red christmas decoration ideas

by Sharon Santoni

Red rose table decorations in a clear glass vase- red christmas decoration ideas- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

 

Each year I try to change the colour scheme for my Christmas decorations.   I can’t say that there is one I favour over another, but it is fun to change, and swap out the baubles from one year to the next.  Today I’m back to classics and giving you some red Christmas decoration ideas.

Red glass balls on a white table setting- red christmas decoration ideas- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

My decorations are carefully stored away each year (I love that moment, baubles coded by colour!), and when I go to the barn to haul out the trunks labelled ‘Noel’, it’s always a fun moment to lift the lids on each trunk and search for the right coloured box of decorations.

Red glasses and red-accented table settings- red christmas decoration ideas- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

I like to use red now and again, but only in light touches.  It can become overwhelming if used too heavily.   On the dining table I lay in white and neutral, then add a touch of red with holly berries and red wine glasses.

Close up on red Christmas table settings- red christmas decoration ideas- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

I also like to keep it natural.  Using holly berries from the garden and branches of cypress, it’s pretty easy to put together table decor and red Christmas decoration ideas for the fireplace too.

View into living room with marble fireplace and red flower decorations on the mantle- red christmas decoration ideas- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

Have you finished your holiday decorating yet?   And which colours have you gone for this year?   Do you always stick to the same decor, or do you like to change?  Do leave a comment, I’d love to know.

Red-wrapped gifts next to a garland covered staircase- red christmas decoration ideas- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

 

All photos by Franck Schmitt for the book

My French Country Home Entertaining through the Seasons

54 comments

Colette December 13, 2018 - 12:43 pm

So simple and beautiful!

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Judy Johnson December 13, 2018 - 12:54 pm

Just stunning, so inviting, love it!

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Terri December 13, 2018 - 2:50 pm

oh my goodness………. Just beautiful !!!!

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Mary Katherine December 13, 2018 - 2:52 pm

Simply gorgeous – thanks for the inspiration. Curious – is it common to set forks with tines down over there?

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Kathy December 13, 2018 - 2:56 pm

Beautiful. Each year I contemplate other colors, but alwys settle on the classics you have featured here. Lots of ivory and green, with a touch of red. It just feels right to me.

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Jeannine December 13, 2018 - 3:03 pm

Sharon your Christmas decor is just beautiful! I love red at Christmas and use it every year. It is perfect with the evergreen boughs and garland. I guess one would call me a traditionalist at Christmas.
Blessings to you and your family in the New Year!

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AFN December 13, 2018 - 3:05 pm

Perfectly lovely…like the simplicity. I generally use same decorations year after year but move things
around so the look changes a little. I like to do this throughout the year.

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Denise December 13, 2018 - 3:11 pm

I love the red, very sophisticated. I use all my mother and grandmother antique ornaments. I have a tree full.
I love them. Some are small but I also have large ones. Some boxes still have led icicles.

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tracy brown December 13, 2018 - 3:23 pm

I used red as my tree theme this year also, starting with a dozen oversized red balls. The grandkids help decorate and love it when I make it a challenge for them going through the ornaments- red, gold, silver or white. Tucked red silk roses here and there to fill in gaps.
Outside in my urns I use rosehips collected from our property along with juniper and pine, red twig dogwood and curly willow.
The red warms everything! Love it!1

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david terry December 13, 2018 - 3:27 pm

“I like to use red now and again, but only in light touches. It can become overwhelming if used too heavily. …..”

Oh, Sharon, how right you are. Do you know of the hub-bub raised this month over Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations for the White House? The most eye-popping (this is not a good thing), “What was she thinking?” aspect of the set-up is the long corridor of unrelieved, blood-red “trees” (they’re actually enormous cones’ made of berries). I’t’s more than a bit macabre, to say the least.

The most circulated publicity-still shows Melania Trump (always a gorgeous woman, of course, but never exactly cuddly or “cute”) slowly stalking down the corridor in her six inch stilettos. She was, after all, a model…..and it shows. the expression on her face falls somewhere between that of Maleficient and The Ice Queen. All in all, the production looks as though Alexander McQueen and Tim Burton had collaborated to produce a Christmas runway show.

