As I have written previously, this year many of us are finding comfort by creating an atmosphere in our homes that is associated with fond memories of years past. If you are reading this column, an inclusion of horses is almost a given. Personally, I am finding joy in an activity that over time had almost turned into a chore. Somehow I had lost the childhood wonder of winter holiday activities, but another silver lining of the pandemic is that many are rediscovering this lost magic.
For all decor projects, whether seasonal or permanent, I strive for cohesion in palette that flows with the space's existing architectural style. As COVID continues, we will be spending our first holiday season at our mountain home. I have chosen a rustic theme that integrates the colors of the surrounding native evergreen foliage along with the black undertones found in the woodwork. As a nod to my passion for horses, I have added elements of harness leather, herringbone design, and sleigh bells. These touches are just subtle enough not to overwhelm my non-horsey (yet supportive!) husband.
Harness leather and herringbone patterns are common in the modern stable, but do you know the association between horses and bells? Originally they were a practical tool used to alert pedestrians of the presence of horses with carts that evolved to a festive decorative embellishment. Explains sleighbells.com, “In the 1800s, horse bells were used for wintertime recreation as well as for work. Winter pleasure drives required fashionably warm clothes, handsome sleighs, well groomed horses, and nicely polished harness and bells. This strong association of horse bells with Christmas and winter fun led people to gradually call them 'sleigh bells' instead.”
Decorating started early this year, beginning with our front door. While our home will not be hosting family and friends this year, I like the idea of a festive acknowledgement of the season as an act of goodwill to those passing by. Setting the tone for the decor theme throughout the balance of the house, I assembled a fresh spray of evergreens that is trimmed with sleigh bells set on harness leather and secured with ribbon.
The absence of group festivities this holiday season is not what many of us would ever have envisioned, yet it has created a special opportunity to create cherished memories from within our homes.
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