This Year I Decided To Decorate For Christmas

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

Important note before reading this post:

Please… Please… no more inflammatory comments! I’m very upset and probably need to sleep but I can’t seem to stop crying. Again, you don’t have to agree with me or like what I have to say. However, this is meant to be a joyful, happy place. Anyone feeling the need to spew their venom will have their comment deleted and then be banned from the site–forever. Zero tolerance for bullies! I very, very much appreciate the vast majority of people reading and commenting who are incredibly kind. You give me so much joy! Thank you!

Oh Deer…

Yes, deer.

This year for some reason, I decided to decorate for Christmas.

Or Hannukah. Or the winter solstice.

I guess some of you know that I was raised in the Jewish faith.

In southern Indiana.

I have never felt Jewish.

Not that I fully understand what it feels like to feel Jewish.

Oh, I’ll throw out the odd Yiddish word here or there, but that is only because I’m from New York now. Everyone, no matter what ethnic/religious background speaks Yiddish here. :]

On the other hand, I have always loved Christmas. Growing up, all of my friends were gentile and every year I longed to have that warm holiday. Hannukah is not warm. I don’t care for it. It’s not the same.

Christmas has always felt like a celebration of the winter solstice (for me, the winter solace), not any kind of secular holiday. But again, that’s just me.

However, we are having a blessedly warm December; now THAT is a gift!

A few years ago, I had a tree. Long story which I won’t go into, but I went out and bought a lovely pine tree and a stand.

I went to Target and got a whole mess of really pretty ornaments. I was amazed at how cheap they were.

Here’s a small portion of my tree.

tree2011 016

This year, I went to Target and aisle after aisle looked like the remains of a perfectly roasted turkey carcass after a dozen hungry lumber jacks had gotten a hold of it.

Ironically, I’m not all that keen on shopping. I know, but I’m not. Not for myself, anyway.

Stepping back in time to something I wanted to mention.

A few days after Halloween, I went to Homegoods for the first time. I was going to post about that back then but because the memory card in my camera was busted, I lost an entire day and had to redo my photo shoot. I was incredulous that there were so many Christmas decorations out so early in November, butttt, the joke is on me! That is when I should’ve been shopping for them!

Have to get this one in. I had the most darling cashier check me out with a million dollar smile. She let me take her photograph and said that I could post it on my blog. And yes, she was smiling and giggling, the entire time.

Theone

Theone, is her name. As in “The One.” :] I think they need to make her a VP stat.

And yes, that’s a plastic boxwood. lol

 

Fast forward to early December and Holiday/Christmas Decorating

It’s a lot of bloody work! How do y’all do it year after year and the presents and the cards and the parties? Maybe some of you just put up the same thing every year. Please tell me.

I figured the best place to start decorating is with my prized possession. It’s an antique 7 foot bookcase I have in my entry which is 8 feet long. It fits perfectly. I got it about 15 years ago. I fell in love with it right away, except that I longed for it to be painted.

Here is the before in my old living room.

mahogany-bookcase

Please note the Pikachu cake server hanging out on the floor. lol No idea how or why it was there. But I did have two little boys at the time!

Back to the painting of the antique bookcase. Yes, I know… there are many who would frown at the idea of painting such an old piece.

I can certainly respect that, but painted furniture has also been prized in fine antiques.

I quickly enlisted the services of a wonderful decorative painter, Robert (we all call him Bob) Hoven who I first met when I took a decorative painting class from him in 1989 at Parson’s. He sent his top assistant to do most of the work and then a week later, he came to finish it up! I was thrilled then and I still am, 15 years later, here it is!

bookcase-1

Right. It doesn’t exactly look magazine-ready, now does it? haha! It looks yellowish here, but I took these pics at night and you cannot believe how dark it was in the entry. It had to be because I didn’t want lights reflecting all over the place. It’s more cream with an ever so slight greenish/gray cast. Very pretty!

And… Abracadabra (I wish!)

bookcase-christmas (1) copy

That’s better!

Decorate for Christmas. love simple decorations and yellow pointsettias

Better yet!

This is practically everything I have!

Inside the case

Lovely carved trays – HomeGoods

Mercury Glass dishes/glass goblet vases – Vagabond Vintage

Bronze Dogs – Belonged to my late brother and were a gift to him from sister, Holly!

Bronze Dancing girls – Belonged to my grandmother. The only thing I have of hers.

The old silver candlesticks were given to me by my former housekeeper. Very lovely woman. Miss her.

Yellow Chinoiserie boxes – Bungalow 5 but discontinued unfortunately

On top of the case

Orchids – Trader Joes.

Poinsettias and other plants – Nature’s Cradle in Eastchester, NY

It’s a lovely local nursery where Mikenzie Norwood took great care of me.

natures-cradle-nursery-white-pointsettia-christmas-decorating - Decorate for Christmas

I also bought a whole mess of these lovely plants called Frosty Fern.

frosty-fern-natures-cradle

We’ll see how long it takes me to kill them.

Deer – Allandale Farm in Boston where my son works. We visited the store last month just before Thanksgiving.

Ornaments – Target (Tarzhay)

Bronze Cache Pot and painting I got many years ago on one of our sojourns to Rhode Island

Lamps – Frederick Cooper but discontinued

IMG_4095I took this one the other night with my cell phone. But the rest were taken with the Canon Rebel T2i
The dish is from Anthropologie and the faux fruit from Target

For my home I really love this tone on tone look. It doesn’t scream Christmas. And I adore white Poinsettias! Well, I guess they are really yellow!

christmas decorations that donWhat happened to the settee, Laurel? Did you sell it?

No, it’s still here.

settee

Thar she is! And yes, that’s a dead orchid.

Tomorrow, I’ll tidy it all back to where it’s supposed to be. (sorta) :]

I’ll probably be taking some more photos to experiment with some other looks. I really want to put my bedroom mirror up there, but it weighs a ton and I’ll need some help.

