#LetsHoliday: Danielle Rollins

Atlanta-based event planner and designer, Danielle Rollins, is one of our go-to experts. Her energy and joie de vivre are unmatched. She candidly shared not only her ideas and tips, but also how her recent divorce has transformed her perspective on how to have a great holiday.

Photo Credit: Quentin Bacon

I only get to see my “manfriend” (because at my age, and stage in life, a “boyfriend” seems plain silly to say. Sounds rather Mrs. Robinson, doesn’t it?) part time since we are bicoastal—not East Coast/West Coast but Great Lakes/Gulf Coast. He has an adorable, yet somewhat irascible wire fox terrier named Bunny we refer to as my “boyfriend.” We exchange funny text messages with cute photos of Bunny, like “Your boyfriend is looking rather glum today.” So, I am literally bursting with excitement because I found a beautiful old oil painting of a stately looking wire fox terrier. I discovered this gem at the fall High Point Market in North Carolina, and quickly snapped it up. He’s going to love it!

My mom, who lives and works with me, always has to wrap up in a blanket because I keep my office so cold. Chico’s Black Label Basketweave Poncho is a perfect choice for all the desk-to-dashing off she has to do. She’ll feel just as cozy and warm as she would with a blanket, while looking absolutely chic!

Tulip Painting by John Matthew Moore

After spending 16 months renovating, I’m about to move into my new home. I am literally starting from scratch (and working on a new book about it!) As for gifts, I would appreciate just about anything for the house! I can never have enough vintage china, unusual colored crystal, barware, or serving pieces for entertaining.

Carrie by Paul Lange from his Big Blooms series

Being an avid gardener, I would love to get one of painter John Matthew Moore’s flower study paintings, or a photo from Paul Lange’s Big Blooms series.

Her Favorite Family Traditions

Photo Credits: Quentin Bacon

I’ve collected Steinbach nutcrackers since I was a child, and we always display them at the beginning of the holiday season. Every year, my children give me a new nutcracker as a present. When they were younger, my mother would help them select and wrap it, teaching them the joy of giving, the joy of anticipating, the joy of collecting and the joy of a family tradition. They are sweetly as excited to watch me open what they have carefully chosen as I am to unwrap it. In fact, they usually force me to open it the second they finish the gift wrapping, and it rarely makes it to Christmas morning still under the tree! My favorite nutcracker is always the newest addition.

This year, I am most looking forward to creating new traditions and a new holiday “look.” The silver lining after the divorce is my new home, and I can’t wait to live there. Since we’ll be moving at the onset of Christmas, the house will get its holiday look first. My children and I are excited to decorate it and decide where to put the tree. It’s a new beginning for us! For the first time, we will have a pool, so I promised to heat it and to let them swim during the holiday break—no matter how cold it is! One tradition I know I’ll keep: a big Christmas morning post-gift-opening breakfast for my children. It is something they look forward to even more than the presents.

Her Secrets For A Stress-Free Holiday

My advice for getting through the season is to do what you can. Do enough to get into the holiday spirit, but not so much that you lose sight of why you’re doing it in the first place. Going through a messy divorce taught me to scale back, accept my ability to do what I was able to do—and not what I felt I was expected to do. I like things full blown, but since that wasn’t possible, doing whatever I could to put myself in the holiday frame of mind became enough. This year I won’t be able to do all that I want because of the move, but I will still make it feel like a holiday and accept that that is good enough. It is amazing how festive a few clay pots of amaryllis or paperwhites sprinkled around the house can be!

If she could send a postcard from anywhere…

Photo Credit: Lyford Cay Club

It would be Lyford Cay Club, Bahamas. I love the club because it is so oldsy-worldsy Santa-goes-Bahamas good! When I’m there, I feel like I’m in a quirky Slim Aarons postcard. And, what I really love is how quiet the beach is in the winter.

For more Danielle, follow her on twitter, on Facebook, on instagram, and at her site.  Her beautiful book, Soiree: Entertaining with Style, makes a great gift and a greater guide to the ins and outs of entertaining all year around. 

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30 Responses

  1. Maryly Benzian- Coronado

    So enjoyed your article. Your boundless energy and keeping your spirits up and looking at the situation with joy excitement. And adding your incredible unique style frosting on the cake. Merry Christmas to you your mom and your children! Maryly

  2. Lisa

    Thank you for sharing your real life experience. You are a light to many and an inspiration with your decorating and recipes…Merry Christmas and congratulations on your new home. I know it will be beautiful.

  3. Kim Snipe

    Danielle, Merry Christmas to you and yours! May 2016 bring you a renewed perspective to release and let go! New year, new house, new beginnings!

  4. Rebecca

    Divorce is difficult for everyone but contesting a settlement of 15 M and child support of 15 k month is hard to sympathize with. Also most divorced women do not have the luxury of renovating for 16 months before they move in to a new home. Chicos, does this represent the independent woman you want to represent your clothing line and style? It’s definitely making me rethink who a Chicos woman is and I doubt I would see Danielle in one of your boutiques.

  5. Geordie

    Rebecca, what a rude response to a woman you clearly do not know. I believe Danielle demonstrates class and dignity after a very public and embarrassing split with her husband, and has come through it beautifully. Although most of us can’t even begin to fathom the lifestyle she has, it is fun to watch and see how the other half live! I feel no jealousy of her glamorous life, I admire her for using her talents and gifts to make her own way in life after adversity. And yes, that is a woman we should all celebrate.

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