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Savor the holidays

by: VERN UYETAKE, Phyllis Tanner of West Linn said the holiday season is very special to her family. That’s why Tanner’s season lasts twice as long. She said she begins decorating for the Christmas holiday before Halloween. That way, when December hits, she can spend time with loved ones.

Elves and Santas peek from garland, tree branches, centerpieces and sideboards.

Shades of rosemary, maroon and deep woodsy-greens blend with cream and white accents. The warm flicker of candles and white holiday lights illuminates décor throughout wide hallways, expansive sitting spaces and plush couches facing fireplaces.

The restful rooms within the West Linn house provide comfort and relief from arctic conditions outside. With each holiday display carefully crafted, the sanctuary is intimate, but as pristine and stately as Christmases at the White House.

As a centerpiece within the heart of the home, an elongated curving staircase is draped in garland with fluffy maroon bows.

'When I was choosing a house, I wanted a large staircase and entryway to decorate. I always keep Christmas in mind when buying a house,' said homeowner Phyllis Tanner. 'The staircase was fun to decorate - but you've got to have big decorations, otherwise they just get lost. They have to be big to make a statement.'

Big, bold statements envelope the main floor of her home; Santas are perched on columns and an upside-down tree dangles baseball sized-ornaments in the foyer.

'I used to buy small ornaments,' said Tanner. 'Now I have a theme: if it's big, buy it.'

The living room off the entryway incorporates a white tree as a backdrop for girly embellishment. Pink and purple ornaments in the shapes of purses and high heels hang amid elves and Santa Clauses in the snowy branches of what Tanner calls her 'carnival tree.'

Close-by, the dining room incorporates metallic teal blues and silvers into an icy winter wonderland. A silver platter provides reflection for sparkly trinkets sprinkled upon it. In the corner of the room, a potted tree with ornamentation earned a skirt - similar to a bed skirt - around its perimeter. The added fabric enhances the room's theme and provides color to an otherwise overlooked corner.

Above the dining table, a chandelier is draped with peacock feathers, teal ornaments and crystal stems resembling icicles. Light glistens from the fixture upon crystal glassware below.

'There's no 'kids table' in my family. We all eat together,' said Tanner. 'I love having family here Christmas Eve.'

What is usually an animal-inspired family room, changes to Santas snuggly workshop, come wintertime.

Rustic reds, plush carpeting and oversized features - a huge hanging mirror, thick candles, chunky pillows - soften with the flicker of lights on the mantle. Garland overlaps a wreath mid-fireplace with fruit, leaves and twinkling lights. A puffy couch sits front and center.

'I brought in some blankets which gave it that Old World feel. Then I found ribbon which matched perfectly and all the elements came together,' said Tanner. 'It works well. I love the soft warm cozy feeling during the holidays.'

But the transition from summer styles to December decorations doesn't happen overnight; and certainly not after Thanksgiving.

Tanner said she usually spends four weeks decorating - beginning a few days before Halloween - in order to finish up before her first holiday party. By decorating early she said she can then enjoy the holiday season with her friends and family.

'I love the colors - especially cranberry - the joy and magic of (the holidays). I started decorating years ago and it just grew and grew,' said Tanner. 'The whole holiday season is just fabulous - getting dressed up, family, the magic and all the festivities.'