Below, the candles look fake but they are real and blessedly unscented. Although Bronxville is an upscale, sophisticated town for the most part it is very difficult to get a normal unscented candle. I got these at a Kensington Paper – owned by Paisley Kelling. It’s a very charming shop, in town and has wonderful gifts. They also sell online which you can access from the link. (no affiliation whatsoever)

Decorate for Christmas - small table vignette with candles. Very simple and gives off a warm beautiful glow

A little vignette I created with a Chelsea Textiles Gustavian style demi-lune table. Mirror from Wisteria. I love how the mirror reflects the glow of the candle light and picks up the shimmering ornaments.

Maybe that’s what’s so wonderful about Christmas.

For a little while, we get to bask in the magic of light and the things we hold most deAr.

xo,

Laurel

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5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Linda - December 2, 2016 - 1:24 AM

    Laurel,

    I think you must have been already discouraged/down or you’d not have reacted to the hate mail the way you did. You must realize these pathetic, hopeless people are projecting their own fears and inadequacies onto others. Your blog is a breath of fresh air and so many of us get great ideas and great laughs from your darling sense of humor.

    Please my dear, worry not. The second you see something that you sense is going to be hateful, push the delete key. Don’t even let yourself read it, much less consider it.

    …a neighbor from BrooklandsReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 2, 2016 - 11:09 AM

      Hi Linda,

      That is so sweet of you and you are right, right, right! I thought about this one later and realized that a big part of it was that I had worked so damned hard to decorate and take the photos.

      I have a spot in the garage now– HOORAY!, but a year ago, I had to shlep to the nursery and other stores. Shlep everything home. Get the cart. Wheel it out to my car, a block away. Wheel it back in.. up the elevator. Into the house. Replant some of the plants… Clean out the book-case. Stage it… move the heavy furniture. Stage it. And photograph. Then, move everything back. But the bookcase I left because it looks so nice. Then, I forgot some things I put in there, like glasses. lol I was wondering why I was only down to one, in the kitchen cabinet.

      Then, write about it and do social media… Then, some sociopathic cow tells me that I need to go to a concentration camp and to Israel– to get in touch with “my people.”

      “My people” are people who are kind and loving. That pretty much covers it. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! Made my day!ReplyCancel

      • MJ - December 7, 2016 - 9:08 PM

        “sociopathic cow”
        Love that.
        Not copyrighted is it? LOL
        Guess it’s not only self-described Christians who get nasty so easily.
        No Christmas stuff here, except for a few sentimental special pieces.
        Surely do enjoy the decorations other people slave over–in their own houses……..
        One great thing about being old and mostly retired!
        Now we are into another holiday season. I hope no sociopathic cows come after you this year.
        Have holiday fun doing what you love to do………
        MJReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - December 8, 2016 - 10:49 AM

          Hi MJ,

          no copyright on “sociopathic cow.” I have very few SC’s, but they always seem to descend when I least expect it. What I’ve started doing and it’s very rare is that I go in and change their comment. I just cut out all of the garbage and leave in the one nice thing they’ve said, or just changed it altogether. lol But, it’s maybe one in 300 comments from readers.ReplyCancel

  • Vee Evans - December 1, 2016 - 8:39 PM

    Guess I’m your last fan in America to read this post! I simply adore the white breakfront! Tres beautiful. I have a similar piece I picked up for a song and dance. Okay, it was a kiss and $50 but he was really cute. It’s still in storage while I twiddle my thumbs but I’ve been inspired! Thanks again. Smooches!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 1, 2016 - 11:12 PM

      Hi Val,

      Not at all! It’s getting a lot of traction today. Someone with a lot of followers probably pinned something on pinterest.

      I am not telling you what I paid for my piece. But I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Dale - January 20, 2016 - 9:50 PM

    Now that the holidays are over, I surely hope your spirits are lifted. This post surely brought a lot of affirmation and love to you and for that I hope it helped get you through a little more easily.

    But on to decorating. I wonder what the Roman shade fabric is or at least the style so I might find something similar. I love the scale of the pattern.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 20, 2016 - 11:47 PM

      Hi Dale,

      How sweet you are! Yes, my spirits were definitely uplifted by all of the many kind replies. I spent the holiday with my older son and we had a splendid time together in Boston.

      The fabric is from Duralee, but dang, I think it’s been discontinued! It’s a cotton print and has held up beautifully for almost three years now!ReplyCancel

  • SHERYL - December 28, 2015 - 8:46 PM

    I really like the green ornaments on the evergreen! Should be no surprise since I view hints of it in your home decor. And, I love the white paint job on your antique cabinet. Just wish I had the confidence and nerve to do that too.

    I didn’t see the commentary several have spoke of. Kinda glad cause it would have pissed me off. Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanza are certain times of love, sharing and joy. I’m glad the sour negativity was removed cause it would have tarnished my holiday spirit and the utter enjoyment and giggles I get from reading your blog. Hang in there Girlfriend, everybody else loves you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 29, 2015 - 1:43 AM

      Hi Sheryl,

      Have to say that whenever I see a comment from this post I feel anxious. Doesn’t that suck? The reality however, is that most people, like yourself are incredibly kind, open, giving. But alas, as we all know… there are all different kinds and some people seem to thrive from putting others down. Oh well… I followed up with yet another Christmas post! So there!

