Deck out your Holiday Home like a Pro


A display of nutcrackers at the home of interior designer Patricia Gray

A display of nutcrackers at the home of interior designer Patricia Gray.

Kim Pemberton, Vancouver Sun 

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, who better to ask than local interior designers who have decked out their own homes in style?

Avoiding stress at the holidays is the main point for interior designer Patricia Gray. Her secret is starting early in the season in order to enjoy visiting with friends and family throughout December.

Gray typically picks the last weekend in November to haul out the decorations and gets her tree up by the first week of December. Although she was tempted to get a seven and a half foot artificial tree this year she opted to stay with a real Douglas Fir tree - mainly because the fake tree wouldn't fit into her car.

"I don't mind artificial trees. A lot of my clients in condos are not allowed to have live trees. The one I wanted looked so realistic," says Gray, adding the Home Depot tree was a bargain at $299 with 1,000 lights on it.

She suggests using clear white mini lights and plenty of them in order to make the ornaments stand out on the tree.

"My tree is decorated with silver and red balls and 10 strings of mini lights. I find the more lights the prettier the tree. I stuff them into the depth of the tree close to the trunk then bring them to the outside," she says.

Gray has become somewhat of an expert at tree decorating after completing one for the Canucks Children's Hospice fundraiser at Sutton Place Hotel. For that tree she and her staff, at Patricia Gray Design, began making gingerbread cookies in August representing children from around the world holding their country's flag. To make the icing long lasting, they used glitter glue instead of using real icing.

"Making your own gingerbread and hanging them on the tree is quite a nice thing to do. You don't have to go to the extent we did. You could do something simple and just have the glitter embroidery glue on the edges [of the gingerbread man]."

Keep it simple, keep it fun and just enjoy," she says.


Postscript December 12th, 2008
My partner in the tree decoration at the Sutton Place Hotel was Linda Sale Interior Design


  1. Nutcrackers. That's clearly what I need to add to my place to make it even more christmasy!! What a great collection you have! Congrats on your published story in the Vancouver Sun. Love it!

  2. Love the Nutcrackers! I STILL haven't really even started decorating! It's pouring rain here and I have to haul all my stuff from a remote garage... OK, am really just procrastinating.

    I actually don't do a tree, I do two large wreaths in my picture windows with lots of ornaments. Hopefully, I get them up this weekend!

  3. Hi Patricia!
    I have been lurking alot lately til I could find a moment to sit and comment. What a great article. I love a good Nutcracker! Loved your tree witht e gingerbreadmen too. What detail! Just wnated to wish you Happy Holidays and say "Hi"!


  4. Love this! what a wonderful article - congratulations and have a very very Merry!!!

  5. Merry Christmas Patricia. Lovely article. I am sure the tree looks great too. Why dont you post a picture of it ??

  6. Merry Christmas! Great article, and yes..please do post a pic of your tree!! :)

  7. Merry Christmas Patricia, and great article...please...do show us your tree! :)


  8. Great ideas, Patricia! I love the Nutcrackers....you have quite a collection!

    Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

  9. Seems like a very nice tree. Is this a teaser?? We want to see the rest of it :)

  10. What a fun feature -- congratulations, Patricia! And completely agree -- the more lights, the prettier.

  11. I really like the cluster of different nutcrackers too. i have not had much time to brouse your blog or many others lately and I have had alot of catching up. I especially love reading all of your posts. You are an amazing and inspiring designer, thanks for sharing with us all throughout the year. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Hayley


Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

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