Classic Christmas with Holly Holden

When it comes to classic design, no one does it better than Holly Holden. In 2013, Holly published The Pretty and Proper Living Room in which she shares “old-school secrets for timeless elegance and… the no-no’s to know.”  I have been her biggest fan ever since! Holly is an interior designer who in 1989 founded her design firm on the premise that classic interior design transcends trends, and she has developed a loyal following over the years. She recently created Holly Holden on YouTube featuring weekly episodes and tutorials, and she has a PBS series – “You Are Cordially Invited” – which was nominated for a NATAS Emmy Award. In addition, Holly recently began Mummy’s Monday Manners, a fabulous new weekly email newsletter with etiquette tips and forbidden faux pas.

Holly and her husband live in a historic Federal house, Fox Hall, c. 1803, in Farmington, Connecticut. As you can imagine, it is decorated classically and beautifully each year for Christmas.  I am delighted to welcome Holly today, as she takes us on a mini-tour of her home, decked for the holidays! Welcome, Holly!

The holidays have arrived at Fox Hall!

Classic decorating for the holidays is about renewing cherished memories from seasons past, along with creating new memories with my precious family. Our Christmas tree at Fox Hall is the opposite of “picture perfect” (no matching ornaments or bows), and instead, is a medley of ornaments which are now four generations old. Ask me about any ornament, and there is a loving memory attached! I have a red sleigh in my dining room that makes it’s debut each year and reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit… well loved, and far from pristine. But it is treasured because I remember the joy I had when my grandmother bought it for me an eternity ago.

My years living in Virginia have inspired me to embrace old-fashioned, colonial decorations using real fruit (apples, pineapples and lemons) mixed with greens from the garden (boxwood clippings, evergreen, and of course, holly!) to create topiaries, wreaths, and mantle decorations. I fill silver revere bowls, porringers and loving cups with either greens, my spiced pecans, fruit or cookies… the way my mummy did! I also place holly sprigs over paintings, and a piece or two in the snarling mouths of my childhood Chinese Foo dogs. Adding white, red or even pink roses into the evergreens is also very festive. Red ribbons adorn my porcelain foxes and horse sculptures, and I adore how anything silver glistens and reflects the sparkling lights from the tree, the flames in the fireplace and the flickering candles lit in the evening.

My beloved German angel orchestra greets guests in the front hall, and grows in size each year! It is placed underneath a sweet, delicate musical Christmas tree, which, when wound up, magically twirls and sings the enchanting song that my parents shared with me. Christmas is about family, love and peace on earth. My sincerest wishes to all of you for a holly-jolly holiday! ~Holly Holden

Wendt & Kuhn angels have been handmade in Germany since 1915.
I have loved these angels from Germany since I was a little girl. They gather and sing around this delicate tree every year!
Macarons brought back from Paris..
Two little foxes left my hunt room to greet the party guests right next to the spiced pecans and guest book.
Mummy’s caviar ball, a holiday tradition… I might share the recipe one day!
Antique toys add Old World charm at Christmastime.
Poinsettias and roses for the holidays!
Sometimes it’s all about the little decorative touches… two tiny silver riding boots filled with holly from the garden make the sweetest statement.
More holly and greens from my garden… I just can’t get enough!
My childhood porcelain foo dog from Taiwan, perched high on the high boy, always loves his mouth full of holly at Christmas!
Cookies and candies near the Christmas tree are always a must!
I love to decorate the platters that I serve to my guests. It always makes the yummies seem more festive! A simple silk bow and two roses placed on top of clippings from a cedar tree make a lovely statement!
This platter will serve my curried coconut cheese ball. One of my favorite Santa ornaments (held down with poster clay) and a red bird are perched on the green cedar clippings! And beside them, candied nuts in a silver porringer… so easy to pass around with the handle!
My Spiced Southern Pecans are the perfect nibble for impromptu guests, a holiday party, or even a thoughtful hostess gift!❤ There are only 5 ingredients and the results are stupendous… best served with sherry! Please visit my new Holly Holden on YouTube episode featuring these festive nuts for the recipe!
Christmas 2017 at Fox Hall.

I can never get enough of Holly’s expertise! For ongoing inspiration, I recommend following her on Instagram along with Holly Holden on YouTube and Mummy’s Monday Manners. If you don’t already own her book, The Pretty and Proper Living Room, which I reviewed here, you will want to add it to your Christmas list immediately! To learn more about Holly via The Glam Pad, links to my past features are below… Enjoy!


  1. Oh, JOY! Thank you, dear Andrea! You are truly an angel and your adoring followers, including me, just can not get enough of The “stunning” Glampad- always a candystore of beautiful and thoughtful classic goodies for the eyes and mind. Thank you for your lovely article today! Wishing you a merry and joyous holiday with your family.
    ? Xoxo Holly

  2. I started collecting the Wendt & Kuhn angel orchestra players for my DD when she was about 3-4 years old. They lived with me until she married and had her first house. Oh, I hated to give those up! But she has the full orchestra and a special stand that Wendt & Kuhn makes for it, and now her boys (teens!) adore it when she puts it out for Christmas. They are so very, very special. I’ve started a collection for my one and only DGD now!

  3. My introduction to you and to Holly Holden is a gift. So glad to have found you.The next best gift would be the recipe
    for ‘Mummy’s Caviar Ball’. My thoughts are already planning an inspired Christmas decor for our home.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


related posts

the latest features

on our bookshelf

trending now

designer profiles

best sellers