For Shaun Smith, Christmas is a time for family, tradition, and delicious southern food. As an “avid planner,” Smith has been preparing for Christmas for months now, and even said he has enough table linen to last for a year of Christmas Days. The designer spoke with us about his personal traditions and holiday decorating advice, and even gave one of his favorite recipes for the holidays!
Viyet: What is your favorite holiday memory or tradition?
Shaun: I have been collecting Christopher Radko Christmas ornaments since I was 9Â years old. It was a tradition started by my grandparents that I am so so thankfulÂ for. Every year, I look forward to getting my boxes of ornaments (I so carefullyÂ pack away) out of the attic, and then decorating my tree.Â Each ornament holds aÂ special meaning, and I can remember the excitement on my grandmother’s faceÂ every time I opened up a new ornament on Christmas Eve. There was alwaysÂ some special reasoning behind her choice in ornament for that particular year.Â Now as an adult, I have a collection of over 200 Christopher Radko ornaments.Â It’s a tradition that means so much to me, and I hope to pass on to my childrenÂ one day.
Viyet: What do you do for the holidays?
Shaun: A few years ago, we changed up our traditional Christmases spent at home andÂ decided to start spending it in NYC. My family loves to shop and we love NYC ,soÂ it’s a win-win. We check into the Plaza Hotel for a week, which couldn’t be moreÂ perfect for Christmas. Broadway, shopping, and great eats and drinks haveÂ become our “new” holiday tradition, at least until my sister or I provide my motherÂ with a grandchild. Palm Court on Christmas Day for Christmas Tea is magical.Â There really isn’t anything like NYC on Christmas.
Viyet: How do you get ready for holiday entertaining?
Shaun: This year, we are actually changing things up and I am hosting Christmas in NewÂ Orleans. As an avid planner, I have been planning for this Christmas for monthsÂ now. I have enough holiday linen at this point to get me through an entire yearÂ of Christmas Days. I have recently purchased a new home that I have beenÂ renovating for about 6 months, so Christmas is going to be my unveiling of all ofÂ this hard work. I am hosting a Christmas Eve cocktail hour and carols for aboutÂ 30 close friends and family. I also just purchased the Bernardaud “Grenadiers” china for Christmas Dinner –I am so excited about this!
Viyet: What are your quick tips for sprucing up your home for the holidays?
Shaun: The easiest way to spruce up your home for the holidays is — “go with theÂ greens.” I honestly can’t get enough when it comes to live garlands for the holidays, and they don’t need anything other than a beautiful ribbon. I wrapÂ windows, doorways, fireplaces, just about anything. You can’t beat the smell ofÂ the real thing. It’s inexpensive and beautiful.
Viyet: What is the accessory you’d be lost without?Â
Shaun: I would be lost without my Juliska Winter Estate everyday china I use allÂ throughout the winter season. I LOVE IT — it makes me happy.
Viyet: What advice would you give for people who are having others over for theÂ holidays?Â
Shaun: Being southern and from New Orleans, there is one thing that must be readilyÂ available and plentiful when entertaining…and that’s the alcohol. I love to have pre-made fun holiday cocktails with some sort of peppermint stick or gingerbread asÂ a garnish, always ready to be served.
Viyet: Do you have a favorite holiday food or drink?Â
Shaun: Being from New Orleans, I love the Creole twist on the traditional “stuffing” orÂ “dressing”. We always called it dressing, so I feel like that’s what it is. I found aÂ great recipe from Emeril Legasse a few years ago for an Oyster Dressing. It’s toÂ die for and always a crowd-pleaser. It’s also spicy, which I love.
Viyet: What’s your favorite holiday decoration?
Shaun: I still have the needlepoint stocking that my mom made for me when I was three.Â I put it up every year and I love it.
About the Designer
Shaun Smith is the founder of Shaun Smith Home, a full-service design firm, lifestyle brand, and shopping destination on historic Magazine Street in New Orleans, LA. Step into a room designed by the notable Shaun Smith, and you will find clean lines, architectural detail, and fresh unexpected elements. Shaun is a 2015 Next Wave designer for House Beautiful Magazine.