Matthew Mead's holiday traditions and innovations

By Delece Smith-Barrow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 15, 2010; 9:08 PM

Matthew Mead's favorite holiday decoration is the wreath.

"It has that sense of tradition with it, but then there are so many things that you can make a wreath with," says the 42-year-old lifestyle guru and home decorator. Vintage jewelry, small fruit, flowers and miniature packages are among the wreathmaking supplies he recommends.

Wreaths can also be made out of scrapbook paper, just like the one on the cover of his recently published magazine "Holiday With Matthew Mead, which includes instructions for making holiday crafts and desserts. He hopes to publish a similar magazine quarterly.

"The whole project is really born of a real desire to connect directly with the readers," he says. "A lot of the traditional magazines have gone away in the last couple years because of the economy, so [I] just really wanted to get back in touch with the readers."

Mead is also the author of the books "Entertaining Simple" and "Matthew Mead: Halloween."

Before launching his own projects, the New Hampshire resident spent 12 years as style editor of Country Home Magazine and has contributed to Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Women's Day and Better Homes and Garden.

We recently spoke with Mead about livening up a home for the holidays. Here are edited excerpts.

How do you decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

At Thanksgiving we tend to use lots of gourds and pumpkins and walnuts and hazelnuts and cranberries. So everything has kind of a very natural harvest appeal about it. And then for Christmas I really like to use fresh greenery and green wreaths and lots of ribbons to hang things.

What are some examples of how food can serve as decorations?

I love to do a simple centerpiece where I fill a bowl with pomegranates and red apples. Then I fill the bowl halfway with water, and then I just put clippings of flowers and evergreens into that. And the fruit actually holds all the flowers and all of the cut stems nicely. You end up with this beautiful centerpiece that almost anyone can make, and it takes about five minutes.

What holiday-decorating traditions does your family have?

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