Holidays are so important to all of us. Is the time where family and friends gather to show our gratitude for each other and to celebrate!
This year we're keeping it simple, gone are the years where elaborate decorating was de rigueur. We are now featuring more texture, adding earthy elements to the table such as olive branches, eucalyptus, or fir branches. Candles are still a must, Remember, we don't need facelifts or Botox, we just need beautiful candlelight!
Springs of Cedar, rosemary or thyme can be tucked into your linen napkins and tied with a piece of hemp rope for a casual, yet elegant appeal
Try switching up your cutlery - black or gold cutlery can make quite a statement and can be used for years to come.
Forget the Santa napkins or reindeer napkin rings. Let the food speak for itself.
Sometimes all you need is sparkling glasses, candles, natural elements running down the length of the table and of course brilliant conversation!
Really, that’s what the holidays are all about.
Let us know if our interior design firm can help with any last minute decorating, we'd love to help!
Quite a few of my clients haven't gotten around to putting up their Christmas tree yet.
Here's a few quick tips to get you started.
1. First select your tree.
There are so many options to choose from:
2. Choose a suitable Tree stand.
Whichever stand you choose, ensure that you select the proper tree stand that will give you stability and hold a generous amount of water if necessary.
3. Tree skirts
They add a decorative touch and provide coverage for any planters or non-decorative tree stands. Great backdrop to those pretty parcels!
4. Tree lights
We now have three options to choose from:
If you choose LED white lights - ensure that you select the warm white which is usually 2700 to 3000 Kelvin units . This will ensure you have a warm glow. The cool LED lights often give a very bluish and harsh looking light.
Incandescent lights are the most beautiful lights but they are hard to find now and produce heat which can lead to fire hazards on dry trees.
Mini battery pack lights or Fairy lights are a beautiful option, especially on smaller and more delicate trees, or tree branches. If you go this route ensure that you select the mini or fairy lights that include either a remote option or a timer option, so you are not digging through the tree to find the battery pack.
Depending upon which type of lights you use, I tend to use 100 lights for each foot of Christmas tree.
5. Hanging your Christmas tree lights.
Note this is the most controversial aspect of this post as there are many methods to do this, but I prefer the "branch wrap “approach.
Make your starting point of lights at the bottom of the tree near the trunk. Pull the string of Christmas lights taut to the tip of the branch, then work back toward the trunk, wrapping the cord circularly over itself and the branch, while working your way to the top of the tree. Make sure to select the largest branches to wrap first. Ensure there are more lights at the trunk area of the tree as this provides depth to your design. You will know your tree is "all wrapped up" when you finish at the top lone branch.
Start with the largest ornaments first, placing them near the tree trunk with a few coming through to the branch tips. Then start with the medium sized ornaments, filling in the gaps and lastly the smallest and most delicate ornaments should be placed near the branch tips. Rarely do I place ornaments on the tips of the branches, it tends to look unbalanced that way.
Placing the ornaments more in the centre of the tree, gives dimension to your tree and draws the eyes from the base to the branch outwards to allow others to enjoy your ornaments. Hanging your ornaments only on the outside of your tree can make it looked cluttered and less 3 dimensional. I've got to say I see this all the time where people only decorate the 'edges' of the trees and it's difficult to resist the urge to tuck a few ornaments into the background to provide depth.
Plan on at least 10 ornaments per foot of tree.
i.e.. 6' tree needs 60 ornaments.
Ensure your most precious ornaments are placed where they can be viewed easily. I have a special light bulb which we had only one of. It's now burned out so I've put it in a large plastic ball ornament, hung it on fishline and added a little 'snow' to it. Now I can enjoy that special blue bulb to this day, nice way to protect those keepsake ornaments!
7. Garland. Some people like to use garland. If this is the case, use it sparingly. I find it can overwhelm the tree so I tend to stay away from it.
8. Tinsel. This is optional and time consuming. Each piece needs to be placed singularly by itself. Try avoiding throwing your tinsel on by the handfuls, as I did as a child! It is truly beautiful to look at a tinseled tree, it reflects the lights and ornaments as well! It's one reason I love the aluminum trees so much. No Tinsel needed!
