which colours for your christmas?

by Sharon Santoni

Every year at this time it’s the same debate – what colour for Christmas?   It’s not an earth shattering decision, the result will never affect world peace, or the curves of the stock market, but for me it is important.

Goodness knows I have decorated for many many christmasses.   I have boxes of decorations sorted by colour, size and style, but the colour of christmas is all about the mood.

This time last year saw me sending the last photos for my entertaining book to my publisher.   My friend and photographer Franck Schmitt and I had spent just over a year, imagining, styling and shooting tablescapes for all seasons and all settings.    We shot one Christmas in 2015, and then another – rather early – in October 2016.  One in red and white, and one in these gentle hues of pink, white and mauve.

Shooting out of season is always rather a surreal experience, as anyone who works in fashion or in magazines will know.   Not only do you have to get into the mood, you also need to find the props! I remember trying to explain to my butcher that I needed a large capon or turkey in the month of October “Mais Madame, vous etes beaucoup trop tot!   You are much too early, it’s not Christmas yet.

So here for you is a version of Christmas in our home,  a colour scheme I love.  It feels peaceful and gentle, and using fresh roses amid the traditional decorations adds some freshness to the holidays.   When they start to droop, its easy just to remove the rose heads and replace with a few new blooms.

And I’d love to know how the decorations work in your home?   Do you feel most comfortable using the same decorations each year, does your family dictate how you decorate, or do you also like to swap things around?   do let me know.

all photos by Franck Schmitt from the book

My French Country Home, Entertaining Through the Seasons


Cindy December 4, 2017 - 5:13 pm

Absolutely gorgeous! That color scheme calms my soul. Thank you for sharing.

Ellen de Man December 4, 2017 - 5:34 pm

Love your sharing again this time. I also have boxes of all colours of decorations mostly old ones collected over many years and all of my mothers from Germany. I chance my colour scheme from year to year . This all very small red light trough out the house combined with all silver decorations. My whole collection of Chrystal and silver salt sellers for the votives. It all looks so happy and warm. Love this time of year.
Wishing an wonderful Christmas and an fun filled
New year.
Your constant reader

Laura December 4, 2017 - 5:14 pm

I put up the same decorations every year, with very small substitutions/additions. These are things we love and have collected over time, and they feel like old friends when they come out of their boxes. I do a bit of color coordinating according to the colors in each room, but pretty much anything goes otherwise.

Colleen Taylor December 4, 2017 - 5:22 pm

Your tree and decorations are so very peaceful and lovely Sharon. I changed my Christmas color theme when I moved into a new home in Arizona. I have light teal blues and shades of rose and red. In addition to many old ornaments that I made years ago.

Alice Genzlinger December 4, 2017 - 5:25 pm

Every tree no matter the colors used are beautiful but because CHRISTMAS is about JESUS CHRIST’ birth I decorate in green and red. Green because he died and arose and sits at the right hand of God, and red for the blood HE shed for all our sins.

Lenore Wille December 4, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Pretty much I put up the same Christmas tree decorations each year. I have been collecting them from all over the World for 40 years. I am very nostalgic about them. However, I love your mantel idea especially with the roses. I live in the south of France amongst the vineyards surrounded by fir trees and pine cones +++ so there is much scrounging to do. Many thanks for your lovely ideas.

Janet Schanzenbach December 4, 2017 - 5:29 pm

I love the idea of using real flowers for Christmas. My colors are going to be a raspberry and green. I plan on using that wonderful bubble wreath vase you gave us as the table centerpiece this year.

Jean December 4, 2017 - 5:37 pm

I love your gentle colors, and am entranced by your votive holders. Just gorgeous!

Karen December 5, 2017 - 6:53 am

Where can we find votive holders like these can you tell us where to purchase these ?


Roxane December 5, 2017 - 3:49 pm

On eBay search for Lillian Rose votive or on Wanelo search for mercury glass tealight holders

PAMELA ANDREWS December 4, 2017 - 5:42 pm

I have loads of different coloured decorations but it is only the white and silver that pleases me and candles of course so I am sticking with these again this year, I cant see myself going back to the red and green any time soon. Pamela.

