Decking the Halls with Inspiration

Holiday house tours are a great way to get new ideas for your own seasonal decorating. Thankfully, each year there are a host of homes to tour, with the money raised going to worthy charities. Decking out your home for the holiday season is usually a boxful of tradition mixed with a bit of inspiration. Christmas would not be the same if the ornaments collected over the years were missing from the tree or the mantel no longer held that fabulous collection of snowmen. But, face it, sometimes it might take a little change to kick start your holiday spirit. So, before you order the same flower arrangements or open the cardboard boxes and once again decorate with the same ornaments in the same location, look at what a few local designers suggest. Holiday house tours are a great way to get inspired and just in time to work a little magic in your home. <hr no shade> <br> <br> Designer Marlene Bennett from Casa da Mar in Nashua created a simple, elegant suggestion of the holiday in the 1895 home of Jack and Tammy Fahey. The home will be on the Friends of the Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tour on December 6 and 7. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> Antoinette Drouart, owner of Ikebana Flower in Nashua, created a festive table using unconventional flowers in the Bretz home during a 2007 tour. She used Gloriosa lilies, along with flax leaf and pine in a spreading arrangement anchored in kenzan cups. <br> <br> <br>

Designer Marlene Bennett from Casa da Mar in Nashua used a 12-inch ribbon to "wrap" the door leading to the pool house portion of the Koehler home in Nashua during the 2007 Holiday House Tour. This year she is encasing lights in a wide ribbon stitched together to adorn a banister.

<br> <br> David Picard of Tsubaki Flowers in Hudson loves to use un-typical flowers in holiday arrangements, here using blue delphiniums with white arthuriums and roses. Evergreens and silver ornaments add the magic touch. <br> <br> <br>
Cathy Kert, of Cathy Kert Interiors in Nashua, suggests using a wreath as a quick and easy centerpiece. She is using this Williamsburg wreath in keeping with the Colonial-style home of Jack and Tammy Crisp for the Friends of the Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tour on Dec. 6 and 7. Tammy loves boxwood, so Kert also included a few topiaries on the table along with amber-colored glassware and festive cupcakes from Crosby's Bakery.

Philip and Amalia Scontsas of Scontsas Jewelry and Fine Home Décor in Nashua used antique napkins and lace to add a simple note of grace to the MacAndrews table for the 2006 Friends of the Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tour.

Christian Boyér, owner of Boyér Interior Design based in Manchester, created a rich and welcoming decor in the rectory of Immaculate Conception Church in Nashua for the Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tour in 2007. Boyér suggests swagging a garland across the front and down the sides of the mantel. Here he wrapped the mixed garland with a festive ribbon.

Inspirational Holiday Events Holiday Shoppers Arts & Crafts Gift Show November 30: View the work of nearly 80 artisans/crafters while working on your holiday shopping list. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission $5 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2 Somerset Pkwy., Route 101A, Nashua, Nashua Holiday House Tour December 6-7: Enjoy four homes and the Nashua Historical Society's Abbot-Spalding House dressed for the season by the area's leading designers. Each home also features musicians playing holiday music. Complimentary hot cider and refreshments at Langdon Place of Nashua from 2 p.m to 5 p.m, house tours noon to 4 p.m. both days. Tickets are $15 in advance, or (603) 595-9156. $20 on tour days at any of the homes and the Nashua Historical Society at 5 Abbott St. Click below for a panorama view of one of the featured homes on the 2008 Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tour. Cookie Tour December 13-14: Holiday Inn-to-Inn Cookie Tour of the Country Inns in the White Mountains. This popular tour, in its 12th year, takes visitors on a journey through 16 inns decorated in holiday splendor. Participants receive a keepsake collection of the cookies and get great decorating ideas from talented innkeepers. Gingerbread structures will be displayed at each inn. Vote for your favorite and raise money for community non-profit organizations. Visit all the inns and take home a beautiful brass keepsake ornament. Participating inns offer lodging packages including tickets to the tour. Tickets are $27 (800) 626-5855 Portsmouth Holiday Home Tour December 14: Eight beautiful homes are filled with holiday décor in this self-guided tour that benefits Portsmouth Educational Partnership, a non-profit supporting after-school enrichment programs. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets $18 in advance at various locations throughout Portsmouth, including the Dinnerhorn Restaurant/Bratskellar Pub and Hannaford Supermarket, or may be purchased for $20 at any one of the homes on the day of the tour.
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