Happy Holidays, readers and friends! On that note, may I present the annual Places In The Home Deck the Halls Holiday Gift Guide 2021.
Taking all things house that make a home into consideration and mixing in gifts for her and for him, this year’s gift guide is a balance of personal style finds and home decor accents and accessories for the decorista minded all I want for Christmas list.
According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, holiday shoppers are planning to spend $977.73 on holiday gifts and non-gift purchases with an emphasis on gifts for family and friends and food or décor purchases.
Holiday gift guide inspiration kicks off this second week of December.
With the shopping and shipping days left until Christmas growing ever closer, The Places In The Home Gifts for the Deck the Halls Decorista holiday gift guide is primed and ready to lend an idea or two for your deck the halls gift giving needs.
We’ve got a wide range of gift ideas for the halls, entryways, bedrooms, home offices, nooks, places and spaces that make up house and home.
Let’s begin with the gift of home as in a hand drawn house sketch of your home sweet home.
Folks, Dave and I did this for my brother and my parents several Christmases ago and it was a huge holiday gift hit.
The local artist also created custom notecards from the images based on the photo shoot(s) of their homes.
Winter cold and holiday stress play heck with our skin.
Pamper yourself with a holiday-at-home spa treatment of sorts with the Estee Lauder Life & Glow Skincare Gift Set.
I personally use all these products, and absolutely love the performance and scent of the entire Resilience Multi-Effect product line- aroma therapy, if you will.
Christmas is the holiday for the senses.
We see, touch, hear, taste, and smell the beauty, love, joy, excitement, c’est si bon, and scents that nudge a cherished memory from Christmas past as well as serving as the catalyst for new experiences sure to become traditions.
Traditional holiday parties may be out of vogue this holiday season, but I say seize the holiday moment, dress up in sparkle and shine finery, and throw a ’tis the season soiree for you and yours at chez moi.
Pretty pictures, ribbons, and busy days before Christmas puts the wonderful in it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Busy times bring happy holiday times, so let’s get this party cracking.
Is your Christmas list of things to do wrapped up with a big bow on it?
Mine is not as there’s still things to do, presents to wrap (Merry Christmas, fellow present wrapping procrastinators), goodies to bake and box, gifts to deliver, and halls to deck.
I liken the last few days before Christmas to that of a fabulous performance, building to a crescendo of epic and joyous volume.
Music is an integral part of my daily routine, even more so when it comes to the holiday jingle all the way.
Traditional tunes make the playlist, but discovering new holiday songs and new arrangements of old favorites is a gift all its own.
I’m streaming Smooth Jazz JJZ on iHeart radio, loving the holiday songs from Dave Koz, Luther Vandross, Tony Bennett, Joyce Cooling, Rick Braun, Boney James, Gerald Albright, John Tesh, Diana Krall, Mannheim Steamroller, and the incomparable music from my friend, Chris Botti.
I don’t believe I’ve ever shared with you all how my fan to friend relationship with Chris Botti began.
Dave the Builder and I were on our way to yes, you guessed it. Las Vegas.
Part of the fun is in the pre trip prep, so before our trips out to America’s Playground I would stream the Las Vegas smooth jazz station (changed format, no longer a listener) to set the mood and the tone.
I learned from listening that the station was sponsoring and promoting an evening of smooth jazz set to air air on the local Vegas PBS station and hosted by Chris Botti. I checked to see if we would be in town on the night it was set to air, and to my delight it was on arrival night.
Being a regular to Vegas coupled with the fact we would be in town eight nights, as my dad used to say, Vegas does not close. I knew I wanted to watch the special, so I told Dave I thought I would spend the first evening in, order room service, and take in the show.
Dave confirmed he was not expected to do the same, trying his best to hide his thank goodness glee.
We had a small, but unhurried layover at Bush Intercontinental Houston. Dave popped into a store for something or other, and I walked on down to the gate area. I was half looking over my shoulder, half checking out our fellow travelers, when I noticed a guy walking by carrying a soft instrument case over his shoulder.
You know how when at first you don’t recognize someone, but after a few minutes you realize hey, that’s _________.
The hey, that’s ________ turned out to be Chris Botti.
When Dave strolled up to the boarding lounge, I asked him if he recognized the guy down at the end of the gate area.
No. Who is it?
It’s Chris Botti.
Are you sure?
Yes, I’m sure.
Is he on our flight?
It took me less than a second to process the situation and put two and two together. Smooth jazz American classic trumpeter extraordinaire, staunch supporter of PBS, hosting gig in Vegas this evening- yes, I do believe he is.
The boarding call for first class passengers goes out, and one Mr. Chris Botti heads that way. When the boarding call for coach passengers rows this through that is announced here we go.
Upon boarding I spot the jazz man sitting in back row left window in first class talking on his phone. Dave and I settle when fan to friend inspiration hits me. I retrieve my printed boarding pass from my briefcase, turn it over, and write a note to one Chris Botti. I spot the flight attendant and motion for him to come see.