Marsha December 4, 2017 - 5:51 pm

I, too, love the calmness, the restraint. You have a way that is all your own and I LOVE it !! This Texas Italian has decorated 2 trees in the lobby of my condo building. I’ll post pics on the blog tomorrow. Merry Christmas to everyone in your home, including the animals.

Vicky from Athens December 4, 2017 - 5:51 pm

I tend to do just about the same thing every year. Red and green are my main colors with gold and/or silver thrown in. I use lots of bows, on the tops of tall pieces of furniture and mirrors. I have so many ornaments collected over the years including the ones made by my children when they were young. This year I’m excited to have added some lovely French ornaments to my tree!

Steven December 4, 2017 - 6:04 pm

We had this conversation last night as this years tree started to go up – it is always a two or three evening event for us – additive mostly, rarely subtractive! Yours looks so serene and controlled. Ours usually looks like a giant pinata filled with spangles exploded. We have enough decorations to start a mid-sized holiday store – and seem to acquire more every year. Of course there are the prized and sentimental ornaments the children created – egg carton angels and such; and special ones like the blown and painted and carved eggs (quail, chicken, duck and goose) a great-aunt created over many years. She was a commercial artist and some of her “eggs’ are quite something. Those groups, mostly, aren’t displayed these days, although when we come across the boxes that contain them we have a wistful and reflective moment. A particular favorite of mine are the “crazy” beaded and sequined ornaments that were popular in the ’60’s and early ’70’s. I think we must have several thousand – bins and bins full of them. eBay is a blessing and a curse! Some are ornamented with vintage costume jewelry, others have pendants of beads or tassels. A few I remember creating with a friend and his Mom a hundred (seems like) years ago- her hobby but we, as middle-schoolers, got enlisted to help. I like to display them in large apothecary-style covered jars and generally group them on the sideboard in the breakfast room. One year we had a flocked tree and decorated it a la Romanov – gold and silver – it was quite spectacular. A few years ago my mother gave us a ceramic tree that had belonged to my grandmother – the type with the little lighted ornament inserts. I was excited to receive it – mainly for the memories associated with my grandma – but thought “this guy needs a friend” – so I ended up with 60 of them!! My wife says I have an issue with “moderation”. But massed on a sideboard underlaid with greenery they made quite a display! Most years, including this one, we opt for a Douglas fir, the scent fills the family room all season.

It will be fun to read what other folks do. Thanks for sharing!!

sharon December 5, 2017 - 5:03 pm

Love your comment Steven, and also your wife’s opinion on your lack of moderation 🙂 Whoever said that Christmas design needed moderation!?

have a lovely holiday

Susan December 4, 2017 - 6:50 pm

We decorate our tree in the great roomwith anniversary ornaments— each one ( or two!) a remembrance of something special about the year before. Everything from photos of departed pets to children’s effort to Paris baubles. Therefore no color scheme. That’s too perfect for me. The other rooms get little or no decor, which to me is more restful. And less to put away!

MARLA December 4, 2017 - 7:06 pm

Of course you photos are just stunning. OUr home is new to us 18 months ago and I did it much more simply, white slipcovers, plank floor etc. Our tree stays as ever with our collected ornaments but the white lights just make it sparkle, no real color theme. This year I did opt for plain white table cloth and a huge fresh green garland laying end to end on top of the table. It looks fresh and smells wonderful. I can add any number of candles to the table and change it up. I will add some roses too! Thanks Sharon, you are the best!

Tracy December 4, 2017 - 7:11 pm

I chose an icy blue, with silver, white and gold this year for the tree. I have SO many ornaments after 47 years, it’s easy to pick and choose. For the dining table it’s a blue and green tartan cloth that hits the floor with my varied lead crystal candlesticks and juniper (with the blue berries!) running the length. When the chandelier is lit, it looks so sparkly and festive.

Our French Oasis December 4, 2017 - 7:35 pm

I love this colour scheme, it is so elegant and relaxing. Here, if I tried to tell the children that certain decorations were not being used this year I think there would be an uprising, they love the tradition of using the same ones each year and so it is a huge jumble of colour, but it’s fine, I really do love the memories that coming flooding back with each unwrapped decoration. However the kitchen table is where I do get to play a little and each year we tend to have a slightly different theme and change things a little.

Stacy December 4, 2017 - 7:51 pm

For me XMas is like a gift wrapped in emotion and tied with a ribbon of memories. I remember tender memories of when the children were young and my first XMas with my husband when we had no decorations to pull out of storage or painstakingly pack away! Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of unique ornaments for the tree. Picking out just the right one everytime on a special shopping trip, often with the children, a few times each year until we had so many. Each one evokes memories and shrieks of joy as we decorate the tree year after year. To me this is what is truly important. Not the beautiful trinkets but the beautiful memories and embrace of joy these familiar yet special objects bring to us. When my youngest daughter said that the one thing she would never give up in life is the memories of vacations and the holiday season spent with the family, I knew I had done something right and all the effort had been worth it.

Jaybird December 4, 2017 - 8:11 pm

Red and green, with gold and silver here….accent on RED!!!
I do have to admit to being so far behind the times, that red plays a large part in my decorating all winter long but looks intentional at Christmas :^)
I love your roses and the big mirror with greenery!
Have a blessed Christmas,

Valorie December 4, 2017 - 8:13 pm

I’ve always used the same every year, but as I get older I tend to do less. A young cat and a new puppy also added to the decision. I absolutely love what you’ve done here! I think I’m doing this from here on out. I’m feeling more melancholy this year as well as last year due to some major losses of people and animals and this color scheme sits well with my soul. I love mercury glass ornaments and candle holders. Love the white, ivory, and green color scheme. Also love the little votive candle holders you have here, would love to know where to purchase them, if you see this and care to share. Merry Christmas to you and yours and special wishes to Gibson and Ghetto!

Nancy December 4, 2017 - 9:10 pm


All best to you. Hang in there.


Valorie December 5, 2017 - 6:25 pm

Nancy, thank you so much! So kind of you. Have a lovely holiday! x

Liz December 4, 2017 - 8:20 pm

We move into our new house in France on Dec 21st. Somehow I think Christmas decorations this year are going to be from the garden. I know we have holly and ivy, so along with a few candles I think that will be it…. I couldn’t be happier!!

Sue Malizia December 4, 2017 - 8:24 pm

I too have a lot of memories with my ornaments and decor. After pretty much trying to reuse and change the same Christmas/winter items up a bit every year…I added some greenery plate chargers, to use with my linen table runner and Friendly Village dinnerware, mixed with pinecones and a few antiques for a more natural look. I absolutely adore your photos…your home is stunning and so cozy; something I try to achieve for my family and quests. =)

Emm December 4, 2017 - 8:44 pm

I tend to use multicolored ornaments (mostly collected over time from various places) and lights, because the colors brighten the dark days of December. But your calm room is very refreshing.
I like the new header picture showing snow on the house. And it’s nice to see a picture of Da Boyz, although I notice who is sitting on the chair and looking not at all guilty.

sharon December 5, 2017 - 8:27 am

Hi Emm

I don’t think that Guilt was included when they made this model!

happy holidays!


Emm December 5, 2017 - 6:56 pm

I am dogless at the moment, although looking for another Cavalier, and so I miss the patter of little paws.

Mary Anne Simpson December 4, 2017 - 10:36 pm

Simply elegant Sharon. The colours are calm and relaxing as evidenced by your faithful pets. I love seeing them in your photos. They have so much expression.

The crystal champagne flutes and individual candles are very inviting.

Mary Anne

Carol December 5, 2017 - 2:01 am

I don’t choose by color but, I will have a theme that reflects facets of me. Last year, it was the Divine Feminine. This year, it is the Enchanted Forest and the Land of Sweets.

