Deck Your Halls

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Innovative decorating ideas to make your home sparkle

I am unabashedly gaga for holiday decor. The flags come out for 4th of July, Halloween jack-o’-lanterns are on display, and, our dining table fairly groans under the weight of a huge pumpkin piled high with masses of flowers, grapes and seasonal fruits at Thanksgiving.  Come December, it’s an all out effort to decorate for Christmas.

Enthusiastic for seasonal trimmings, I am also a true traditionalist. I like holidays in order: I get thrown seeing St. Nick on display before Halloween!Am I the only one who remembers the joy of seeing Santa in his sleigh appear at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?Today, for some he may be old news the morning of Turkey Day, but not for this gal. The tree awaits lights; garlands and bushels of ornaments wait to be hung on Thanksgiving Night after the football games, naps, whatever. And, there are no turkey sandwiches untila string of lights goes up.

Having gotten that off my chest, it’s time to plan, or,implement, December’s décor du jour. Red and green are always keen but silver seems to have won this year’s color theme awards. From sterling to Mercury glass, stars to tinsel,the season shines.

Here are a few ideas, to get the glitter and glow to take us all —no matter what holidays we celebrate — from the 1st of December to New Year’s Day.

  • Mirrors reflect and dazzle like the Palace at Versailles. Even an inexpensive closet door mirror can be used as a table runner. Topped with white candles of varying heights, crystal and glass ornaments, you have high power glamour.
  • Mix silver with bark covered candles along with holly berries and red ribbon for a rustic, “Aspen on the Mississippi” look.
  • Baby’s-breath, gardenias, paper whites and white roses tucked into thatsilver rimmed wedding crystal you hardly ever use anymore makes a great statement. Demitasse cups do the job nicely, too.
  • On a tight budget? Pumpkins are on sale after Thanksgiving. Spray paint silver or white! Pile on the mantel, linedown a table, place in baskets. Accent withbattery operated tea lights. Wow.
  • Well-heeled? Dunn & Sonnier, the floral team who have amassed antiques at their Magazine shop, or, the incredibly innovative staff at Fischer Gambino in the Quarter and Metairie, will deck halls with gay abandon. There’s amaryllis by the armfuls; orchids woven into garlands; Italian wrinkle lights everywhere; life-size Tin Soldiers in doorways, bubble machines. Oh, my!
  • Embrace your taste for all things French, Scandinavian, Western, Latina, or Balinese. Drape huge silk panels on tables; hang blankets over chair arms; light candles scented with pine, leather, roses, rosemary and birch. Even Long Horns get decorated; amusing is just as delightful as exquisite taste.
  • Mirrored furniture is a great base for light-up plastic rings and things: line up by the dozen and turn on. Magic. Give as a memento as guests leave.
  • You can never have too many apples, nuts, or bells. Mass them in baskets, galvanized buckets, or heaped on mantles.
  • Never underestimate the power of candy silver bells! Pile high in silver goblets; pour bagfuls on huge trays made of everything from silver to Lucite to rustic wood. Be old-fashioned, pin them to a tree-shaped Styrofoam base and then watch them disappear.
  • Nothing decorates better than a warm heart, a sincere smile and a good laugh. That’s what makes a house a home or a holiday feel more special.

-DIANE SUSTENDAHL