Of course, within 24 hours, the internet was aglow with a thousand& one parodic memes and comparisons to the hotel hallway of blood in “The Shining” and scenes from “the Handmaid’s Tale”. Mrs. Trump, like several other First Ladies, just can’t seem to catch a break, but, then, the job has always been one of those damned-if-you-do-&-damned-if-you-don’t situations.

Still? the memes ARE amusing. go to this link to see a few of them:
https://politicalpunchline.com/melania-red-christmas-trees/

In any case, Sharon?…..Obviously, your instincts about over-using red were correct……
Merry Christmas,
David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC
USA

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Margo December 13, 2018 - 9:42 pm

Good Lord. Some spirit of Christmas. Why can’t you leave this poor woman alone. You have to stoop so low to even denigrate her Christmas decorations. What kind of person are you? I for one love red for Christmas decorations. Thank God I’m not a design snob. Shame on you.

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david terry December 13, 2018 - 11:26 pm

Dear Margo, I’m not aware of having personally disturbed Mrs. Trump’s solitude, nor do I belong to/work for any of the 1,001 media outlets that absolutely savaged her taste (google “Melania red Christmas”). In any case, it’s not “stooping” particularly low to denigrate a First Ladies’ taste in decor; this has been going on since Jacki Kennedy redecorated the White House in 1962, right up through Nancy Reagan’s buying new china, and, today, Melania’s efforts. Almost all first ladies have been, at one point or another, savaged in the press for their tastes in decor (including their choice of Christmas decorations….just google “Obama Christmas scandal”. As I made clear, the First Ladies’ job is largely a thankless one…no matter WHAT the women do.

Do recall (perhaps you might re-read) that the most I said was that the overall effect of the unrelieved corridor of pillars of red was rather macabre…..which it was pretty universally proclaimed to be. Don’t, please, blame me for what the majority of the news outlets in the USA are reporting/publishing. As for “what kind of person are you?”..????….do you really want me to explain that here, in full? Will it suffice to say that I’m the sort of person who was wryly amused to read Sharon’s simple (but advised) comment “It can become overwhelming if used too heavily”; I read that and thought “Oh, I wish Melania had spoken to Sharon instead of that florist from Ohio….that would have saved her a lot of grief from the press.”.

I’m not sure what I said that would indicate that I’m a “Design snob”. I, like you, enjoy using the color red in Christmas decorations (duhhhh, who doesn’t???), but I’m also aware that, if one goes overboard, the house unfortunately ends up looking like Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol.

Enough of this. I would, however, ask whether you make a habit of piously alluding to the “the spirit of Christmas” before, subsequently and within three lines, publicly calling shame on people you’ve never met? I don’t know where you come from, but that doesn’t seem remarkably Christmas-y to me.

Good luck to you,
David Terry

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sharon santoni December 14, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Good morning David, hello Margo. I feel like I should step in here. Much as I love David’s comments and the humour he brings to many topics, I think it’s safer for everyone if we steer clear of politics and criticism of others. This blog is just meant to be an escape from the everyday, a calm moment in our busy routine I’ve personally experienced public judgement first hand and it’s not a pretty thing. If we can avoid insults and bad mouthing here, I’d be very grateful
I’m blessed to have readers around the world, and from all walks of life. Let’s show some seasonal tolerance and good will. Thank you so much, Sharon xx

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Victoria Savu December 14, 2018 - 12:55 pm

Absolutely Sharon. Your blog is the last place I want to read criticizism of someone or their design choices and definitely no politics. Merry Christmas Shsron. xxoo

