Simon Doonan’s Holiday Challenge

If, like me, you remain so lethargic about holiday decor that you haven’t managed to procure a tree just yet (somehow last week’s hysteria in response to 5th Joy’s holiday finery did not, sadly enough, translate into me actually decorating my own home), maybe the following tips from Creative Guru Simon Doonan will get the juices flowing.  If you manage to take any of his advice, send in a photo of your decorated Christmas tree to Simon Doonan  – you might score an invitation to Slate magazine’s 2011 holiday party as a prize!  I realize the pay-off seems so very far away, and even – for some readers – very slight.  But just imagine the opportunity to hob-nob with Slate’s writers – that wild and crazy bunch – not to mention all the magazine’s web designers and programmers – even wilder and crazier – at their year-end bash!  I love Slate, and if their party contains the person of the magazine’s television critic, Troy Patterson, I would load a tree with the theme-iest kitsch I could find in hopes of making the cut.  Although I wouldn’t talk to him once I was there.  I would be too scared.  (Have you read his reviews?  The dude is smart.)  Unfortunately Simon Doonan uses the phrase “luscious” to describe what he’s looking for in the winning tree.  I’ve never made anything be  –  or even just seem – luscious in my life so I’m already out of the running.

Good luck and Happy Decorating!  The following is excerpted from Slate (entire article here):

First let me encourage you to divest yourself of all preconceived ideas about what holiday décor should look like. Remember that a holiday tree is a pagan symbol. There is, therefore, no restriction on what kind of creatively wacky theme you may adopt. Same goes for wreaths and garlands. Here are some broad concepts to get your juices flowing:

Necklaces.Holiday Hero. Dedicate your tree décor to an inspirational figure in your life. Last year, my pal Alexandra Morrill paid tribute to her stylish mother Cecile by adorning her three-foot tree with her massive stash of her mom’s costume jewelry. The result was magnifique. Before I die I fully intend to similarly memorialize my tough Irish grandpa. I envision a tree adorned with Guinness bottles and betting slips. A tree topper? I thought his flat tweed cap, pocket watch, and dentures might make a lovely garnish.

Mark Zuckerberg.Navel-Gazer’s Delight. The freaky rise of Facebook has left me staring at the horizon uncomprehendingly from my Internet wheelchair. I just don’t get it. However, being a magnanimous kind of dude, I would like to offer the following suggestion: If you are a Facebook addict, then your favorite hero is undoubtedly—drumroll!—YOU! So why not vomit your entire Facebook page onto your tree? Start by collaging and decoupaging the faces of your “friends” onto your holiday orbs. Sharpie their names, along with disparaging or complimentary remarks about them, onto white satin ribbons. Strew liberally. Now dismember your old discarded computers and swag your tree with colored wires, cables, circuit boards and hard drives. Glue your face to a cutout cardboard star and—voilà!—you can become your very own tree-topper.

Painting of a Campell's Soup Can by Andy Warhol.Have a Cubist Christmas. Everyone has a favorite artist or art movement. How about a Warholiday? One year I snagged every Warhol postcard I could find at MoMA and the Whitney. I attached them to the tree with those little metal clips that my pothead pals use to pinch their doobies. Aluminum foil bows added a reflective Warholian sizzle. The tree-topper? I gave a Barbie doll an Edie Sedgwick makeover complete with Campbell’s Soup can minishift.

Scrubber.Fluxus and Dada. One of the easiest and most fun approaches to holiday décor is to simply integrate improbable-but-attractive objects. Think Duchamp! Miniature whisks, purchased in large quantities from any catering supply store on the Bowery, add a dangly Dada elegance. Or try copper pot-scrubbers, which make a sparkly, rich, and surreal embellishment for either a tree or a garland. (Check out my current Foodie Holiday windows at Barneys Madison Avenue, where pot-scrubbers abound.)

Support My Husband. If you are disinclined to embark upon crafty ornament-making, then check out my Jonny’s tchotchkes at I highly recommend the new “Naughty and Nice” ornament package. All proceeds benefit Jonathan Adler and his immediate family.


P.S. Send pics of your creative efforts to by Dec. 16 and we will post a Slate holiday hall of fame. The creator of the most luscious tree will receive a no-expenses-paid invite to next year’s Slate holiday party in New York City. Who knows? Maybe you are an unsung talent waiting to be discovered! Maybe you have what it takes to become the next First Elf!

click photo to link to the source.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s