Decorating Your House for the Holidays (Hold the Red and Green)

A new family builds their own traditions with stylish and simple decor

Decorating Your House for the Holidays (Hold the Red and Green)What with the barrage of fabulously tacky Christmas trinkets that hits the stores immediately after Halloween, it’s hard to resist getting caught up in the spirit and buy decorations indiscriminately (honestly — what’s the harm in a plastic dancing Santa or two?). But at the Francisco-Faulkner house, the holidays are no different from the rest of the year: minimal, beautiful and stylish.

So how does a family living in a clean, contemporary space, filled with whites, off-whites and greys, decorate for the holidays without anything looking garish? With a bit of joyful abandon. “Because our space is very neutral, I like to pull in very vibrant colours: magentas, bright yellow-oranges, bright blues, reds,” says Jane Francisco, mom of Greydon, 2, and editor-in-chief of Wish Magazine. “The holidays are a great excuse to play with colours.” And staying away from the traditional red-and-green-only palette (though both shades are still included independently) updates the overall feeling.

There is room for the odd laughing snowman, absolutely — but a great deal of the holiday decor comes from things already present in the house. The line of white vases along the mantel was pulled together from different spots in the home, some of Greydon’s toys were put on display to add colour and whimsy, and napkins on the dining room table were bright solids left from summer barbecue season. “I like layering in all of these different elements,” says Francisco. To avoid clutter, the family placed some year-round decorative items away to make room for the holiday touches.

“Grey was only three months old for his first Christmas, so we went to my parent’s place,” says Francisco. “This Christmas was his first at home.” And although he hasn’t yet developed his own aesthetic (at least, not that he’s expressed), Greydon seemed pleased with his parents’ choices. “He loved the lights and the bright colours,” says Francisco. “I think anything you do for very small kids, anything that is new and different, creates excitement.”

It’s not that Francisco and her husband, photographer Colin Faulkner, don’t like the traditional trappings; it just didn’t reflect the style of their home. “All of our choices differentiate our style from our parents’,” says Francisco. “All of [those traditional things] are still very meaningful for me, because they remind me of my family, but this is my new family.”

As the family grows, their traditions will as well, but there are some already firmly in place. One is the holiday movies projected onto the wall (Francisco loves watching movies on the big screen), and another is having someone deliver and put up the Christmas tree (this year it was a 9 ½ tall tree, which they actually found a little big: they had to cut branches off to get it out the door at the end of the season). Another tradition is themed wrapping. “One year it was all brown kraft paper; another year it was all solid brights, and it’s all white here. We change up each gift with differently coloured ribbons.” And she recommends scouring craft stores for small ornaments and decorations that would work well as additions to gift wrapping.

“Christmas is what you get used to,” says Francisco. “I remember loving my mom’s multi-coloured Christmas tree lights, and when she changed them to white one year in the ’80s, I thought, “Are you kidding?!’ But you make your own Christmas when you have kids, and that’s what’s so great about it.”

Want to create a new spin on holiday decor for your home? Take a closer look at how Jane Francisco transformed her home with a unique festive touch. Plus, try a few DIY decor ideas to give your home an even more personal touch.

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