9. Tree Topper. Your final touch is applying the Christmas star, angel or Christmas spire to the top of the Christmas tree. Make sure the branch is strong enough to support your topper and can be seen above the rest of the tree facing the most viewed angle.
10. Almost done! Now, look at your beautiful tree that you wonderfully decorated, and see if there are any bare patches or empty spaces in the tree. Ask yourself if you may need to add more ornaments or perhaps move a few items. It's your preference on how full you want your tree to look. Some prefer a sparse looking tree while others prefer a full and colorful tree.
With all these considerations you can decide what kind of Christmas design theme you choose for this year. It all starts with your tree. Take your inspiration from the tree and dress up your mantel and a few table tops!
My preference is to put on my favorite Christmas music, have a nice glass of wine, nibble on a few (OK several) chocolates and dance around the house while decorating the tree.
Have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy your decorating!
Merry Christmas from all of us at Jil Sonia Interior Designs.
Who else loves mid-century modern finds? I love anything from the 60s - the clean chic look just fits into our lifestyle.
I was introduced to Max Sold lately. This is an online auction house, which sells every thing from couches, tables, art, and even the kitchen sinks! Being an Interior Designer, I couldn't wait to check it out.
I had scoped out Max Sold in our city of Chilliwack, BC. There was a family downsizing and had amazing well cared for items. I bid on a few items, keeping track of it each day - Max sold can email you when someone else bids higher than you. I had my eye on Christmas items from the 1960s. The pictures were clear and concise and I could see exactly what I was bidding on!
I ended up getting vintage Christmas lights that all worked (no I didn't leave them burning in the box) , those tin light reflectors, an aluminum tree topper and a gorgeous silver tree, which was just the right size for our home - all for $6.00. I cannot wait to put it up next Christmas, especially with the mid century modern ornaments that were included. Take a look at maxsold.com to see what's available in your area!
Let us know which great items you find!
I must admit, I have 2 offices for my interior design firm. The main one I use is painted a creamy white, with the absolute perfect shade of charcoal as an accent. Since I'm in here so much I decided this year to decorate it for Christmas!
As my logo colours are a beautiful turquoise blue and charcoal gray, I thought I'd love to have a turquoise tree. I looked and looked and finally found one in the exact shade of the detail of my logo - which was developed by my amazing brand strategist Phil Pallen. Thank you Phil!
The plain little turquoise tree needed a little Jilly love. So I sent it out and had it flocked with beautiful white 'snow'. Can you hear "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" in the background?
I added little houses and churches, and gorgeous silver Eiffel Towers tied with turquoise ribbons.
I added those tiny fairy lights, by Restoration Hardware and when I looked at the whole tree... it looked perfect.
But after looking at the photos, I saw some things that I just took for granted... I became use to so many meaningful items in my office and home...
My Dad's first typewriter from his real estate office in Vancouver, BC.
A little vintage jar - on the left side of the typewriter- from my new friend and fantastic designer Tracey Herbert , (she brought me this jar when driving back home to Portland, she and family stopped in for a bite to eat).
A dream catcher sent to me from my friend Mim Harder - she made this herself and used my fav colour - turquoise together with lots of silver!
Two ornaments made of clay by my new grandson Theo and grand daughter Addy.
A turquoise "J" bought for me by my dear and cherished friend, Cheryl - and now my client (photos to come from her stunning home!).
My new business cards that have the most beautiful shimmery turquoise paper. Designed by Phil Pallen. (Love you Phil, thank you for understanding me and knowing exactly what I wanted!).
A vintage dish collected at a thrift shop right by the Catholic church where my dear Irish neighbours go for Mass. I think of them each time I see the dish.
These items, and many more, are things that I look at each and every day. I think of you dear friends and family, more often than you will ever know.
THIS is what Christmas is really all about.
Thank you for allowing me to share.
May God bless you with a beautiful Christmas, surrounded by friends, family and loved ones.
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.