AvA Holidays at Home

Discover how some of the fabulous Women of AvA are celebrating their holiday at home.

The holidays may look a bit different this year, but we still want a reason to shine. So we asked some stylish friends how they’re celebrating this festive time. From decorating the home to throwing on the perfect playlist, to mixing new traditions into the old, here’s how our community is ringing in the holiday season.

Darviny Dar

Darviny Dar table scape in Palm Beach Florida

As a lifestyle connoisseur whose M.O. is barefoot elegance and the art of an incredible table, Darviny Dar has her festive style dialed in. So naturally we had to get the scoop on how she’s ushering in the holiday at home, from the playlist to the decor. Discover more, below.

What are the tunes on your go-to holiday playlist?

Dean Martin’s Christmas album always plays since I was a little girl! It’s not Christmas without hearing Dean Martin sing his Christmas carols over and over again.

How would you define your decor? Traditional? Modern? A mix of both?

Traditional, always traditional. Ornaments that I grew up with still hang on our tree, and the Christmas train and Christmas village come out of the boxes every year.

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

The magic I see in children who believe in Santa. It’s truly a winter fairy tale for them; I love the stories they tell me about Santa and the elves, the excitement in their eyes, and the anticipation of Christmas morning.

What is on your holiday wish list?

Diamonds, of course. They are a girl's best friend!


Dana Gibson

Dana Gibson wearing brown silk bow blouse with black cigarette pants by her Christmas tree by Ala von Auersperg

As an artist, textile designer, potter and creator of all things stylish, Dana Gibson’s aesthetic is lighthearted, relaxed and always chic. Naturally, she extends that same philosophy to the holiday season, with some truly unique vantage points as well (read: no green and read). Read on as Dana tells us what she loves about the holidays and why garland is always the perfect choice.

Tell us about your holiday style.  

I'm not a fan of green and red. I like white silk ribbons as an accent to all the greenery. I like to outline the front door with a garland instead of hanging a wreath, but sometimes I do both. I always drape a garland on the banister in the front hall. We get a real tree—because of the smell of course! I like lots of tapered candles in the dining room to enhance the festive mood.

What is on your holiday playlist? Favorite holiday song?

I like Frank Sinatra for the holidays—I’m not a huge music person. Usually, my husband will blast Squeeze in the kitchen while we are cooking and we’ll do some dancing. There’s also usually a fire going and a chill outside.

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

My favorite thing is everyone being home and in good spirits. I love seeing my boys—19 and 21—reciprocate in the gift giving.

What’s on your holiday wish list?

Continued health for my family. Tip: I have learned to buy myself a few presents to put under the tree. The men in my life are not the best shoppers!


Jessica Chaney

Jessica Chaney wearing peacock printed silk dress at her store Lycette in Palm Beach Florida by Ala von Auersperg

As the founder of Lycette, a modernized needlepoint brand based in Palm Beach, Jessica Chaney is an expert at mixing the old with the new. So it’s of little surprise that her holiday traditions fuse the spirit of the old with her youthful, lively twists on the classics. From playing “The Nutcracker” to adding little pops of pink, check out how Jessica rings in her Holiday at Home, below.

Favorite thing(s) about the Holidays?

As generic as it sounds, I adore being with family. Although, due to COVID, this year our family gatherings won't be quite as robust, they will be special nonetheless. We will still celebrate our family traditions, like watching "It's a Wonderful Life" after Thanksgiving or decorating the tree with a glass of eggnog in hand and Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcraker" ringing throughout the house. Our tree will still be sprinkled with needlepoint heirlooms amongst vintage ornaments passed down from great-grandmothers and the kitchen will still smell like butter and sugar for the whole of December. As far as I am concerned, the Holidays are a fabulous celebration of gaiety, heritage, and weeks long indulgence of food, drink, and friendship.

What is on your holiday playlist? Favorite holiday song?

I adore classical music and my favorite Holiday playlists are just that! I never tire of Tchaikovsky, but I also love Harry Connick Jr.'s Christmas album. "It Must've Been 'Ol Santa Claus" will definitely be on repeat!

Are you traditional or non-traditional in your decor? What items do you always use?

A mix of both! As a Florida girl I always like to incorporate a touch of pink. In fact, starting in December, we always have a pink tree up at Lycette. Customers adore it, and one year someone even tried to purchase it from us! We all love elevated elegance, but a touch of tacky can be just as fun. It lightens the mood and makes everyone feel welcome!

No matter what, needlepoint is *always* incorporated in our decor, obviously. I am excited because this year, since I got married, I will receive the ornaments that my mother has been stitching each year since I was a child. It will be so special for Greg and I to hang those ornaments on our tree for our first married Christmas together.

Signature holiday cocktail?

You can never go wrong with a glass of bubbly. I rarely drink champagne, but during the holidays it just feels right! Plus, I would rather indulge in Martha Stewart's classic sugar cookies than sugary cocktails. Chin chin!

