Real Estate

When it comes to holiday decorations, the more the merrier

My tree in Savannah takes center stage (and some square footage) in my parlor. It is loaded with cherished ornaments that were gifts from friends and that I’ve collected on travels.
My tree in Savannah takes center stage (and some square footage) in my parlor. It is loaded with cherished ornaments that were gifts from friends and that I’ve collected on travels. Submitted

I am a devout Instagrammer. I typically post at least one image a day. These photos usually consist of work projects, social events, food adventures, and my shenanigans with friends. It is a fun way for me to indulge in my passion of photography and to keep a visual diary of my life.

It is always fascinating for me to see which images garner the most likes and comments. Sometimes it is a dramatic sunset over the marsh (who doesn’t like those?) or a rare vintage automobile (my fellow car geeks go nuts for these) or a humiliating retro photo of me from college days back in the ’80s (sporting some garish fashion and an unfortunate haircut) for my “Throwback Thursday” posts. The entertainment factor for others is not overlooked.

Last week I took a quick trip to visit my family in Richmond, Va. My arrival came during an unexpected blizzard that left a beautiful 12-inch blanket of snow. While there, I posted a photo of an outlandishly lit and decorated house in the historic Oregon Hill neighborhood. The home is famous for its yearly display of over-the-top seasonal lights and yard ornaments. The fabulous hodgepodge of all that glitters and glows seems to be devoid of any theme and is about as far from “curated” as it can possibly be. The snow added to the surrealistic wintery ambiance.

“People are gonna go nuts about this when I post it!” I excitedly exclaimed to the other passengers in the car as we drove by the spectacle. However, I was a bit surprised at a few of the comments the post generated. It seems not everyone was a fan of the exuberance.

This made me ponder. Is there really such a thing as “less is more” when it comes to holiday decor? Or were a few of my friends just being a bit “Bah, Humbug”-ish?

As a kid growing up, we not only decked the halls but also every other room we could find. It was a production I looked forward to every single Thanksgiving (we always decorated the house on Thanksgiving weekend). The boxes came down from the attic, the Christmas albums were spun on the record player (yes, I am old), and we began the process of turning our suburban Richmond home into a Winter Wonderland.

And what a process it was. The Christmas tree was strung with strands of lights and covered in ornaments. Electric candles placed on the window sills — a very Virginia thing, I suppose. The wreath was hung on the front door and garlands, adorned with bows and ribbons, festooned the handrails of the porch. Running cedar embellished mantels where stockings waited to be filled.

I loved doing it, and you know what? I still do.

I know in interior design sometimes less is indeed more, and that restraint and editing can be a decorator’s best friend. However, at the holidays that old adage goes out the window. The more, the merrier should be your motto. Just keep in mind that ideally your holiday decorations should complement your decor and color palette to a degree.

My home in Savannah is best described as eclectic, so almost anything goes. That being said, I use very little “traditional” red and green ornamentation. My cherished collection of mostly blown-glass Christmas ornaments has now grown to the point of needing more than 2 trees to display, so ornaments now grace the tops of the mantels, a few tables, and even hang from the frames of mirrors and artwork. Mixed in with fresh greens and candles they add sparkle and warm reflection to almost every surface.

So go ahead and get a little crazy with your holiday decor this season. That is, after all, part of the fun. And don’t be shy, share that fun on your social media.

Gregory Vaughan is an interior designer with Kelley Designs. Contact him at 843-785-6911 or