Dec 2, 2017

Whimsical Holiday Tips

Last year when we were still living in So Cal, I was asked to style our home for San Diego Magazine’s December issue.  This was my last loving hurrah with our old historic home before putting the house on the market.  I hesitate to share, as our house went through one last huge transformation after this shoot.  But my babies were in the magazine! and blush pink!  and oohhhh that mantle that I miss so much!  So here, my tips for some easy decorating tips to make your home sparkle with a touch of whimsy, a dash of elegance and a whole lot of holiday magic.

I love an old fashioned mantle with green garland, candlelight, and a wreath. I’ve added some layers to make this mantle an updated version with antlers and felt balls. A peekaboo of pink in the garland and stockings is a fun unexpected touch to typical xmas palette.

Mantle Tips

*Layering branches of greenery on a mantle can look as lush as a garland for half the price.  I love the feathery look of cedar.

*Pick a single branchy flower type to be repeated throughout the decor, I’ve chosen snowberry branches. Sticking with one type keeps the look clean, and does not require fancy flower arranging skills.

*Antlers can add a sculptural element that can lend iteself to a Boho vibe or Aspen Chic

*Candlesticks with taper candles are a no brainer, consider getting them in a color that matches your holiday theme.

Greenery, birch branches and vintage vessels holding snowberries continue the theme. A touch of blush in the dessert plates adds a special layer. A cake under a pretty cloche becomes a focal point of the table in lieu of a massive flower arrangement.

Tabletop Tips

*Choose a color palette. Work with the colors in your house, not agains them. I lean towards shimmery neutrals with a pop of color.

*A sprig of rosemary in the water or centered on a plate can dress up simple elements.

*Pick your home made moments, if you are a great cook but not a baker outsource that piece of the hosting puzzle. I don’t bake so I entrust my local baker to make a beautiful cake. Order “naked” or “messy buttercream” and you can add some of your own styling to match your table design. I’ve added greenery and pomegranate seeds.

*Don’t be afraid to mix and match whats around your house to set the table. I like a mismatched set of glassware to make a table feel more like home than a table set a store.

*When in doubt: candles, candles, candles!

Yes, thats what we named it. Don’t forget the other little nooks and crannies in your house. If you spend time in a room, add a dash of decor to make the room merry.

Tips for Other Rooms

* Minimalist wreaths are in right now, try your own DIY version, repeated wreaths add major impact.

*I love sprinkling small xmas trees throughout the house, they don’t need a lot of ornaments to bring some cheer to a lonely corner.

*We are big fans of creating a signature cocktail for our parties big and small.  Bonus points for matching your color palette!

*OK, am I OCD? I love picking wrapping paper that matches my design scheme too.


The front porch is a perfect place to show a peekaboo of what merriment is to come inside. A couple of kiddos playing out front doesn’t hurt the cute factor. 😉

Front Porch Tips

*Every front door wants a wreath! Like the cake, you can order simple base and add some decorative elements to match your unique styling. Here- a pink feathery bird & snowberries to repeat the decor theme.

*Battery powered lights are great for small outdoor trees = no extension cord needed.

*Wood logs and branches add easily styled impact.

Thank-you for indulging me in a trip down memory lane.  This year instead of a sunny San Diego home, we are decorating our old Victorian home in hopes of seeing snow gather on the garland by Christmas morning.  What a difference a year makes!

From east to west, wishing you are enjoying your decorating!

Photography: Auda & Coudayre Photography
Design: Palm & Prep Design
Magazine Publication: San Diego Magazine
Paper Goods: Brightly Designed
Cake: Cake