      Thank you for the lovely comment!ReplyCancel

  • Loi Thai Tone on Tone - December 23, 2015 - 12:20 PM

    Hey there, Laurel!
    Looking beautiful and very festive! Can I have that bookcase? With everything inside, please 🙂 Merry, Merry Christmas!
    Stay fabulous!!
    xoxo
    LReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 24, 2015 - 1:42 AM

      Hi Loi!
      I’ll gladly give you everything in the bookcase (except for my Grandmother’s dancing dolls and the bronze dogs for your collection of creamware! lol And same to you my dear friend! xoxoxo ReplyCancel

  • Mackenzie Carpenter - December 20, 2015 - 7:40 PM

    Laurel, Laurel, Laurel… This blog has become a means of coping for a lot of us, too. You are so good at it…feeding the beast (posting to a blog) can be an onerous business but your wonderful, ebullient spirit shines through, every time. I was a journalist for 40 years and got plenty of hate mail along with the love letters and it NEVER gets easy but if it’s any help let me add to the list of well-wishers and say THANK YOU for everything you do. You have taught me so much… about white paint colors…appreciating beauty…and — always — keeping a sense of humor! Onward!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 10:46 PM

      Oh Mackenzie, Thank you so much! That makes me feel so much better. I did just get two more hate comments which are gone now. She used two different names but had the same IP address.

      They cyber pitbulls took care of her.

      It makes me think about something. I love watching ballet on youtube. And most videos have commenting enabled. Well… I can’t believe the hateful crap that some people write about these gorgeous dancers. It is so nasty and most of the time, not even true! They make up stuff that’s not there. I’d like to see them get up there and do it. Undoubtedly, they can’t even do half of what they are maligning!

      Sure, I have my favorites and some that don’t appeal to me as much. But if they’re a principal dancer in a world-class company, it means that a lot of people thing that they’re very special. Hopefully, the dancers don’t read that garbage!ReplyCancel

      • Dolores - December 20, 2015 - 10:55 PM

        So glad you removed the two nasty posts,I was quite shocked reading them!Just in case your tormentor returns, I have a little message for her:

        Linda( Ricky)- I just can’t believe that you would put your names to such aggressive posts…has civility and graciousness been totally usurped by the nasty vogue of ‘anything goes’..Tell me- would you speak the same way to Laurel if you were face to face with her??ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:28 PM

          Yes, indeedy. Le Provocateur has been eliminated. Thank you so much Dolores! I think it should be DOLLores. :]ReplyCancel

  • Ann Fulton - December 18, 2015 - 1:52 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I have never before commented on a blogger’s site, but after reading yours this week, and concluding you suffered a major hit to your spirit, let me just say this: First, As a Christian (raised a Southern Baptist), I am so horrified by the increasing intolerance of my “brothers and sisters” for any perceived misstep, attack, etc. by anyone not just like them in belief or action. They forget that Jesus was a Jew. He and his family celebrated Jewish traditions and important events. AND, Jesus was inclusive and slow to anger. I have always thought how wonderful it would be to learn all about the Jewish traditions and celebrate those in addition to celebrating the birth of Jesus.
    Secondly, you are a very talented decorator, and designer — understated, classic, and just the right amount of jazz. I would love to hire you, but live in North Carolina, and do not need another single item in my house, and am too attached to what I do have to let it go. I sense that you understand this dilemma that certain of us have? 🙂
    Third, your blog is fantastic. I understand your need to limit it to once a week, but I could read your opinions, advice, and suggestions seven days a week, as well as study your interiors.
    The fact that you are willing to take the time to share your work and your personal stories is a real gift to your readers.
    And fourth: Your writing is so fun! It makes me think that we would be really great friends if we knew each other. Reading your blog is as if we were sitting down in the den or kitchen, drinking coffee or wine, and just chatting, laughing, and oohing and “aahhing” over magazines, criticizing other people’s awful taste, and being really content to explore each others’ likes and dislikes, talking a hundred miles an hour.
    So keep on doing what you do. It is a really bright, fun spot in so many of your readers’ weekly routine, and we look forward to it. Blessings to you this Hanukkuh and Christmas season. And, I hope you are surrounded by a sense of peace, love and contentment in the coming year. Love to you, AnnReplyCancel

    • Christine Anderson - July 13, 2017 - 11:30 PM

      I would like to say DITTO to every single sentence of Ann’s comment! Laurel, I have been reading your posts for the last several weeks, and can’t get enough of them! I am currently cleaning out my mother’s house… and will soon be installing new hardwood floors and a new kitchen. I wish I could hire you to come visit me for a month, and help me with all of my decisions. Your writings, pictures, they are ALL so precious to me. I absolutely adore your work! God bless you, and keep up the great work – so many of us are dependent on it!!!! Hugs to you from Benton, KY.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - July 13, 2017 - 11:52 PM

        That is so sweet of you Christine. I very much appreciate your kind words. Not sure if you know, but I was raised in Evansville, IN. :]ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 19, 2015 - 12:00 AM

      Hi Ann,

      I am completely overwhelmed by this unbelievably kind and generous comment. I very much appreciate your taking the time to make my day! Blessings and love to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • diana mclean - December 17, 2015 - 2:18 PM

    I am so sorry for all the nasty, mean and cruel emails you received. Please know you are loved, cherished and a joy to know through your blog. You bring so much laughter and fun to a world which needs it so much. Go to a mirror, look in it and say, “I am loved by so many people and they only know a small part of me. If they knew me completely, my home would be too full to hold them all, so I guess I’ll start on my new add on addition today”.

    Blessings to you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 17, 2015 - 2:26 PM

      Hi Diana,

      How kind you are! It really means a lot to me. I’m in an apartment, so no possibility for expansion, here, that is. In fact, today is the third anniversary of my move from the home where I raised my two boys for 22 years.

