Refresh Family Traditions & Treasures

Award-winning designer Kris Keller, owner of The Design Source Ltd., gives us her top holiday decorating tips!

Edited by Moe Godat

Portrait photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton

Interior photography by Anne Matheis 


Only Favorites

It is time to set aside anything “holiday” that does not feel just right anymore. Begin this cleansing by thinking carefully and staying connected to your heart. Create a season that honors your past, celebrates today and looks ahead with renewed possibility.

Tip: Write a brief story about your piece and hide it underneath or tie it in place with satin ribbon for guests to read.


Keep It Simple

With everybody working and learning from home, who has time to detail the holiday decor with layers of embellishment? Select the best of the best (remember, only your favorites, please) and let the rest go. This is the perfect time to edit your treasures and recycle those no longer being used each year to local charities and resale shops.

Tip: The Assistance League of St. Louis has a wonderful resale shop, Fantastic Finds, located in Creve Coeur now accepting holiday decorations. A couple more charity related resale shops to consider are Get the Word Out in Webster Groves and Little Shop Around the Corner close to the Botanical Gardens.


Natural Treasures

Day one of self-quarantine was also the beginning of my “walk every day, no matter what” initiative. I love my walks. I think more clearly, maintain a more positive outlook and the best (and unexpected) benefit is experiencing nature with new eyes. The bounty that awaits under foot or that we brush past as we walk can become magical holiday decor. Think pinecones, berries, seed pods, evergreen boughs, May apples, even gumballs! Natural treasures add texture and elegance to our decor.

Tip: Experiment a little (or a lot) with color; spray paint these bits and pieces to add a personal touch.


Family Tradition Refresh

This is the year to pull out a few family pieces, maybe Grandma’s favorite Santa or Mom’s handmade angel, that haven’t been used in a while. Special pieces hold our family’s holiday legacy and will feel especially good this season.

Tip: Start a new tradition! Liberate an old collection of teacups, teaspoons or miniature anything. Tie a festive ribbon around it and suspend from a Charlie Brown tree.


Most Important of All

Enjoy the time you spend decorating and baking this season; include the kids, grandparents, friends and even the pets. This is everybody’s holiday. Encourage each family member to add their favorite holiday piece to the decorations this year. Celebrate those no longer with you and share their holiday stories!