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Now Hear This — Our Favorite Holiday Decorations

When the Season Gets Personal

BY // 12.26.18

Americans spend billions of dollars annually on holiday decorations. The team here at PaperCity actively contributes to that staggering sum in our own ways.

For this week’s Now Hear This PaperCity Dallas office question, I asked everyone how they deck the halls. Here is a glimpse into the spaces we call home and how they are decked out and bling’ed for the holidays.

Christina Geyer, Dallas Editor in Chief

I go very traditional with my Christmas decor. When I finally started buying my keep-them-forever ornaments and decorations, it was a bit of a rite of passage. My maternal side of the family is deeply German — so we decorate and celebrate accordingly. (Yes, my grandmother and mother still light real candles on their Christmas tree.)

The rule of thumb is simple: Everything must be German-made. I bought my first Kathe Wohlfahrt wooden angel ornaments in Nuremberg four years ago at the opening of the Christkindlesmarkt — I also bought a small wooden pyramid, the kind that spin when you light the four candles on the side. Since then, I’ve invested in a Nutcracker and a few blown-glass ornaments as well as a couple more angels.

Last year, my grandmother sent me many of her German wooden angel ornaments — some of them pre-date World War II. I look at them and dream of all the Christmases they’ve seen, from my Oma and Opa’s first Christmases together in Germany to my mom celebrating Christmas as a little girl. The wooden angels always go at the top of my tree and watch over things for us during the season.

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I have yet to purchase a wax angel tree topper, but that will come when I’m married and have kids — I think it should be a family decision.

I also always do an advent wreath — and this years was particularly special. My mom, who lives on a small farm in Southern Oregon, sent me garland from the redwood trees on her property, so I could construct my own advent wreath. It’s the first year I’ve made my own wreath (something I remember watching my mom do when I was a little girl).

Every Sunday night, I light up one more candle to mark the countdown to Christmas and sit in a quiet little moment enjoying the Christmas tree, candlelight and spirit — which matters more to me than any present I could ever be given.

Lisa Collins Shaddock, Senior Editor

Growing up, decorating the tree was always a trip down memory lane as we unwrapped ornaments collected over the years — from pre-school art projects to mementos from travels. This year is my husband, Andrew’s and my second Christmas with a tree of our own and I am so looking forward to building our own collection of ornaments.

I hope it will one day become a similarly eclectic and meaningful mix. We did get a major head start on this in the form of 30-plus silver bells — meticulously organized by my mother-in-law — that were given to my husband every Christmas since his birth by his grandmother, who passed last year around this time at the age of 100. They are so sparkly and beautiful against the lights, and sharing memories of her as we hang them on the tree is now a treasured tradition in itself

Billy Fong, Culture and Style Editor

I believe I have shared that my skill sets when it comes to fashion and discussing art far outweigh my design talents. My home is never photo shoot ready. Perhaps particularly so during the holidays as it always seems to be in disarray with shopping packages strewn about filled with gifts for friends that need to be wrapped. Then, said wrapping paper laying in piles next to scissors and tape.

Less than a week away from Christmas, my tree was still not fully decorated. The lights were on and one set of ornaments, but two boxes of cherished heirlooms remained sitting next to the tree.

My partner, Mike, and I had no way to get a live tree home this year, so had to buy our first fake one. It’s actually not bad and we were given a small (plant size) tree with lights which we can lean towards if we need a pine scent. The picture you see in this article’s photo gallery is actually of that vignette.

The potted plant sits next to a mannequin bust I bought years ago when the Saks Fifth Avenue store at the Dallas Galleria was going out-of-business and was selling everything including furniture, fixtures and mannequins. The mannequin has on a string of disco ball lights especially for the holidays. The rest of the year, I use that form for putting clothes on to see how they will look paired together. If only I had that Greco-Roman physique.

Our home was fully ready by the time my father arrived on Christmas day for his visit. Now, I will likely keep everything up through the end of January so I can savor the holidays a little longer.

Hillery Stack, Dallas Publisher

It’s that ho ho ho time of the year and we decorate even though we are heading to Europe for the holidays with family.

Linda Kenney, Account Executive

One could say that the Kenney Christmas tree reveals our family’s history. It holds sweet memories in the myriad ornaments, from a metal ornament that my father received on his first Christmas, to ornaments collected through our travels, and also gifts given by family and friends. The tree is with us from Thanksgiving to January. We enjoy it more each year as our history is enriched and ornaments are added. Merry Christmas!

Samantha Olguin, Senior Account Executive

This is my baby Christmas tree! I live in an apartment so the size is just right for me! It started as an ode to my alma mater, TCU (all purple décor with a hint of frog).

Then, over the years I started collecting Christmas ornaments with each vacation spot I have visited. Now, I wasn’t able to find an ornament at every destination but most of them! Each year, while setting up the tree and unwrapping these ornaments it has served as a fun trip down memory lane.

My hope is that one day when I am old and gray I still unwrap the ornaments from my travels and hopefully by that time, I will have an entire tree filled with ornaments from all over the world… a life well-traveled isn’t what they say? Right? If it’s not, it should be!

So from my holiday home and aspirations to yours, I wish you all the joy and love that the holiday season has to offer. Bonjour!

If you ever have something you want our team to address, shoot us your thoughts via social media or email (@papercitydallas on Instagram; facebook.com/papercitymagdallas on Facebook; or yours truly, billy@papercitymag.com). Or, better yet send a message to the office, handwritten on the Smythson stationery of your choice — and feel free to include a bottle of Veuve. Champagne really helps get the ideas flowing.

Look for the next installment of Now Hear This from Billy Fong next week.

Home, chic home.

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