Ellen December 5, 2017 - 2:56 am

Hi Sharon, I love the understated elegance of your decorations. When I had a larger house I used to decorate some areas with one color scheme and have a different color scheme in another area. I struggle each year now deciding if I should do a certain color scheme, but never do because I have some favorite old classic glass ornaments that are beautiful and must be on the tree. So I have a traditional hodge-podge mixture. And unfortunately, I found that I’m allergic to pine after several weeks of exposure so unfortunately I have a fake tree as well! But with house lights off and the tree lights shining, everything looks lovely. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

Lynne December 5, 2017 - 3:03 am

I love your tree, very subtle and beautiful. My adult children do mine and its usually overdressed! I can’t throw any old ornaments out or they will know!
Have a happy and safe Christmas Sharon. I have been reading your posts for many years and always look forward to them in my inbox.

Dottie Monta December 5, 2017 - 3:58 am

Oh Sharon, you are speaking to my heart with greenery, white flowers, and silver! And a shot of pastel. (I’d hesitated to use color until my designer said of course you can use rose–turns out it’s beautiful with the red in the Or.rug!) When we’re not traveling and have a live tree, I employ collection of Italian papier-mache angels; clear, gold-dusted balls; and tiny white lights. Oh, and favorite ornaments from all over the world. Don’t laugh, but I also keep up all year a small, snow-dusted tree w/collection of sterling silver ornaments in the living room–take them down to polish periodically (and I don’t even mind!) Ever grateful for your photographs: white roses, pine, a few pine cones, just what I love most. Wishing you every blessing this Christmastime, Dottie

Lorrie December 5, 2017 - 4:10 am

These are lovely, elegant scenes from your home, Sharon. Lately, I’ve been liking the clear red and white palette of Scandinavia along with silver and gold. The only greens are natural. Pine cones proliferate. Lots of white lights and candles.

Dottie Monta December 5, 2017 - 4:29 am

Forgot to add: always a Nativity scene, either larger one under the tree, or a very small (Baby Jesus is 1/2 inch!) silver set on the foyer table, under a green moss topiary studded with tiny white porcelain flowers found in a little shop in Vienna! Also, our breakfast table usually has a grapevine basket with a white cyclamen..not longlasting but so pleasing while it lasts.

Robert December 5, 2017 - 4:45 am


Soft, shimmery elegance…almost ethereal.

After college, I have spent 40 odd years in
the design field…..primarily interiors
but also architectual and landscape design.
I encourage clients to seek their inner self when decorating for the yuletide season. This can be soft, elegant and monochromatic. Or jewel-like reflecting the
colorful magi.Some prefer royal purple and white of ecclesiastical advent.Others prefer the colors of nature…greens of the
evergreens with splashes of red berries.
Always give yourself the freedom of expression…holidays are the one time that
you can be”legitimately gaudy”!!

Merrilee December 5, 2017 - 3:03 pm

Those are my colors, plus crystal, for my main floor.

Roxane December 5, 2017 - 3:58 pm

Every year each of our 3 girls would receive a new ornament for Christmas from us and each had their own ornament box. The tree was quite filled with all of their ornaments after 18 years and with other ornaments gathered over the years. Two have now left home along with their boxes of ornaments and I have been cleaning out the boxes of ornaments that had been relegated to storage. Some ornaments had not survived well in those years, so out they went! The tree never has a “theme”, but I do try do keep the other decorations on the mantel, dining room table and front door wreath to one color scheme. I tend to like glittering silver and royal blue, but occasionally decorate with silver and pinks.

Kefilwe Mahafha December 5, 2017 - 4:12 pm

I love everything about the Christmas decor it is breath taking

Charlotte Des Fleurs December 15, 2017 - 5:40 am

For anyone who wants votive candle holders in unusual colors and styles, try https://www.save-on-crafts.com/candleholders.html

They have pastels, golds, mercury glass… you name it!

Debbie Snyder December 15, 2017 - 1:24 pm

So beautiful! I love your designs!!


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