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.
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!
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.
Her Favorite Family Traditions
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…
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.