White or colored lights?

White, always. However, we do have my grandmothers colored Christmas lights from the 1950s. They are luminous and large, making their colored rays more Mad Men chic than Griswold's family Christmas.

What is on your holiday wish list?

Non-material wishlist? In person time with family and friends and a long overdue girl's weekend! And perhaps Santa could spare an elf for an evening? I truly need help stitching my needlepoint stash! Material wishlist? I wouldn't mind gold charms for my bracelet, Campo di' Fiori pots filled with citrus trees, Ala von Auersperg caftans, silk duponi headbands, and a vintage LV steamer to hold my abundance of needlepoint canvases. A girl can dream!


Holly Holden

Holly Holden wearing deer printed silk dress by Ala von Auersperg
Living Room and decorated Christmas Tree by Holly Holden

As an interior designer, author, speaker and Emmy-nominated television show host and producer, Holly Holden is an expert at living timelessly and stylishly. So we had to find out how she’s celebrating her holiday at home this year. From clipping fresh greens and holly to stringing white lights, discover how this visual pro is ringing the most festive season of all.

Favorite thing(s) about the Holidays?

Oh, just the thought of having my family all together is the best present ever! Going in the garden to clip pine and holly branches and cutting some English Boxwood, and then, arranging them all on the fireplace mantels, and behind paintings in Fox Hall, our c 1803 house. This is a cherished tradition… along with the special moment that I turn the music box key under the glittering antique miniature Christmas tree, placed in the center of an orchestra of German wooden angels, on the tea table. This precious little twirling tree belonged to my parents, so the moment I hear the sound, I feel as if I am a child again, and my heart is filled with memories and the love of my parents, whom I miss. And, how the entire house is filled with the divine aroma of the pecan pies I bake to give to dear friends!

What is on your holiday playlist? Favorite holiday song?

Classical: For Unto Us A Child Is Born by Handel; Contemporary: Baby It's cold outside!

Are you traditional or non-traditional in your decor? What items do you always use?

Definitely traditional- I adore using fresh-cut greens and holly, colorful traditional fruit such as lemons, red apples, and oranges, placed in silver baskets and bowls with evergreen cuttings. I make a topiary of red apples and boxwood, topped with pineapple, to grace our dining room table each year. I also enhance delicate champagne grapes with a dusting of sugar meringue, place them in a silver basket, add a glittery ribbon bow, and voila, this miniature decoration looks like the essence of Christmas!

Signature holiday cocktail?

Champagne, and oh, yes...more champagne! 

White or colored lights?

White lights! Although I do savor seeing the big, old-fashioned colored lights outside wrapped around Christmas trees, especially peeking through a veil of snow… Immediately, upon the sight of them, I am whisked back to my childhood and to the magic of Christmas!

What is on your holiday wish list?

To be with my precious family and eight adorable grandchildren! From England to Park City, Utah, I doubt we will physically be together this year… but will be in heart and spirit!


Meg McCartney

Table scape by Meg McCartney

Whether she’s setting a table or modeling her newest AvA look over Instagram, Meg McCartney, aka @themarvelousmrsmccartney, has her personal style nailed. So naturally we had to get the scoop on how she’s celebrating her holiday at home. From Christmas cookies to store windows, check out how she ushers in the holidays, below.

Let’s start with the important stuff. What’s your holiday cocktail go-to?

A holiday cocktail that looks as elegant and festive as it is delicious is a cranberry champagne cocktail! All you need is: one ounce cranberry juice, one wedge of lime, some champagne, a few frozen cranberries et voila!

How would you describe your holiday decor? Are you a minimalist? Maximalist? Modern or traditional?

My Christmas Decor has always leaned towards traditional. I adore decorating anything that will stand still with garland lights and bows. I have always lit up our home with white lights, but I adore colored light as well. I need to switch it up and use colored one of these years!

What’s your favorite thing about the holiday?

The magic in the air during this special time of year and the traditions that we fall back on from our childhood that we continue to keep alive. Some of my earliest memories are decorating Christmas cookies, seeing The Nutcracker, shopping for loved ones and listening to Christmas music non-stop.


Jane Winchester

Christmas Tree decorated by Jane Winchester

As a jewelry designer whose own aesthetic philosophy centers around joy, love and peace, Jane Winchester Paradis is an embodiment of holiday happiness. Here, she shares how she does the holidays at home, from flipping latkes to decorating the many trees throughout her home. And there’s always champagne on-hand.

What’s your favorite thing about the Holidays?  

Champagne! As a child, I was not too fond of the holidays because my parents were divorced, and I had to go back and forth. So when my kids came along, I was determined to create a low pressure, relaxing time. Because we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, we go crazy on presents. On Hanukkah, we open gifts, and then my husband and I make latkes for the family, and it is so joyous. On Christmas, I set a formal table for Christmas Eve with my favorite Herend plates and the Winchester Tiffany silver (note to self:I need to get that polished.)

What’s the scene like in your home during the holidays?

We drink champagne and have elegant hors-d'oeuvres, then a candlelit dinner with loads of champagne. Now that we have a house of teenagers, we don't have to get up too early…we start with stockings, more champagne, chocolate and then an explosion of gifts. So there is not one thing I love – it's all those things.

How does this year feel different in how you’re celebrating?

In the past, I would’ve said I’m 1000% traditional with no room for discussion. But this year, I believe in celebrating like mad, and bringing every bit of light and happiness to this world is imperative. I have started early and am already going crazy with excess. I have a glittery white (gasp! Fake!) tree in the formal living room and plan on getting a real tree for the sunroom and a series of baby trees for the family room. The theme this year is MORE.

What is on your holiday wish list?

Jewelry. Always! From Jane Win, my favorite pieces are anything with hearts, so I plan on giving my daughters the heart of their choice. And much more importantly, this year, more than ever, I wish for health and peace.


Danielle Rollins

Danielle Rollins wearing feather printed silk kaftan at the AvA Palm Beach Store in Palm Beach Florida by Ala von Auersperg
Table scape by Danielle Rollins

As a decorator, entertaining guru and author of A Home for All Seasons: Gracious Living and Stylish Entertaining, our dear friend and fellow co-host Danielle Rollins knows a thing or two about hosting the perfect holiday event. Here, she shares her favorite tips on planning an intimately chic celebration and the little baubles she’d never turn down.

How are you planning to entertain these days?

One of my favorite things to do is to have a very small group of friends over to celebrate the season—whether it’s a dinner or just cocktails—and get very dressed up. A select group feels especially festive and puts me in a holiday state of mind. Smaller is more intimate, easier to manage, there are fewer table settings, and fewer dishes you have to do! You can also be more thoughtful since you don’t have to please as many people. I love throwing a "cocktail party" during the holidays. It’s a glamorous throwback.

Any tips you can share on making it fabulous?

Dress up to the nines, break out the embroidered cocktail napkins, the "fancy" crystal, silver and plenty of sparkle, of course. Make a good signature cocktail for your event, it shows some originality and thought, and it’s the perfect ice breaker. A little goes a long way so it's good to have other options to switch to later. I'm partial to a French 75 for the holidays- but they pack quite a wallop so it's a one-two drink at the most, and a precursor to champagne. And champagne always has the right amount of festive in my book!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

I am a homebody at heart, so I relish every aspect, whether it is the planning and preparation to have people over or getting dressed up and going out to holiday parties at someone else's home. I love the seasonal touches to a home, and the chance to connect, celebrate and raise a glass of cheer with friends and family.

Is there anything special on your holiday wish list these days?

I’ve pretty much been blessed with anything I could have ever wished for- while Covid-19 has had so many challenges, it has also been a great catalyst for making what matters become clear. A strong, solid and supportive relationship, our healthy and happy families, a great career, a new house, a new dog and a new boat. Although I’d never turn down vintage Verdura or Van Cleef & Arpels.


Cristiana Anderson and Adam Mahr

Table scape by Cristiana Anderson and Adam Mahr at Amano in Washington DC

Cristiana Anderson and Adam Mahr have no shortage of eclectic style in their homes. Mahr is the owner of A Mano, the iconic luxury goods shop in Washington D.C., while Anderson is a notable tastemaker and dear friend of the AvA brand. But when it comes to the holidays, they’re all about traditional favorites that embody the festive time of year. From the playlist to the cocktails, here’s how they’re celebrating their Holiday at Home.

Describe the vibe in your home around the holidays:

Adam: “Our holiday playlist music is from the 50's and 60's - Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin. My favorite holiday song is Baby it's Cold Outside.”

Cristiana: “I love Bing Crosby Christmas Carols, but my favorite holiday song is “All I Want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey.

What are some of your favorite decor details?

Cristiana: “I am fairly traditional when it comes to holiday decor but like to mix things up each year. I always use my mother's embroidered Christmas tablecloth and hang my needlepoint Christmas stockings for each member of the family. I have lots of Christmas ornaments from my childhood that I enjoy pulling out each year.”

Adam: “I’m non-traditional and love to mix things up each year. I love big colored lights on the tree each year!”

What are you sipping on during the holidays?

Cristiana: “I love a Negroni followed by lots of champagne.

Adam: “A Martini with a seasonal touch, or a Bellini.”

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Cristiana: “The holidays are all about being with family and children. I love decorating the tree, eating great meals and sipping on holiday cocktails.”

Adam: “My favorite thing about the holidays is getting the tree and decorating it while sipping on cocktails. I love pulling out the special pieces for table settings and getting creative."