Nell Hill’s Christmas at Home


Nell Hill’s Christmas at Home ****.*

by Mary Carol Garrity

I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word~

“The town of Atchison, Kansas, is never busier than at Christmastime. It is during this season that the acclaimed Nell Hill’s home decorating emporium is transformed into a magical space where old meets new, formal meets frivolous, and imagination is key. Now you can bring that spirit into your home for the holidays. In Nell Hill’s Christmas At Home, shop owner Mary Carol Garrity, the endlessly inventive home decorating marvel, turns her attention to the specifics of holiday decorating.”

 “With the inimitable style and warmth that has made converts of so many, she offers unconventional wisdom for beautifying your home throughout the season. Whether it’s a new and exciting spot for a Christmas tree or a wonderful way to wrap and present gifts, Mary Carol’s ideas are never stuffy and always inspirational. Full of lavish photographs, Nell Hill’s Christmas at Home distills the decorating wisdom gleaned by Mary Carol from countless conversations with her devoted customers. With this latest book, she offers readers the most imaginative and entertaining ideas to come along in years.”

 A mesh tree cone, inverted to hold a bouquet of ornaments accessorized by her collection of silver tree toppers:

“Clustered together in front of a mirror, they appear to double in number and suggest turrets of a shimmering fairy-tale castle.”

Mary Carol Garrity established Nell Hill’s in 1981 in an old bank building in her hometown of Atchison, Kansas, naming the store after her maternal grandmother who was an early Kansas pioneer. This landmark retail store has become legendary in the decorating world—more than ninety-five percent of Nell Hill’s patrons travel more than 100 miles to visit Mary Carol at her flagship store. Since its humble beginnings as a gourmet food shop, the Nell Hill’s stores have grown to include the original location and a sister store, Garrity’s Encore, in Atchison, Kansas, as well as the latest addition—the new Nell Hill’s at Briarcliff Village in Kansas City.

“The Christmas season doesn’t replace everyday life; it’s a bonus. Don’t banish your usual touchstones, but instead look for ways they can star in the holiday scene.”

A long time fan of Mary Carol Garrity & Nell Hill’s, I love all her books, any of which would make a wonderful gift~ chock full of eye candy and inspirational decorating ideas. I remember reading about her in Victoria Magazine around the time she came into her  own, before her blog & her claim to fame with Forbes magazine dubbing her “one of the hottest little retailers” in America.

“When you’re not inclined to start from scratch for an over-the-top holiday scene, just tweak the everyday elements of your rooms.”

“Think small. In the midst of the lavish gestures and intricate schemes of the holidays, a quiet surprise brings pleasure far greater than its effort. Tuck a tiny boutonniere in a visitor’s lapel; mail a beautifully wrapped present to someone you see every day. . .”

“I know now than an ornament is a symbol of the season and a message of hope, a mirror of fashion or the cue to a family legend. Each one starts out as something created just to please the eye; that’s what it is to visitors seeing your tree for the first time. But for you, who have hung that slightly chipped angel  on the tree for years or remember the chubby hands that created your goofy clay snowman, the most valuable ornaments go beyond loveliness straight to the heart.”

“Unstuffy stockings. . .for the best stockings, blend silly with sophisticated. . .”

One of my stockings~ a touch of whimsy courtesy of a Christmas fairy . . .

A few vintage treasures, an old book. . .

 My grandmother’s photo, a lidded Santa box, beaded garland & vintage ornament~

 Chloe & Gracie are anxious to rip into their stockings. . .

I had some puff pastry fun for Food for Thought creating a stocking. . .

Instead of velvet & ribbon trim, these stockings are embellished with pine nuts, sesame seeds & puff pastry cut-outs in the shape of leaves, snowflakes & gingerbread men :-)

You can attend Mary Carol Garrity’s Christmas Open House at her home by video here~ click on Christmas Party.

Be sure to visit Food for Thought~ stop in for Happy Holiday reading~

  7 comments for “Nell Hill’s Christmas at Home

  1. December 24, 2010 at 8:29 am

    I love the way you have photographed Mary Carol’s book and all the other photos as well, Mary.
    I am certain MCG would love this post! I have met her and own her books and I’ve shopped her stores. I have also toured her home a few times. Absolutely wonderful! And she is a delightful in person.
    Beautiful post!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. December 24, 2010 at 9:45 am

    You are a puff pastry artist!!Fabulously beautiful..Happy Holidays!

  3. December 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    i am so upset, i did a huge comment, looked fine like it went thru, then i see nothing is here and my computer crashed… i can’t bear to repeat myself either since i write as i scroll, but you delighted me beyond belief here… the pups by their stockings, the adorable filled stocking and the puff pastry. omg that is so enchanting and i want to try and mimic you if i can squeeze in the time to be clever like you!

    i want to thank you so much for sharing the year with me, from the very start to the years tail end you have never failed to dazzle me, merry christmas and thanks for all the fun, beauty and kindness

  4. December 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    What a gorgeous book. I own a couple of her books but now I’ll be looking for this one. Love the whimsical stockings! Have a very merry Christmas.

  5. December 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Mary, you’ve created a beautiful tribute to Mary Carol’s book. Your photos are as fabulous as the ones in her book. I’ve all of her books and have always wanted to attend one of her open houses. Someday!
    The puff pastry you did is amazing. You are an artist! Love the shot of Gracie and Chloe with their stockings. Good little doggies I see!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours. I’ve appreciated each and every one of your stellar FFT posts this year. ~ Sarah

  6. January 2, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Your puff pastry stocking is so beautiful!

    Happy New Year to you, Mary!

  7. January 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Nell Hill’s is on my list of places to visit. From all I’ve seen online, I simply MUST get there and soon. Your lovely and informative posting makes me feel as though I’ve been there by way of this absolutely stunning book (yet another one to add to my very long list of wants). The puff pastry stocking is pure artistry.

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