To see Part I of Classic Interior Christmas Decor, click here.
Classic Interior Christmas Decor, Part II
How I do Christmas decor is very simple. Its about color and coordination (its NOT about being matchy-matchy). You start with a foundation of the season's bounty (click here for Part I), then build on that with a color palette. Any color palette! Yes, you read that correctly. Any color palette will work....as long as its built on seasonal greenery. A foundation of fresh greens can make the most un-traditional Christmas palette look "Christmassy" and classic. Personally, I like the look and feel of traditional colors such as green and red or white and gold; however, a fresh take on traditional colors such as fuchsia and lime green (a twist on red and green) or orange and cream (to change up white and gold) can be a really fun alternative.
Developing a Christmas color palette is simple. Choose two dominant colors, one accent and one "sparkle" color that you use even more sparingly than the accent color.
Examples of this color formula:
Navy + Light Blue as dominant colors, Gold or sliver as the accent, frosted white as the sparkle
Red + Green as dominant colors, Lime green as the accent, clear glass as the sparkle
Red + Rustic Brown as dominant colors, Orange or a shade of muted green as an accent, cream as the sparkle
Fuchsia and Lime green as dominant colors, light pink as an accent, opalescent white/clear as the sparkle
Pearl/Cream and White as dominant colors, gold as an accent, clear glass as a sparkle (this palette REALLY glows!)
Once you have your color palette....go to town buying up ornaments, tree skirts, ribbon for garland, stockings, etc. Don't worry about being "matchy matchy", just coordinate everything. Once its spread out in the house, it won't matter that two shades of red aren't perfect together- your eye glosses over things like that when you see something as a whole. Don't stress- just have fun with it!
Once you choose a palette, stick to it for a set amount of time- say, five years or more (or, forever!). (I'm not sure if you've ever noticed this, but retailers do this. They choose a scheme and palette and they stick with it, changing it once every 5 years or so. ) Just like home decor, holiday decor is better when cultivated throughout the years. If you have a set palette, you can build on it every year and it will only get better. A really smart thing to do when you want to change things up, is to plan a palette change in advance. After Christmas you can buy up everything you need for next year's change at deep discounts. You can change up your palette with minimal investment if you plan accordingly- it just takes some forethought.
The main thing to remember is you are planning a palette and overall scheme- NOT a theme. That is the most important thing to remember when creating a classic and elegant Christmas decor plan. Rather than using actual "Santa's Workshop" decorations....use the bright and playful colors associated with Santa's Workshop. Rather than using actual nautical Christmas decor- use a palette of blues, whites and gold to recall the colors of the ocean, (a theme tree is, however, totally acceptable because they are SO fun to do, people enjoy them and they are contained....just don't overdo it on the literal-theme type of decor in other places in the house. You know what Im talking about....figurines of Santa in swim trunks, life preserves that read "Merry Christmas", etc ). Remember this mantra: "Color, greens and overall scheme, not theme".
I know gift wrap is not integral to decorating, per se....but people often comment positively on my gift wrap. These are the guidelines I stick to:
Each year I choose a wrapping color and pattern palette (are you surprised!). I get coordinating paper - one print and one solid, (brown or white blank shipping/crafting paper can be used as a solid coordinate to your colorful wrap for a very affordable option). Real ribbon (typically a 1" or 2" grosgrain and a spool of wire ribbon), really thin ribbon to attach gift tags, tulle in either white or off-white, and lots of gift boxes in various sizes. I don't use bags very often. I try to only use boxes, but I admit to putting some things in bags when need be. I stay away from curling ribbon and plastic stick-on bows. I also stay away from "commercial" looking paper with cartoony or licensed characters on them....that paper should only be used by Santa!
Where you would typically use curling ribbon, use real ribbon tied in a simple bow. Where you would use tissue paper, use tulle. I also use tulle as bows and banding on boxes. The print paper can also be used as an accent on your solid paper (do this with a band or cut the paper into thin strips to create a floppy or spiky "bow" to place atop a solid-wrapped gift). With these simple items- you can mix n' match and give each gift character, while at the same time coordinating them. I believe presents are better when wrapped beautifully....it ups the anticipation level (and also looks great sitting under the tree all month long!).
Stay tuned for Part III....the Christmas Tree!
Best sources for Orange County Christmas decor:
Stats in Seal Beach- Its a winter wonderland FULL of Christmas decor, and merchandised according to different styles.
Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar
Front Gate- While not OC-based, they offer petty holiday decor that is available for retail purchase.
Sinoda- you have to go with a designer....but, wow- what a place! HUGE, full of all sorts of stuff....and, of course, a huge holiday decor selection for the season.
Target for mass-amounts of basic, solid color ball ornaments and an array of budget-priced lights for both interior and exterior.
Paper Source at South Coast Plaza (other locations, too!) for fun, interesting and luxe gift wrap, cards, and small gifts.
Etsy - Do a search for gift wrap, you will get some great results from small-scale, artisan vendors...everything from posh papers, neat attache cards and silky ribbon. Above photo is Erin Ruth on Etsy.