I LOVE getting ready for the holidays. The decor, the gifts, the sense of family, friends and community all come together to make this my favorite time of year. As an Interior Designer, I guess it is expected that I look for any excuse to, well, decorate :). Last year, I was fortunate to have my home featured in DesignNJ‘s “‘Tis the Seasonpiece on holiday decor. As I stated in that article, my take on holiday design is “… to stay true to the style of the home. Holiday décor should be an extension of what’s already there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and push things farther.”

I do have 3 easy tips for holiday decorating:  Consistent – Simple – Fun

Consistent – My home decor mixes well with holiday silver, white and gold. So, I chose accents for the tree, garland and interior accessories that coordinate with these colors and added a few accents of color. Creating a consistent feeling with the interior and exterior decor is also important for a seamless flow with your holiday decor.

Simple – Don’t overdo it. Trees with well placed ornaments and a balanced distribution of tinsel are appropriate. I have two trees in my home. A more casually decorated tree with family ornaments in the family room and an elegantly adorned tree in the living room which I dressed up with festive silver tinsel. A few personal holiday decorations in the entryway, beautiful flowers and festive candlestick holders in the dining room, and holiday accessories arranged in the living and family rooms set an understated holiday feel.

Fun – Enjoy what ever you do! I never like hearing that people are stressed or overwhelmed by having to decorate for the holidays. If there is too much to do and it detracts from having fun with your family and friends, cut back. Just put out a few simple things – maybe it’s just the tree in the front window and simple lights outside. Use the rest of your time to create memories with the special people in your life.

Holiday Decorations - Exterior

Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Holiday Decoration - Living Room

Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Holiday Decorating - Dining Room

Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Holiday Decoration - Family Room

Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Once I have my house all ready, it puts me in the spirit to start holiday shopping. At this time of year, I feel especially grateful for being part of such a wonderful and supportive community. I live in a town that has so much to offer. I think it is important to give back and support our local businesses. The store owners in Summit, NJ are so generous to all of our organizations and to the residents throughout the year and, I believe it is crucial to support them in return. This year, my holiday gift ideas feature items from businesses in my local town. I am sure if you do not live near Summit, NJ – you can call any of these stores and have your presents shipped.

I was very intent on highlighting one gift idea from each of my favorite shops in town, but there were just too many great ideas to narrow down my choices!

Paper Source

My first stop was Paper Source. I have to say I am obsessed with this store. For the holidays, the choices are endless – a great selection for gift decorating (gift wrapping just doesn’t do justice to this pursuit), holiday cards, gifts for anyone and everyone you can think of, and so much more. I loved working with the store manager, Debbie, whose attention to detail I so admire!!

Holiday Gift Ideas - Paper Source Summit, NJ

Paper Source | Summit, NJ

The Great House Bonny Neiman

Around the corner, Bonny Neiman at The Great House has such a great eye for all things related to the home and more. From vintage Santa Claus mugs, to mid-century modern home furnishings and now, a great selection of jewelry – the newly renovated SoHo inspired chic store is a place I could lose myself, and maybe my nest egg. I found tons of things for my list.

Holiday Gift Ideas - Great House

Great House | Summit, NJ

Frames for You

Got Art? I have been working with Mary Kiser at Frames for You for many years. Mary took over her family framing business and has been making her mark in Summit. Not only does she have a great eye for selecting the perfect frame for your art, but – she keeps a great selection of art for purchase at her shop. There is something for your golf lover, fashion lover, flower lover or just love lover!

Holiday Gift Ideas - Frames for you Summit, NJ

Frames For You | Summit, NJ

Wonder Dog Studio

Even though we don’t have pets to buy for (although we have been thinking about it), I know how people cannot get enough of the adorable gifts for their true best friends. Wonder Dog Studio has a wide selection for your pets. I particularly loved the dog house/teepee. And, it is a great place to send your dog when they or you need a vacation.

