O Christmas Tree

Nell Hill’s O Christmas Tree ****.*

by Mary Carol Garrity

I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

“Mary Carol Garrity and her home furnishing emporium Nell Hill’s have become synonymous with delivering creative and stylish advice on all facets of home decorating and entertaining. Inside Nell Hill’s O Christmas Tree, Mary Carol offers seasonal decorating tips for all tastes and budgets by inviting you into her own 130-year-old Greek Revival home decked out in the season’s liveliest shades of evergreen, pinecone, and holly.

To showcase how her holiday tips can transition into different design styles, Mary Carol also takes you inside a suburban ranch, an urban condo, an arts and crafts bungalow, a new-construction town home, and three historical period homes in Kansas City. Deck your halls like never before with Nell Hill’s O Christmas Tree.”

The most recent Nell Hill’s Christmas book for your coffee table, hostess-with-the-mostest, or Christmas lover~ full of inspirational eye candy. . .

. . .while some of the reviews found on Amazon are mediocre for this book (it’s true there is less glitz than her previous Christmas compendium), its natural evergreen focus is a feast for the senses for someone who likes to “deck the halls with boughs of holly.”

 You can practically smell the piney boughs & cedar along with the fragrance from the seeded eucalyptus wafting from the pages. . .

“Our Christmas trees—and the traditions we honor while decorating them—hold tremendous emotional power. Trees connect us to our past while we are reinventing and celebrating the present. A home is truly ready for the arrival of Christmas Day when the tree is placed in the right spot and decorated. It brings us back to the wonder and excitement of our childhood as we reenact our traditions and also reinvent the holiday for new generations.”


“So often we try to do all things with our holiday decorating, and we miss the mark not because we didn’t try but sometimes we try too hard. I favor of uniformity in theme, with surprises tucked in.”

Inspired by the ‘What a Dish!’ section I got caught up in playing with trayscapes . . . so I’m also joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday as part of this Edible Review.

 My Fitz Floyd tray, with a Lennox salad plate~

 I picked up a set of four plaid salad plates from Target this season & paired them with my Fitz & Floyd St. Nicholas Bread & Butter. . . presented on a red lacquered tray, also from Target with a side of candy canes :-)

 A library tray serving a sledding Santa~

Christmas Home by Royal Stafford accompanied by a chalkware Santa~

 Silver with a dusting of snowflakes~


 Jewelry for the table is always fun :-) I fell in love with these snowflake napkin rings from Pottery Barn ~

“In the history of Christmas traditions, the gift of fruit holds an important position in our customs. Receiving fruit in our stockings dates back to earlier times when it was hard to find fruit in the winter, and one orange was truly a rare treats. High prices were paid for fresh foods that had to come long distances to arrive at our Christmas doors. The use of fruit today is still an honored tradition that you’ll find at Christmas celebrations and a symbol of the bountiful gifts of the season.”


“To me, fresh produce can be just as beautiful to look at as newly picked flowers from the garden. Fruit adds texture and color to the table, too, and is easy to arrange because it looks so pretty just stacked up, and it reusable after the party is over.”

This gorgeous outdoor area with the columns swagged with greenery is the perfect setting for a ‘dessert prom’ where a dollops of meringue are served alongside the silver & champagne~

Food for Thought was easy with Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues~


 Pretty, ready-made, and you can have four cookies for 110 calories if you’re counting :-)

“May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love.”

~ Ada V. Hendricks

 For Book Love visit Food for Thought ~

 &  Dish Love visit Between Naps on the Porch ~

  15 comments for “O Christmas Tree

  1. December 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    mary merry christmas to you! and another fun gift of YOU~ what a beautiful little series of trayscapes, so fresh and clean, just like the books says! i adore plaid this year too… i went to buy them at target but sold out already, we are twins in so many ways! and the little sleighing santa is darling~

    oy i am smitten with your christmas door plates, i wanted them too… you are like looking in a mirror for me, except i am not making you fat! hohoho… tis the season*

    oh i am laughing at the 110 calories, girl i will need you around next year, this year eat drink and wallow!

    gosh all your photos are just dazzling… i catch all you share, that cookie in the champagne shot…

    merry merry mary christmas, knowing all you share i am sure it will be dazzling at your home!

  2. December 26, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    What a wonderful peak into the Nell Hill Christmas book. Your trays are stunning! Love all the Christmas inspirations here. Merry Christmas and wishing you a very blessed New Year.

  3. December 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Beautiful book filled with gorgeous ideas and photos! Your table is lovely too. Many of your photos could grace a book such as the one you’ve highlighted!

    Sending wishes for a very Happy New Year!

  4. December 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

    What lovely settings! Oh! The decorations!!! Those stunning napkin rings!!! I adore Target and Pottery Barn…two of my most favorite places!! Hope you and your family had a truly magical Christmas, Mary, and I wish you happiness and health in the coming year!! Hope Santa was good to Chloe and Gracie too!!
    Hugs, Jeanne

  5. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    December 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Lovin’ your trayscapes! The plaid plates just make everything pop! Thanks for the fun saying at the bottom, I wish the same for you and your family-enjoy:@)

  6. December 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    What beautiful trayscapes! You must have had a fun time creating all those different versions. Just gorgeous!

  7. December 29, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I love your display of dishes! Each setting is gorgeous. Where is the green plate with the raised holly?

    Happy New Year. Hope to see you at Seasonal Sundays.

    – The Tablescaper

  8. December 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I am in love with the trays.. how wonderful the combinations are. Thanks for the peek into the book too. I think I’ll have to add this to my collection. Happy New Year to you and yours, may the new year bring lots of blessings!

  9. Tess
    December 29, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I love all of your trays…so many beautiful place settings…so many patterns of Christmas dishes!!

  10. December 29, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Oh Christmas Tree is one of my favorite books, and full of inspiration. But so are your trayscapes. Beautifully creative and full of rich detail in a small area. I love each one!

  11. December 29, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I have all of Mary Carol’s books, and this one is a favorite. Your “trayscapes” are the best. I want to savor each one and commit it to memory. LOL Not that I own any of those gorgeous Christmas dishes. I went to buy the plaid at Target but they were nowhere to be found. I gave up after several stores.
    You are so creative and an amazing photographer. I learn something new from you with each visit. Thank you, Mary, for the gift of sharing your creative spirit and your friendship. ~ Sarah

  12. December 30, 2010 at 1:34 am

    You always transport me! I love the trayscapes. I have so many pretty trays, I will have to try that. Your images are always so beautiful and your lighting incredible. I love your artistic eye. I need to peruse this book too! Have a wonderful New Year.

  13. December 30, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Oh oh! Looks like I need to ask Santa for a few more gifts – some trays and that Nell Hill’s Christmas Book! Thanks for giving us a look into some great reading and you have created the most gorgeous tray settings! Love that Christmas Home china!
    Happy New Year!


  14. December 30, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Love all your photos. Just gorgeous . Hope you and yours have a Healthy and Happy New Year.

  15. December 31, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    So many lovely dishes! I loved each and every one. What pretty decorations and what a lovely post.

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