CHECKLIST 

1. Store each room’s decorations in clear plastic bins, to include a photograph of the room,  and affix with a prominent label.
2. If possible, use pre-lit trees.
4. Plan on all decorations being free-standing; no nails, glue, permanent markers or wire. This is a must in a house museum and good practice at home, too. TIP: Jim recommends “3M Command Strips.”
5. Just like the mansions, many old homes don’t have numerous electrical outlets, so be very mindful of what you choose to light.
6. When trimming your tree, layer out from the center with your heaviest and largest ornaments, finishing up with your lightest ornaments on the tips. Remember…it is so much easier to work with one group of ornaments at a time, proceeding to the next one after the first set is finished.

Signature

If you enjoy this article, please share it!

8 thoughts on “Inspiration for Christmas Decorating

  1. I find your blog a grown up sweet shop..delicious and delightful..
    Always sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon to enjoy a few minutes
    Of respite from very busy days..
    Please do show the Newport Preservation Society Christmas venue
    Sounds superb..
    Hope to make it back to judge at Newport again one of these days

    Marry Christmas

    Cheers Gay

  2. I find your blog a grown up sweet shop..delicious and delightful..
    Always sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon to enjoy a few minutes
    Of respite from very busy days..
    Please do show the Newport Preservation Society Christmas venue
    Sounds superb..
    Hope to make it back to judge at Newport again one of these days

    Merry Christmas

    Cheers Gay

  3. Christmas Love and Cheer
    Over coffee for me this morning and postponing the drudge of Atlanta traffic and list.
    Love every idea . A bachelor friend of our built a wonderful house and remembered the tree being WORK. He solved it by having a closet built in the tree room. His tree was placed there for posterity…on a wheeled dolly, decorated to the hilt, and ready to be pulled into the room for CHRISTMAS! Think he saw THE NUTCRACKER and followed suit.
    Most Merry,
    Lynn

    1. That is one of the most clever and creative ideas ever!! Heads up ladies, and gentlemen, there are efficiencies to be realized this holiday. Cheers!

  4. Thank you Bettie,
    I appreciate the gentle nod to the season with the beautifully repurposed & painted branches.
    The interior tableau with small red ornaments displays a lovely graceful, artistic balance, and a note of whimsy & movement.
    Also, I appreciate Ted’s well honed tips & suggestions and plan on employing removable hanging sources this year. With our decision to go with a live tree, I am enjoying the opportunity to see the many already decorated Christmas trees that are flourishing at many events, and locations, to a greater degree. I look forward to your forthcoming articles, and photos pertaining to the Christmas Season!
    Sincerely , Helen O

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *