NATURAL HIGH

Christmas in the country conjures up picturesque scenes of people sledding on hillsides blanketed in snow, skating on frozen ponds and sitting around a roaring fire with steaming mugs of cocoa. The best country decorations draw their beauty from nature, with living spaces needing little more than a hit of colour and a few armfuls of fresh-cut greenery to get dressed for the season. For our country Christmas, we put the focus on a single pop of colour — a cheery, ruby red reminiscent of holly berries — and took additional aesthetic cues from homespun Scandinavian decorations that capitalize on natural materials, evocative textures and folkloric motifs. The final touches are a few strings of white lights and plenty of candlelight to create a fresh, festive and verdant holiday.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon | CHRISTMAS TREE, RED LANTERNS, MOOSE ORNAMENTS, Canadian Tire; MANTEL, The Props; RED THROW, TREE SKIRT, DINING CHAIRS, HomeSense; SHEEPSKIN, IKEA.

Fill galvanized pails with armfuls of fir boughs and tuck in a few sprigs of berries. Craft a charming bunting with twine and french ticking to hang along the fireplace mantel or stair rail. Pile an out-of-commission fireplace with a tidy stack of wood to instantly imbue a cottagey mood (it’s a tried-and-true stylist’s trick for good reason!). Wrap the Christmas tree base in a cable-knit tree skirt, and layer dining chairs with cozy throws and faux sheepskins to make guests feel snug even when the wind is whipping at the door.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon | RED LANTERN, Canadian Tire; WALLPAPER, St. Antoine by Farrow & Ball; SLEIGH BELLS, The Prop Room; BERRIES, Metro; WREATH, Fiesta Farms.

A candlelit lantern is a beacon of warmth, especially a red-painted version. Nestle lanterns into a garland of scented fir or spruce boughs, add a string of white lights for extra twinkle and dot the vignette with evocative collectibles like old sleigh bells and shed antlers.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

Decorating for Christmas at the cabin can be as easy as playing up iconic winter themes. Pull retro wooden snowshoes, skis or sleds out of the attic or garage, dress them with a bow, string lights or handful of evergreens and put them to work anchoring Christmas vignettes that recall times past.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

For a rustic Christmas in the country, sometimes pared-back table settings can be the most impactful. Create a spare backdrop with clean-lined china, glassware, flatware and unpretentious ironstone or transferware serving pieces, brass candlesticks and nubby white linens. For a dash of holiday spirit, inject hits of colour with crimson drinking glasses or votives, sprigs of berries and snow-white Christmas figures tied with rich velvet ribbon.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

A claret-coloured rum punch studded with orange slices and tart fresh cranberries encapsulates the colours and flavours of the Christmas season in a drink. Offer it in a casual glass bowl or canister to show off its rich ruby colour and serve with a retro enamelled ladle.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

Sparse, simple decor looks equally fitting set against weathered wood-panelled walls and a blanket of fresh snow.

Once a windowbox’s blooms are done in the fall, fill it with an array of fir clippings before the soil freezes, then pop in sprigs of holly berries in the lead-up to Christmas.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon | JAR, Smash.

Turn a large glass vase or canister into an impromptu snowglobe. Fill it with a pillowy layer of artificial snow (available at craft stores) and top that with bottlebrush trees and forest animal figurines. The all-white palette gives the tiny landscape the look of an elegant silhouette.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon | SLEIGH BELLS, The Prop Room.

Potted evergreens epitomize sustainable natural Christmas decorations; they can be returned to the earth once the holidays are done. Fashion an understated vignette on a garden tabletop with a row of pint-sized potted Douglas fir trees. During parties or on Christmas Eve, light the scene with candlelit lanterns.

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon | WREATH, Fiesta Farms; BENCH, The Props; SHEEPSKIN, IKEA; BERRIES, Metro.

Beyond good tidings, evergreen wreaths are said to symbolize strength and everlasting life. Here, a jute rope with its ends gently uncoiled has the feel of a rugged tassel, and siding painted a moody grey-blue conjures winter twilight.

 

GET THE LOOK

 

ALL-ACCESS PASS

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

You don’t need to live in a rustic log cabin or converted barn to capitalize on this cozy, down-home look. These decorations can be equally enchanting in a city house. Just store away any ornate or modern accessories you usually display, and pile on pieces with humble designs, earthy textures and woodsy hues.

 

BERRY BEAUTIFUL

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

Long before glittery Christmas baubles were the norm, homemakers pulled all their decorations from nature, and some of their best finds were the scarlet berries that stud trees and bushes at this time of year. Tuck sprigs of winterberry (above left), hypericum berries (centre) and holly berries (right) (found at florists and garden centres) into wreaths, floral arrangements and even gift wrapping.

 

GIFT RAPT

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Photography: Robin Stubbert | Producer: Christine Hanlon 

A crisp red and white palette is a toasty antidote to the grey skies and snow outside. Supplement white gift wrap with playful doses of dots, rich, velvety ribbon and lengths of snow-white cotton lace.

 

Source: Styleathome