Tag Archives: Christmas


Christmas in every room

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Christmas in every room

Photography by Gillian Jackson

The family room features another glorious tree. The built-ins and fireplace offer the perfect display area for holiday decor. Even the outside storage building has a wreath on the door!

Most people love to add decorative touches to their home at Christmas, but then there are those who just can’t stop at one room. For my clients, Val Geldart and Dave Dalton, no room remains untouched by holiday decor. Even the bathrooms and laundry room get a festive touch. “My mother is a Christmas nut,” says Geldar, so perhaps it’s genetic.

Sprigs of boxwood or holly, (real or not), linked with mini-lights and a few holly berries is a delicate touch on a stairwell.

East coast spirit

A storybook upbringing in the Maritimes instilled a love for family, community and Christmas — an important holiday where everyone can slow down and spend time together. Geldart remembers big family dinners, Santa parades, the Christmas concert at church, and driving around to admire the Christmas lights. She says friends and family would drop by unannounced (a perfectly acceptable part of life in Atlantic Canada!) and reconnect. It was an important time to celebrate and be thankful.

The dining room tree almost touches the 10’ ceiling. The decorations are all natural tones. The natural gas fireplace adds a soft glow as does the glassed-in wine room.

It happened one Christmas…

Geldart’s mom grew up in the countryside where the Christmas tree was decorated with homemade ornaments and strings of popcorn and cranberries. With her own family, she began a tradition of putting an ornament in her stocking every Christmas. This began a lifetime of collecting.

Beautifully made stockings in lush, earthy tones in a variety of fabric are the perfect complement to the oak mantel.

O Tannenbaum

From Newfoundland to Yellowknife, Geldart collects Christmas ornaments and decor on her travels whenever the opportunity arises. This spring she picked up a snowman during a trip to Iceland. Over the years, the family has had to add trees to accommodate all the ornaments, creating themes for each one.

A real tree is decorated in traditional red and green in basement room. Bright, colourful lights add a modern glow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Every year the family makes sure to pick up one real tree that they decorate in red and green with colourful lights, because that’s what her sons liked when they were little. Geldart confesses the rest of the trees are for her!

“I like to be able to see a tree no matter what room I spend time in. I am now up to four full-size trees and three small ones (one in the hall and one for each of the boys’ rooms). I like to have Christmas all around me!”

The tree in the master bedroom gets a romantic sparkle of light. From the chair and snowflake-motif pillows, to the delicate little tree and candles, which add a sweet holiday air.

So, with a veritable storehouse of trees, where does it all go at the end of the season? One of the most important features in their newly built home is the storage room. It takes a lot of space to store all those trees, not to mention full sets of dishes and towels — all Christmas- themed, of course!

No room is left untouched, which also means every room gets a little bit more love added to it, even the laundry room and bathrooms. So, if it’s about being a Christmas nut, I say we should all be so lucky to spread love and cheer throughout the home at Christmas, and always.

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


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No-rules holiday decor

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No-rules holiday decor

Photography, Gillian Jackson

Decorating for the holidays is very personal. Some people really couldn’t care one way or the other, and then there are those who can’t wait for the season to arrive. Apparently, it says a lot about who you are if you put your decorations up early.

Decorate early, be happy

The New York Post reported that people are happier if they put up holiday decorations, earlier than most, outside their home. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology backs this up. We make associations with things that make us happy, and Christmas is, generally, a happy time. By putting up outdoor decorations evokes social cues to our neighbours, and suggests that we are friendly.

If this describes you, then chances are you’ve already brought out the boxes from storage, and you’re living in a Christmas wonderland.

Once upon a time

There was a time when the traditional colour themes included red, green and white, with a touch of gold or silver for sparkle. Today, there aren’t any colour limits and you can be as creative as you want to be. Visit any big box store after the 31st of October and you’ll be inundated with possibilities.

If you’re a person who prefers to decorate to a theme each year, then you’ll know that new ornaments (and themes) are constantly being introduced to the market. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, then make it. Home-made touches always add a special element.

