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Given that designer Alison Sheffield’s holiday celebrations will skew small this year with only immediate family around the dining table, she decided on a less formal scheme. Taking cues from the blue tones in the abstract painting by North Shore artist Anthony Falcetta, Sheffield is breaking out her blue-and-white china, beaded blue water glasses, and pieces from her beloved ginger jar collection. “I love using my Juliska Country Estate plates so I often incorporate blue,” she says. “I’ve done blue and red, blue and pink, blue and orange, and this year blue and green.” She is skipping the tablecloth to keep things casual and arranging monkey candlesticks down the center of the table to lighten the mood.

1. The family erects an artificial tree in the living room. “Our real one is a bit tucked away so I love seeing this extra sparkle from the street,” Sheffield says. Simple white lights ensure the tree doesn’t clash with the dining room’s colorful decor.


2. A set of vintage monkey candlesticks, plus artichoke votive holders from La Petite Maison in Hingham and brass pomegranates from Target, are lighthearted and lush.

3. Sheffield created the floral arrangements using white hydrangeas, green roses, berries, and brown seedpods purchased at Whole Foods.

4. Tired of cleaning up fallen pine needles from fresh garlands, Sheffield dressed up a faux garland with pine cones, peacock feathers, and tiny needlepoint stockings from Bauble Stockings.

5. The garland is also studded with stars created from wallpaper. After receiving one from her friend Stephanie Flynn, Sheffield made some herself using remnants of Schumacher’s Sinhala Sidewall paper.

6. Ginger jars and other examples of chinoiserie are favorite design elements. “I grew up surrounded by them,” Sheffield says. The ginger jar painting is a new acquisition from Pacific Northwest artist Pamela Hoffmeister.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.