AZ Foothills: Holiday Decorating With Moll


From snow-flocked trees to wallpaper-worthy gift wrap,  Moll Anderson, lifestyle expert and author of  Change Your Home, Change Your Life with Color,” dishes on the season’s fabulously festive decorating and entertaining musts.


What overall looks are in for holiday décor? 

It’s all about color! I love the memories and magic brought about by a classic holiday color palette, but it is also fun to sometimes do a twist on the traditional and have some fun with color! Various shades of the colors you have always used bring a new vibe to the décor, or pick your palette based on the colors you already love and use in your home. Ombre, bold and bright, or beautifully snow-flocked white trees are wonderful alternatives to natural green if you are feeling like switching it up this season. A great oversized branch wrapped in tiny string lights or spray painted for a pop of color with modern geometric ornaments hanging off makes a great look, almost like a festive art installation.

Nathan Schroder Photography

Does holiday décor need to complement one’s home décor?

I strive for the same vibe and balance when choosing seasonal décor for a particular room in any home. I love when a room is perfectly balanced in color, shine and warmth because it just feels right to your senses. I love coordinating the giftwrap as an accessory to the room by using paper that looks as if you could roll it onto the walls as wallpaper. I choose different but gorgeous ribbons for each family member to make it easy for me to play Santa when we gather ‘round to share in the Christmas spirit. Honestly, it’s so much fun to express yourself when you decorate your holiday trees.

Nathan Schroder Photography
Beall + Thomas Photography

Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere, so I always like to keep an eye out for items that I can incorporate when decorating whether it be online shopping, local craft stores, or perusing the aisles of antique and thrift stores. One of the many wonderful traditions of celebrating Christmas is adorning my home with collections of found treasures and beautiful embellishments, new and old—for me, the more the merrier.

What items around the house can serve a dual purpose for the holidays?

Take a look around your home for containers that can be repurposed in your holiday décor. Bowls, vases, boxes and urns can serve a dual purpose filled with fresh greens, branches, flower arrangements, or filled with a display of brightly colored ornaments or pine cones. Glass votives and candlesticks will create ambience in your holiday tablescapes, mantels and holiday displays.

Cacti and succulents have been very popular in decorating locally. How can they be applied to holiday decorating?

The various textures and natural green color of succulents and cacti create a contemporary and organic look. The smooth, waxy leaves offer the option to have a little fun. Although I prefer fresh flowers, because there’s nothing like the real thing, succulents are great if you would like to go the no-maintenance route; try the fabulous-looking faux option—you can hardly tell the difference. Succulents sit pretty atop a simple bed of rocks or moss, and they are the perfect addition to flower arrangements or potted plants. Add a touch of modern metal to a cool container by spray painting the succulent with a high-shine metallic paint. You can even increase the reflective factor by adding glitter for holidays or parties.

What are some unique ways to deck the Christmas tree?

For artificial trees, fill in the gaps with extra tree branches or garlands purchased at craft and specialty stores. Once you have had your fill, so to speak, you can begin layering your decorations. Or, instead of one tree, if the space allows, cluster a few trees in various sizes for a little extra wow-factor. I love to incorporate oversized details to my artificial tree to create a spectacular holiday tree and use a monochromatic color scheme. The full and billowing bows, long, fragile blown-glass ornaments, and tons of twinkling lights created the ideal essence required to bring the tree to life.

  • If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for to fit the space, add paint and glitter to ornaments to tie in the colors of the room.
  • Fun, whimsical, and even unexpected accents to your gatherings will help you get in touch with your playful side. It’s easy to add these touches during holiday celebrations because there are so many festive decorations that are available both online and in the stores. But think beyond the holiday affairs, and add playful touches to any of your décor. Let your imagination take flight with beautifully perched birds, birdcages filled with candles, floating feathers, birds’ nests, butterflies, and earthy elements tucked into your décor.
  • Bring fun with brightly colored kites, confetti, hanging lanterns, fluffy paper pom-poms, and paper parasols or umbrellas that inspire child-like wonder and a carefree ambiance.

What tips to do you have for holiday-party planning?

Any time I entertain, my inspiration comes to life in my tablescape. Rather than the traditional color combos, try different shades and tones of the classic colors, or just pick one and have some fun. Incorporating black and white makes for a modern background where your color of choice can really pop, or mix in some metallic and go glam. Gold and white dinnerware, silverware, and linens can be used throughout the year for practically any occasion. Adding the accent of chartreuse in the ribbons, ornaments, centerpiece and glassware bring the holiday cheer to this table. Place cards and presents add a personalized touch to the holiday celebration. The holiday season is all about giving, so pretty wrapped packages or personalized ornaments serve double duty as place cards and party favors. And don’t forget, a signature cocktail in the signature color always makes for merriment.

AK Vogel Photography
Beall + Thomas Photography


How can one winterize the interior of their home beyond holiday décor?

Bring in warmth with sensory elements to create an instant vibe—plush throws, touches of faux fur or velvet pillows or rugs, and the warmth of candlelight.

AK Vogel Photography