Decking the halls with Fig & Dove: Four tips for Louisiana-friendly décor
The holiday season in Louisiana has often demonstrated itself to be an exercise in delayed satisfaction. 75-degree heat isn’t exactly conducive to the coats languishing in our closets. Sipping hot chocolate in the sun isn’t quite the same as in a snowed-in lodge. And our chlorophyll-drunk trees reveal not a single red robin puffing its breast against the nonexistent cold. Sure, it’s no “White Christmas,” but over the generations we’ve found ways to keep the season bright. And with the post-Thanksgiving decorating scramble on its way, we’re doing our best to transform our subtropical homes into winter wonderlands—proximity to the equator notwithstanding.
To pinpoint some of the best ways to decorate for the holidays, we reached out to Colleen Waguespack of Fig & Dove, a brand whose elegant take on classic Christmas cheer looks Louisiana’s winter aesthetic straight in the face.
“There have been times in the past where I would never have leaned toward artificial greenery, but the truth is that our climate makes it difficult to keep real greenery in the house, and it dies quickly,” explains Waguespack. “A little bit of the fresh scent is great, but artificial greenery has come a long way. We carry artificial boxwood and magnolia wreaths and garlands that look exactly like the real thing. And although we still order local cypress, for example, you often have to rely on artificial trees and greenery in the South unless you want to decorate very close to Christmas Day.”
One tip for the best of both worlds: tucking bits of real greenery into your artificial counterparts. You’ll still get the scent and the feel, says Waguespack, but without the constant upkeep or fear of decay.
“I love wide velvet ribbons for a bit of texture,” notes Waguespack. “What I like about the ones we sell is that they’re wired on the edges so you can make it hold an interesting shape. Plus, I feel like it helps give a space a feeling of warmth to make this time of year more Christmas-y since it’s so hot here in the South. It helps give a connotation of a different, cooler climate.”
But if you’re no expert when it comes to ribbon-tying, you’re not alone. Fig & Dove’s ribbon wreath sashes offer the same pulled-together look with none of the frustration of a multi-loop bow.
“I’m not great at tying a bow,” she says, “but with these sashes, you just tie it in a knot and it looks great. Plus you can leave it out far beyond Christmas.”
“We like to aim for a lot of metallics and neutrals in our decorating because most people don’t have a natural red-and-green palette to their house,” explains Waguespack. “It’s nice if decorations can coordinate with a house and complement the color scheme instead of being too stark. For example, a lot of the time people rush to take Christmas decorations down because they have nothing in common with the overall design. But if you sell people things in the design and palette they already have, then decorations feel much more natural.”
Waguespack has even been known to use traditional Christmas decorations as year-round staples.
“Our hand-painted ornaments by Logan Ledford—a Louisiana artist—look great on a tree but also in a glass bowl on display,” she says. “That’s how I leave them out year-round, because they’re small pieces of art and don’t look so Christmas-y that you feel you need to hide them after the holidays. We really try to come up with classic and timeless artisan pieces that can come out at Christmas but still blend with the rest of the home for as long as you want.”
“I love candles from the brand Nest, especially their Christmas candles,” says Waguespack. “Since the smell of live greenery can be a bit problematic for some people—between allergies and temperature causing it to die quickly—I think having a Christmas-scented candle is an easy way to bring the feeling of Christmas in to your house without the fuss.”
An even more hassle-free way to feel the glow during the holidays? Shirking flames altogether.
“My favorite thing we’ve added to our collection this year are our flameless LED candles,” notes Waguespack. “Every time I show them to a customer, I have to touch the top of the flame because it looks so realistic. What’s especially nice about them is that I was never able to put real candles on my mantel because I have a painting there or I don’t want to catch any garlands on fire, but this lets me do that. Plus, if you put tea lights in a garland during a party, they’re out in 45 minutes. This way, you can have candles out as long as you want during any time of year that you want.”
What are some of your favorite fool-proof ways to decorate for the holidays? Let us know in the comments down below.