The holidays are a beautifully nostalgic time of year, and holiday decorations often represent memories and traditions. Mixing in a little new with the old can be fun, and an artistic vision will bring it all together. Local businesses offer their expertise to help you invoke memories and create new ones with your decorations this year. Here are some suggestions:
Blend the best of past and present
Michael Van Nort and Charles Farruggio are the owners of FRED, a furnishings store that features both modern and vintage pieces. Their approach to holiday decorating involves mixing the new with the old.
“While traditions and memories are important to keep, it is just as important to create new traditions and memories each year,” Charles says. “With an abundance of classic vintage ornaments that can be found at yard sales, on the internet, and at antique shops, the key to bringing them into your holiday décor is to use them in a new way.”
Michael says simplicity is also key.
“I think you can capture a vintage feeling at the holidays by keeping things simple with pine cones, birch logs, and fresh fruit,” he says. “I love to tuck old Christmas photos of my siblings and I in the edge of a mirror frame. It’s ok if the edges get curled when you remove them from the photo albums—That’s what makes them more charming and adds to the vintage feel.”
Re-purpose vintage items
When Scarlet Crawford, owner of Sweetpea, thinks back to her childhood holidays, she remembers stockings and tiny farm figurines.
“We had a farm scene that went around the entire base of the tree with characters who would be ice skating, carolers, farm animals, and mini snow-covered trees that I got to arrange,” Scarlet says.
That may be why her tip for creating a nostalgic Christmas is to use vintage playthings.
“A great way to create a vintage Christmas feel is to hang a pair of old ice skates in the hallway,” she says. “Old sleds, ski poles, and snow shoes always spruce up the side of a fire place if you have one.”
Focus on returning home
“For me personally, the holiday nostalgia is about coming home,” says Patti Kranis, who grew up in an Italian- American family.
Her holidays also involve a lot of planning and hard work. Festivities include preparing multiple family feasts and decorating with ornaments made by children and grandchildren. Patti also expresses her seasonal enthusiasm by decorating her Ole Carousel Antiques Center.
“It starts in October,” she says. “There are many families that have made it their tradition to visit the Ole Carousel just to see all the décor.”
Use ribbons and vintage ornaments
For a special touch, Suzanne Paterson of Barking Dog Antiques hangs ribbon clotheslines and pops vintage ornaments in punch cups.
“I love hanging ribbon clotheslines on our open stairway, decorated with vintage ornaments or the wonderful homemade ornaments made by the Ladies Guild of the High Falls Community Church,” she says.
“If I have a fireplace mantle for sale in the shop, I festoon it with a ribbon clothesline, too. Filling beautiful crystal or pressed-glass punch bowls with loads of brilliant ornaments is always colorful.”
David Pillard of Tender Land Home grew up in a rural community in Western New York, and his holiday memories involve spending time in nature and enjoying beautiful winter imagery.
“For me, it’s about the motifs that go along with nature: sleighs in the snow or the snowy bushes in front of my house decorated with lights,” he says. “I also remember a beautifully set table for Christmas dinners, beautiful place mats with a holiday theme, and then sometimes collecting things like pine cones for decoration.”
For his store’s holiday collections, David chooses items like scented birch candles, place mats with evergreen images, and handmade ornaments painted with bears, moose, fish, and evergreens.
Gild it for a holiday glow
Reindeer may have inspired Ron Sharkey of Field and Barn and Downtown Antiques to choose antlers for holiday decoration.
“I just got a lot of deer antlers that I’ll be painting silver and gold,” he says. “I’ll be selling them in Accord.”
Metallics are Ron’s go-to colors for the season. While he likes to decorate with natural items—such as fresh greens and pine cones—he also loves the gloss and glitter of vintage ornaments.
The scents of the season
For some, it’s the smoky scent of logs on the fireplace. For others, it’s apple pie in the oven or a freshly cut pine tree. The sense of smell powerfully summons memories. At The Nest Egg, the cozy intimacy of the season is captured in scented soaps, candles, and incense.
“We have soaps that are special for Christmas: Winter Wonderland, Peppermint Candy Cane, and First Snow,” says Robin Kirk of The Nest Egg. “We have candles with scents such as Jack Frost, Tree Trek, Silent Night, and Christmas Morning.”
Surround yourself with Santas
Walter Marquez of the Antiques Barn in New Paltz remembers decorating trees with his family, and the highlight of the ritual was unpacking cherished ornaments. Today, he decorates his own tree with some of the same childhood ornaments, but his favorite decorative collection focuses on the jolly old Saint Nick.
“It’s important to decorate with what you like,” Walter says. “Christmas is a very special time for me, as I am an avid Santa collector. At last count I had over 1400 Santas.
Change your artwork
For Jay Grutman of the Rhinebeck Antique Emporium, creating seasonal magic can be as easy as swapping out year-round wall art for images that stimulate the holiday spirit. “People change plates for the holidays,” he says, “so why not change the artwork?”
He suggests decorating with watercolors that depict scenes like snow on branches of trees and rooftops or ice skating on rinks and ponds.
Use a holiday color palette
When Dennis Sharp and his wife purchased the 1911 building that now houses the Moose Crossing furniture store, he added a dozen or so holly bushes in the front yard. The berries ripen and redden just in time for the holidays, harmonizing with the Shokan store’s berry red, pine green, and mustard exterior. “The store has that holiday feel 12 months of the year,” Dennis says.
For Dennis, part of that holiday feel is definitely the color palette—and it only takes a little seasonal redecorating to create that palette inside. He suggests adding new placemats, a braided rug, or blankets in merry seasonal colors just as the holidays begin.
This story was published in visitvortex.com.