david terry December 14, 2018 - 6:33 pm

Dear Sharon,

I’m not aware of having drifted in the least into the “political”. Of course, Melania Trump is the focus of much political attention, but that doesn’t mean that every mention of her is necessarily “political”……certainly not in the sense of being partisan (of which I can scarcely be accused, since I quite intentionally referred to two Democratic and one other Republican First Ladies whose choices in decor were savaged by the American press). I (and thousands of others, rather obviously) would have said the same in regard to an ill-conceived video by Beyonce or some ill-advised Benneton ad campaign. It’s not “political” (particularly given that Melania Trump is probably the least politically involved First Lady since James Buchanan’s non-existent wife). It’s just what happens, on a regular basis, when celebrities rely on a “Team” of supposed designers and consultants. Neither were my comments personally “insulting” to Mrs. Trump (who has been the first to admit that, while she’s somehow “in charge” of decorating that entire, enormous joint, the corridor was “done” by a florist from Ohio, chosen among volunteers…..as has been the case since the Johnson Administration). Her entire response to the kerfluffle (which was silly, given that this was one, single corridor in a very large mansion) was “People have different tastes”. In any case, I’m not aware of having “bad mouthed” or personally insulted anyone, and I would like to think that I scarcely need public encouragement to display “some seasonal tolerance and goodwill”. It remains that it was simply, wryly amusing to read your simple advice and think “Oh, Melania could have avoided a lot of press grief if she’d been told that one, simple, guideline of Sharon’s”.

For now?,,,,I’m suppose I ought to go out in the snow (we’ve had a LOT here in the past week) and begin shaming myself, as suggested, behind the main tack-barn.

Talley-ho and Merry Christmas,
David Terry

Marina December 17, 2018 - 8:14 pm

David, I too found your comments hilarious and spot on. It was all done in humor, something sadly lacking these days, it seems. You also fairly pointed out that other First Ladies have been savaged for their own design choices. Yes, everyone has different taste. That doesn’t mean we can’t roll our eyeballs at design taste we find horrible. In contrast, Sharon’s design taste is exquisite and I love these gorgeous photos of her Christmas decor. I think Margo’s reaction was as over-the-top as the Ice Maiden’s (still cracking up over that one!) decor, and her attack on you was what I found the most jarring and unpleasant. Anyway, Tally-ho and Merry Christmas to you, and to all! Peace on Earth, eh?

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bonnie groves poppe December 14, 2018 - 1:10 pm

Margo! Have you seen those trees? That’s all I have to say, except that I did read on line that they were styrofoam with branches stuck in them, according to one of the people who set them up.
bonnie in provence

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Debbie December 14, 2018 - 1:46 am

David. Such a delight to read your comments. I could not stop laughing. I too thought it was too much and certainly creepy. I really think that much red done in that way is extremely overwhelming to say the least. First Ladies are always criticised over their style or lack of style and Melania is no different. She certainly does have style being an ex model but maybe she should have shopped around for ideas and gone for a more welcoming happy theme rather than the gory blood theme. “Be Best”
Have a Happy Christmas
Debbie

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Linda Cobb December 13, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Teach me how to do simple!!!! I am too over the top. I saved the blog. Thanks Sharon.

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:22 pm

thank you Linda, my interior designer sister always says to me ‘less is more … less is more ‘

have a great weekend
Sharon

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Hazel Lavelle December 13, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Iam using red this year , teamed with hot pink !!
Thankyou Sharon yours looks so lovely
Merry Christmas !
Hazel ( Manchester UK ) x

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:23 pm

sounds divine!

🙂 have a great christmas

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Kate Dickersn December 13, 2018 - 5:11 pm

I love what you have done, Sharon. The table, the arrangements and the stair roping are all so cheerful, yet understated – just the way Christmas should be!

I am curious about the white flowers. Are those helleborus Christmas roses? Do you grow your own or can you purchase them locally in Normandie? They are so cheerful and really make the greens and reds pop.

Joyeux Noël, Kate

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:26 pm

HI Kate, OK so this is where I have to make a confession , and I was wondering if anyone would mention the flowers 🙂

These photos were taken for my entertaining book, and actually we shot this in October ! Which is why we had white Japanese Anemones still in flower. It’s kind of cheating, but hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

have a lovely weekend
Sharon

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Trish December 13, 2018 - 5:27 pm

I like this idea – never really recognized that designers were varying year to year. In a personal choice to choose a key colour, you are following a design principle I have seen mentioned by a couple of interior designers – to choose a couple of key elements (in your overall design) and repeat, repeat, repeat – for continuity. Sounds the same to me – choose a colour other than green, and repeat, repeat, repeat! I have. of course, seen trees decked out in a variety of ornaments in the same colour. And I have seen different coloured trees in different rooms. But never have I read about, until now, to choose one colour each year and – organize storage similarly. Thank-you for that. I also like the idea of adding in one more colour (either a bold or soft colour) in a smaller way, for a wee bit of contrast ( so it doesn’t appear too staged). The pink wrapping on the parcels by the stairs accomplish that very nicely.