      This blog has been a means of coping for me. As you are laughing, so am I! Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • Holley Johnson - December 15, 2015 - 11:43 PM

    Laurel,
    White poinsettias are my favorite too. One year I did my mantle in white poinsettias, lemons, and cut magnolia with large hurricane vases filled with glass ornaments. I loved it but my kids didn’t think it was “Christmasy” enough.
    Please don’t let those bullies steal your joy. Your blog is wonderful. When my husband asks me what I’m doing and I reply,”Reading the decorating blog” he knows to keep quiet because I’m in my happy place.
    Merry Christmas,
    HolleyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2015 - 12:02 AM

      Hi Holley,

      That mantel sounds absolutely wonderful! And thank you for your support too. It means a lot to me! Sounds like you’ve trained your husband well! lol ~ Happy Holleydays! (sorry, I couldn’t resist) And my sister is “Holly.”ReplyCancel

  • Kate - December 15, 2015 - 11:03 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    Thank you very much for your beautiful blog. It helped me tremendously through my dark times this year. We were rebuilding the house while living in it with 3 kids (youngest is 1 y.o.). Your suggested No Fail Color Scheme saved me from total madness. I am yet to see the full result as rooms are still mainly empty and need accessories, window treatments etc. However a big thank you for sharing the information, images and of course your blogs that are funny and honest.
    Re: Christmas/Hanukah thing. Everyone does it differently; there are so many combinations. I am talking not about decorations but how and what people choose to celebrate or not and for what reasons (for kids/out of respect for older relatives/habit/religious believes). It is all-good while it is not aggressive.
    I celebrated Hanukah with my kids (my husband is Jewish, but not interested), decorated a bit for Christmas (I normally go overboard and love to throw a big party for my older daughter and her friends). I live in the UK but where I am from we normally celebrate NY rather than Christmas so I do feel detached from this tradition. I choose this time of the year to be about love to one another and to yourself. To be kinder, to make plans, to regroup, to look back at what was accomplished (well, sort of).
    Have a great 2016 both personally and professionally!!!
    KateReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 15, 2015 - 10:50 PM

      Hi Kate,

      I’m so glad that my post was helpful! Those are all terrific colors.

      As for the rest. Absolutely! My belief is that people should do whatever makes them happy. Or at least happier.

      Most people feel that way, fortunately.

      Thank you for the well wishes and you the same!ReplyCancel

  • Libby - December 14, 2015 - 8:24 PM

    I read your blog right away but came back tonight to leave a comment….then read the 50+ comments and replies….I am glad that I can’t read the vicious posts and that you eliminated them. Darkness and venom have no business here. You, Laurel, are a lovely light. Thanks for sharing it with us.ReplyCancel

  • Libby - December 14, 2015 - 7:55 PM

    That is a great story and photo of Theone! Perfect time to share it. I love your decorations. Very pretty and so perfect in your living room. do you have any interest in performing this service for clients? Because you would be great at it. You have the talent, the experience with scale and taste to pull out items from a client’s home , arranging and filling in with fresh and faux florals and greens.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Etta - December 14, 2015 - 5:28 PM

    Wow. You know the trolls should just pack up and skedaddle during the holidays. If you can’t say something nice, right? You have such style and grace. My decor is so over the top that I wish I had your restraint. It is just lovely in your home. If the ones who bashed you for living YOUR life aren’t happy, let them eat fruit cake! Nobody likes that Christmas tradition.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 14, 2015 - 7:45 PM

      Hi Mary Etta,

      Thank you so much!

      Perhaps it’s a chink in my self-confidence that believes someone if they tell me I suck. It’s so much easier to believe the nasties because I guess I figure if someone has the gall to say that, then it must be true!

      Have to keep working on that one!

      Although I know intellectually that I did nothing wrong.

      But it still hurts to have someone tell me that I’ve insulted two religions and that my remarks are cavalier and insensitive. Another said that this was one of the most ignorant things she’s ever read and that I need to go visit a concentration camp such as Dachau!

      WTF??? This is a decorating blog! And the inference is that because I’m JEWISH, that I can only decorate for Hannukah?

      Hannukah, in the Jewish faith is a minor holiday. It is ONLY because of Christmas that it has become a bigger deal.

      As for those that hold it as a Holy Day, I’ve been to a couple Christmas Masses and I loved it. One time, my son played his trombone! It was so beautiful!

      Thank you so much for your kind support and happy holidays to you!

      ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - December 14, 2015 - 3:40 PM

    Laurel your blog is amazing and the highlight of my email life when i get one from you! Have a wonderful holiday season and a very blessed 2016!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 14, 2015 - 7:24 PM

      Wow! Suzanne! I’m so honored to hear that! Thank you so much for sharing that and blessings to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Rhodes - December 14, 2015 - 1:11 PM

    I loved your blog Laurel! Back here in Southern Indiana, (newburgh) we see Christmas celebrated in many ways. Seems like every year, I find myself thinking more simple and sentimental. Decorating gives others a glimpse of who we are, not who others think we should be. Keep being yourself and celebrating your roots…and if you should find yourself in Evansville, IN, I would love to meet you. Will bring Robin with me!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 14, 2015 - 7:22 PM

      Hi Debbie,

      Oh my, I think Robin mentioned you one time. Or maybe we conversed one time? How wonderful of you to stop by! I have such fond memories of Newburgh! It’s probably not there anymore, but I used to adore the Newburgh Country Store and the delicious candy!

      I left E’ville at 15 and only realized later that it was like severing a leg. Although at the time, I was glad to leave because the ballet training back in the 70’s sucked, years later, I realized that I had no connection to my childhood.

      Well… the internet and especially facebook changed all of that. And it has helped me to feel more whole to have all of the parts connected even if virtually! ReplyCancel

  • Amy Ritscher - December 14, 2015 - 8:28 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. I think that if I ever met you, we’d be BFFs. You are always so upbeat and funny and of course your designs are beautiful! I say down with the haters in this world. There are so many more of us nice, loving people than meanies! Oh, before I forget, I also LOVE Theone. She is awesome. People like her just make my day happier.
    So hold your head high, keep on truckin’ and we love you!
    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice, etc…
    Amy in SeattleReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 14, 2015 - 7:14 PM

      Awww Amy! That is so, so sweet! I lost my BFF earlier this year and while of course, no one can replace her, there’s a vacancy.

