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Bring the Christmas spirit to your home

POSTED: November 20, 2016 6:07 p.m.

Spreading cheer and celebrating with friends and family is a tradition for many.

When it comes to making your house the talk of the neighborhood this holiday season, several area experts share their advice for holiday entertaining and decor.

Ginny Early favors a simple and elegant style. She owns Enemies of the Average, a Gainesville-based company that offers a variety of creative services including event design and creative direction and food styling.

“My goal in setting a table is always to make my guests want to linger around it for hours,” Early said. “Belgian linen napkins, antique flatware and perfectly sized glasses are inviting to the touch and make guests feel welcomed. Keeping glasses full and serving family-style will keep your dinner party going and the conversation flowing.”

However, if you’re considering a buffet or finger foods, Early said you can’t go wrong with a cheese board.

“It’s fun to compose, and it encourages sharing,” she said. “Rounding out the cheese and crackers with charcuterie, preserves, honey and nuts can almost make a whole meal.”

Elizabeth Thompson of House Dressing Interior Design recommends adding different levels of height to your table with florals and candlesticks. But make sure to leave the space at face level open to foster conversation.

“Once you decide on buffet or family-style serving, choose pieces that incorporate well with your decor while being functional for the food you are serving,” Thompson said.

When it comes to making the table more festive, Early recommends using seasonal greenery.

“The colors of changing autumn leaves are a beautiful element to bring to your table, and fruits such as pomegranates and pears add textural interest,” she said.

CJ Greene, who co-owns Friday’s Flowers with her sister Leigh Justice, agrees.

“This time of year is a great time to cut natural greenery,” she said.

Greene suggests small leaf magnolia, cypress or nandina berries.

Another suggestion from Greene is to visit a Christmas tree lot and ask for trimmings.

Bring the trimmings home, clean them and soak them in water to prolong their freshness. They can be placed in a large plastic container with water and a bit of dish soap before setting them out, Greene said.

Those trimmings can be used around the home to decorate a mantle or mailbox for example.

Early even suggests using the fresh trimmings to decorate the kitchen area, if only for its scent.

“I love to decorate in a way that highlights the natural textures and colors of the holiday seasons,” Early said.

She said the holidays can be a time of excess and visual overstimulation.

“A minimalist design with a simple color palette, like a few pine branches artfully arranged in a vase, will speak to your holiday theme while giving your eye a chance to rest,” she said. “In nature we find beautiful greens and neutrals that complement any home decor. And using these items rather than their artificial counterparts brings a special freshness and beauty that nothing else can match.”

Greene agreed with a more natural, simple look. She suggested using less sparkles while decorating.

Early said white, clear, gold and silver ornaments or decorations are always in style.

“Depending on your style, you can choose to go more glitzy or rustic,” she said. “For the glitz or glam, you can use mercury glass, which has been very popular recently in silver, gold and blue hues. And it can easily be incorporated with other gold or silver ornaments that you already have.”

For a rustic style, antlers and pheasant feathers are timeless additions coupled with clear glass and gold ornaments and decorations.


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