Although it's just a date on a calendar, our loving attention to hearth and home makes Christmas a magical time for family and friends. For those who live a rural life, and for those who sometimes wish they did, a good old-fashioned country Christmas symbolizes all that's right with the holidays. Here, decorator Donald Kirkby draws on charming Swedish inspirations to create a country holiday setting that's right at home anywhere in Canada.
Donald uses the painted pine fireplace mantel as a backdrop for a charming table for two. Humble country design accents like the vintage linen tablecloth, wooden folk-art stars, knitted and velvet stockings, mismatched pots with topiaries, and yards of festive greenery give the dining area an unstudied elegance that's refreshingly simple during such a busy season. Gustavian chairs with Louis XV-style detailing belie their Swedish roots with a coat of off-white paint. The lively red-and-white check fabric and rich, luxurious velvet add vibrancy to the festive setting.
Expand your space
Christmas is a time when the confines of our living quarters are most keenly felt. The dining room that snugly holds eight is taxed beyond its limit when the extended family of 21 arrives for Christmas dinner. Provisions must be made. For that reason, many of us call our living room into service for holiday dining. Existing sofas and chairs can be pushed to the perimeter of the room in order to allow for temporary tables and seating to accommodate the additional diners.