      No wait. It’s a huge gaping hole. I have a lot of them which explains how the nasties had easy access. :[

      My blog has been a refuge and saving grace through a period of my life that has seen some awfully dark hours.

      I am incredibly grateful for the support and kindness of so, so many wonderful people!

      Blessings to you as well, Amy!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - December 14, 2015 - 1:52 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    I love reading your blogs and I am so happy that they arrive on Sunday. I do look forward to them as being a special part of my week. Thank you for that! I appreciate it!
    As for people who are having a bad day, sorry they are having it on your blog! Glad you have given fair warning to the grumpies.
    But then again, their life must be pretty crummy, to indiscrimately dump on the internet! Don’t they have any enemies they can confront face to face! Life is too short.
    Again love your blog and all you graciously share!
    SusanReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 14, 2015 - 7:08 PM

      Hi Susan,

      I think a bad day is an understatement. It’s more like a bad life and yes, it’s sad. We all have problems and some people have unspeakably difficult situations.

      But some people do not have it within their ability to behave in a kind way unless there’s something in it for themselves. They cannot confront face to face because that would be far too scary for them.

      The internet then becomes the perfect place for them to unleash the pain that lives inside them. They don’t have to know the person or see them or hear them crying themselves to sleep. They have no idea that their words can cut as deeply as a knife through the heart.

      This one caught me off-guard, however. There are some posts that I realize are pretty cheeky and/or controversial for some reason. But this?

      Thank you so much for your kind support. I am overwhelmed by people’s generosity!!!ReplyCancel

  • Terri Davis - December 14, 2015 - 12:20 AM

    Merry Christmas, Laurel! So happy you are experiencing some of the joy of Christmas. May you come to rest in the Peace of the Season. Your blog is awesome, your decorating taste is awesome and you are awesome. May 2016 be the year for you to truly shine.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 14, 2015 - 6:56 PM

      Hi Terri,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you at least virtually this year! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Diane - December 13, 2015 - 9:37 PM

    Laurel,

    Every step of your life over the last how many years is a miracle of courage and grace and humour. And that’s what I see in your work now. It’s all there. The happy ending strong enough to hold the truth before it. I’m a fan.

    Keep going,
    Your Canadian sister, Diane.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 11:23 PM

      Oh Diane,

      Reading your beautiful heartfelt comment on my own blog is overwhelming to me. (in a good way) Because your lens has the capacity to see the full picture, it is especially meaningful and appreciated. And yes, all of the parts have converged into something we can work with now! lol I hope you are doing well too! xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Carol Totaro - December 13, 2015 - 8:15 PM

    Hi Laurel and Merry Christmas and happy Hanukah to you and yours.
    I just hate it that people are bashing you on your blog. Perhaps they did not have the wonderful mothers that you and I had and still have in your case. They taught us “If you can’t say something good about someone, then don’t say anything at all.” I think it’s so cool that you are investigating Christmas and our decorative “habits”.Us older gals have lots of “stuff” that we have collected over the years. Now it’s time for me to begin de-cluttering and pass some of my Christmas decorations down to the “youngins”. Lots of beautiful items that were made in the great USA! So, Laurel, I love your blog and your sense of wit and humor. So please keep it up in the New Year 2016 or I will surely miss you! Warm wishes for the Season and a very Happy New “New Year”!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 11:13 PM

      Hi Carol,

      Did we have the same mother? That is exactly what she used to say to me! How uncanny!

      I have had a few trees in my lifetime. A couple of them I shared with a room-mate in my early years in NYC. The last one made me too sad, though.

      You may not have seen an earlier comment but I wrote that my sister HOLLY has turned her entire living room into a Christmas Museum 365 days out of the year! But she’s a collector. And it makes her happy.

      I’m not going anywhere. There was an hour last night where I was tempted to take the entire thing down, but I’ve come too far to cave in to a bunch of personality disordered wingnuts!ReplyCancel

  • Betsy OShea - December 13, 2015 - 7:54 PM

    Hi Laurel. Glad you’ve joined the Christmas madness! Another source for UNSCENTED CANDLES is Pier1. They are sooooo much better than oil based scented which melt all over the place. I can’t believe you had never been to Home Goods! They really do hv some excellent lighting ( I got a Ralph Lauren chinoiserie rectangular lamp recently). Check out accessories, some of the “art” , rugs, pillows. But avoid furniture, bedding and the misc. junk. Haha. Now like your LR window niche. Is the yellow damask on the chairs from Eileen Boyd from Duralee? Yes the contemporary leaning and color maven designer Boyd has a few traditional fabrics in her outstanding collections! Merry Merry!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 11:08 PM

      Hi Betsy,

      Well… It’s just madness lite. No family. I had one, but they’re all gone now.

      I never lived near a HG until I moved and unfortunately it’s in a very ugly shopping center. But it was a lot of fun. Pier I is cool too.

      As for the chair fabric. This is funny. That is actually Windsor Smith’s Malu Ikat (through Kravet). I love the pattern, but it felt too summery and so, I did a wash of paint over the white parts to make a tone on tone damask. I love the effect!

      However, I did a yellow damask from Eileen Boyd a couple years ago for some drapes for a client. Very pretty fabric!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - December 13, 2015 - 6:34 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thank you for the Christmas post, and pay no mind to the “Bah Humbug” people out there. Every Christmas has to have a Scrooge, or Scrooges, (and sometimes we have Scrooges 365 days of the year.) That’s their reality, not yours. I love reading your funny, quippy and informative blog. My late mother always did a fabulous Christmas tree in the corner of the living room. The ceiling is almost 10 feet high, and the room is quite large, so the tree was really quite something to see. When she no longer had the energy to put everything together, I picked up the tradition, and every year we would take family pictures in front of the tree. The beautiful Christmas trees always made Christmas very special to me. It gave me such joy to look at them – they were such a thing of beauty. Just this past November I lost my Dad – he passed away at the age of 93, so I just didn’t have it in me to take on the production of a big tree, so I just did a small tabletop one. It’s not the same, but I knew I needed to do something. It’s hard. I miss him. Now I understand how this can be a trying time of the year emotionally for so many people.

