December Holidays from a Holistic Designer's Point of View by Laurence Carr, Interior Design



As the temperature continues to drop in North America and holiday excitement builds, it is my mission to keep my clients grounded. As our sanctuaries become the staging grounds for holiday prep and our doors are open to friends and family, we have the power to keep replenishing, positive energy flowing. This begins with how we decorate our homes and weaves into how we host our gatherings. With these simple tips you will glide through the holiday season with ease, even bringing holistic healing to others as they enter your curative world.


AS YOU GEAR UP TO DECORATE FOR THE HOLIDAYS, KEEP YOUR MINIMALIST MINDSET INTACT.



Before you begin, put away all everyday decor to avoid excess clutter. You want to be able to easily find a place to rest a drink without knocking something over. This will give you a head start on prepping for your holiday gathering.



TO AVOID ANXIETY, MOVE AWAY FROM THE TRADITIONAL RED AND GREEN COLOR SCHEME.



During the holiday season, bright red and green decor can trigger the frantic feelings that often accompany the holidays. While keeping the natural green of the Christmas tree and enhancing it with natural, live green garlands, I suggest weaving warm orange hues, which create a welcoming feel, soft touches of yellow for happiness and calming, cooling pops of frosty blue.


IF YOU’RE NOT SURE WHERE TO START WITH YOUR DECOR, BEGIN WITH A SIMPLE, ELEGANT TREE AND MOVE ON FROM THERE.



Although pre-packaged holiday decor can look cheap, there are ways to use boxed decor to achieve a chic, even unexpected look. For those who struggle, I suggest a monochromatic look using items you can get at most big box retailers. Gold or silver round ornaments in varying shapes and sizes work well for a classic scheme, but for something unexpected, you may choose orange, yellow, or soft blue as previously mentioned, creating an off-beat, yet healing feel. Keep lights white to let your color of choice stand out. Once the tree-trimming is complete, take the color you’ve chosen and weave it into the decorative scheme throughout the house. This can include throw pillows, soft blankets, napkins, and even seasonally-appropriate florals.



WHEN YOU GEAR UP TO HOST A GATHERING, THINK ABOUT EACH ROOM’S FOCAL POINT.



In the living room, the Christmas tree should sit center stage. This does not mean that the tree must be in the center of the room, rather that guests can admire it from all seating areas.


Dining room decor should be well-curated and on-theme, but should remain simple and organic. A table centerpiece provides a perfect focal point and can remain on-trend with natural elements, including evergreen sprigs, and even trimmed, knotty branches from your garden. Pair this with whimsical brushed gold flatware, simple white china and eggshell cotton napkins for a rustic, homey feel.


PAY ATTENTION TO THE QUANTITY OF FURNITURE PIECES AND THEIR EXACT PLACEMENT.



If your space is crowded with furniture, remove excess pieces, moving remaining pieces further away from one another for breathing space. As you rearrange, keep conversation in mind. You’ll be surprised how much chatter can be facilitated by ever so slightly angling chairs toward one another. Be sure to sit in each seat before guests arrive to be sure there is a tangible sense of alignment and that everything a guest may need (coasters, napkins, etc.) is within reach.


CAPITALIZE ON THE HIGH-VIBRATION ENERGY THAT ARRIVES WITH YOUR GUESTS.



My favorite part of holiday entertaining is when guests arrive. I love the electric feeling of excitement and the magical, building energy that begins to bubble as everyone gears up to celebrate. Take full advantage of this energy, allowing yourself to drink in the warm excitement. Sometimes, during low energy dips, I am able to tap into a reserve of this energy, once again benefitting from the pure love and joy of a gathering just gaining momentum.



WHEN HOSTING LARGE PARTIES I LIKE TO CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE WHERE THERE IS A STEADY FLOW OF EVENTS SO NO ONE FEELS LOST.



Typically, I begin by serving cocktails featuring seasonal ingredients, like nutmeg, cinnamon and even sprigs of rosemary. I have found it works well to have appetizers served with the host or hostess’ welcome speech. When it is time to gather for dinner, I love to ask guests where and how they celebrated last year and what they look forward to in the year ahead. It also works well to allow guests to feel comfortable moving to a different seat after the main course is served so they may start new conversations. As dinner is polished off, in my opinion, there is nothing better than digestives served in a large, open living room with music playing and a fire going. This way, as the party winds down, things begin to feel less formal and kids of all ages can run off and play or enjoy cookies and milk with their parents.


As present beings who keep wellness top-of-mind, we have the ability to change our personal narrative about the holiday season. By taking a breath, removing overwhelming clutter, and bringing in fresh, joyful decor, we are setting an intention for a holiday season focused on what matters most. We will remain calm. We will maintain our stillness. We will keep the peace. We will continue to contribute positively to the world’s collective energy.


What better gift can we offer humankind as we celebrate this December?


Laurence Carr is founder & CEO of Laurence Carr Design, an award winning interior design firm in New York City providing full service and e-design services to clients. She creates exquisite holistic interiors that promote mindful living and harmony, while attaining a level of sophistication through layering modern art, furniture, antiques and accents. Born in France, Laurence has 20 years experience in design, the performing arts, and fashion. She has been nationally published and is a frequent speaker and panelist in major industry related events.

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