Holiday Gift Ideas - Wonder Dog Studio Summit, NJ

Wonder Dog Studio | Summit, NJ

Beauty Lounge

We all need to be well buffed and coiffed for the holiday party season. There is no place better to get you looking your best than the Beauty Lounge. Illyne Ganley, a former manager of Frederic Fekkai NYC, brings New York City styling to the ‘burbs’. Her hair stylists, colorists, eye brow sculptors, and make-up artists are the best in this area. And, she has amazing jewelry, accessories, clothing and gift ideas. I would be thrilled to have a gift certificate for some services or any of her merchandise – just saying…

Holiday Gift Ideas - Beauty Lounge Summit, NJ

Beauty Lounge | Summit, NJ


To stop by Hawthorne, is like walking into the home you want to live in. Owners, Lorie Combias and Patricia Crowl, have a well curated selection of art, furnishings and home accessories. Patricia is also the artist of this gorgeous vibrant blue painting pictured below. I fell in love with the ceramic pieces made by an artist in Bay Head, NJ – love local and who knew you could live at the shore and do art too!

Holiday Gift Ideas - Hawthorne | Summit, NJ


Murray & Finn

When you pop into Murray & Finn, you find yourself in the perfect children’s store. And, the day I arrived, owner Erica Finnan was there with her two adorable daughters who of course are the absolute best models! The shop is so well designed that you feel compelled to buy something. There are great gifts for both kids and moms-to-be.

Holiday Gift Ideas - Murray & Finn , Summit, NJ

Murray & Finn | Summit, NJ

Parker’s Petals

The Summit based sister team – Jaime and Dara Chesley – have brought their unique and sophisticated style to floral art that previously could not be found in this area. Parker’s Petals (Parker is Jaime’s awesome and award-winning dog) is the place to call for flowers to decorate your own home, buy a special arrangement for someone special or order a Holiday Party hostess gift.

Holiday Gift Ideas - Parkers Petals, Summit, NJ

Parker’s Petals | Summit, NJ

Willow St.

When I need that special and specific something to wear for a night out or just the right pair of jeans or a gift for a friend, I head to Willow St. Lezli Salz-Bradley and her amazing staff make this women’s (and now men’s) clothing store a local gem. Just tell them what you need – holiday attire, gifts, something for your significant other – and they will get you set up. You can also shop Willow St. online and in Morristown too!

Holiday Gift Ideas - Willow St., Summit, NJ

Willow St. | Summit, NJ

Wool & Grace

Knitting is the new meditation. Just read this New York Times article and you will be in knitting zen in no time. Summit is lucky to have the most well stocked and well staffed knitting mecca in the area. Patty Perry, the owner of Wool & Grace, has created a real oasis in her space. Stop by any day to find knitters, crocheters, and needle pointers honing their crafts under the guidance of Patty and her knowledgable staff. A great Holiday Gift – yarn, needles, a pattern or canvas and a gift certificate for a private lesson – your gift recipient will be hooked (pun intended?).

Holiday Gift Ideas - Wool & Grace, Summit, NJ

Wool & Grace | Summit, NJ

John Hyatt

For most men (or women who shop for their men), a well merchandised men’s store makes shopping so easy. John Hyatt offers just the right mix of traditional and classic men’s attire. Robert Carroll guides you to the perfect cashmere sweater, cords and a classic button down for your next Holiday Bash. There is a great selection of festive wear and perfect gifts for the man (or men ;)) in your life.

Holiday Gift Ideas - John Hyatt, Summit, NJ

John Hyatt | Summit, NJ

The Wine List of Summit

So, if none of those ideas fit the (over 21 year old) person on your list, it is time to hit The Wine List of Summit. Owner Ivan Ruiz and store manager Luis can steer you in the right direction for the wine enthusiast, the beer guy/gal or the bourbon drinker. You can grab a few bottles, cans or 6 packs or ask them to create a personalized basket for friends, family or clients. A bottle of something special is just right for your Holiday Party host/hostess.

Holiday Gift Ideas - The Wine List, Summit, NJ

The Wine List of Summit

I hope you will join me and shop local this holiday season. Give the gift of community.

Happy Holidays.