    Thanks again for the Christmas post, and have a very merry, happy whatever you like to celebrate! Oh, and by the way, I LOVE your settee!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 11:02 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad. Ugh, it’s so common for folks to pass away around holiday time. My mom is also 93 and in a nursing home, but aside from her dementia says she feels fine. Could be a lot worse.

      I know it’s so difficult to lose loved ones. But your father is still with you. No, you can’t look into his eyes or hold his hand, but he lives inside your heart. I really believe that because it’s true for me.

      I have overwhelming evidence that I have some Angels up there who’ve created miracles in my life. And now you have one too. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Tricia Heliker - December 13, 2015 - 6:16 PM

    Why is it that those who feel the need to put people in their place could benefit immensely from their own advice? Oh well, no time to dwell on the negative. We have way more fun things to do, like decorating for the holidays. I love how you keep it real, and, I now recognize that is what makes it interesting. Instead of shooting for the “perfect” picture to accompany my posts, I need to show some of the bloopers or resist cropping out the imperfections. Thanks for making me aware of the fact that editing out all the flaws is boring.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:47 PM

      Hi Tricia,

      Thank you for such a sweet comment.

      Oh, there’s a reason. When I calmed down, I remembered that there are those amongst us who are mentally ill and/or personality disordered. They actually get their jollies out of hurting other people. They lack the ability to empathize unless it’s on their terms. It’s all pathological.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - December 13, 2015 - 5:37 PM

    Beautiful decorating! Love your blog!
    I’m Jewish, but was married to a Christian man for 20 years, and now living with a Christian boyfriend. So I do both holidays. I have several menorahs, the one I’m using this year has cats holding up the candles. I have a large collection of snowmen/women I set out for the holidays, and I string lights around my balcony.
    I didn’t have a tree while I was single, but every year I’ve been living with someone I’ve had a decorated tree and loved it. I trim the tree with several Hanukkah ornaments along with the generic glass balls.
    I love holiday decorating of any/all religious/spiritual/whatever variety. Especially lights… can’t have too many lights! But whatever spells the happiest of holidays to you is the right touch for your home.
    BTW, that antique painted bookcase is GORGEOUS!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:42 PM

      Hi Michelle,

      Now THAT’s the spirit! I love it! I think I mentioned somewhere that everyone in my family– cousins, etc who’s married is married to a non-Jew. I’m the only one who married a Jewish man. A Jewish Atheist… But, that’s a different blog. lolReplyCancel

  • anne davis - December 13, 2015 - 5:24 PM

    Just FYI, you can get lots of different sized unscented candles at IKEA. They don’t drip, last a long time and uber cheap. Every time I go I load up to last me months. And I burn candles EVERY NIGHT.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:35 PM

      Hi Anne,

      Good to know that. I don’t think I live near an Ikea, however. Maybe they can be purchased online?ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Jones - December 13, 2015 - 4:20 PM

    Beautiful job decorating for Christmas! Thanks again for all the superb informative post Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:26 PM

      Thank you so much Lisa! I had fun putting this together. Not so much fun cleaning it all up! :]ReplyCancel

  • Frances - December 13, 2015 - 4:05 PM

    Laurel– Did Leatherwood Design Co. make your roman shades? If not, you should connect with her. Deborah is in Westchester County, a colleague of mine and makes the MOST amazing roman shades to the trade. Truly! I call her the queen of roman shades (and she a smart, nice person, too.) She also has a blog if you are interested in technical info or just want to look at photos of beautiful shades.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 4:12 PM

      Hi Frances,

      How kind you are to give me this awesome resource. No, I had a different workroom do my shades and she is also very nice and does lovely work. However, I will certainly look into Leatherwood.

      Thank you so much! Your work is beautiful too! ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Tractenberg - December 13, 2015 - 2:12 PM

    I think it was John Wayne who said to Barbara Walters, when she was taking a beating in the press ( it might have been a different celeb, but the message is the same.) “Don’t let the assholes get you down.”

    I’m a convert to Judaism and though it seemed like the world was having a party and we weren’t invited, we helped friends decorate their trees and it was always a fun event. My ex was the best at Stringing the lights on trees. Anyway…..even though I missed being a part of the whole thing, I was relieved I didn’t have the pressure of decorating and baking all those cookies every year!

    I love your blog, comments, pictures, humor…..brightens my day to read it. Just keep doing what you are doing, and have a lovely holiday season.

    Your fan in San Diego,
    SuzanneReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:22 PM

      Hi Suzanne,

      I can understand about the pressure of having to do all of that. Honestly, unless one has a lot of help or is just super organized. (I’m not unfortunately), not sure how they get through the month! Doesn’t sound so joyful to me. That’s one reason why I don’t do gifts. Don’t want them either. It’s just not necessary. My birthday, now that’s different. lol

      BTW, my younger son is in San Diego trying to find himself. He’s on the autistic spectrum but obviously high functioning in terms of being to look after himself.

