A beautiful and trend-free holiday gathering demonstrates the power of tradition.
Written by Rebecca Christian
Photography by Peter Krumhardt
Produced by Krissa Rossbund
Walking into a richly appointed dining room for a formal but intimate holiday dinner is like reading a well-loved passage from Charles Dickens. There is a resonance that transcends time. As in the myriad film versions of A Christmas Carol, tradition can be interpreted and reinterpreted in infinite ways—as here, in a fresh and beautiful variation. But it never needs to be totally reinvented. That’s why it has become a tradition: It works.
This glowing room was designed by Krissa Rossbund, who as Traditional Home senior style editor is a discerning observer of design trends. Over the Christmas holidays, however, Krissa goes traditional all the way: “We’re all so busy this season that a sit-down dinner with all of its formal niceties is a lovely treat. Here we dialed into an atmosphere of adult elegance rather than glitziness.”
A menu of updated Yankee yuletide favorites has as its pièce de résistance a roast crown of lamb that declares “Behold Christmas!” Although she chose black accents to lend sophistication to the tablescape, Krissa didn’t want it to look heavy. “That’s why the black-and-white salad plates have a toile pattern, and the chargers are patterned in black lace,” she says.
Like a spectacular gift in understated wrapping, the room is enveloped in a lacy gray Scalamandré wall covering. “Gray is masculine,” Krissa observes, “but lace is feminine. I like the interplay.” In another nod to tradition, she chose curvaceous coupe-style champagne glasses rather than the slim flutes popular in recent years. (Think 1940s screen legend as opposed to post-millennial sylph.) Vintage silverware also resounds as tried-and-true. Krissa sought to avoid “overthinking” the look. Beauty and conviviality need no explanation, she points out. “They speak for themselves.”