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How Top Dallas Designers Are Decking the Halls This Holiday Season

From Traditions and Tree Trimmings to the Very Best Local Takeout

BY // 12.12.23

Who better to query for holiday decor inspiration than some of our favorite Dallas designers?

Erin Sander

Tree or no.
Yes, always and forever. There’s nothing like the instant change in our home when the tree makes its entrance.

Holiday tradition.
We decorate the tree on Sunday after Thanksgiving. We gift our children Christmas pajamas and their annual ornament. It’s always the most special night.

Where you go to pick up hors d’oeuvres.
Parigi is my go-to! If I’m in a time crunch, the cheese boards from Scardello are always a hit. Best place to pick up takeaway for a holiday breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Il Bracco.

Three gifts you hope to receive.
I’m currently in a major ceramics obsession: Kelly Ventura bowls, Tracie Hervy vessels, and Sarah Kersten’s fermentation jars.

Host gift.
Oliver Pluff’s Holiday Gift Trio of tea.

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Flowers and greenery when entertaining.
I trust Three Branches with everything.

On your front door.
Fresh Christmas wreath. We started a new tradition last year: a mother-daughter wreath-making party at our home the first weekend of December.

Extra gift under the tree for drop-bys.
Byredo Vetyver hand wash.

Holiday decor inspiration
Ann Getty’s holiday table, Ann Getty: Interior Style.

Gonzalo Bueno

Tree or no?

Yes, absolutely love a Christmas tree!

Holiday tradition.

Going home to Mexico with my family. I love seeing our girls enjoy posadas with everyone. And building gingerbread houses gifted by Jim and Sue Gragg.

Holiday cocktail.

Cham-cham, which is champagne with Chambord black raspberry liqueur.

Holiday playlist.
I love all classics; Andrea Bocelli is one of my favorites.

Home project you’re hoping to accomplish before the holidays.
OMG, please pray for me to be finished with a big house in Cabo before the holidays!

Where to pick up hors d’oeuvres.
Grange Hall.

Holiday breakfast, lunch, or dinner takeaway.
Al Biernat’s has the best take-out food for the holidays.

Holiday wearables.
I love wearing winter whites and cream tones. It’s such a happy way to dress for the cold winter days.

Gifts you hope to receive.
Stationery. I never order it for myself and always need it. A trip somewhere I have never been. And, if possible, a rose-gold watch, too. (Might be reaching for the stars here, LOL!)

Gifts you are giving.
A beautiful Perrin handbag from The Conservatory. Pair of Hermès pair fur sleepers. Leather goods from Leatherology.

Host gift.
Dom Pérignon or a pistachio lemon tart.

Flowers and greenery.
I love magnolia leaves with white flowers, antique gold branches, and a little red holly.

On your front door.
Magnolia wreath with tiny lights. Cire Trudon Gabriel candle, which is gourmand chimney fire.

479 Untitled_Panorama-8
Slim Hayward, Diana and Reed Vreeland at Kitty Hawke’s New Year’s Eve party, 1963, Slim Aarons: Once Upon a Time.

Jan Showers

Holiday tradition.
We spend Christmas in Houston with our family. I love three things: Taking Eliza (our granddaughter) to lunch at Saks Fifth Avenue and buying her gifts there; champagne and Parmesan trees before we open presents by the tree; and simply getting to be with my family for a week.

Holiday cocktail.
Champagne.

Holiday playlist.
“Toyland” by Doris Day, “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt, “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole.

Holiday wearables.
I dress up for Christmas Eve and wear a kimono Christmas Day.

Gifts you hope to receive.
I always love a pair of fabulous earrings or a Kelly or Birkin.

Gifts you’re giving.
Wish I knew — so far behind.

Host gift.
Cocktail napkins and wine.

Holiday room scent.
A scent I buy at the Hotel Costes in Paris.

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Michelle Nussbaumer’s table in Gstaad, photograph Melanie Acevedo for Nussbaumer’s book, Wanderlust: Interiors that Bring the World Home.

Javier Burkle

Tree or no?
Always! I love a good artificial tree. I always put up the tree. It’s not Christmas without one!

Holiday tradition.
Our annual Christmas party, the first weekend of December, gets the season started. We have a longstanding tradition of catering Raising Cane’s chicken (who can resist Raising Cane’s?) along with several charcuterie boards — It’s the perfect mix.

Holiday cocktail.
Our house cocktail is always a Paloma, and during the holidays, we dress it up with mezcal for a smoky, wintry touch.

Holiday playlist.
Our own curated Spotify playlist, Scarf Season, and you can never go wrong with the soundtrack from “The Holiday.”

Best place to pick up hors d’oeuvres.
Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, but I love to serve them with boards of cheese from Whole Foods Market and appetizers from Trader Joe’s. It’s all about the high-low.

Great holiday take-out.

The new food truck at José is a favorite.

Holiday wearables.
I love anything Ralph Lauren, and I can’t resist their traditional teddy bear sweaters. I add to my collection each year. I love anything that features a classic holiday plaid.

