My annual Christmas party was a fun time to gussy up the manse - decking the halls (boughs of holly literally used), donning fun apparel (festive pants are de rigueur), and celebrating the season with dear friends (silver and gold, new and old!).
When having more folks over than my dining room can seat, I love to serve from the dining room table and let my guests land wherever they can…and speaking of landing, my friend, M. Faison (French for pheasant) landed himself front and center as a part of my holiday décor.
Those that know me know I love birds - my house is sometimes referred to as “The Aviary.” Lee Jofa’s “Tree of Life” on my windows, antique prints and watercolors scattered about, and oils, sconces, and even a bell pull are adorned with fine, feathered friends. (The three “B’s” in my scheme are birds, boats, and bovines…the latter two shall have separate posts to come.) I digress…back to M. Faison and Christmas
This Christmas season, M. Faison was nested within the centerpiece on my dining room console. I love the woodland feel of birds, so I complemented the fowl and couple antlers tucked in with the game fowl felt apropos. As for the nest proper, an arrangement of holly, magnolia, cypress, and ginger proved to be a delightful spot for the pheasant. Little tendrils of ‘Irene’ Rosemary dangle from the edges adding a bit of scent. River Birch and Yoshino Cherry branches offer height and drama and are beautiful arranged on their own!
Since the bird arrangement was a statement on its own, low key yet still elegant was needed for the dining table centerpiece. One of my favorite urns (urns, pots, julep cups…start a collection and store an arsenal of containers for your arrangements throughout the year) is actually the base of a mini conservatory. I removed to cathedral-esque glass top, mounded moss and Granny Smith apples, and my centerpiece was set…I love the contrast of the two arrangements as well as the complement between the two…fresh, natural, organic and textural.
One element always leads to another…the apples led to a garnish with pomegranates (shock) for the ham. The time-honored colors of the natural components lent my décor a jovial feel for the party and season. Red and green are synonymous with Christmas and rightly so; for evergreens are putting forth their red berries…your natural scheme for the Holidays!
Since I love a twist on tradition, a color I used heavily this year was this chartreuse/ yellow green of a Chinese holly I found at an old farm house coming home from Hawkinsville. The red berries and holly leaf shape gave the traditional nod, but this variegated cultivar of holly just popped against the deep green of ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ magnolia, cypress, and pine. I carried this flora specimen throughout the house, thus giving some continuity to my arrangements and decoration scheme.
The party was a blast and the preparation was too. There is nothing like opening your home to friends, family, and loved ones, sharing your table, and making the Season bright. From this bird’s nest to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!