Thursday, December 20, 2012

Southern Prep Holiday Season: Savannah Stylin'

There is Christmas Decor' and then there is Deep South Christmas Decor' and then there is... Savannah Holiday Styling!

Maybe I am just a wee bit biased with both sides of my family being-from-Savannah for generations n' generations but honestly, I have seen a lot of places around the world during the holidays and one of the most enchanting in its romantic, timeless and elegant manifestation certainly is Savannah.

Last year was my first time being back in Savannah for an entire holiday season and I reveled in it!

Being in the historic section of the city in such a pretty petite carriage house rented for a pied a terre' during our moving-transitioning months was a delight with festively decorating its fireplace mantle, having a tabletop tree on a drop leaf table and festooning the black iron staircase's railings both inside and also outside going down,down on into our tiny courtyard garden area.

This year we are settled out here on the water nearby three households of my mother's side of the family and it's been such a joyous holiday season indeed!

In this rambling, large indoors/outdoors kind of house that we have here, I have put up 4 fully-decorated Christmas Trees in various rooms with the largest being over 10 feet tall.  Mantles and porch columns n' railings are garlanded with evergreens while wreaths dot the front door, the garage, the river porch's room and an inside hallway as well.  Our old nativity creche' has been set up on the library table and the set of porcelain choir boys are singing away in front of an old mirror.  Poinsettias are in the silver punch bowl and paper whites are coming up in moss-edged pots on the french baker's rack in the kitchen........yes, this definitely feels like the Christmases I grew up in!

More than any other time this past year of fully being-here, I am feeling most "at home" right now.

The following is a brief listing of the Holiday-ways I feel are Special in Savannah and (but of course) can be found elsewhere as well in other places' variations of festive-translations:

  • Using Spanish Moss, magnolia leaves and cones, camellias, roses, ivy and whatever citrus fruits happen to be around in gardens for holiday decorating inside and out.
  • Any and all sterling, and silverplate, in the house put-to-use for both entertaining and decorating.
  • White orchids or poinsettia plants placed into large silver bowls, especially punch bowls, lined inside with Spanish Moss.
  • Saw palmetto fronds top heavily gold-gilded ancestor portrait frames.
  • Sterling porringer bowls hold small guest soaps in the guest bathroom while monogrammed baby cups holding single floral blossoms are tucked into small areas around the house such as by the lamp on the front hall's entry way table or on a windowsill at the top of the stairs.
  • Cheese straws and candy canes are clustered in silver mint julep cups on sideboards.
  • A "Tasting Table" is arranged for setting-out food gifts n' baked goodies to nibble on 24/7.
  • Bourbon is baked into cakes, Madeira wine is at hand along with Sherry in an old crystal decanter set out with its tiny coordinating glasses on a tray weighting down a tea cart.
  • Sweets and savories include benne wafers, pralines, divinity, lemon squares, cheese straws, spiced and also sugared pecans set out on silver trays and compotes and in crystal dishes.
  • Light cut-work white linen tablecloths and heavy white linen monogrammed napkins are put into use in the dining room while plaid tablecloths sport their tartan-reds in the kitchen areas.
  • Imported from up-Charleston-way classic sea grass baskets hold everything from clove dotted fruits to clusters of antique ornaments to just received Christmas Cards set out for perusal.
  • Oyster shells grace grapevine wreaths out on river dock houses while potted box woods with red bows line brick townhouse steps just steps from historic squares.
  • Popcorn-tree white berry buddings intermix with holly berries in tall sterling bud vases.
  • A touch of Tartan in red n' green and a touch of brushed Silver is where-it's-at with ribbon bows inside dwellings while the tradition red velvety ribbon predominates outside decor'.
  • Old is preferred over new and subtle over shiny unless that shiny is sterling silvered...
And so forth and so on!  A great peering-into in regards to Savannah holiday styling aside from actually being here and being within homes is a brand new book just out, "A Savannah Christmas" by Kimberly Ergul and Holly Jaakkola.  Inside, it features a dear friend of ours wondrous antique shop among other beautiful places and spaces around this lovely city. 

