How We Decked Our Halls for Christmas
The tree is super wide, some presents are brown (!!!) and I’m star-less—so yes, I styled things differently AGAIN despite my thinking I was just going to do what we did last year. I used a lot of what I had, but mixed in some new pieces from Target and tried some new ideas. My holiday house style changes from year to year, but one thing remains the same: I like to do it early and I like A LOT of it. In previous years, we had an artificial tree, which of course means you get to deck your halls as early as you want (and for us, that meant early November). This time around, though, we had to wait until after Thanksgiving to head to the evergreen lot. But that didn’t stop me from starting on the rest of the house in mid-November and that was using restraint. I got my house DRUNK on holiday decor despite the fact that I have two small kids that would likely mess it up daily (I’ve since pulled it back a little for everyday living).
The version you are seeing today is the “party ready” Henderson holiday (or something that would speak to you if you like to go all out on every surface). This look is more to give ideas of what you can do but you certainly don’t have to do all of them. The style this year is more on the traditional side (led by that rug) and is layered and definitely dripping with holiday, without screaming it.
Here’s what I did…
I was inspired by the color palette of the rug, giving it one more shot before Blue Parakeet takes it back to sell (don’t worry, we’ll get it cleaned, but let her know if you are interested). I had already done the whole classic red-and-green thing in Portland earlier in the season, so I was mentally free to go a more modern route in my LA home.
Last year, I didn’t have enough warm tones in my holiday reveal and actually added a ton of blush and pink AFTER we shot it (because we shot in early November), so this year I learned my lesson and had a good mix of both warm and cool tones and layered it a lot more. Instead of red, I went with the more muted burgundies, mauves and blushes which were already in the rug.
I rearranged the room to maximize the seating and just try something new. My two club chairs sat together with the wing back in the other corner. It closed off the room a bit, but I also love how much seating it gave and the backs of those chairs are pretty and simple. There is something kinda Easter-y about the color palette but it’s really warm and happy and different.
I did try one chair over here for this shot because it looked a little empty without it, but technically it was right in front of the fireplace so it wouldn’t really live there.
Here’s what I love: I hacked that Target wreath and took off the red berries and added some greenery and it looks sooo pretty with the set up (it looked equally pretty in Portland as purchased, but because it worked better with the palette there). It’s such a huge scale and the fact that I don’t have to repurchase it next year is pretty great.
My stance on real versus faux greenery is this: It’s a lifestyle choice much like real marble versus quartz. One is more beautiful but expensive (because it’s only for one season, if that), it can be messy and high maintenance (plus, you have to throw it away), and the other is less naturally beautiful and with less smell but generally easier to live with and deal with (and these days, they can be super pretty). I bought the garlands at the flower market for $50 for 75 feet. They are a mix of cedar and fur, and then we shoved in some eucalyptus to mix it up. The smell, shape and drape are all so pretty but, folks, it is high maintenance. There are needles to clean up, and it does better for longer if you mist it regularly. I think next year, I want to try what I did with the wreath—buy a faux one, but add in some real greenery to bring in the smell and almost trick the eye into thinking it’s all real.
That cozy white fir blanket up there on that sofa…it’s a lovefest with that. It has indeed become my “blanky.” I snuggle with it in the morning when I write before the kids wake up and bring it upstairs at night to sleep with.
All the wood accents (like the wood vase and tray on the coffee table) really adds so much warmth and character to the light and airy palette. I LOVE IT.
What I don’t love love love is the sofa with the curtains with the rug—it’s going a bit granny for me but I think with a neutral rug (like this one below), it would feel instantly more modern.
Because the house is dripping with holiday decor, we kept with a simple theme of greenery, white lights and houses (that light up) with a lot of white textures and ornaments strewn about. Can you imagine how over-the-top this would look if it were an explosion of color and patterns?
Those white trees are so simple and we turn them on every night to add holiday ambience. I did realize that garland is chicer WITHOUT lights, it just looks more natural and “cool” but at night, I love that they light up.
That Goat (!!!)
Chip and Joanna (Hearth & Hand With Magnolia) are not good for my bank account (and yes, I get a budget for the holiday decor from Target, but they aren’t bankrolling my general shopping/hoarding habits).
Probably my favorite vignette per usual is with that antique French sideboard. The wood beads, the wood vase and those white houses that light up create a very simple ambience that makes SO me happy. After the shoot, my kids kinda destroyed all the presents and random greenery so I paired it back and it’s just as pretty.
The star ornament is an obvious favorite for Charlie, which we had to remove or put up high, but they are really graphic and the perfect complement to a typical ball while being more sculptural.
These are sooooo good. I tried mixing in more pattern but ultimately the rug is the pattern moment and I just wanted the rest to be simple, but full of soft texture. Like I said, my favorites are the faux fur blankets, and the cable-knit and round velvet pillows.
In this corner, we switched out the blue demilune (which I might sell or donate because all of a sudden I’m questioning it—can a demilune ever be cool? Was I crazy when I hopped on the slow-moving demilune table train?). I apparently really like this wingback and side table combo as I used it in the Threshold fall content, Portland holiday and here. The blue fur is headed straight to the mountain house and those faux green trees are peppered around the house (from last year, but still for sale) and might go up there, too, to make decorating up there easier every year.
This is my favorite tree that we’ve EVER had. It fits that bay window perfectly. Brian wanted a more traditional tree and I wanted a more Charlie Brown-style like we had in the dining room last year, so I felt that this was in the middle. He thought it was weird for sure, but it grew on him. Scale-wise, it’s just PERFECT. It couldn’t be too much taller because it needed to fit in that window nook, but any skinnier and it would look dinky (like last year).
