November 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm
by Designer Dad: Stephen Saint-Onge
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. We did our traditional visit to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City – then dinner with friends that evening. Since I like to cook – we did our big meal at home, with more family and friends, on Friday. A nice relaxing day with a spice rubbed turkey, sausage and pepperoni stuffing, mashed potatoes, mango salsa, cranberry sauce and my yearly favorite – carrot souffle. All-in-all – a good weekend but I still cannot believe that December is almost here! Seems like it was just Halloween!?
Switching gears now to focusing in on holiday decorating inside the home. Many people have asked me: “Is it okay to mix faux greens and also fresh greens – when decorating at holiday time?”
I must admit that I am not usually a fan of faux greenery. Just because they tend to look like plastic or are just obviously fake. However, the faux stuff has really gotten much better in recent years. In essence, they have made them seem more like fresh greenery. I was quite impressed when I opened the box from Grandin Road and found these pre-lit mantle garlands. Not only did they look great and REAL – but they were ready to put up and simply plug in. I like the easy set up. Plus, they can be stored and repurposed each year. They can be used on the mantle this year and maybe the staircase next year.
So, in answer to the question of faux vs. fresh – I think this mantle could have easily been kept plain and simple with these pre-lit faux greens. I like the way they look with the painting I gave our friends (more about the painting on Thursday). Sometimes basic and easy on the eye is just fine in my book. There is a classic look about the evergreens and white lights. If you wanted, you could even add some of your own ornaments to the six foot garland, but in this case I kept it plain.
I like the smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree and fresh greens in the house. You can easily bring in some fresh greenery – like I did with this fresh wreath also from Grandin Road replacing the barn painting. It came out of the box smelling amazing and already decorated. It wasn’t overly decorated either – which is what I like. You could embellish the garland with fresh pine sprigs too or place some urns flanking the mantle with some fresh greens as well too bring in some height.
Here’s a hint – as you know I love lighting – so I urged my friends to go out and get a pluggable dimmer. You can get them at most hardware stores now. You simply plug the garland lights into it and then they can be dimmed to any level you want!
At the end of the day, mixing fresh and faux is just fine. I think because the faux now looks so real – having the mix is great. The fresh ones can provide you with the scent of the holidays – but the faux can sustain the warmth of the fireplace and is easy to put away and reuse each year…
This fireplace area is also a perfect focal point or zone to decorate in a room. At holiday time, some people feel that they have to decorate the whole house. That can be stressful! So pick focal point areas and keep it simple. Looks great and says what it has to say…Happy Holidays.
More to come…
Designer Dad Stephen Saint-Onge is Family Circle’s Contributing Home Editor.