This year, more than any other, an escape from the real world into a winter wonderland feels not only delightful but necessary. So how can you ensure your holiday-scape feels extra-special when it counts the most? With a little help from Team Domino, of course. We gathered our editors’ merry setups to get you—and your own spaces—into the holiday spirit. Turn on Mariah Carey, grab a piece of peppermint bark, and deck the halls.
Julie Vadnal, Contributing Editor
Wow moment: My Dr. Fauci ornament! I found it at a gift shop in my neighborhood, and now he has a prominent spot on our tree. At our small Thanksgiving, a friend said it brought him immense joy, and isn’t that the point of holiday decorating?
Palette: Navy and silver. My boyfriend bought the ornaments last year and somehow they ended up all being Los Angeles Dodger blue.
It’s not the holidays without: A real tree. I just love the smell, and I turn on the lights as soon as the sun sets.
Mantel must-have: We sadly don’t have a mantel, but I recently found mini wood trees in the dollar bins at Target (these are similar), and they live on our bookshelf. I like that they’re cool and classic at the same time.
Front-door decor: A wreath decorated with a mini pinata ornament. It makes me smile every time I come home.
Personal touch: I attempted to twist my own taper candles this year—and it was a catastrophic fail. (Thanks, Internet!) Even though the results were hideous, I can’t help but put them up at my table. All candles burn away anyway, right?
Benjamin Reynaert, Style Director
Wow moment: I’m all about hanging asymmetrical wreaths off my bookshelves. This year I’m swapping out my artwork for an easy, handmade holiday wreath. I just tied a bunch of juniper, eucalyptus, a berry branch, and some ferns with floral wire to a fillable grapevine wreath base. If you’re looking for something with a little more edge, try this cool brass geometric form.
Palette: Juniper, berry red, and indigo.
It’s not the holidays without: A hot toddy! I love serving them in pretty glass mugs with a slice of lemon.
Mantel must-have: Sadly, I don’t have one, but I treat a tall vintage freestanding cupboard like a mantel in my dining room. I keep a fully stocked bar tray on it during the holidays so a delicious cocktail is always at the ready.
Front-door decor: I know it’s cliché, but I love a classic bay leaf wreath on the front door.
Personal touch: Candlelight—I like to put candles in vintage hurricanes on tables and glass candlestick holders on windowsills. There’s nothing better than getting cozy by the glow in an overstuffed armchair with a good book.
Kate Berry, Executive Creative Director
Wow moment: It’s always the tree. Because I have such a tiny apartment and prefer tall trees, it’s the main event. I like to bring in a silver tip or a similar tree that has a lot of space for all my ornaments.
Palette: Red, pink, green, aqua, gold, and peach. Well, all the colors really.
It’s not the holidays without: The ornaments. My 7-year-old daughter loves to talk about when she got them or who gave them to her and what they mean to her. She picks her favorites and hangs them in her own area of the tree.
Front-door decor: I like to make a wreath with incense cedar, noble fir, bay, and citrus and hang it with a wide vintage duchesse satin ribbon.
Personal touch: We don’t go crazy with buying gifts, so I like to gather all my daughter’s stuffed animals around the tree. It’s a sweet little world for her.
Jessica Romm Perez, Editor-In-Chief
Wow moment: Always the table. I like to celebrate throughout the month by setting a festive table each night. My must-haves are Creative Candle’s long, skinny tapers in a seasonal palette, and eucalyptus because it’s super-affordable and lasts the whole month. Not to mention it smells amazing. I love seeded eucalyptus mixed with gunnii, silver dollar, and the more delicate willow euc, with a sprinkle of big, fat, fresh sage leaves.
Palette: I’m all about ribbon in a range of colors. This year I’m leaning toward icy lavender and deep burgundy, light sage and deep ochre, and pale pink and dark forest green. Always a soft, pretty pastel with a deeper tone.
It’s not the holidays without: So much Christmas music, hot cocoa with giant marshmallows for the kids, and chilling in front of the fire.
Mantel must-have: Eucalyptus garlands, my brass menorah from my mother, and nubby wool Christmas stockings.