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:27 pm

Thank you Trish, Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Sharon

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Mary Anne MacMorran December 13, 2018 - 5:31 pm

Your decorations are elegant and lovely. I, too, like to use various pines, pine cones, holly and candles to dress the mantle. When I was a child, I had an aunt who traveled a lot. Her Christmas present to me each year was Christmas tree ornaments that she had picked up during her travels. I have a collection from all over the world. Some have been broken over the years, but I still decorate with those that have survived. My aunt died 30 years ago, but now I buy ornaments on my travels for my own tree. It’s so fun to decorate with them as each one evokes a special memory.

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:33 pm

I love that tradition of bringing you decorations from around the world! How charming, and how lovely that you continue that today.

have a lovely Christmas
Sharon

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Lorrie December 13, 2018 - 5:52 pm

Mostly white and natural with, like you, touches of red. I made red, and white velvet cushion covers a couple of years ago, and use little clip on red birds on the mantel, the wreath on the front door, and clipped to the white linen napkins on the dinner table. Our tree is decorated with a collection of ornaments gathered and made over the years, and as such, has no real theme. The lights unify everything and glint off of the metallic or glass ornaments in a delightful twinkly way.

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:34 pm

Sounds beautiful Lorrie 🙂

happy christmas!

Sharon

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Sue Malizia December 13, 2018 - 6:49 pm

I change my Christmas decor a little every year as well…usually by just changing the ribbon color and use what I have to compliment it. I love your charming table setting and mantle…just the right amount of red, which I find festive. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Sharon Santoni December 14, 2018 - 6:35 pm

thank you !

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Dagmar December 13, 2018 - 6:55 pm

Lovely, Sharon. Can’t think of something more elegant. I also have red cups that belonged to my grandmother.

This year my tree is wraped with a red green and gold tartan garland. It is simple but very nice.

Merry Christmas, Sharon

Dagmar

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Daniela DiNunzio December 13, 2018 - 8:51 pm

Christmas would not be Christmas without some red. In the last few years I have added some plaid to my decor and find it is quite warm and inviting along with lots of fresh boughs and pines.
Merry Christmas!
Daniela

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Judy December 13, 2018 - 11:11 pm

Beautiful! I love the red!

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Lisa D. December 14, 2018 - 12:01 am

Your decorations and design execution are, as always, beautiful, Sharon.

Criticizing someone’s own personal taste is only unkind. and really serves no purpose. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. After all, it’s their home, their choice of what to wear, their own personal style. If it’s what they enjoy it, that’s all that matters. I’m growing a little weary of our inclination to inject anything that is remotely connected to politics, even a politician’s wife’s Christmas decorations, into a conversation. Anything associated with politics now, has become toxic, unfortunately. Sharon’s blog celebrates her home and life in France. It is a delight to read, and a respite from the more acrimonious things in life.

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david terry December 17, 2018 - 2:52 am

Dear “Lisa D”….I completely understand your sentiments. It remains that the public rooms of the White House are not, in fact or public perception, “their home” (“They” being the Trump family). I wasn’t being “political” in suggesting that Melania Trump would have done well to have read Sharon’s advice before decorating that corridor. I would have done the same had Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama made the same, dumb mistake………….but, then, I made a point of saying that all of these women have a largely thankless job. Perhaps you’re correct in saying that ” Anything associated with politics now, has become toxic”. I disagree with you on that point, but, then, I’m from an historically, politically active/prominent family (it’s all dinner-table talk to us). I would have said the same if we were discussing Simon Noonan’s choices for Barney’s Christmas windows.

