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I'm the Interior Designer behind Janelle Steinberg Interior Design. I'm also a wife, mother, social tennis player, candle connoisseur and an avid list maker. I like wine, pearls, rainy days, museums and houses. I craft and bake on the weekends in my college sweatshirt and yoga pants. During the week I balance my toddler's playdates, my businesses and working with my clients throughout the country, (not in said sweatshirt or yoga pants).

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Maison Classique
Maison Classique

Classic Interior Christmas Decorations, Part I {Editorial}

· November 24, 2009

Remember last year's Classic Exterior Christmas Decorations post? Well, here comes Classic Interior Christmas Decorations! This is a lengthy and info-packed post series, but hang in there and you will learn some great tips, tricks and calculations (yes! calculations!), plus get my commentary and opinions along the way.

Classic Interior Christmas Decor, Part I

I am what I like to call a "Holiday Decor Purist". I prefer and recommend live plants for trimming the home for the holidays. There is something about real plants that just feels better. They are fresh, they smell amazing, the colors are true and, you don't have to worry about storage (a whole house of artificial holiday trimmings takes up a lot of room!) or cleaning them after the holidays (talk about dust magnets!). The tradition of using real plants and trees for your garland, wreaths, swags, table scapes, and Christmas trees just cannot be substituted by the fake stuff. I realize some people like artificial because they don't dry out and they don't have to repurchase all the trimmings every year (and maybe there are allergies to consider, which, in my opinion, is the only reason to go fake!)- but, really, it comes down to personal style and taste. The fake stuff, when done well, is still gorgeous...I'm not trying to rain on  anyone's parade here. Just try a real-plant may never go back!

Look for noble fir, douglas fir, evergreen, bay leaf, magnolia, holly or boxwood garland, swags and wreaths. Holly berries, cranberries, oranges, pears, pomegranates....all of the "winter" fruits, live or dried, are perfect for attaching to trimmings and/or using on the tablescape or mantlescape. Attach garland, wreaths, and swags to the banister with clear nylon cable ties for heavier items and/or anchor points, and use non-sticky green floral tape for less heavy items and/or intermediate swags. (I learned this from my mother....who, now I think about it, is mentioned quite often on {Maison Classique}! Hi Mom! I know you're reading!). If any of the nylon tie or floral tape shows, try to dress the greenery to cover it or tie a bow there. The green floral tape is also useful to attach ornaments, bows/ribbon, pine cones, lights and other do-dads to wreaths, swags and garland.

To measure for your garland around doorways, mantles and for staircases, do a mock-up with string or yarn. Keep in mind that your garland will be much thicker compared to the string, take this into consideration when doing your mock-up. After you have placed your string where you want it....take it down and measure it with a measure tape. Add about 5-10% to the total linear inches needed to cover for the bulk of the natural trimmings, shortages in the live product and/or slight errors in your measure. Plus, its always nice to have more than be short when you are decorating! Plus, you can use any extra trimmings for a wreath or centerpiece to give to a neighbor or take to a holiday event as a hostess gift.

Since you're measuring (and, if you do it right the first time, you won't ever have to measure again!), make a list of where you plan to place the garland and the linear amount needed for each feature you are trimming. At this time, you'll also want to walk through your house (don't forget the exterior! Gates, garage doors, front doors, etc!), and list how many wreaths, swags, centerpieces, etc. you need. Once you have your paperwork in order, add everything up then go shopping (either online or to your favorite holiday lot). Make a master copy of this information and reference it each year.

Candles in simple glass hurricanes are both classic and functional when sitting amongst live plants (you don't want them catching on fire!). I am a huge fan of candles (a really huge fan), so a table or mantle without candles feels sad to me. Snag some great glass hurricanes and nestle them in the garland and fruits of the season. For an alternative to hurricanes, check out these clever fruit converter candle holders from Wisteria. I love these! I plan on placing pomegranates in mine. If you aren't a fan of the shiny silver- you can easily repaint these to any color or metallic finish you desire (this is a really easy DIY project!). Just make sure your tapers sit high above the plants for fire considerations. Also, you can use these beyond the Christmas season, too!


Sources for trimming a home with natural greenery + live wreaths:

Christmas Farms. (Their "Classic Wreath" is pictured above)

Williams-Sonoma (FYI- they sell season-appropriate live and dried wreaths year-round). Mantle photograph, above, courtesy of Williams-Sonama.

Lynch Creek Farm

Wisteria for the convertible taper candle holders

Costco for wire ribbon (I just picked up a 50 yard spool for $7!)

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