“Would you mind giving this note to the blond hair gentleman in the back row left window seat in first class?”
The flight attendant was happy to be a player in my flashback to grammar school note passing caper. I put in the note my plans to watch the special, and it would be among one of the more special dinner and a show-Welcome to Las Vegas evenings.
Not long after reaching cruising altitude, the flight attendant came by our row with a message.
“The gentleman said to tell you he would meet you in baggage claim at McCarran.”
Excited to say the least, I was looking forward to our impending face to face meeting. Somewhere between the four corners and the ending of the movie, Dave the Builder announces “here comes Chris Botti.”
Chris came back to meet and greet, and thank me for my support of PBS and the smooth jazz artist community.
We gabbed for several minutes, met again and gabbed some more in baggage claim at McCarran.
Emails, conversations, and concert meetings find us here almost thirteen years later.
I hit the fan to friend jackpot for sure.
Now on to the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu at Places In The Home portion of the show and tell…
Our Christmas Eve traditional come casual, come comfortable, come hungry get together is super laid-back.
The menu is simple comfort food.
The no-fuss plan places me in the middle of the fun instead of in the kitchen all evening.
Been there, done that at Thanksgiving.
Who doesn’t love hamburgers cooked low and slow?
This group surely does, and the requests to “make them like Reed & Bell” is one this cook aims for.
Reed & Bell Drive-In was a hometown hamburger and cold frosted root beer institution.
Reed & Bell hamburger patties had a crisp edge, and the top of the buns were lightly brushed with hamburger grease.
Of course not, but see delicious.
Reading this post out loud to Dave, he reminds me Reed & Bell hamburgers ring super close to In-N-Out hamburgers.
They most certainly do, Dave.
Homemade potato salad is the side of choice accompanied by a platter of dills, gherkins, chips, bread and butters, assorted cheeses, red, green (Christmas colors), and sweet onions, sliced tomatoes, and fresh crisp lettuce.
Traditional Christmas Day fare is tradition.
Sliced spiral ham, Southern sweet potato casserole with walnut brown sugar crunch topping, seasoned green beans, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, and yeast rolls.
Traditional favorites of egg nog, fresh apple nut cake, walnut fudge, date nut roll, and almond peanut butter cookies round it out.
Christmas came early to me when I received this fabulous surprise present from my darling nephew and niece-in-law.
Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture promises to be a good read and a lovely addition to the coffee table library.
As the holiday pace picks up, I remind myself it will come and go like the blink of an eye.
I make sure to fill the house with Christmas music, the slow cooker with scents of the season, and Dave the Builder’s Christmas cookie jar full of whatever cake mix cookie combination I come up with this week.
Most of all, I am making sure not to lose sight of the true beauty of and reason for the season.
That definitely brings to mind and eye images of Christmas in seasonal splendor.
Happy Holidays friends! We are T-3 to Christmas 2015, and the joy of the season is electric by way of white Christmas lights and treasured traditions. Welcome to our Home for the Holidays where the theme of comfort and simplicity is well represented.
Our tour is of the dining room and the part of the foyer decked for the holidays. The dining room, a forever work in progress, has seen several design and decor changes in 2015, and will continue to see more in 2016. The walls are devoid of artwork (the piece you see in this photo is part of the kitchen gallery wall) and the style jury is unable to reach a unanimous decision on accent rug vs. hardwood floors. The dining room isn’t the only space getting a makeover. My Mother’s Day gift from our son was paying for the new wallpaper I fell in love with at first sight but took several months to decide if I really had to have it. Turns out I did. Dave the Builder began the project, but real life obligations and unexpected circumstances stepped in and halted the foyer beautification project. Patience is not only a virtue it is a necessary tool of the trade in design and decorating.
On the Monday before Christmas, my true love gave to me. A single Santa leopard-ing
and a Christmas goose in the foyer displayed in front of the new zebra wallpaper sitting pretty (pronounce it prit-tee and it rhymes with tree. Get it? Partridge. Pear Tree).
A holiday table centerpiece of magnolia leaves and holly is indeed so Southern, so holiday, so easy and so beautiful.
Bob’s Sweet Stripes as swizzle sticks and crystal finial ornaments as wine charms? You bet!
I purchased these vintage mini framed Madonna prints for my kitchen gallery wall.
Inspiration is everywhere.
The subject matter is holiday appropriate, and the petite size of the framed prints sealed the DIY deal. Napkin rings it is!
I have collected Victorian inspired Santa Claus figurines for years. Due to the epic move aka the gift that keeps on giving, combining two households into one and the renovation of my childhood home into our new to us home, most of my Santa collection now resides in climate controlled storage. These inexpensive stand-in Santas have no great provenance or famous artist signature assigned to them, but I do love the colors and facial features of these old world replicas.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this perfectly imperfect image serves as a visual reminder of my personal design and decorating philosophy. Perfection, style and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The life lived within a home comes alive through personal style and taste, and there is nothing more gorgeous than a home that beautifully illustrates personal style lives here. Design and decorate it with a sense of you!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!