Happy New Year, Gentle Readers! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Bonus points if neither you nor anyone close to you got COVID. (If you’re in or around D.C., that’s a tall order right now.)
We haven’t taken down our Christmas tree yet, and to be honest, I might just wait another week. I’m still enjoying it and all the other kitschy Christmas decorations we have around the house. I’m just not ready.
I admire people who decorate for the holidays — the OTHER holidays, I mean. Like Easter (wreaths of spring flowers on the door, white ceramic bunnies on the dining table) and Halloween (full-on autumn displays of hay bales, pumpkins, and gourds).
Nope: Christmas decorations are all I can handle. But since it’s kind of pathetic to leave your tree up until Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking: how can I extend the festive holiday feeling through the doldrums of winter? What temporary things can I add to my house to make it wintertime special but not…weird?
Here are three things that, swear on a stack of Architectural Digests, I’m going to try.
1. Light up a different tree. You may know that I’m a fan of faux (not “fake!”) trees indoors. There are so many good ones right now. One of my favorite places to buy these is Nearly Natural, which, despite sounding like a breast implant producer, has some great trees. (Look for silk or polyester leaves, not plastic.)
Fiddle-leaf figs and Ficuses are can’t-go-wrong options, but I happen to have an artificial 8′ bamboo tree. (When I brought it home, John was concerned that it wouldn’t get enough light. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it’s fake. I mean faux.)
Anyway, I’ve long wanted to try putting white fairy lights on it. Will it scream “dorm room,” or “unexpected whimsical masterpiece?” I won’t know until I try. I will report back.
2. Dine by candlelight. We eat every meal at the dining room table, so our dining room has to straddle “everyday” and “formal.”
To make the room feel cozy and wintertime special, I’ve been sneaking candles onto the table for every dinner. The trick: using votives or tea lights. Tall candles feel formal, low votives do not. Perfect for every day.
As an aside, on votives vs. tea lights, I prefer the latter. They barely last an evening, but they’re tidy, in their little metal sleeves. Votives can be used multiple times but, like tall candles, they’re messier.
Let’s make a pact to buy some new votive (or tea light) holders and try using candles daily. There are a lot out there, as you can see.
3. Add plaid. I know, I know: interior designers think that ALL of life’s problems can be solved with new pillows and throws. But here’s the thing. Many can!
So toss some non-matchy, wintery but not holiday-themed plaid pillows and blankets onto your sofa and chairs. You can have them out for a few months and then tuck them in a closet until next year if you want to.
Let’s keep the festive feeling alive, Gentle Readers! At least for a few more months.
Annie Elliott Design is based in Washington, DC, with offices in St. Michaels, Maryland and Middlebury, Vermont. Annie is an expert on wallpaper, mixing styles, and telling people what to do in the nicest way possible.