Savannah is always enchanting but never more so to me than during the holiday season.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Preppy Christmas Decor' IS... and ISN'T

There are many ways, traditions, inspirations and cultural influences not to mention, intentional statement making as well, which go into how people go about decorating for the holiday season and Christmas.

Personally, I find it all fascinating...the differences and dynamics that direct individuals and families to decorate the way they do.  From elegant to tacky, it's all festive to me!

Obviously, the look that's always been around my houses through the years is uber-traditional which translates naturally into one heck of a Preppy Christmas occurring again and again...which is exactly the way we Preppies in my family like it.

The following is a tongue-in-cheek rundown listing of What IS and What ISN'T Preppy Christmas Decor' for your holiday amusement:

Preppy Decor' IS: White Lights outdoors and occasionally Multi-Color Lights indoors
Preppy Decor' ISN'T: Multi-Color (or any color) Lights outdoors

IS:  Greenery Garlands &Wreaths with or w/o tiny white lights, french-wired bows
ISN'T: Big Plastic Blow-up Santas, Snowmen and such

IS:  One's own arranged Fresh Greenery, Berry n' Branches Sprigs, Flowers
ISN'T:  FTD-look Floral Centerpieces

IS:  Red, Green, Gold and Silver
ISN'T:  any other colors besides the four listed above

IS: Clove-studded Citrus Fruits
ISN'T: Plastic Fruits

IS: Ornaments from World Travels
ISN'T: Ornaments from Disney World

IS: St.Nicholas figurines or images in small doses for-the-kids
ISN'T: Commercial-Santa, Snowmen, The Grinch, Teddy Bears and so on

IS: Sprigs of Greenery placed over large portraits and at the tops of grandfather clocks
ISN'T: Tinsel Garlands placed anywhere

IS:  Poinsettias, potted Amaryllis and Paperwhites, White Orchid plants
ISN'T: Christmas Cactus and any houseplant which has been ornamented or bowed

IS:  Needlepoint Stockings
ISN'T: Non-Needlepoint Stockings

IS: Traditional Nativity Sets
ISN'T: Non-Traditional Nativity Sets most-especially those featuring cartoon characters

IS: Christmas Cards placed in a basket or on a silver tray for casual perusal
ISN'T: Christmas Cards utilized as actual decor' being hung around a door frame

And so forth and so on.......

What's "Prep and Non-Prep" is but of course part n' parcel within Christmas Decor' as well as pertaining to anything else in a Preppy's life.

Have fun decorating this month and a Merry Preppy Christmas to my fellow traditionalists out there!

Best as always, Lachlan

Holiday Seasons showcase Preppy Traditionalism

A very Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays to all of my readers this 2012!

What a year, or should I say two years, of lifestyle/location transitioning it's been for me and my family but we're FINALLY on the end of all this process and beginning to enjoy daily living once again most especially with unpacking, organizing and then putting up all our Christmas decorations!

Bringing out ornaments made by my grandmother, mother and myself, the porcelain nativity set and choir boys figurines hand painted by my great aunt, needlepoint stockings used decade after decade and so forth... I am reminded at how much the holiday season resonates with a "several generations' traditionalism" inherent in a true Preppy's life reality.

Not for the Preppy is changing up decorations and decor' by theme or individual whimsy every year or at whim.  Neither would they gift to Goodwill or the trash can something old and perhaps a bit dusty or evidencing patina-by-time wear which has had a pride of place on the family home's mantle generation after generation.  Holiday trimmings have to be truly decrepit before they're sadly bagged-up and taken away from the house and the lives which have enjoyed them. 

Years ago, I began a tradition of doing a small "Bird Tree" after finding 3 antique glass bird ornaments in their original box which dates back to the early 1900's.  I can just imagine my Great Grandmother Birdie (yes, her real name) whose painting of birds we have here in our house, lovingly placing these upon her Christmas Tree all those years ago in Savannah.  Now I do the same here in Savannah with the garden-urn-potted Bird Tree I set up in its pride of place in our dining room's window. Both the context and continuity of this warms my heart each new December....

Here's to Preppy Prettiness abounding within the homes this holiday season who celebrate not only the season here n' now but also seasons past!

Best to you all during this season of love, hope, joy and...yes, traditionalism- Lachlan