Gifts you hope to receive.
Something one-of-a-kind, and my favorite scent: the Santa Maria Novella Pot Pourri, which is my home’s signature fragrance.

Gifts you’re giving.
We often give what we hope to receive, so I’ll be gifting Santa Maria Novella Pot Pourri, as well as the David Netto or Jake Arnold coffee table book.

Host gift.
You can never go wrong with a coffee-table book, because you can never have too many!

Flowers and greenery.
Any kind of greenery and garland — it’s just the most festive way to decorate for the holidays.

On your front door.
A wreath and garland — I always do both.

Extra gift under the tree for drop-bys.
A favorite coffee-table book or the small-sized Hermès books. (And who doesn’t love a tiny orange box, too.)

Holiday room scent. 
The holiday candle by Ralph Lauren — you can’t ever go wrong with Ralph Lauren.

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Striped parrot tulips in Chinese blue-and-white vases, photograph Melanie Acevedo, The Well-Lived Life.

Laura Lee Clark

Tree or no.
Yes, with all of the sentimental ornaments we’ve collected over the years. I’ll also have a trio of lit trees outside in my courtyard. We have eight majestic oak trees in our front yard, and I light only the one smallest tree with red lights out to the ends of the branches.

Holiday tradition.
There is nothing better than NYC during the holidays. Also, sipping tequila by the fire.

Holiday cocktail.
Velvet Hammer, Il Bracco’s Greyhound, Muchacho’s Skinniest.

Holiday playlist.
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” by Michael Bublé, “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, “Last Christmas” by Wham.

Hors d’oeuvres to pick up.
We prefer to entertain at Mister Charles, Lyla, or The Mexican.

Holiday breakfast. lunch or dinner takeaway.
We can’t have Christmas Day without the Corner Bakery Cinnamon Crème Cake.

Gifts you hope to receive.
Tribute Goods Hermès-scarf pillow. The Yi Collection aquamarine ring from The Conservatory.

Gifts you are giving.
Puiforcat Pour le Champagne sterling tumbler. Julian Chichester Constance vase. Saint-Louis black wood and crystal portable Folia lamp.

Host gift.
Hermès Passifolia small tray. Julian Chichester Scorched Amber candle. Saint-Louis tea tumblers set.

Extra gift under the tree for drop-bys.
Casamigos Reposado Tequila. A tin of Killer Pecans.

Holiday room scent.
Nest Holiday candle.

Holiday decor inspiration
C.Z, Guest’s dining room mantel during the holidays at Templeton, photograph Elvin McDonald, C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon.

Cathy Kincaid

Tree or no.
Yes. Three!

Holiday tradition.
Mother, Daughter, and Granddaughter Tea at the Woman’s Club. I love spending time with my girls, especially during the holidays.

Holiday cocktail.
Anything and everything!

Holiday playlist.
Everything from James Taylor to Yo-Yo Ma and Michael Bublé.

Pick-up hors d’oeuvres.
From Brook Hollow Golf Club, The Festive Kitchen, and Becerra’s Tamales. The tamales are always a hit.

Holiday wearables.
My children gave me a pair of Miron Crosby cowboy boots for Christmas two years ago with a wonderful message inside. I wear them with everything during the holidays.

Gifts you hope to receive.
I’m hoping all gifts could be from Hermès.

Host gift.
I make roasted pecans and place them in a pretty bowl. I’ve been doing this for the last 40 years. My friends and family love it and have been collecting the bowls over the years.

Flowers and greenery.
Margaret Kane Ryder does a great job with real greenery and fruit.

On your front door.
A wreath with greenery, flowers, and fruit.

Holiday room scent.
Rigaud Cyprès green candle.

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A London dining room designed by Alidad, photo James McDonald, Alidad: The Timeless Home.

Chad Dorsey

Tree or no?
Trees!

Holiday tradition.
Growing up in East Tennessee, my mom and I would go to North Carolina to cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. My goal was to get the tallest tree possible; our family room had vaulted ceilings. The largest tree we ever got was over 18 feet. The most complicated part of this whole tradition was that we didn’t own a truck. We were always borrowing a truck. This was the point where I realized that everyone needs a truck! And if you own one, you always need to loan it to friends in need.

Holiday cocktail.
The Scarlet O’Hara. My good friend Susan introduced it to me in 2005. Full glass of ice, cranberry juice, Southern Comfort, and one Key lime. Served only between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.

Holiday playlist.
“Last Christmas” by Wham.

Home project to accomplish.
Cleaning up the courtyard so I can host a holiday dinner for 24 people on December 1.

Host gift.
Bottle of tequila.

Flowers and greenery.
Magnolia, pine, red berries.

Extra gift under the tree for drop-bys.
Books.

Holiday room scent.
A wood-burning fire. Diptyque Feu de Bois gets the job done without the real thing.

Holiday decor inspiration
Rita Aarons in Hollywood, California, Christmas, 1954, Poolside with Slim Aarons.

