Classy, Glassy Holiday

For me, the holiday season is all about the sparkle: the sparkle in our eyes, the sparkle in our homes and the sparkle in the joyous season we call “the holidays.” My own real sparkle comes from being resourceful, creative and embracing the colors and textures of Mother Earth.
That said, I have come up with several MARvelous ways to capture the essence of the festive season. Yes, I literally mean capturing, preserving and displaying the spirit of the holiday in a variety of decorative glass vessels.

Glass containers have become more and more popular over the years as decorators utilize them in many different applications. This designer style of “classy glass” (as I often refer to it), is often overly expensive and in my opinion, not worth the splurge. However, there are numerous off-price options where many of these exact designs are copied at a fraction of the cost. Apothecary jars, vases both footed and flat, and even old fish bowls and mason jars can serve the same decorative purpose and offer an interesting decorative twist…often with a story.

My home, Rosebrook Gardens, gives me the opportunity to embrace every season’s abundant beauty and I take full advantage of the natural resources I have made available for myself. With a bit of planning and ingenuity, I have managed to make my garden surroundings an integral part of my interior design.

Here are some of the things from the garden that I love to display in a variety of glass vessels:

1. A variety of brightly colored leaves

2. Small birch branches and twigs about 6″ by 3” stacked upright

3. Pinecones sprayed with aerosol hairspray to give them shine

4. Miniature gourds and pumpkins

5. An abandoned bird’s nest (use blue gumballs as egg stand-ins)

This holiday season, use a beautiful apothecary jar filled with Christmas balls that are all the same color. You can use a totally monochromatic color scheme all around your home or use a variety of different colored balls in different rooms. Another idea I love is to fill a jar with inexpensive, plastic garland beads. They come in so many varieties and styles, but I love the gold, red and even diamond garlands.

Another thing I love to do is to showcase a cherished, often homemade ornament that might otherwise get lost on the tree. Place it on some tinsel in a special vessel and place it on a mantel or side table where it can receive the attention it deserves.

Tall, cylindrical vessels are perfect to hold and display a collection of Grandma’s antique ornaments. This way they are protected and featured at the same time as you pay homage to your family and Christmases past.

Since the holidays are also about food, there are many options for decorating that can be found quite easily in the grocery store. Festively wrapped candy or candy canes (which I prefer) creates a powerfully welcoming display. I love to use everything from colorful gumdrops and ribbon candy to traditional red and white hard candy. It brings out the kid in all of us.

Simply fill simple Mason jars to the brim with your holiday candy of choice and tie a beautiful ribbon around the lid. Stack them for a festive display. This way, when unexpected guests drop in, you have a gift ready and waiting for them. You’ll never forget anyone. Jars filled with shelled nuts such as almonds and cashews also make great gifts. And Mason jars are highly desirable and can be used in any number of ways that are both fun and creative”_not to mention practical.

Other food items that are festive decorating resources include nuts (this time in the shell), red and/or white beans, split peas or green lentils and even whole coffee beans look great displayed in glass. Nestle a small votive candle down into some beans or peas in a votive candleholder. Sometimes I even use cranberries in water with a floating candle for an instantaneous table display. No lid required! Adding a couple of drops of food coloring makes the water translucent but colored. Try green for Christmas and blue for Chanukah. These are simple ways to bring an earthy, natural quality to your décor.

Some people have asked me what to do with a glass cloche (a bell-shaped glass cover, like an inverted apothecary jar). Most people don’t know really what to do with them other than just covering baking. An “aren’t you clever” idea is using it to cover a small grocery store poinsettia. But given their old-fashioned shape, I prefer items that are somewhat nostalgic. Single items that work well are old ornaments, a special holiday figurine, or a child’s first teddy bear. If you have somewhere to place these out of the way — where children (and some adults!) won’t feel tempted to lift the cloche — you can invert them, fill them up with items, place a cake stand or plate over the opening, then turn back to their upright state. The cloche will stay filled with whatever you choose — autumn leaves, pinecones, garland, etc.

Recycle a square vase from the florist by putting oranges studded with cloves in them. The fragrance will permeate the room and the glass will protect your furniture or countertop. Perfect for the powder room or guest room.

These glass vessels, while perfect for the holidays, are also perfect all year round — just swap out the holiday décor items. I use them throughout my house to display natural sponges, seashells, coral and beach rocks.

So, this “classy, glassy” holiday it’s all about glass — the reflection, the clarity, and the beauty. Whichever style you choose, let your creativity shine through. No glasses required.

And there you have it.