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If we here at Bravo HQ were to crown one Real Housewife as Queen of Christmas, it would clearly be New York City’s very own Dorinda Medley. One only has to look at The Real Housewives of New York City pal's sprawling Bluestone Manor home in the Berkshires to see why — the 11,000-square-foot manse becomes a veritable winter wonderland the second Thanksgiving is over! The backdrop to many a RHONY squabble (and the infamous “I made it nice!” line), Medley’s vacation home is chock full of Christmas décor, each room dripping in ornaments, life-size Rudolph and Santa figurines, and twinkling trees everywhere. To say we are envious would be an understatement.
So when Home & Design caught up with the Real Housewife, Christmas was what we wanted to tackle — or more directly ,discuss how on earth she's amassed enough decor to fill a nine-bedroom home! “Literally since I was married I’ve been collecting items,” she told us. “And my mother was a huge decorator. On December 1st my father and mother would take everything down from the attic and just spend the whole day decorating.”
Clearly Medley inherited the Christmas spirit from her parents, but what we really wanted to know is where, oh where, does she goes for the best holiday décor? “Frontgate! I love Frontgate,” she dished. “And Grandin Road, they put out a catalog and I literally save it and I circle things and then order them.”
And when it comes to entertaining during the holidays, Medley says that her décor — from fancy to just a wee bit gaudy — is what makes her guests feel at home. “I love the response that people have to my decorating, it makes them feel at home,” she said. “I love when people are happy in my home. I love when they’re happy, when they’re eating. And I could even put the tackiest of things up, like my animated Santa who sings, but it brings this child out in them again. They’re like, ‘Well maybe I don’t have to be so fancy, maybe I can just enjoy the Rudolph!’”
True that, Dorinda. And while we’re not likely to score an invite to Bluestone Manor this holiday season, we can settle for the next best thing — decorating our own homes like Dorinda! Below we’ve rounded up our top 10 favorite Christmas items from Frontgate and Grandin Road, pieces that would surely get the Queen of Christmas’ stamp of approval.
The Oversized Wreath
If we’re talking luxurious holiday décor, this oversized wreath — available in a 48-inch and 60-inch size — is the item everyone should own. Perfect for hanging on your house or above your mantle, the wreath is understated with its burlap bow and hanging pinecones, but over-the-top in its magnitude. Pre-lit with clear LED lights, this wreath is the focal point your outdoor décor scheme needs this year. (Bonus: The 60-inch version folds in half, making year-round storage more manageable.)
The Life-Sized Nutcracker
While no one really “needs” a six-foot-tall nutcracker in their home, surely we all want one. And if we’re going to have one greeting guests at the front door or flanking our Christmas tree this year, this LED animated version is the one to buy. Crafted from fiberglass (it weighs 62 pounds!) and hand-painted in metallic colors, this nutcracker is like something you’d see at a Disney theme park — not something you’d imagine being able to have in your own home. Its arms beat a drum while a loop of eight classic Christmas songs play simultaneously, and a timer means you can control how long the music/lights play.
The Merriest of Door Greeters
What does your nutcracker need this year? A companion, of course! And there’s no better mate than Santa Claus. This one blew us away with its motion-activated technology — when someone comes close, Santa bellows, “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!” and then bursts into song while his black mitten waves and more than 1,200 LED lights blink inside his bag of presents. Looking to impress your neighbors? This is how you do it.
The Bag o' Presents
Who doesn’t want to see their name under the tree on Christmas morning? Surprise your family with these personalized bags, which you can fill with each other’s presents — avoiding the gift-grabbing squabbles your kids will inevitably land in once the unwrapping starts! Or, alternatively, you can fill one with fake presents and use as décor all season long. Made of felt, faux fur, and sparkling rope cording and bells — because what’s Christmas without bells?! — these bags are super high-quality and about as festive as you can get.
The Most Realistic Fake Tree Everrrr
We get it, ditching a real tree and going the faux route is a tough decision to make. But once you’re ready for a fake tree, Frontgate is the only place to shop. Home to dozens of crazy life-like options, our favorite is the nine-foot Fraser, which comes in at six feet wide and is comprised of 1,650 clear LED mini lights. With only one cord, the tree takes a matter of minutes to build, and looks so real you’ll be asking yourself why you waited this long to make the switch!
It's Raining Candy Canes
Nothing says “Christmas” quite like candy canes, and what’s even better than the real thing are these giant oversized versions that you can use as décor. Stick them in a planter, add them to your faux holiday arrangements, tuck them in your mantle-hung stockings, or place them in Santa’s boots…
These Boots Are Made For... Delivering Toys
That’s right, Santa’s boots can be yours, too. This might be our favorite item on this list because the boots are big enough that no one will miss them, but also small enough that you can place them in a variety of spots that will work perfectly. Front stoop? Check. Next to your fireplace? Check. At the bottom of your staircase? Check. Fill with foliage and the aforementioned candy canes, and this will be the item you can’t wait to unpack every December 1.
Ditch That Cord
This holiday season, we are all about that cordless… greenery, that is. Seriously, once you go cordless, you won’t go back. No more searching for outlets, no more running extension cords all around the house to sync up to an outlet. Now you can actually have a lit wreath on your door! And if you’re going to have a lit wreath, you might as well opt for this stunner comprised of not one, not two, but three berry- and ornament-adorned wreaths, all adhered to an oversized red ribbon that makes your front door look like a present. Done and done.
Because Christmas Is About Love... And Presents
Speaking of presents, you need them flanking your front door, obviously. We love this topiary for a myriad of reasons, chief among them the sturdy quality of the item, which is a mix of resin and fiberglass. The best part? The presents are hollow and can be nested into one another for easy storage come January.
An Elegant Rudolph
Need a pop of color to accent your clear lights outside this Christmas? Look no further than these striking deer figurines. Made from cast aluminum and painted in a shiny, “It’s Christmas!” red hue, the deer are slim enough to work in a narrow doorway, or can be propped on lawns, in between bushes, or inside — personally, we think the sitting deer perched next to the fireplace would be ADORABLE. Yes, really.
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays 9/8c.
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