Holiday How-To: Redesign Your Relatives

In your family, everyone brings something to the holiday table. Some things you simply cannot live without, like your sister’s signature green bean casserole. Others—like Mom’s handmade floral centerpiece in the shape of a reindeer head—you’d like to use as kindling for the fire.

Don’t write off your dear relatives as design delinquents. Teach them! Rather than grin and bear the flood of kitschy-cute décor, why not show them that the finer things in life can be festive, too?

We’ve got some ways to whet their palates for great design.

How To Redesign Your Relatives

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Start with what they know. Aunt Judy’s cardinal sin? Obsessive holiday color-coordination from head-to-toe. Show her the countless alternatives to red and green with Avril Loreti’s Paint Chip Napkins. An ode to color on 100% cotton, they’ll open her eyes to a new kind of palette-able pleasure.

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Meet them halfway. Grandpa nearly loses a limb each year chopping wood in an attempt to “get this family back to basics”—you know, the days when he had to shoot his own goose and haul it home (three miles, uphill, in the snow). He’ll love the raw, organic quality of the Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board, which hails from a family quarry in upstate New York.

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Know their strengths. Last year, you all learned the hard way that the apple pie is no place for cousin Cathy’s artistic experimentation. Try giving her free reign over setting the table instead. Daring decorative details like the Cell Tealight Holder by bold Brit Tom Dixon will help to quell her creative hunger.

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Show them a good time. Understandably, the in-laws are a little intimidated by your exquisite taste. Show them that good design is anything but uptight by breaking into that Pinot Gris with the Parrot Corkscrew, and chilling it with the Corkcicle. They’ll warm up to the idea of form and function with every sip.

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Don’t forget the classics. One thing that crazy clan of yours can agree upon is staying true to tradition. Delight them with some Wine Glasses from 180-year-old glassware company Nachtmann. These crystal goblets are famous for a shape that enhances wine’s bouquet and flavor. So pick your vintage and propose a toast…to rituals that don’t involve off-key sing-alongs or hideous matching crocheted sweaters.

—Kate Canary

Notes

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