The holidays are upon us, that joyful time when family and friends share in fellowship and celebration. With visions of sugar plum fairies and cocktail parties dancing in our heads, the anticipation of decorating the home for the holidays hits many as soon as the smell of pumpkin pie wafts through the air.
For some, it’s as simple as adding a wreath to the front door, a candle to the powder room and festive hand towels to the kitchen. For others, it’s a carefully contemplated theme – from color and fragrance to placement and purpose – with a keen eye on tradition. So it is for Debbie and Bob Spratlin, who, each year, carefully plan out how to decorate their home for the holidays. Even though she uses many of the same decorations from year to year, Debbie works hard to place them in new locations or add something unexpected to give a distinctive look and feel from the year before. “I like to put a little bit of Christmas in every room,” says Debbie. “I want the door to make a statement, the tree to make a statement … but we are careful not to overdo it.”
Debbie and Bob Spratlin carefully plan each year how to decorate their home for the holidays.
To help her keep that balance, Debbie engages Chad Ridenour, owner and designer at Rosewood Florist. “I start thinking about what I want to do, what colors I would like to use, and then Chad adds his fabulous suggestions to bring it all to life,” she says.
The focal point in Debbie’s home is the rotating Christmas tree that is placed in the center of the living room to be enjoyed from any angle. Debbie is an avid collector of ornaments, and every branch on her family’s tree is adorned with them, each bringing a joyful reminder of the person who gave it, the place where it was purchased, or the toothless grin of the grandchild who presented it. “We started the tradition of exchanging ornaments with family and friends years ago,” says Debbie. “Decorating the tree has become a family affair. I place the ornaments on the tree, while my husband, Bob, and I talk about the history behind each of them. It’s a great opportunity for storytelling with friends.”
A focal point in the Spratlins’ home is the rotating Christmas tree that is placed in the center of the living room to be enjoyed from any angle.
Staying true to tradition doesn’t mean being boring. Changing up a few small things on the tree is a great way to save money on decorating without cutting corners. “We complement all of Debbie’s beautiful ornaments by adding red and green ribbon,” says Chad. “By enhancing the tree with small elements, you don’t have to buy all new decorations. You take what you have and add something new to it and it makes it look brand new, while keeping with tradition.”
On display in Debbie’s house throughout the Christmas season is her beautiful nutcracker collection. Together, Debbie and Chad thoughtfully place the figurines around the home in large groups that set delightful scenes, calling to mind the theater. “The Spratlins’ nutcracker collectibles have become a beautiful tradition,” says Chad. “They range from very small to three to four feet tall, and we have fun arranging them throughout the home.” Debbie’s other collectibles, including her jesters, make an appearance each Christmas as well, also in various areas of the house.
Another central focus for Debbie’s home is the stunning dining room chandelier, which makes a statement of its own thanks to the ornamentation that Chad adds to it. “The Spratlins’ ceilings are very high, so we hang ribbon and ornaments – some 24-inches long – from the chandelier to add drama to the room and create a unique centerpiece.”
The stunning dining room chandelier makes a statement of its own thanks to the ornamentation that Chad Ridenour of Rosewood Florist adds to it.
The exterior of the home is certainly not left out, with the festive feel of the inside mirrored on the outside. “Lights are everything,” Chad says. “We place a 27-foot garland around the front door and add clear bulbs and green and red ribbon to give a classic feel. We also are sure to add wreaths to all of the windows.”
Chad relies on ribbon and lights for many of his clients and notes they are excellent tools to use when decorating on a budget. “You can get a lot of coverage with ribbon and solid-colored Christmas lights,” he says. “Also, add a few novelty Christmas lights to the tree just to give some additional color. They look like large illuminating ornaments.”
When decorating, it’s important to work around permanent fixtures in the home, such as the television. In the Spratlins’ home, even though the television is above the mantel, it doesn’t get overlooked. “We keep the fireplace and mantel traditional and all decorations low because of the television, but we still add a lot of greenery, magnolia leaves and red and green artificial apples,” says Chad. It’s a unique flair that keeps the traditional holiday colors in mind. “I am a traditionalist, and I like my red,” says Debbie. “Chad will suggest a pop of another color to go with it, and that works well for me.”
Debbie’s various collectibles make appearances throughout the house.
That even goes for the fresh flowers Debbie keeps on hand during the holidays. To the traditional poinsettias she adds curly willow or other outdoor elements.
And while Debbie is careful not to go overboard with her decorations, for Chad, you can never do too much during the holidays. “I look at my clients’ homes, tell their taste and see what limits I can take it to. Sometimes they just want a little, but other times, I get to go all out. It’s Christmas; you’re supposed to be gaudy! But we can still keep it traditional and classy, while being a little different.”
One client of Chad’s wanted her entire tree covered in white ostrich feathers. Surely, it was a great conversation starter for a holiday party. And really, isn’t that what Christmas memories are made of?