Notes from the Field: Keep it Simple

December 5, 2011

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

I have spent the last seventeen years designing and styling the Christmas story for Good Housekeeping‘s holiday issue.

The process for this year’s story started  last December when I submitted multiple themes, sketches and ideas to the GH staff. After working with wonderful creative editors Sarah Lyle and Laura Eckstein, we picked our favorite story. This year it was a Scandinavian Christmas–an easy inspiration for me since my Dad was Swedish.

The next step involved the crafting, making, shopping, propping, styling and then finding the perfect location to set up and photograph our magical Christmas.

Photos by Michael Partenio

The palette of red and white mixed with elements of wheat, silver and wood give the story a modern twist.

Inspired by the traditional use of straw plaiting in Scandinavian holiday decorations, I looked  for easy but pretty ways to work with wheat that do not require serious crafting ability or time. So I splayed a bunch of wheat, tied it with a ribbon and placed it in a glass hurricane. It’s an untraditional but sophisticated centerpiece. Then I placed each hurricane on a white plate and surrounded it with nuts.

The stockings are made from recycled sweaters I picked up at a local consignment shop.

The tree is full of quick and easy do-it-yourself ornaments.

You can find more ideas like these in the December issue of Good Housekeeping.