When more is more: A maximalist Christmas!

There's just something about tacky light tours and ugly Christmas sweaters. A maximalist Christmas, with all its sparkly, chaotic energy, produces joy. Why not embrace it a bit this holiday? What other time of year do we find ourselves spreading out boxes full of what are essentially knick-knacks?

Maximalist Christmases can manifest themselves in different ways. TV stations will marathon holiday movies. One station in particular plays A Christmas Story on a loop! But the most obvious examples are homes that go overboard with holiday lights. You just have to stop and admire it, and endure listening to dads chuckle about the electric bills. They have to say something about the electric bill. It's a dad thing. 

tacky holiday lights

For me, it's baking. My friend Kristy and I start out with a couple of favorites on baking day. I always lean on my classic pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and she loves a buttery fudge. But since the oven is warm and the kitchen is dusted in flour, we figure, why stop there?

We go off the rails until my banquet-sized dining table is covered with sweets. We marathon Christmas movies and rummage through our pantries for coconut flakes, peanut butter, popcorn - anything. I always have marshmallows and cereal on hand, so there's an annual Rice Krispies Treat-adjacent dessert - nearly any cereal will do. 

cookie decorating station

Other maximalists decorate their Christmas trees to the point where you can't see any greenery. Ladles and Linens owner Sarah Nicholas has multiple Christmas trees in her home - all with a different theme. And in a strictly Richmond tradition, folks love to "Picasso" a tree - picking out one tree in the yard and draping it in a ridiculous mish mash of different lights. The end result? Merry and bright.


ketchup flavors

When I entertain for the holidays, the maximalist tends to come out. Why have one type of ketchup for the tots when you can have three - spicy, curry and regular? Why simply serve sugar cookies, when you can have a cookie decorating station with all the fixings? Why let guests leave empty-handed when you can send each of them home with a hot toddie (pictured top)?

Kim Burke-Connors

My friend Kim knows her home will be completley trashed when the party is over, so why not lean into it? Everyone is allowed to bring their pets! She glides around all night with a freshly-popped bottle of Champagne (or "Champers" as she likes to call it), topping everyone off. She's been known to do this regardless of what the guests are drinking. Anyone can crash at her place if they overindulge, and overindulging may have something to do with these poor quality photos! By 3 a.m. friends can be found snuggling with their dogs on a chaise or couch, and the floor is sticky with Champagne. 

While I do love an elegant Christmas, and a pared-down Swedish look, Christmas is just plain crazy. The floor is strewn with pine needles and errant pieces of wrapping paper, and the kids are running around on too much sugar. Try to embrace it. And happy holidays!


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