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Christmas Decorating at Our House

by Grace Bonney

Christmas is my favorite time of year to decorate. It usually involves tons of fresh greenery and cutting down a tree from our local Christmas tree farm and breaking out all the old family ornaments from over the years. I don’t care much about Christmas gifts, because for me it has always been about the tree and ornaments.

I will never forget Julia’s first Christmas and seeing her genuine confusion about why anyone would want to bring a live tree into their home. Julia is Jewish and didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas, but she’s kindly learned to accept my intense love of all things Christmas tree-related. After four years of buying fresh trees and always (always!) forgetting to drag them out before the needles all fall off, this year I decided to try something different.

Thanks to our friends at Terrain, this year I embraced something I thought I never would: a fake Christmas tree. I’ve always dreamed about a silver retro tinsel tree (but nixed the idea because our cat Turk would definitely try to eat those strands), but I always thought a faux tree would be too cheesy or sad. But I’m pretty sure our new faux Norway Spruce is going to be a permanent addition because: not a single person has realized it’s not a real tree, it doesn’t require daily watering and it doesn’t create a halo of prickly needles to step on.

While I did indulge in some fresh greenery and elegant gilded pieces for above the mantel (this bay leaf and olive garland smells amazing), I mainly leaned into the fun side of Christmas this year and decided to make our tree’s theme an ode to Julia and her life in cookbooks. So all of our ornaments are food themed! From tiny waffles and pretzels to chocolate croissants and slices of pumpkin pie, this year’s tree is definitely the cheeriest we’ve ever had. So together with Hope, I set up our living room to be a glowy wonderland of Christmas decor. Scroll down to peek inside all of our Christmas decorations this year and to pick up some of the same ornaments and decorations we used in our house. xo, Grace

Image above: Our holiday mantel! I used this ridiculously good-smelling bay leaf and olive garland, made my own pomanders and added some pomegranates, and also tucked in some of these gold plastic floral sprays and pinecone sprays  for a little bit of a twist. Then we decided to create a special gold floral focal point above the fireplace by crossing two of these metal ash stems

Image above: I love these metal and plastic floral pieces. They added such a nice bit of glam to the fireplace and set a festive holiday mood without relying on red and green. You can check out the delicate floral spray here, the pinecones here, and the larger metal branch here

Image above: Let’s talk about trees! We used Terrain’s faux Norway Spruce and love it, but they have a few different styles of faux trees to choose from. We also upgraded our original Terrain tree basket for this new wicker skirt that keeps things looking neat and tidy. (Hope had a bad reaction to her Lyme vaccine shot and had to have her arm looked at, hence the bald spot. But she’s okay!)

Image above: What better to go on the tree in a home where a cookbook author lives than food ornaments? I’m obsessed with all these glass food ornament options Terrain has. You can choose from: fig, orange, a Moscow Mule, lemon, Parmesan, plum, pumpkin pie, pretzel, caviar, chocolate croissant, oyster and waffle

Image above: How cute is this little guy? Click here to check out more beautiful ornaments at the Terrain holiday shop. 

Image above: Need a gift idea for the plant and garden lover in your life? Check out Terrain’s brand new book dedicated to inspiring ways to bring the outdoors in. 

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  • What a wonderful, warm home! I’m curious about your experience with the pomanders – are they messy at all/ have a tendency to attract unwanted insects? I love the idea of them but we’re struggling with gnats in my home as it is and I feel like that might exacerbate the situation. Anyway, beautiful post as always!

    • Hi Lauren!

      Ours stayed good for about 1.5 weeks. Then they started to get moldy. I think it depends on the fruit and the conditions in the room. I was hoping that the heat from the fireplace would somehow dry them out a bit and make them last longer, but alas, no dice. So I cut out any moldy pieces, pulled out the cloves and threw them in the yard for the squirrels :)

      Grace :)

      • Ha! I was just about to type a comment asking how long your pomanders stuck around, so I’m glad to see an answer already waiting for me :) I love clove oranges, and forget to make them every year. I remembered this time and had the kids each make one along with me. They were lovely for about the same length of time as yours, and just got thrown away due to mold this morning. I’ve decided to make another few maybe next week, so we’ll have some on hand for Christmas. I absolutely love how yours look tucked into the greenery on your mantle…I may have to do the same once we make more.

  • Love that garland…I’m inspired! And I think it is so clever to have your food ornaments! Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

  • Merry Christmas, Grace! I love your new tree I would never have guessed it was fake. The garland looks so beautiful, too . I live on Boston’s South Shore and am dying to go to Terrain. Love everything they do. Maybe I can convince my hubby and kids to take a day trip to CT. I absolutely love the new Terrain book. It has so many great projects.

  • For the pomander admirers out there, if the orange is studded with enough cloves it will dry out over a span of months and does not mold. You will begin to see the peel of the orange crystalize and eventually sink in where the fleshy interior of the orange dries out. They continue to smell wonderful as the petrify.
    Only if there are not enough cloves does the orange begin to mold. Hope this helps–it really is a lovely holiday tradition.

  • I have had clove oranges for years, I pack them away with the Christmas decorations and bring them out each year. They are entirely studded with closes, I think that is the trick. They smell just as good as when they were made so many years ago with my small sons who are now 30 and 34 yrs. old!

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