      Life didn’t turn out quite the way I thought it would. That’s not all bad. Some of it like this blog is something I never even thought could be possible. Ten years ago, I barely knew how to turn the computer on. Thank you so much for your kindness and happy holidays to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Knopsnyder - December 13, 2015 - 2:05 PM

    I’m so sorry your sad, Laurel. You don’t need that negativity in your life. I really enjoy your blog. I look forward to it every week and I’ve learned so much from you. Love how you decorated your condo, very festive.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:32 PM

      Hi Linda,

      You can say that again. (about the negativity). No one needs it, but if they could walk in my shoes… It’s not very pretty is all I can say. Still, I am incredibly blessed. It’s good people like you who make it all worthwhile, who give me hope for a better tomorrow and solace in times of overwhelming grief. xoReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:15 PM

      Thank you Linda. I very much appreciate that and all of the kind support you’ve given me this year! Happy Holidays to you!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - December 13, 2015 - 11:50 AM

    Laurel,
    Love your blog, style and sense of humor! Makes me miss NYC- the best place to spend Christmas with a Jewish friend. One of my favorite memories of the holidays besides watching the tree lighting from the rooftop overlooking the Channel Gardens at Rockafeller Center. A merry Christmas to you and all your followers.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:12 PM

      Hi Cynthia,

      NYC is so pretty at this time of year. One of my favorites was going to the Met with my BFF and having a drink and some very expensive olives lol while a violinist played in the Romanesque balcony.

      She was a devout Catholic and I always wanted to go to church with her! One time, I did some liturgical dancing (yes, I’m a dancer too) with her and another friend for the Cardinal of NY! (and a bunch of priests and nuns) It was during Rosh Hashanah! I loved it!ReplyCancel

      • Beth - December 13, 2015 - 7:35 PM

        Laurel, you should go to her church and light a candle for her. I think she would like that. It’s a wonderful thing to have or have had a BFF.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Grey - December 13, 2015 - 11:42 AM

    Laurel, how can people be mean to you???? You’re sweet, talented, funny…shall I go on? Celebrate whatever and however you choose! Ignore the meanies. Keep doing what you’re doing. Love your posts and photos. Happy Holidays (that about covers it all)!
    KathyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:08 PM

      Hi Kathy,

      It’s funny. Well, not funny really. But I can get 50 incredibly lovely comments like yours and they sorta roll off and of course, make me feel good, but the others… ahhhh… But you are right and I would say the same to someone in my position and then some. There are people who get their jollies out of hurting other people. It’s as simple as that.

      I guess I’m just super-sensitive right now. It’s a tough time of year for me. Too much loss.

      Ironically, I thought this post if anything was a little boring. Pretty, but boring. Guess I was wrong about that! Happy Holidays to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Leyble - December 13, 2015 - 11:20 AM

    Hey Laurel…loved your post! I can’t believe you got some bad comments. I think that any chance we get to bring in a season to our home (whether it’s Christmas, spring, summer or fall) is a perfect excuse to decorate – no matter what our religion. Christmas decorating for me is so much fun – a lot of work – but it always makes me smile and I believe it makes other people, friends and family happy to be in my home and enjoying it.

    I am Catholic by birth but I don’t really practice anymore – but I am a believer and I bring that into my home (in addition to the secular decor). All of the decorating makes me feel the specialness of this time. I remember having 2 ex-boyfriends who were Jewish and their favorite activity with me during Christmas was finding the tree and decorating it. They both behaved like giddy little boys who were doing something that their mothers wouldn’t have approved of!! They were more excited than my own kids!

    Happiness should always be the result of decorating – no matter the season!!

    LindaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:03 PM

      Hi Linda,

      What a lovely comment. It’s people like you that make this all worthwhile. Yes, someone told me that I needed to go visit Dachau in order to get in touch with “my people.” And that she went there in her 20’s and it made her a “better person.”

      shudder.

      I used to have a family. They’re all gone now. I had a wonderful friend and she’s gone now too (I mean, really gone except for the voice in my head that constantly hears her suffering) and my beloved kitty. Well… never mind… even with all of that, I’m still mighty blessed. Thank you for your warm, loving sharing! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Marilynn - December 13, 2015 - 10:59 AM

    We live next door to a couple who have an absolutely gorgeous decorated home. Every year we experience the shame of our pathetic attempts at outdoor decorating. My husband will haphazardly throw some lights on the olive tree and call it a day. Meanwhile, I buy poinsettias and place them all around the house, and add some garlands which are dusty and make me sneeze. I do have a serious problem with having too many nutcrackers. I wonder if it is a repressed sexual thing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:26 PM

      Hi Marilynn,

      lol about the nutcrackers. They ARE quite cool so we can be repressed together! That all sounds wonderful! Holidays are about people, not how beautifully ones home is decorated. xoReplyCancel

  • Phyllis Sullivan - December 13, 2015 - 10:29 AM

    So fun to see your Christmas decorating! Pretty and classic. Would love to show you
    a photo of my fireplace mantel – turned out beautiful! I had collected so much Christmas whoa… got rid of half of it and changed it up this year using some new pieces and a real tree, flocked white for a table top tree. The first floor is WHITE – oh wow and I LOVE it!

    Do not let the nasty remarks bother you! There are some stinkers out there! You have a beautiful blog and fun to read, and love to see all the photos!

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours a wonderful Winter!
    PhyllisReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 1:55 PM

      Thank you so much Phyllis! That sounds amazing! Please send me photos! I’d love that! And same to you!ReplyCancel

  • Julie trujillo - December 13, 2015 - 10:19 AM

    Laura,
    I love your blog and your sense of humor. If you have the time track down the show the Goldbergs it’s hilarious, about what your saying. This adorable Jewish mama wants warm family Christmas like Hannakah and the escapades that follow. It’s wonderful.

    JulieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 1:12 PM

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you so much!

      Everyone else in my family who is married, married a gentile. So, for them it is natural to just celebrate everything! I love that.

      My problem is that I used to have a family. The story of what happened to them is for a different blog, but let it suffice to say that it’s painful on a good day.

      Still… I’m not one to dwell for very long on sadness. But when people feel the need to shove my face inside the shit, I go a little bonkers.

      I rarely watch TV. Counting shopping, planning, cleaning, staging, photographing, editing, writing, this post took me some 30 hours to produce.