Well, all precious pearl clutching aside?…….have a nice Christmas………David terry

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Chrissy December 14, 2018 - 1:25 am

Always love and look forward to what you do . Fun to open the boxes and find favorites , like an old friend . I have touches of red . Had a dinner party last night for ten and had a white tabke cloth . Red roses in a silver container , white candles and forest green napkins . It really turned out beautifully Repeating tomorrow night with a dinner party of six . . Love your red glasses use to have beautiful cranberry ones but my daughter has them now to enjoy . ❤️ Chrissy

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Patricia December 14, 2018 - 1:50 am

I think Red is meant for Christmas! Sharon, your decorations are simply lovely! Thank you for this
during our blessed Christmas season. Enjoy your holiday.
(I wish everyone would enjoy their lives and stop
criticizing a lovely lady who is burdened with constant criticism which is so terrible. Why can’t we praise her for
being a gracious lady with a difficult job. )

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Debbie December 14, 2018 - 2:10 am

Sharon. Your Christmas decorating looks gorgeous. I love your style.
Have a Happy Christmas.
Debbie

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Dianne Adams December 14, 2018 - 3:49 am

Hi Sharon—love your decorations, staircase (previous blog), tables with a touch of red, etc. I, too, switched to faux tree/garlands about five years ago with all new ornaments, mostly white but missed a touch of red so added that in simply ahdcspsrsely anscso happy with the ease of it all. However, I must say that it’s really too bad that a fellow American would choose and even use your lovely blog, that I have enjoyed for so long, as a platform to bash the First Lady of our country. For shame!! What were THEY thinking??? Merry Christmas to you & yours, Sharon and Hannah & Emily!!

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david terry December 15, 2018 - 12:07 am

Dear “Dianne”….I didn’t “Bash the first lady”. I merely repeated what would not be necessarily be obvious to someone who (like Sharon…..British and married to a Corsican, and living in France) might not be attuned to American media (which was, for a week or so, all lit up with memes of the “blood hallways”). It was AMUSING. I couldn’t care less how any First Lady chooses to decorate the White House. The fact remains, however, that its not her personal house; it is,,indeed, a public “platform”. That said?…..I scarcely “used” Sharon’s blog as a “platform”. You and several other reader seem to be the ones politicizing the matter. For all you or anyone know, I voted for Donald Trump. It also remains that I do agree with those who wonder why Hillary Clinton let some “stylist” stick her in those neo-Maoist pantsuits. This is what happens when one gives one’s self over to “Stylists”. We are not in disagreement, unless you disagree with me that, in the USA, politics and celebrity are (in their public performance) all too intertwined. I wouldn’t have mentioned the “Blood Corridor” debacle had Sharon not written that an over-use of red can be a bit over-whelming. Sharon’s audience is international, and I don’t assume that readers that readers in the UK, France, Australia, etcetera, are keeping up with the latest USA kerfluffles.

Anyway?…..Sharon was, as nearly always, right.
Quite sincerely,
David Terry (Who is pretty sure that Melanie is going to make sure that the volunteer florist from Ohio is not invited back next year)

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Colleen Taylor December 14, 2018 - 5:19 am

Oh Sharon, this is so elegant & divine! I adore touches of red and green for Christmas. For years, that’s all I ever decorated with during the holidays but I did use sparkles of gold here & there. When we moved here, it became light teals, turqoise & raspberry. I did that for that last 5 years until this year. Back to my reds & greens. I have so many decorations but this year, I just didn’t have it in me to deck all the halls. I kept it pretty simple.

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Shelagh December 14, 2018 - 5:40 am

I have just moved to a new home last Christmas. So I did away with so many decorations. We moved from mainland Vancouver to Vancouver Island so our container was limited in size. This year I have mixed silver and red together and just love the effect. It adds a degree of elegance and some punch of colour. I think for next year I will use this combo more.

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Sheila in SF December 14, 2018 - 6:34 am

Love the red polka dot bulbs and your red theme is perfect. Happy a holidays and thank you for your blog and the French style you share. Enjoy your blog immensely.