Personal touch: My collection of vintage ornaments. I love unwrapping them every year and seeing all of the deep, beautiful colors. My kids each get to select a few new ornaments and get so excited about it.
Rachel Lasserre, Design Director
Wow moment: The number of lights on our tree. I go up and down each individual branch. This year our 9-foot-tall tree has 3,200 lights on it!
Palette: I like to keep it monotone in different shades of green—chartreuse, mint, moss, and sage.
It’s not the holidays without: I love a real Christmas tree—picking out the perfect one (I like them tall and skinny), the smell, lugging it home on top of our station wagon. I actually don’t even mind the mess.
Mantel must-have: Rope taper candles to burn while listening to Soul Christmas on vinyl.
Front-door decor: A boxwood wreath and fresh garland draped around the door.
Personal touch: I like to make an assortment of shortbread cookies and give them as gifts. The wrapping has to look as good as the cookies taste!
Linda Denahan, Photo Director
Wow moment: Our apartment is quite small, so we just get a wreath instead of a tree. We buy one of the generic ones from the corner deli and then add our personal touches—this year it’s ribbon and quirky animal figurines.
Palette: Traditional green with earth tones.
It’s not the holidays without: A Christmas Eve Kir Royale with family.
Front-door decor: Nothing competes with my friend and neighbor’s wreath, which is decorated with sequined owls!
Personal touch: Instead of Christmas cards, I love to send New Year’s cards—it’s a bit more unexpected and I don’t have to write them during the busiest time of the month.
Megan West, Head of Brand & Creative Studio
Wow moment: It’s less about a wow moment for me and more about bringing in touches of nature to mark the new season and year. I stock up on poinsettias, Christmas cactus, and plant paperwhites and make weekly arrangements using free tree clippings from the hardware store to make my space more festive.
Palette: I gravitate toward a palette that incorporates softer shades of green and various shades of pinks versus traditional red and green.
It’s not the holidays without: Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas playing on vinyl. It’s the perfect low-key music to set the holiday mood with a touch of nostalgia.
Mantel must-have: No mantel in my small apartment, but our yard does have the outdoor handrails and fencing wrapped in garland for a festive touch.
Front-door decor: We hang fresh incense cedar on our apartment door to bring in a relaxing moment upon entering our home during the busy holiday season. Bonus: This year we’ll be enjoying it a bit more frequently.
Personal touch: Hand-painted wrapping paper. I use acrylic paint to give brown paper new life. It makes gift giving so much more personal.
Liz Mundle, Managing Editor
Wow moment: Our one-bedroom apartment is small, and the prospect of schlepping a tree up the stairs in our fifth-floor walkup is unappealing, so I go to the flower district and buy the biggest wreath I can find (probably intended for the lobby of a skyscraper or something) and call it good.
Palette: Green, green, and more green, with as many twinkly lights and candles as I can find.
It’s not the holidays without: That delicious piney scent hitting your nose as soon as you open the door.
Personal touch: I’ve never been one to shy away from a crafting moment, so in lieu of a holiday party I like to have a small group of friends over in the afternoon to drink wine and make pomander balls. This year I’ll have everyone bundle up and we’ll do it outside next to the firepit.
Alex Redgrave, Editorial Director, Domino Kids
Wow moment: We always tackle a bigger food project for the first time to really raise the stakes—a tower of handmade profiteroles; fried anchovies delicately sandwiched in sage leaves; a baked Alaska–style dessert.
Palette: Warm and woodsy, with some cooler shades thrown in to match the landscape outside. Natural wood, persimmon, forest green, and icy lilac.
Mantel must-have: This year I’m hanging a disco ball—sorry! I love the celebratory vibe and seeing the light sparkle and dance across the walls. It caps off a challenging year with some levity. Cue up Diana Ross!
Front-door decor: A simple wreath made with clippings foraged during a winter’s walk with the family. It’s amazing to see the colors and shapes that are just hanging out in nature once you assemble them all together. I also love bright nautical gear that looks festive on the coast.
Personal touch: Local beeswax candles—votives or tapers, twisted or shaped like little animal figures and honeybee hives. That warm, sweet smell is everything.
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