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Gardener's Focus: Christmas Decor

See how the most formative decades of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s life inspired the glamorous Christmas trees and festive décor inside the Mansion. Jason Gedeik will share the process behind creating the velvet-and-lace adorned Edwardian tree in the French Drawing Room, the bejeweled satin Hollywood Glamour tree in the Pavilion, and 1950s tree in the Entry Hall, and the Retro 1960s tree on view in the Staff Dining Room, all  inspired by the fashions on display in Ingenue to Icon

Lectures and Talks

Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 9:45am

Engage with people and ideas through programs that explore historic themes with contemporary thinkers. Encounter works of art up close in the intimate and personalized spaces of Hillwood’s Mansion and Gardens during gallery talks. 

Delve deeper into intriguing topics of art, fashion, design, and history with Hillwood’s curators, horticulturists, staff, distinguished experts, and international scholars, at study days, lectures and book talks.

Haute Holidays

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 (All day) to Thursday, December 31, 2015 (All day)

Haute Holidays at Hillwood reflect the most stylish eras of the twentieth century.

Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post, extended to January 10is the inspiration for glamorous Christmas trees throughout the mansion.

Festive décor, hands-on workshops, and the annual Russian Winter Festival add to the Christmas splendor.

 

Haute Holidays

Christmas trees draped in vintage styles inspired by the special exhibition Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post are the centerpiece of a fashionable holiday season at Hillwood. Extended to January 10, 2016, the glamour and elegance of founder Marjorie Post and the styles that characterized the most formative decades of her lifetime will permeate the holiday décor that adorns the entire estate. 

Glamorous Christmas Trees on Display

Diamonds, pearls, and peacock feathers greet guests upon arrival in the Visitor Center as a “Roaring Twenties” tree takes inspiration from the flapper styles of this glamorous era. Vintage-style colored lights and tinsel reflecting the 1950s, the decade when Post established her legacy in Washington with the purchase of Hillwood, adds a festive touch to the mansion entry. A grand Edwardian tree sits in splendor in the period French drawing room. Taking its cue from the fashion of the time—including the intricately-detailed French velvet and lace dress of 1903 on display in the room—garlands of lace, velvet bows, and dried flowers, with decorations in hues of blue, pink, and lilac, accent the tree. In the pavilion, A “Hollywood Glamour” tree exudes the fashion trends of the 1930s and 1940s, as seen on the silver screen, where evening fashion featured elegant backless gowns in velvets and body clinging sensuous satin. Two of Post’s dresses of this very style are in the pavilion with a tree dressed in pink champagne-colored satin and set with intricate gold and diamond jewelry ornaments. In the staff dining room, punctuated by retro linoleum flooring and period furnishings, a vintage aluminum tree decorated with bright-colored metal balls brings a 1960s Christmas feel to this historical space.

Holiday Style

In addition to the trees, other displays celebrate the style of holidays past, inspired by Ingenue to Icon and Post’s luxurious way of life. A wrap dress on view in the first floor library represents the type of resort wear that Post wore while wintering in warm locales, including her Palm Beach estate, Mar-A-Lago, or aboard her beloved sailing ship, Sea Cloud. The nearby monitor will play a loop of images from Christmas 1946, spent aboard the famous yacht.

A festive table display in the dining room will feature a green-bordered porcelain service with armorials from the Paris-based Jacob Petit factory. In the mid-1830s the factory made elaborately gilded, colorful, and sculptural table services drawing inspiration from Rococo designs of the 18th century. The banquet glass is decorated with colorful hunting scenes and was made at the Lobmeyr factory in Vienna in the early twentieth century. The Gorham silver-gilt flatware dates from the 1960s.

Holiday Programs and Workshop

The family highlight of the holiday season at Hillwood is undoubtedly the Russian Winter Festival on Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13. Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand for this celebration of the holidays in Old Russian style, while winsome characters, enacting the old Russian winter custom of mumming—dressing up in costume and visiting friends, singing, playing jokes, and fortunetelling—surprise and delight visitors across the estate.

Hillwood's gardens reveal another aspect of their ever-changing beauty during the holiday season. Conifers such as the blue atlas cedar and false cypress show off their evergreen boughs, while holly and witchhazel provide bright spots of color. Hands-on wreath-making workshops provide the opportunity to explore Hillwood's magnificent grounds during the winter and craft a one of a kind holiday decoration to enliven the home.

Throughout the season, the Museum Shop is a favorite destination for holiday shopping. With dozens of jewelry pieces and dazzling items inspired by Ingenue to Icon, in addition to clothing, books, ornaments, and home décor, Hillwood’s shop offers distinct gifts for everyone.

  • Detail of Christmas tree
  • Detail of Christmas tree

    Image from 2014 Cartier Christmas in the Visitor Center

  • Detail of Christmas tree