The colors of Christmas past have made a return. Traditional red and dark green are in a comeback cycle, bringing with them retro graphics and a subdued presence that evoke memories of Christmases long ago.
In recent years, we’ve seen green morph from paintbox green to apple green; now it is darkening again as Christmas chromas spin on a marketing dime.
“Red and green is tradition,” says Charmaine Crosley, the Christmas buyer at Sandra Sampson Interiors in Fort Worth. “I think about what makes you happy at Christmastime. You think about when you were young, and the look and excitement of Christmas. It’s what you want to go back to.”
She embraces the traditional and is willing to incorporate the new, finding ways to include both on her display trees in the store. But you can see her edging toward a less contrived and glitzy aesthetic. This year her newest wreaths are devoid of glitter and ornaments, consisting solely of greenery and luxurious red velvet bows.
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The holiday ornament makers, too, are revitalizing shapes of ornaments from decades past. Katherine’s Collection, sold at Neiman Marcus, included tear-drop-shaped ornaments, a shape that was popular years ago, in dark green and vibrant reds that help carry the antique theme.
Mid-century graphics can be found on a seasonal throw pillow from Pottery Barn. In crewelwork, an old “Woody” station wagon with the freshly cut tree tied to the roof depicts the way the family Christmas tree used to find its way home. (Later, there would be hours spent wrangling to fit the too-tall tree into the too-small stand, and even more hours stringing it with lights that may or may not work. )
Holiday toss pillows are one of the easiest ways to add cheer. The rich beaded version from MacKenzie-Childs at Neiman Marcus and the embroidered holly and berries from Sandra Sampson Interiors both have the traditional rich greens and reds of the season.
Crosley takes vintage-looking tree toppers and uses them as centerpieces by sliding them over a candle in a crystal candleholder affixed with a bobeche. The little hanging crystals from the rim of the bobeche make an easy way to replicate a Christmas candelabra.
Another item that had almost disappeared from the holidays is music boxes. Crosley has found tiny holiday boxes containing seasonally scented soaps that make perfect hostess gifts; once the soap is gone, the dual-purpose boxes remain a keepsake as they also play various carols. The backward look at Christmases past can tickle pleasant memories, either visually through traditional colors and imagery, or with the audial score of the tinny notes from a music box.
Where to shop
The Container Store
Several area locations
Neiman Marcus Fort Worth
2100 Green Oaks Road
1616 S. University Drive
1440 Civic Place
Sandra Sampson Interiors
3805 Camp Bowie Blvd.