Winterthur, Part 1


Our extended family starts the Christmas season every year by gathering together and going on an outing.  Each year we choose different places, events and activities to enjoy together. But they all have one thing in common- they must get us in the Christmas SPIRIT!
This year we went to “Yuletide At Winterthur“.  Winterthur was the country estate of Henry Francis DuPont, located near Willmington Delaware. DuPont was an avid collector of Americana antiques and a horticulturist. Now a museum, Winterthur is a delight to the eyes! It’s massive mansion, naturally lanscaped grounds and world class museum give hours of astonishement and pleasure.  It had something for everyone in our large group!  If you live within driving distance of this magical place  you should visit- it will be a highlight of your Yuletide season!
For our visit, Winterthur was dressed in it’s holiday best. As a Christmas treat, I will be bringing you the beauty, inspiration and wonder of Winterthur in several  December posts!
Winterthur is filled with Christmas trees at every turn- resplendent in magnificant themes and dripping with drama and beauty!
As we arrived at the Mansion we were greeted by festive and friendly people as well as 2 dazzling Christmas trees mirrored on either side of a huge window in the reception area. 
Happy, gilded and bright, these trees stood in glass alcoves overlooking the bucolic grounds. Over-dressed and every inch embellished, they set the tone for the glorious surprised we were yet to see.
I was fasinated that the base of the tree was a gift box. Very creative. It set the mood for a gift-of-a-tree!
Both trees were similar in color, and design, but the decorations were subtly different.
The tree on the right had more of a natural element, but full of glitzy leaves and frills!
Red sparkling netting swathed the tree bringing an element of drama and rich color!
An explosion of colorful Christmas balls gave shine and punch! And playing a supporting role, bunches of berries brought a bursts of color and that extra pizzaz! The berries and balls were also placed on the inner branches of the tree. This gave this evergreen depth and great richness!

This is a case of “more IS more“! Many different leaves in color and texture and glitz! Beautiful!!!

A fireworks effect of berries adorned the top of the tree.
The tree on the left side of the reception area carried the same colors and some of the same elements as it’s sister tree on the right, but it was arrayed with glitter-laden poinsettas, golden holly and jeweled fruit.
This beauty was wrapped in a green gossamer ribbon. Christmas balls popped out of the tree on long picks for a very interesting and profuse look.  I am looking for these. They were beautiful on the tree!
A darling pinecone hung from a bough. Notice the Christmas ball behind it echoing the pinecone. The attention to this kind of detail makes the tree so interesting.
This tree, like the other had gilded leaves of every kind. 
Arrayed in yuletide splendor, these trees not only gave great visual delight but I was also “gifted” with some great decorating tips:

*Many elements can be used, especially if you want a well embellished look, but the color palate must be kept simple.

*Metalic and sparkle can be mixed for a very rich look
*Decorating a tree from the inner branches out gives depth and interest to your overall design.
*Don’t ignore the base or the top of the tree.  Have something interesting to look at so the eye travels the whole length of the tree.
*Using wide ribbon as garland adds softness and color.
*Repeat, repeat, repeat elements for a cohesive look.
*Sometimes less IS NOT more!
*Think outside the ornament box.  Use greens, and picks of berries.  Find interesting things to nestle in the tree. 
*Get inspired, look for ideas to use as a springboard to create looks you love.
*Don’t overtink it.  If you love it, then it’s right!
I will be sharing several more trees (and more decorating tips) from Winterthur along with my own tree that has been inspired by these beauties!


  1. says

    Lovely tree thanks for sharing it. Loved the inspiration….each year I try new colors on our tree – I’ll keep checking your blog for new ideas.

  2. says

    I’m really glad this isn’t your tree or I would have to hate you. I keep saying I need about 500 more things to put on mine this year…and now I realize that is the truth. I love the package base of the tree, how clever. I love this tree…and I now find mine a bit pathetic!


  3. says

    I am in the middle of putting up our tree but keep stopping for a cup of tea and to check out blog-land for inspiration, these are stunning, all I need now are “how to” step by step instructions :-), happy decorating, Kathy.

  4. says

    Oh, thank you for sharing your outing. Winterthur is one of my favorite places and fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to visit several times. I can only imagine how wonderful it is at Christmas. ~ Sarah

  5. says

    The trees are so beautiful, but your wonderful descriptions made them even more enjoyable! I really also enjoyed hearing about your family tradition. I hope to visit Winterthur someday, thank you, Yvonne for the lovely story!
    Happy Holiday, Andrea

  6. says

    I love it… a bit busy but I keep looking and looking at all the different elements. I love it. Thanks for sharing.. I am trying to get new ideas for our tree.

  7. says

    What a nice tradition for your family. My family and I were at Winterthur last fall. It was great to see all of the harvest displays, but Christmas must be spectacular. Did you go to Long Wood Gardens?

    – The Tablescaper

  8. says

    Thanks for the trip to Winterthur. I have been there once during the early summer when I also toured the gardens. They were very beautiful. I live in southcentral PA, so it is in driving distance. I think the holiday decorations are a reason to return.

  9. says

    Ivonne! I’m so excited to have found you…I adore your Xmas trees, I’ll show you mine when I finish fixing it! You’ve got such terrific and elegant taste.
    Wish you the best Thanksgiving.

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