Holidays & Entertaining Home & Decor

Home for the Holidays: How to do it up in Style

79229bH“The holidays are about remembering, cherishing and being festive and elegant,” says Sally Morse, the director of creative services for window treatment manufacturer, Hunter Douglas. Tradition plays a part in Sally’s holiday decorating, as it does in homes across Canada, but it’s always fun to reinvent and come up with creative new ideas. There isn’t a room in her home, she says, that isn’t touched by the holidays during the season.

Sally’s design motto?  “Less is less and more is more,” she emphasizes – and that may be your motto as well once you’ve read her terrific little tips:

Themed trees:

To complement the main tree in the living room, which she decorates in white, gold and silver (her favorite holiday colour scheme), Sally is an aficionado of themed trees in unusual places.  In the dining room, she will put a small tree on a silver tray and hang mismatched forks, knives and spoons on it with skinny ribbons or raffia.  In the kitchen, she’ll tie cookie cutters with coloured raffia ribbons onto the tree.  The bedroom will have a tree with artful flowers, lace, tassels and trims.  Always practical, the guest bathroom’s tree will sport sample sizes of toothpaste, soap and hand lotion ready to be used.  The family room is for the kids’ “memory tree,” which is decorated with ornaments that the children have made over the years.

Personalized garlands:

Real or faux, a garland is never just a garland in Sally’s house.  She always personalizes them.  At the top of the swags she adds small ornaments hung together and nestles pine cones throughout, as if put there by Mother Nature herself.  Windows, too, can be dressed in garlands with silver balls, berries and pine cones.

The mantelpiece:

A garland, no matter how ornamented, is never enough to adorn the mantelpiece. Sally suggests clearing any tchotchkes off the mantel and layering it with greenery, LED candles, cranberries and pine cones.  She says you can also buy different sized letters at crafts stores and spray-paint them to spell out Noel, Joy or whatever holiday phrase you wish.

Holiday lighting:

Light is crucial year-round, but even more so during the long, dark winter months. The right kind of window treatments can make us feel comfortable, relaxed and really in tune with one another. For this purpose, Sally advises selecting  Silhouette window shadings.  With its soft fabric vanes suspended between sheer panels, this treatment softens and diffuses the light for extra warmth in the room. Luminette Privacy Sheers are a similar concept on the vertical.

Chandeliers and mirrors:

According to Sally, chandeliers and other lighting fixtures can add to the holiday sparkle if you dangle glass and crystal ornaments from them.  You can also put holiday-themed candle rings or bobeches on them. For extra shimmer, Sally places holiday wreaths and ornaments on mirrors using suction cups.

Festive feasts:

Sally wraps ribbon around the dining chairs and adds a small spray of pine cones, ornaments and greenery at the back.  For a centrepiece, she tries something different every year. She always uses a silver tray with a fluted rim and fills it with Epsom salt, which looks like snow, and serves as nice setting for her formal salt and pepper shakers.  In the centre, she will often place a crystal bowl with ornaments, fruits, greenery and even feathers.  Or, she might use a cake stand.

The details count:

In the powder room, Sally takes a bowl and fills it with cranberries to the top, puts a couple of aspirins in the water and cuts white roses very short. When the roses open, the red and the white are beautiful and there are no stems showing.

If you would really like to go the extra mile, Sally even fills stemware, crystal bowls and pitchers in her china cabinets with pretty ornaments to add colour.  “With a little effort and imagination, the holidays can be all you ever wanted them to be, and don’t forget to get everyone to pitch in.”

More information is available online at

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