      I’d do it again. I love it. I just don’t enjoy being publicly shamed by some people who get apparently get their jollies out of putting other people down. xoReplyCancel

  • Tracy S - December 13, 2015 - 9:37 AM

    Beautiful and tasteful! Clearly you’re a newbie at this X-mas decorating thing. 😉 No dancing Santas? No LED displays? No pinecone elves? (Okay, pinecone elves are *always* tasteful, IMO.)

    Over-the-top excess is what I’ve come to expect at the holidays, so it’s really refreshing to see your gorgeous display using fresh poinsettias (a pox on the fake ones!) and orchids.

    Beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 1:07 PM

      LOL. You always make me laugh Tracy! I did have fun! My favorite part was that my camera created light that wasn’t there. How magical is that!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - December 13, 2015 - 9:24 AM

    I’m with Delores on keeping it real! I use some old favorite decorations but switch out things as I have a tiny place, each year adding in a newbie item if it really speaks to me.
    I love that you show us all of the normal life stuff along with beautiful settings. I love seeing a process; the settee over here for now, with some real-life papers in a pile just over there, etc! You are fun to read and I so enjoy your humorous take on things, and I wish you all the best in this season of peace and joy, and have a great year next year!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 1:05 PM

      Hi Catherine,

      I do like keeping it real because I know that none of us are perfect. Sometimes people only show their very best and keep well under wraps the rest. Not that we need to show our dirty underwear all the time, but some people feel like they don’t measure up because they can’t be that “perfect.”

      Blessings to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Billingsley Calvert - December 13, 2015 - 9:11 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Yours is one of the few blogs I routinely check. Although I am a Christian, I think Emelia maybe right. It is far more likely Jesus was born in the spring and since there is no instruction to celebrate Christ’s birth in the Bible, Christmas for me has always been serendipity. I’m just so happy people chose to be nice, focus on family and honor our savior each year – what’s not to love. And the fact that it’s contagious…even better. Regardless of our stripes, God loves each and everyone of us and even more he wants us to love each other. Happy Holidays!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 1:02 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you! I’m immensely flattered!

      I feel the same as you… and don’t understand people who think it is alright to publicly shame me in the name of “righteousness.”

      It’s one of the primary reasons, that I’ve shunned organized religion. I have zero tolerance for hypocrisy.

      I am deeply spiritual, but it is personal. I see God in everything…ReplyCancel

  • Emilia - December 13, 2015 - 7:51 AM

    I, like you decorate for the “winter solstice” like the early Romans did. They even exchanged gifts, partied heavily and decorated outdoor trees. The early bishops could not stop this fun time so they confounded it with the birthday of Jesus. Anyway, I have been an atheist since I was 13, yes you read that right (while still being taught by nuns in fact!). I enjoy the creative opportunity this festival provides to play with color, the arrangements of many years of accumulated stuff, and sharing fun food with our friends. A psychiatrist told me once that inside we are all two years old. And, that’s what I am like when decorating the fireplace. I become a little obsessive. It is such a focal point and for me the most fun to do since its flat surface provides lots of decorating opportunity. So all hail the shortest day of the year. The gift giving is getting out of hand but still love the decorating and all religious wishing each other peace.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 12:58 PM

      Hi Emilia,

      What a lovely comment and I learned some things too.

      My sister, HOLLY has her home decorated for Christmas 365 days out of the year. It’s a veritable Christmas museum!!!

      I bet that your home is beautiful! Thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - December 13, 2015 - 6:32 AM

    I love how you keep it ‘real’, Laurel, dead orchid and all 🙂
    If I wasn’t so sentimental, I’d leave my old, but full of happy memories ornaments in the attic, and do just a little Fraser fir decked out in sparkly lights.I do love cyclamen and salmon colored poinsettias, and as much natural greenery as I can squeeze into the house.
    Last year I bought a raspberry red( clashes with everything!):-) cyclamen that I gave a summer out of doors, and believe it or not- is in full bloom right now!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 12:55 PM

      Oh, I love that the cyclamen has renewed itself with full vigor. Maybe we all could use that. A summer out of doors!

      And sentimental is a good thing, I think. I am too, but it sometimes trips me up. xoReplyCancel

  • Helen McCarthy - December 13, 2015 - 4:41 AM

    I hear you Laurel re dead plants! Unfortunately that’s the way I roll too. Ha.

    I never knew you could get white/yellow Poinsettias. Fancy that. I love cyclamens too. (It was a cyclamen wasn’t it?)

    Anyway, beautiful display as per usual.

    Congrats on an awesome year for you professionally, and all the best for the remainder of the year and 2016.

    Helen ?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 5:05 AM

      Thank you so much Helen! I so appreciate your support and all the best to you too! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Sally Cavaglieri - December 13, 2015 - 3:48 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I love reading your blog, looking at ideas. Although as I’m in the uk it is not easy getting some stuff but there is always a look alike.
    You asked how others do Christmas, each year I change colour of baubles, gathered over the years and rotate or use my latest colour theme. Maybe the odd bit of creative ideas I have gleamed from else where. Mainly just do a tree with the odd candle and brightly coloured dish. Thanks for the tips. 🙂
    SallyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 2:29 PM

      Hi Sally,

      Thank you so much for stopping by! It’s so wonderful that people can gather all over the world to share in this way! It is one of the most wonderful things about the internet! May your season be one of joy and peace!ReplyCancel

  • Valarie Edwards - December 13, 2015 - 1:43 AM

    Guess which one of your readers works at HomeGoods? And guess which one is willing to take pictures of ornaments and send them to you if you want?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 3:26 AM

      You do? That is such a kind offer Valarie. I’m probably all set here. I bought far more than I need but was having fun!ReplyCancel

  • Vonda - December 13, 2015 - 1:21 AM

    I just love reading your posts – you’re hilarious! You have great style and a delightful sense of humor. (And because of YOU I now notice Greek key motifs :-))

    All the best for a wonderful holiday season.ReplyCancel