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Holiday Decor & Hosting Tips from Kristy Kay


Around The Office

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Hearing the word “Nantucket” conjures images of sunny summer beach days for most, but for me, it’s Town in all her Charles Dickens Glory. From the lit trees lining Main Street to festive window boxes found all over the island holding greens and pine cones. The romance of it all is so Victorian era even though the calendar reads 2021.

Nantucket holiday decor can be found just outside your front door. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much lush vegetation, and I especially love when I can decorate with it! First up on my holiday decorating “to-do” list are my window boxes and driveway planters. I fill them with a variety of greens, red berries and sticks. Leyland cyprus are a common evergreen tree on the island so I grab my sheers and go right to my back yard. Luckily, Leylands thrive by being pruned (alternating yearly tops vs sides). So, I take a ladder and get to work. The Leyland branches also remain green for the entire season in my planters. Next up is a nature walk (be sure to wear your orange hat and jacket so there’s no mistaking you for a deer). I love trimming a few branches from one or two of the many Scotch pines found all over the island. Most branches have a few pinecones on them which is an added bonus. Gloves are a great idea as the branches are as soft as a porcupine.

For some height and varied texture, I trim a few of the stick-like branches of my birch trees and add those to the planters and boxes (taller for the planter). Birch trees are weak, and tend to fall easier with our many storms, so finding some downed trees in the State Forest can be an added bonus. I love the contrast of the white birch bark with the evergreen branches. The icing on the cake, or planter rather, are the red Winterberries which can be found in the damper areas of the island. There you have it, gorgeous and festive exterior Holiday decorations!

Taking the decor indoors now, are the classically Nantucket and highly coveted Scallop Shell lights. Even though they’re sold at various shops across the island, they sell out quickly! But, did you know you can make your own? Such a fun Nantucket activity! Grab a few friends and your glue gun. With scallop season in full swing, you don’t need to go far to find yourself a bucket of scallop shells. A day or two in a bucket of bleach and water, a strand of Christmas lights and some hot glue sticks is all you need. I like to pair the scallops ahead of time finding shells of similar size that fit nicely together. Sandwich the light with two shells and add some glue to seal. Nantucket scallop lights make a fabulous hostess gift too.

What would the Holidays be if there weren’t some great recipes to try out? My new favorite holiday appetizer is this puff pastry made out to be a Christmas tree. Simply roll out one sheet, add your favorite flavorings (cheese and herbs; pesto; or my favorite, a goat cheese and bruschetta mixture).

Top with 2nd puff pastry sheet and with a pizza cutter, trim into a tree shape cutting linear branches all the way up your triangle, twisting the “branches” as you go. With the scraps and a couple of cookie cutters, I make a tree trunk and a star for the top. Brush with a beaten egg to make a golden crust and bake at 350 for 25 minutes and you have a gorgeously, and tasty appetizer sure to please one and all.


Another tool in my holiday entertaining toolbox to keep stress down, is to keep the stocking level in the pantry high. An easy and delicious impromptu spread for me is a charcuterie board. Delicious crackers, a variety of dried fruits, nuts, and jarred olives, as well as some honey varieties and fig jam are always on my pantry shelf. Pair with some cured meats and cheeses, maybe some fabulous fois gras and caviar, and you have a most elegant spread that all are sure to enjoy.


Lastly, checking the mailbox throughout December is a favorite activity around here. The holiday cards start rolling in and there’s nothing better than seeing the faces of family and friends. Nantucket is not short on fabulous spots for a photo opt whether it’s the larger than life Christmas tree outside Pacific Bank, the Compass outside Ralph Lauren, or a windswept dune in Madaket.

We take an afternoon and create an easy setup with items around the house for our holiday card, and venture out to a fun Nantucket location. Over the years it’s been everything from professional shots at the turtle bridge, to a backyard set up on the truck bed with the chickens and dogs. Whatever is special to you, hang a wreath on it and send it out to those you love stamped of course, from Nantucket with love.

Do you want to read more from Kristy Kay? Check out her informative blog on Tips to Decorate the Exterior of Your Nantucket Home or visit her website at