Christmas Decorations

from House Beautiful 1904

(The following was published as part of the HB Q&A without any images. When reading through it, I found myself visualizing the overall effect. If you are inspired to try a take-off on the following, please send pictures! Each person who tries this will achieve a completely different result. Have fun and Merry Christmas! Ed.)

Arts and Crafts Christmas

1910 Housewife Serves the Turkey

Question: Perhaps the questions I am about to ask do not come under the head of house furnishings, but I feel that you can help me. I wish to give my living room a Christmas aspect, and I do not know how to do it. The room is large, with arched windows and doors and a fireplace. The walls are a warm neutral color, with an ivory colored ceiling. We have plenty of evergreen in the neighborhood, and I could carry out any scheme you suggest. The room has a good deal of yellow in the way of cushions and small things. If you will tell me what to do I shall be grateful. A.C.

We are delighted to give you suggestions for a Christmas room, and hope that you will have success. Red, green and white are the Christmas colors, and while too festive for everyday use, are charming for the holidays. Remove the yellow from the room and substitute red—the real Christmas red. It is a color to avoid for the rest of the year, but it has great significance at Yuletide. Your gray walls are part of the scheme, and the fire place is a piece of luck. Let this be the central feature of the room. Remove everything from the mantel and let the Christmas scheme culminate here. Outline your arched windows and doors with ropes of evergreen or laurel. If you live in a laurel country, use this beautiful green freely, for it is very effective. It will not dry so quickly as the evergreen, and makes a heavier rope. Carry this around the windows and doors, following their outlines and not adding festoons. Your arched doors will have an ecclesiastical effect quite in keeping with Christmas.

Against your warm neutral walls hang at mathematical intervals large wreaths of laurel—like small cart wheels. As these are seen on one side only they are simple to make. They should be broad and flat, but perfectly round. In your windows, instead of wreaths, hang great branches of holly. Let them spread out against the glass, confining them only in one place so they will be perfectly secure. Unless you have tried this plan of Christmas decorating you do not know its effectiveness. Use mistletoe on the chandelier—as much as your pocket-book will permit.

Back of the mantel and extending the width of the shelf, place a broad band of scarlet crêpe paper. Outline this with a narrow band of evergreen—one band resting against the shelf, the other making a finish for the paper at the top. Above the paper, hang a large photograph or print of the Madonna and child. If you have a framed picture place it there, and let branches of holly connect it with the red below. A large half-tone cut from a magazine and mounted on gray charcoal paper will serve excellently. Old Christmas numbers will furnish you with a subject. The charcoal paper may be outlined with a narrow band of green. Place two large candlesticks on the mantel, and during the daytime keep fresh candles in them, the tall white candles coming against the red. A green fern or a small palm may be added to the mantel. A bas-relief in white of some fitting subject may be fastened against the red.

If you wish to carry out the Christmas idea more perfectly, all pictures except those of special significance should be excluded. Half-tones from the magazines will furnish endless subjects, fut few pictures should be used, or they will mar the wreath effect. When he room is arranged up to this point you may find that the interest is a little scattered. If so, connect doors, wreaths, and windows with a broad rope of green.

Use bright red and pure white about the room, and plenty of candles, for nothing suggests Christmas spirit as much as candlelight. The receiving of gifts and all Christmas festivities, except the dinner, should take place here. Keep the "Christmas room" intact until twelfth-night and then demolish it.

Source: Questions and Answers: Christmas Decorations. House Beautiful, Vol 17 No. 1 (December 1904) 50-51.

Decorate for Christmas in Historic Style

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