Sunday, June 23, 2024

p;ellipsis; years,” said Ms. Ridder, 58. Many date to Mr. Pennoyer’s childhood in China, when his mother found local artisans to make glass balls etched with scenes of English churches, but there were also egg ornaments commemorating trips to Hungary and more herder-with-sheep baubles from Nepal than they could use.Most treasured of all, though, were the ornaments crafted by Jane and Tony when they were children. (Their daughter, Gigi, is a fan of realistic holiday decorations, so she has yet to add to the collection.)“We call it their ‘Baby Jesus art,’” Mr. Pennoyer said, for the glittery renditions of the Holy Family that the children made at school. “Jane and Tony are both artists now, and I think it’s probably because of these formative years,” he added.Many of these original ornaments are fragile, and in past years the Brooklyn townhouse the family lived in posed challenges. “We didn’t even have enough space to celebrate until we set up a tiny tree in the library,” Ms. Ridder said.Now, the mansion has more space than they need, so wherever excess presents a problem, they store away furniture, carpets and just about everything else in the entrance hall to make room for the 12-foot fir that towers over the colonial balustrade of the staircase.“The kids have always wanted tall trees,” Ms. Ridder said. “We’ve even bought mini trees and put them on pedestals so they look like giant trees. They just seem to embody the festivities.”The couple also got a bit extravagant this year, adding a tree to the library and another in the guest room. “It’s a bit of a free-for-all,” Ms. Ridder said, “but it’s a way to spread the happiness around the house.”Among the decorations they’ve added are a few topiaries plucked from their boxwood gardens, and Ms. Ridder also started treasuring a small collection of nativity sets. Ms. Ridder especially loves one set of muted ceramic figurines that are the work of a friend and another vintage set they picked up in France, where the Buddha-shaped angel donated a bit of multiculturalism to the scene.Not that the house was bare before they started their holiday decorating this year. An abundance of artwork covers the walls, all of it in keeping with the home’s colonial aesthetic — they’re big fans of John Trumbull’s scenes of the American Revolution.Even the Christmas decorations were updated with that in mind. The only things nontraditional about their objects were the old Italian horsemen and cows they found in Rome. They’re wooden, so the animals seem colonial enough to fit in.“The whole house looks coherent and wonderful,” Mr. Pennoyer said. And for the first time, the celebration will be just like what they’d imagined. “It will be ever the more special,” Mr. Pennoyer said, “because we’d been waiting so long.”

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