Design & Décor, Holiday, Living with Style


“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…”

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Newport’s “cottages” are indeed a big draw in the summer, but so many visitors miss one of its truly breathtaking seasons — the Holidays! Decorations galore dress up already significant interiors — the term “gilding the lily” comes to mind. To walk through Marble House with its 500,000 cubic square feet of marble, The Breakers with its ceilings that stretch to the sky or The Elms with its elegant representation of a true French chateau is a gift you should give yourself. All three are masterfully stewarded by The Preservation Society of Newport County.

I took houseguests to Marble House over Thanksgiving and was transfixed by the beauty of the decorations. As twilight was setting in and the lights were twinkling on all the trees throughout the house, the poignant song “O Christmas Tree” came to mind. And hence the title of this post.

The captions are my quick first impressions of a selection of the varied trees that are to be found in every room, from the Grand Hall at the Breakers (above) to the  front entry hall of Marble House (below). The ornaments are such treasures unto themselves that I’ve included some closeups to accompany the main images (many are available to purchase; see note at end of this post).

Marble House

Nestled within the curve of the stairwell and surrounded with a beguiling ruffle of champagne-colored poinsettias.

Befitting the gilded elegance of its nineteenth century ballroom setting.

Holding its own in a room that is overloaded with sensory details, starting with the red brocade walls.

Red, green and white shimmering and shining in an upstairs bedroom.

The Elms

Holiday crimson massed on a magical tree surrounded by charming stuffed animals.

Florentine angels reminding me of the exquisite tree at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The Breakers

Inspired by the stunning green draperies and dressed with a collection of acorn ornaments.

Delicate snowflakes and gossamer ribbons — isn’t this what the holidays are all about?

Consider this…when space allows, a pair of matched trees elevate the festive quotient.

Regal elegance in the baronial music room.

A treat to see cardinals used as a theme…

All shades of pink so tastefully collected and displayed in a bedroom with pink upholstery.

Note: Some of the gorgeous ornaments shown here are available through the Preservation Society’s shops and online on NewportStyle.

The happiest of Holidays to you and yours!

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

7 thoughts on ““O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…”

  1. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos of the Christmas trimmings at the mansions.
    With great regret, Tim and I cannot visit Newport until August. So, it’s a great treat to enjoy beautiful Newport in all its Christmas glory courtesy of you!

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