The Berry Manor Inn in Rockland, Maine, was built in 1898 at the height of the Victorian era as a wedding gift from merchant Charles H. Berry to his wife. Today, this "painted lady" is one of Midcoast Maine's most charming Victorian inns, particularly when the Christmas season rolls around.
Cheryl Michaelsen, the inn's owner, has spent considerable time researching Victorian Christmas decorations and traditions, and holiday season guests at the Berry Manor Inn have an opportunity to see and experience a Victorian-style Christmas celebration. If you would like to add a touch of Victorian elegance to your own Christmas decorating this year, Michaelsen offers these five decoration suggestions:
DIY Victorian Christmas Decorating Ideas
1. Cover the top of a mantel with boughs of greens. Cluster and arrange pineapples, oranges, apples, pomegranates and berries or grapes to create beautiful color. Use boxes or styrofoam blocks (hidden by the greenery) to arrange the fruits at different heights. Embellish the arrangement with pearly beads, tassels and ribbon.
2. Set up a grouping of five to seven like-colored pillar candles on assorted blocks of wood at different heights on a mantel. Wrap greens around them, and weave white lights throughout the greens. Concentrate the lights around the candles to create a glow of light. This is particularly attractive if you have a mirrored mantle or if you place an antique mirror on the mantle behind the candles.
3. A beautiful, simple mantel arrangement can be created by displaying gold-sprayed pine cones on greens with white lights mixed throughout. For a monochromatic display, add gold lamay ribbon across the top with assorted loops and dips, or place several gold cherubs amid the greens. For a burst of color, add a grouping of red cardinals, peacock feathers or a spray of silk roses on one side of the mantle.
4. Create a beautiful Victorian Christmas tree with garlands of pearls, silk roses, feathered birds and clip-on candles. Burgundy, pink and cream colors should predominate.
5. Don’t forget to dress the front stairway in Victorian splendor, as it is often one of the first things holiday guests see. It's the perfect setting to for a lavish display of greenery, garlands, wide burgundy ribbons, ornaments and other Christmas decorations.
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