When designers deck a tree

In our office we hold a tree decorating competition. One year our theme was A Wine-derful Christmas, which included wine glass, bottle ornaments and hand-made cork garland. For our Nordic Noel Tree, we used light-toned wood ornaments, hand cut white paper snowflakes, and played up a red, white and silver theme. Last year we did the the Tree of Misfit Fabrics. You guessed it – we used leftover fabric pieces, shaped them into bows, and complemented it with black, white and silver ornaments. It’s always the homemade touches that get the most love.

When to let loose

Even it you tend to be a more restrained decorator when it comes to your home environment, you may show your playful side come Christmas. You don’t have to go overboard (like we did), but by introducing the right lighting and holiday decor it can further elevate the moods of your family and friends.

There aren’t any hard and fast rules for decorating your home for the holidays. Some (and you know who you are) go as far as to replace their dishes, serving ware, towels and bedding, and they decorate every room in the house. And, they do it faithfully every year. If you love to do it, then do it. However, if it’s stressing you out, don’t become a slave to a theme, as your family and friends would prefer to see you relaxed and happy.

When to show restraint

If you’re really gung-ho about getting the holiday started early, please remember that although we are surrounded by retailers pushing it earlier and earlier, we can still show a bit of restraint. Many feel that it’s best to wait until after Remembrance Day, out of respect for those who fought for our freedom. It still leaves more than 40 days of letting the neighbours know that you’re friendly and happy.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com


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Holiday Table Settings

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Holiday Table Settings

No matter what’s on the menu, the holiday table deserves a special touch

If you had the choice to host a Christmas dinner or pass it off to a sibling, which would you choose? For many, just the thought of having to set the table can be a pressure, but it doesn’t have to be. The real point of the holiday is to spend time with family and friends. You can simply use what you already own and add things you find for a natural tablescape, or you can splurge on some new elements and create a holiday extravaganza.


Let’s start with a more natural, winter-themed table, full of family and heritage. There is no need to hide the table, just layer up. Start with metallic silver placemats. They are very on-trend, can be used any time, from Christmas day to just a regular Tuesday, and they won’t break the bank. Combine them with some lovely winter-themed paper napkins as we have done here. The paper can be recycled and you don’t want to have a mountain of extra laundry after the guests have gone home. For your dishes, use what you own and add to it.

We’ve used these simple handmade dishes from Dexterity Lab, for Grafus. We wanted simple shapes; trending blue tones with a winter white for these handmade dishes. They are strong and durable and perfect for everyday use. Food looks real and homemade on these dishes—perfect for a family meal. Now use the stemware you have. Hopefully simple, unembellished to keep the attention on the champagne and wines as the stars of the meal. If you have wine, water and champagne glasses, set them together, the table looks full and festive.


Make some statements with simple, inexpensive elements from Mother Nature. For example, combine some pinecones and natural greenery with “fauxtanicals” as we have done here. If you are going to spend money, at least these don’t go to the garbage a few days after the meal. These “ever-blooms,” as they are sometimes called, have improved dramatically and never stop giving beauty. Next, continue to layer the table with evergreen branches, twigs of birch pinecones and you are done. Now you can just enjoy the pleasure of your company.


For some people, Christmas just can’t come soon enough. You know those friends that send notes in August to tell you how many days to Christmas? They just love it in all its glitz and glitter, joy and laughter. If you are a person like that, then why not indulge your passion? Start with a quality tablecloth and napkins to set the luxurious tone of your holiday table. I don’t recommend strong patterns, as the tablecloth should be the background to the meal. Lay a metallic-gold placemat on top of it as an added layer in holiday glam.

Now break out the fine-bone china. This is the time to use it and enjoy it. A bone china may not survive everyday use but most chefs will tell you, white china is the best choice. The colour contrast can’t be beat. Now set the table with some nice cutlery. Here is the chance to pull out the fine silver you inherited, or use something simple and clean-lined.

When it comes to stemware, I’m in love with these receded-glass goblets, with the gold rim. They give a certain shimmer to the liquids they hold. Reserve them for holidays and a new year’s party, to make it special.

With place settings complete, it’s time for fresh flowers, including evergreen stems or holly berry bows. The scent of fresh evergreens cannot be mistaken. Add Christmas balls, candles, ribbon and pinecones, which you can spray-paint to complement the colour of your table. Then shoot, Instagram, and invite your guests to the table. Christmas is served!

Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner


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