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bonnie groves poppe December 14, 2018 - 1:14 pm

I wish I had the restraint to stick with one color or another, but I don’t. I have a lot of family 1950’s glass balls, and they aren’t all red, so …… Maybe one of these years I will sort them according to color and try it, but I think I would miss the touches of red. One year I did three small (fake) trees with silver, gold and red. They were cute, but frankly a bit boring. Your decor is, as always, stunning.
bonnie in provence

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Vicky(from Athens) December 14, 2018 - 1:17 pm

I think everything you’ve done is just lovely! Just the right touch of red and you’ve made it all so elegant. And, after all, what is Christmas without at least a small amount of red in the decorations. I love the glass balls with white polka dots.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and New Years.

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Julie Berwick Brown December 15, 2018 - 12:36 am

Love your style Sharon I change my colours every year this year lots of green and pearl white pinks lilacs and silver I feel the tradition red is a bit too warm for an Australian Christmas and yearn to be in Paris for a Christmas I will when the grandchildren are older couldn’t bear to miss out on Christmas Day with them

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Dottie Monta December 15, 2018 - 6:05 am

Wow, I’m late catching this thread (computer glitch), but loving every photo and comment! Red (my favorite color) (but not tomato-red; Venetian-red, that has some black in it, you know what I mean) was almost banished from my decorations at one point. But my designer reminded me that Rose would be very happy with my neutral/gold/ivory scheme. Was she right! Rose-colored bows dot the living/dining areas, dimmed red makes an appearance, greenery predominates. As for David’s comments, I’m sure his heart is in the right place regarding our first lady: Her taste is impeccable (did you see that black leather and jacket that wowed the military guys!), and one over-the-top hallway that she didn’t even “do” is hardly justification for the criticism she has endured. Last year, she was excoriated for using white (“cold and icy “) when, indeed, the effect was breathtakingly beautiful. Even ballerinas! So let us appreciate each others’ contributions. Photo #3, Sharon, looking down on the table, is perfect! Merry Christmas!

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david terry December 17, 2018 - 3:28 am

Oh, Dottie……I’m closing out (ENTIRELY) on bothering with this blog and its decor natterings. All I did was to bring up a well-known public kerfluffle regarding Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations for this year. Sharon had writen that over-using red could be overwintering. She was correct.

I’d be the first to say the the REST of the White House looks just fine and Christmas=y and JUST FINE.

Enough said?…..and for all you ladies know?….I voted for Trump. I’ve said/writtten nothing that would indicate otherwise. Why would I?…….

P.S. Melania Trump’s “Taste” is not “impeccable”. One doesn’t show up for a supposedly humanitarian visit to post-colonial Africa dressed as though you were auditioning for a part in a 1985 (32 years ago?) movie about an African colonist in 1915. (“Let’s go for an ‘Out of Africa’ Look!!!) THAT was a major error. She’s a former model (and that would be the extent of her professional experience). Designers and show producers hire and handle the stylists. She’s never been required to do more than to simply show up and wear the clothes. Point…match……

….david terry

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Marina December 17, 2018 - 8:22 pm

And amen to that, David! I can’t believe people are still at you about this days later!!

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Nancy Brantley December 16, 2018 - 5:47 am

Sharon, I love reading your blog and your Christmas this year is Beautiful. I think this Terry guy is jealous of Mrs Trump’s Christmas! OR …anyone’s taste. Sad for people to be so insecure to hurt other people! MERRY CHRISTMAS

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david terry December 17, 2018 - 3:02 am

Dear “Nancy”…..I’m scarcely “insecure”, nor did I think it particularly “hurtful” of me me to merely (and amusedly) repeat what has been the subject of one thousand and one parodic memes on the internet. I didn’t make them upon my own.

I’m, also, not aware, of having “hurt other people” (I somehow doubt that Mealina Trump is following this blog) by merely repeating what’s been all over the news for two weeks. Would you please explain what you mean by that?

P.S. If I’m “this Terry guy”….do you mind if I, in the future, refer to you as “this Nancy woman”?………..would you enjoy being referred to that way in public? I doubt it.

—david terry

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Christine December 17, 2018 - 12:03 am

Hello Sharon …
Thank you for sharing the beauty in your home … So festive , so elegant and quietly merry ! Indeed , a respite during this busy time of year .
Can you please tell me where I can find the white tablecloth ? You’ve given me the inspiration for my Christmas tablescape …
I look forward to your blog and appreciate all that you give to us through the year .
Have a joyful holiday !

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