Design & Décor, Holiday, Living with Style

Ode to a Christmas Tree

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Given the big part that serendipity played in Christmas this year, I felt compelled to create this post for the last week of December. The live tree looms large for me when I reflect upon this seasonal tradition of dressing the house. It’s the star, contributing so much to the Christmas mood, that we move the furniture out of the sunroom (overlooking the garden) so that this centerpiece’s view is unimpeded from the library and the salon.

But this year, it almost didn’t happen…so many tree farms were either forced to close due to the drought or their Christmas trees had died. A sad state of affairs both for this agricultural island on which we live and for homeowners preparing for their Christmas. But finally, a 12′ beauty was discovered in a distant part of the state. And in celebration, my wonderful stylist friend, Jenna, and I tried something a bit unorthodox. A swath of gold ornaments, in all sizes and shapes, sweeping down in an undulating curve from the tip top of the tree. I love it during the day, when we first turn the lights on.

But especially at night, when the 500+ crystal icicles shimmer and shine, and the tree’s lights are reflected in the windows.

Watching this come together, with all the creative mechanics that made it possible (let me just say that it took a deft hand, lots of wire…and an understanding of the trees growth pattern), was part of the celebration itself!

I can still hear the resounding voices of my Christmas tea guests who were fascinated with this rather “new” design for our tree, made all the more dramatic for the concave feature in the ceiling that we designed just for accommodating a tall tree.

The view from the garden provides another dimension at night — and also adds a festive note for those driving up the street.

I’ll finish with other views of holiday vignettes around Parterre as I wish you all a very special Happy New Year.

Whether you’re just sitting by the fire or dancing the night away, I hope that your New Year’s Eve will be glorious and memorable, an introduction to a year of good health, exciting possibilities, and abiding Peace.

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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".

32 thoughts on “Ode to a Christmas Tree

  1. Bettie, you create magical beauty. I bet Santa didn’t want to go back to the North Pole! Xo

  2. Dear Bettie, I was praying you would share YOUR Christmas, in your beautiful home! I was so looking forward to the tree in the room described in your YouTube video! You did not disappoint, it was stunning, thank you for sharing your beautiful holiday, Happy New Year! P.S. We have a few acres in Maine if you need a tree scouting place for 2023!

    1. Tyna, how wonderful that you remembered that part of the Homeworthy House Tour!
      And thnk you for the Maine tree note…don’t be surprised if I contavt you…xB

  3. You, YOU are my favorite…this made me well up in tears…beauty does that…THANK YOU & the BEST in 2023!!! franki

  4. Thank you for showing how you dressed your staircase… stunning! Precisely the inspiration I was looking for.

    1. Oh Robert, so happy to hear this concept might appear in your home. That’s one of the main reasons for creating each blog!
      Happy New Year, xB

  5. The tree is stunning, as well as all your decorations. Wishing you and yours a Happy & Healthy New Year!

  6. Beautiful, truly enchanting! May I ask where the lighted trees in the front were purchased?

    1. Oh, love that word “enchanting!” The grapevine trees came from Balsam Hill last year, but Plow and Hearth had similar ones this year. Enjoy, xB

  7. Bettie,
    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous tree and all your other decorations. Happy New Year!

    1. It’s always a pleasure, Tracy. May your new yEar be filled with magical moments…xB


    1. Quite a compliment, Tom, and much appreciated. I was a big fan of “Mother.” Happy, Happy, xB

  9. Oh that’s SO gorgeous Bettie! What a feat is that river of ornaments – absolutely wonderful! You’ve got me started planning next year’s decor now – with a whole year to prepare, I might be able to come close! 🙂 Thanks as always for the fabulous inspiration, and Happy New Year to you too!

    1. Oh Barbara, you’ll have such fun trying it our…remember, you’ll need lots of wire (to attach the branches to the trunk so that they don’t sink too far from the weight). xB

  10. Oh Betsy, you have outdone yourself!!! This is so stunning, magical and lovely! WOW. A pleasure inside and out!!! Merry Christmas indeed – and a Happy upcoming New Year 2023 to you and your family.


    1. Thanks all the wonderful things you send out during the year! This one knocked it out of the park!! I look forward to each one.
      With love from Madison Georgia!!

  11. Dear Bettie,
    I just love your creative spirt. It’s very exciting to see your lovely projects even though I am a world away (I am a New Zealander) I still find in you a kindred spirt. You have the eyes to see the beauty of nature, kind regards Gloria

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