'I start getting excited about the holidays in July' – this is how designer Joy Moyler gets ready for Christmas in her home

For H&G columnist Joy Moyler, this is the most wonderful time of the year – she tells us how she celebrates and hosts

Joy Moyler
(Image credit: James Macdonald Photography)

I start getting excited about the holidays in July. The excitement usually strikes somewhere between my third and 15th summer ice cream. Something about excessive heat makes me think about the holiday season. Cozy thoughts of curling up in front of a fire with a brandy in hand, bathed in twinkling lights clutter my head. 

My husband and I adore cooking, so we look forward to entertaining. Christmas and New Year menus consist of roasted yams, bourbon-glazed ham, smoky braised brisket, garlicky Brussels sprouts, four-cheese macaroni and cheese and super buttery biscuits with maple butter. 

Supporting dishes are some favorite Indian dishes like garlic naan and saag paneer. The ever-present Spanish rice with olives and Moroccan roasted chicken round things off. Layers of spices and flavors make holiday celebratory meals even brighter. Spices also make for a lovely decorative application.

Tablescapes include references to ingredients found in the various dishes. Persimmon clustered in beautiful bowls, dotted with star anise, whole nutmeg and florals create a wonderful centerpiece. Of course, everything is bathed in flattering candlelight. I prefer a silver candelabra as the Christmas centerpiece. It places the light high and offers better candle stability on the table.

I have a fondness for vintage polished silver. Ralph Lauren Wentworth flatware looks like table jewelry because it’s heavy in the hand, classic, and beautiful in all settings. Lostine crafts wonderful candle holders which I really like. The Il Buco ironware and Marin wooden designs are beautiful with either modern Christmas decor or a traditional table. They also make great gifts.

I always have extra fabric around to fancy for the tablecloth. Pattern is a great measure to add more color to the table. Right now, I am eyeing Schumacher’s blue and white Empress Dragon fabric. Who doesn’t enjoy a good mix? Additionally, patterned textiles hide spills.

I prefer an informal approach for meal service. Dinner is served buffet style so guests can select what they prefer and dole out quantities of their choosing. More than anything, I want my guests to feel special and catered to. Although, I’m certain to enjoy myself as well. That begins at the door. My rule is ‘I will fix the first drink for you, after that, you’re on your own!’. Otherwise, you become the bartender missing your own party.

Round dining tables are always best to enhance communication. I’ve been sourcing some new tables for clients. Two of my favorites are the Rosebery dining table from Davidson London and Ben Soleimani’s Kingsley dining table. Dreamy new fireside William lounge chairs in velvet from Robert Langford would make for that perfect after-dinner elixir.

The holidays should be about giving more of ourselves. Our true selves, not the AI version but our real selves. Even if it could be scary sometimes. Let’s look forward to basking in more love and candlelight this Christmas. Cheers and blessings to you all!

Joy Moyler
Interior Designer

Joy Moyler, H&G's new columnist, is a US-based interior designer and creative mastermind. Before launching the A-list interior design services Joy Moyler Interiors 12 years ago, she worked for some of America's best interior and architectural design firms including, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Kohn Pederson Fox, and as head of Giorgio Armani Interior Design Studio.