If someone can make a faux version of this (“natural” Noble Fir that’s 5-feet wide and 7 1/2-feet tall), that would be GREAT. We peppered it with some family ornaments, plenty of plastic balls and a lot of white animals that the kids loved. All the kids’ handmade ornaments are up on their trees in their rooms (which we aren’t re-shooting because it looks just like last year, but see Elliot’s and Charlie’s if you are curious).
We always frame pictures of the kids with the year on it, and this year we framed shots of Bearcat and Mimi so they would remember that this was the year they passed.
Hot tip: The porcelain frames are pretty heavy to hang on a more delicate tree like ours, so we have those instead on shelves and have these lighter wood ones on the tree.
We used the same general themes throughout the living room surfaces—greenery, lights, white light up houses, ornaments and even wrapped some books (not necessary but a fun hack if you are having a party and want to take it next level).
I LOVE those pink trees that light up. They’re great for a vignette that might feel too serious or dark. They lighten things up both visually and physically and bring in a TINY bit of glam which I’m always into during the holidays. We wrapped the books (don’t put a bow on the bottom one or it gets wobbly) which is a nice touch for a party, but regular books (in our color palette OF COURSE) would have looked good, too.
For the shelving, I once again removed a lot of the books and kept the color palette simple and of course CURRENTLY, I like it better.
It honestly has so much to do with my mental state. During the holidays, I like the IDEA of more, but have such mental chaos that I end up paring back the whole house a bit in order to add decor. Those Hearth & Hand wooden ornaments are amazing (and such a great hostess gift—4 for $35 and they look very expensive, so you could break them up and wrap them in a box and look the best guest ever). Also, I just want to make sure you saw that I read Plato to the children on the weekends. They have moved on from Nietzsche, it was a bit pedestrian to them.
That’s the general Henderson Holiday Home tour. If you are wondering how we did it and how much the kids helped, here’s the real answer: The kids decorated their trees before we left for Thanksgiving because they are faux). Then, the kids stayed up at the grandparents with Brian while I could get it to a place that they could help. Because of my job (which I obviously LOVE), we have more decorating needs than a normal family so the chaos that usually ensues by pulling boxes out of the garage is times 100 in our house. I rearranged the furniture, and pulled out everything, played with the textiles, removed the books, etc., so that when they got home, they could trim the tree and play with the houses, etc.
We don’t live on a daily basis with 30 fake presents surrounding the tree because that would ignite a nightly battle with my children, I know this for a fact. It’s not that they have no self control or discipline but it’s torture for them to play in a room full of presents, no matter how much they understand that they are empty and “just for photos.” But for a party, or if you want to go all out and maybe you don’t have present-hungry monsters, then a lot of these ideas are, well, ones that I LOVE.
Ninety shots later, we got this photo, with only one child doing a totally fake smile, and the other one her best performance of “innocently adorable.” Wonder where she got that idea…
This photo is more accurate.
We have to tickle, bribe and talk about “tooting” in order to get them to laugh.
There you go. This post wasn’t officially sponsored by Target, but as you can probably guess, I worked with them on all the holiday decor, textiles and a lot of the accessories, which means it’s all affordable and available (if it’s not sold out). If you are still in the decorating phase then hopefully you got some good ideas on how to go all out for a fun party.
Now all I want to do is decorate a “Holiday Mountain Minimal” up at the cabin with just a few green and white elements. Let’s see if it will be done by then. If not, I’m going to take that white weapon-like ornament and stab it into my eye over and over again in order to numb my disappointment and frustration. 🙂
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HERE IS YOUR GET THE LOOK:
1. Wreath Gold Wire with Red Berry Pine | 2. House Bud Vase | 3. Small Mercury Glass Tree Christmas Figurine | 4. Large Mercury Glass Tree Christmas Figurine | 5. Bear and Trees Cloche | 6. Turned Accent Table Large Black | 7. Wingback Chair | 8. Blue Faux Fur Throw Blanket | 9. Cable Knit Lumbar Pillow | 10. House Stocking Holder (set of 2) | 11. Wooden Spindle Ornaments (set of 4) | 12. Hand Knit Christmas Stocking | 13. Faux Fur Pelt | 14. Pouf | 15. Tree Collar | 16. Medium Wood Vase | 17. Large Wood Vase | 18. Large Bottle Brush Christmas Tree | 19. Mauve Velvet Pillow | 20. Pom Square Throw Pillow Cream | 21. Berry Velvet Pillow | 22. Pleated Velvet Round Throw Pillow | 23. Fabric Mini Birds Christmas Ornament (set of 4) | 24. Small Birch Wrap Tree Christmas Figurine | 25. Large Birch Wrap Tree Christmas Figurine | 26. Lit Laser Cut Deer Scene | 27. Ceramic House Christmas Ornament | 28. Rosegold/Champagne Ornaments (set of 70) | 29. Bear Figurine | 30. Wooden Plumbob Figural (set of 4) | 31. Garland Wood Beads | 32. Glitter Spike Starburst Christmas Ornament (set of 4) | 33. Silver Ornaments (set of 8) | 34. Winter Furry Animals Ornaments (set of 4) | 35. 2018 Picture Frame Ornament | 36. Black and White Star Ornaments (set of 8) | 37. Large White Wooden Tree | 38. Gnomes Christmas Ornament (set of 4) | 39. Rocking Horse | 40. Woven Stripe Throw Blanket | 41. Cream Texture Faux Fur Throw | 42. Pink Texture Faux Fur Throw | 43. Glitter Deer Christmas Ornament (set of 4)
***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD