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Holiday Decor in a Southern Home


Jaakkola Family

The sun-washed rooms of Holley Jaakkola's home in balmy Savannah, Georgia, lend themselves to holiday entertaining. Though it's a world away from the icy landscape of her husband Juha's native Finland, Holley creates her own version of a winter wonderland with greens from her garden and starfish standing in for snowmen. As a pro floral designer, she believes in decorating with what's familiar. Throughout her 1864 Federal-style house, she adds personal touches, dressing up an antique dining table with an unfussy arrangement of camellias, pine sprigs and ferns tucked into mix-and-match glass vessels. Over the fireplace she displays a wreath crafted of backyard boxwood, berries and seashells. The annual highlight for the couple's daughters, Ava, 9, and Sophie, 6, is a two-day baking marathon during which the family makes dozens of festively embellished sugar cookies to hang on the tree and give as gifts. "I love to mix the old with the new, the elegant and simple, the refined and rustic," says Holley. "It's all part of my recipe for Christmas magic."

Pictured: Holley, Ava and Sophie on the back porch with Elsie, the family's Alaskan malamute. A local artist designed the oyster shell chandelier.