The Dwelling Place: Deck the Halls

December 2023

article & photos by Claire DePinto

On this tranquil Christmas morning, the snow falls gently, the tree gleams with twinkling lights, and a peaceful quiet fills the air, allowing us to take a deep breath and reflect. It's a moment to consider the blessings surrounding us and reflect on why we celebrate this joyous holiday - a season unlike any other. 

For me, Christmas conjures up magical childhood memories, with specific scents and the coziness that instills a profound desire to decorate my home in a way that not only welcomes you but also entices you to stay. I readily admit to eagerly decorating early in the season. Year after year, I find that I decorate with less but enjoy both the process and the result more. There are several fundamental elements I use as the basis for my decoration: 


I adore integrating greenery throughout my home. It's the simplest way to infuse warmth, establish a foundation for layering, and create a harmonious atmosphere. While the aroma of fresh greens is unparalleled, practicality leads me to primarily use lifelike faux options. Realistic faux greenery, such as wreaths, garlands, sprigs, and boughs, offers an adaptable canvas for styling. I enjoy draping garlands on shelving and nestling in candlesticks, seasonal mementos, or pinecones. 

Patterns & Colors:

The classic Tartan pattern springs to mind when I think of Christmas. It exudes a traditional charm that instantly transports me to the 1950s setting of It's a Wonderful Life. Including pieces that evoke cherished memories plays a unique role in heightening the sensory experiences of the season. 

Lighting: Lighting is pivotal. Christmas lights craft their own kind of magic with their twinkling, soft illumination that imparts warmth to dark winter evenings. Experimenting with lights of varying sizes and shapes on the Christmas tree that resemble ornaments adds a playful touch. Battery-operated string lights are indispensable in locations without easy access to electrical outlets. There's nothing quite like waking up on a cold, dark morning, switching on the tree's lights, and snuggling up with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee. The mere thought gives me goosebumps. Come quickly, Christmas! 

Natural Elements:

While I don't advocate outlawing tinsel, I believe in balancing it with natural elements in holiday decor. Pinecones, dried orange slices, wooden beads, pomegranates, whole chestnuts, and shed antlers are exquisite materials that can be seamlessly integrated to craft visually appealing Christmas decor. These elements blend effortlessly with greenery and prevent over-decoration. 

Christmas is truly the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" to celebrate and rejoice in. I encourage you to pause and enjoy the beauty found in life's simpler pleasures. Dwell…live. 

Originally printed in the December 2023 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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