If you ask Sandy Gervais about her reputation as the Queen of Holiday Decorating she’ll modestly tell you, “Really, my decorating is boring. I find something in my house that’s red and put greens around it and call it Christmas.” Dig a little deeper, however, and you learn that nearly every room in her house sports some form of red with greens…and a whole lot more.
In part, that’s because the color red can be found in Sandy’s home all year long, making it easy to find just the right object to festoon with greenery (and shiny balls and berries and lights). And it’s also because Sandy’s got a great eye for turning the everyday into something special.
Red quilts are stacked in a tree-shaped pile, while others are draped across her couch and chairs. A red-and-white polka dotted Pyrex bowl and a hat box bought on a Moda trip overflow with greens and pinecones.
Sandy’s sentimental side is in full force at the holidays. Ornaments created by adult her son and daughter (who made this snowman in third grade) when they were young hang from the branches of the tree and a collection of carolers given to her by her husband stands atop a bookshelf, where an angel quilt of Sandy’s serves as a backdrop.
Each bed gets a Christmas quilt (there are plenty of those, as Sandy’s designed 18 collections of holiday fabric for Moda, including her newest, Merry Medley) Favorite toys and collectibles are stationed under the tree, including her husband’s toy trains and a Crazy Ike figure her mom gave her that’s reminiscent of one Sandy loved as a child.
Traditions are important, too. Sandy’s grandmother had a set of green plaid dishes she used each Christmas and when Sandy found the same set at an antique store, she bought them and uses them on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, the table is set with a red and white quilt and holiday dishes she designed for Moda in 1999.
Sandy may call her decorating boring, she admits that it takes awhile to accomplish. Her tree is a good example: Sandy opts for a non-sheared, natural balsam that she wraps with 2400 lights. “To keep it dimensional I wrap the lights out to the tip of each branch, then back in, and then because the branches are so heavy I take heavy-gauge floral wire and stick it along each branch to keep them from drooping and weave the wires back in,” she says. “It takes me three or four evenings after work to do it.”
While Sandy may not think her decorating methods are anything special, she admits there is something she particularly loves about her house this time of year: “I don’t usually like to get up on winter mornings because it’s dark, but I love getting up around Christmas,” she says. “I take my coffee and sit in the living room with the lighted tree. Then the dark isn’t so bad.”