Dan Houchard

Holiday tradition.
Decorating the tree with my family while we play classic holiday music with eggnog and hot chocolate.

Holiday cocktail.
Eggnog with rum, not whiskey

Holiday playlist.
Always vintage (Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra) playing on the record player. Best place to pick up hors d’oeuvres. The kitchen, because my wife is an amazing cook.

Gifts you hope to receive.
Vintage Cartier watch. Massage from The Riviera Spa. One of my children’s famous “coupons for dad” booklets.

Gifts you are giving.
Manolos for my wife. Signed book from a favorite author for my business partner.

Flowers and greenery.
Red amaryllis and greenery.

On your front door.
A wreath we purchased when we were engaged.

Holiday room scent.
Nest Holiday Classic candle.

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Carolyn Roehm’s Paris apartment, 1966, François Halard, Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People. 

Ellett Miciotto

Tree or no?
Yes! Although a faux one, but still beautiful. I had a phase collecting Christopher Radko ornaments. I have so many, it’s not right to leave them in storage.

Holiday tradition.
It’s a faded memory, but one I cherish: coming with my family to Dallas and ice skating around the giant Christmas tree at the Galleria.

Holiday cocktail.
Champagne! The holidays are a celebration.

Holiday playlist.
All the classics. Brenda Lee, Nat King Cole, the Carpenters, and Elvis, for sure. I’m looking forward to adding Cher’s new Christmas album — a new classic!

Best place to pick up hors d’oeuvres.
Eatzi’s, Berkley’s Market, and Short Stop.

Best takeaway for a holiday breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Mermaid Bar. Warm consommè, popovers, and tortilla soup, followed by chicken salad and chocolate chip cookies — all classic Dallas staples.

Holiday wearables.
My go-to is my Ralph Lauren Polo bear sweater.

Gifts you hope to receive.
I collect Baccarat crystal. When I think my collection is complete, they reinvent themselves. My top gift is the Baccarat Harmonie Colors of Joy tumbler set.

Gifts you are giving.
Chanel high-tops for my sister. Mi Cocina gift cards for my nephews. Classic Burberry nova check scarf for my Anglophile best friend.

Host gift.
Ralph Lauren’s new book A Way of Living. Ralph Lauren Holiday Classic candle — an evergreen scent in classic tartan packaging. Mrs. Prindables chocolate and caramel-covered apples.

Flowers and greenery.
American holly branches placed in tall glass vases. Layered garlands with pine cones and oranges around my nutcracker collection.

Holiday decor inspiration
Michelle Nussbaumer’s chalet in Gstaad draped in holly and fir, photograph Melanie Acevedo, Wanderlust: Interiors that Bring the World Home.

Melissa Gerstle

Holiday cocktail.
Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose vodka with grapefruit and rose-petal garnish.

Holiday playlist.
“Last Christmas” by George Michael, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, and “The Little Drummer Boy” from David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

Best hors d’oeuvres for pickup.
Cranberry Jalapeño Salsa at The Festive Kitchen.

Top takeaway for holiday breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Since I’m not a huge fan of turkey, I serve the French fried chicken from Street’s Fried Chicken, which has become a family favorite. The recipe is the perfect combination of Southern tradition and French, as the chicken is brined in herbes de Provence before being battered and fried.

Flowers and greenery.
I pick up flowers from Central Market or Trader Joe’s and then dress them with greenery from my garden, like variegated pittosporum, a Japanese maple branch, or sprig of viburnum.

Gift I love to give.
Clipped herbs from my garden wrapped in twine and attached to a bottle of wine.

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Lisa Fine’s Dallas home, Miguel Flores- Vianna, Near & Far: Interiors I Love.

Tricy Magadini

Tree or no.
Tree! If we are at our house in Utah, we decorate a tree for the animals with apples, oranges, birdseed ornaments, and popcorn, and then watch as the squirrels, birds, and an occasional brave moose or deer ventures onto our terrace. If we’re in Dallas, we have an artificial tree that we decorate with ornaments we’ve collected from traveling, ornaments our kids and grandkids have made, and some favorites from my childhood that have miraculously not broken. I also love tinsel — so old school.

Holiday tradition.
Rolling cappelletti — a traditional Italian dish like tortellini. The whole family gathers to hand-roll each piece on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, it’s cooked in a rich chicken broth.

Holiday cocktail.
Mimosas with breakfast on Christmas morning.

Holiday playlist.
Ottmar Liebert, Angels and Poets.

Best place to pick up hors d’oeuvres.
Eataly.

Gifts you hope to receive.
Plane tickets to a beautiful beach — that’s all.

Gifts you are giving.
Cutco kitchen shears. Boring but so useful. Minky throw blankets. Great wine paired with a book.

On your front door.
Magnolia leaf wreath or chile ristra, depending on my mood.

Extra gift under the tree for drop-bys.
An ornament from the nonprofit Paper for Water.

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