Ever wonder how venues like Von Jakob Winery & Brewery, Walkers Bluff and Marion Cultural & Civic Center put together such stunning Christmas displays? So did we, and Sarah Switzer, event coordinator and manager at Von Jakob, shared her insights with Life & Style.

Switzer and her crew devote a day -- or two or three -- to decorating Von Jakob to perfection.

“We put on Christmas music, bring in special food and hot chocolate, and invite extra staff to come out for the day to help,” she said. “We get in the spirit, and that makes it more fun!”

Life & Style: Do you have any hot tips or trends for decorating this year?

Sarah Switzer: Holiday decorating changes throughout the years, but the classics are always in style. We do incorporate some emerging trends to spice things up from year to year.

Gold and silver are popular, and mixing the two is being seen more and more. They really act as neutrals when holiday decorating. Also, the addition of non-traditional colors is quite popular. You see a wide variety of colors now, not just your traditional red, green, white, silver and gold; we are seeing pinks, purples, yellows, oranges – every color you can imagine!

L&S: What are some of the most important design principles you incorporate when designing Von Jakob for Christmas?

SS: Some of the design principles we use include color, pattern and symmetry. We have three main rooms that we decorate -- the Tasting Room, Winery Ballroom and Brewery Ballroom. We have a different theme and color scheme for each room.

The Tasting Room is decorated in your more non-traditional colors like pinks, blue, purple and yellow. Our Winery Ballroom is more traditional, decorated in mainly reds, greens and golds. Our Brewery Ballroom is also more traditional, with a red, green, brown, gold scheme in which we use more rustic decorations. As for pattern and symmetry, these are two design principles that really affect the aesthetics of the room, making it eye-appealing and balanced.

L&S: How can people at home translate some of these strategies on a smaller scale?

SS: I think all those strategies can be used in the home! Having a theme or certain color scheme for each room gives you a lot of freedom in using different decorations and styles. And keeping principles like pattern and symmetry in mind keeps things aesthetically pleasing.

L&S: What are some of the challenges you think people have in designing their home for the holidays, and do you have any advice for overcoming them?

SS: I think people have a hard time building up a stock of holiday decorations, having questions like ‘What should I buy?’ ‘How much should I buy?’ and ‘How will this fit together?’ Shop for holiday decor as soon as Christmas is over. and everything is on sale in order to build up your stock for the following year.

Have themes and color schemes in mind while shopping as well. I also think Christmas decorating can be overwhelming sometimes, so it is important to organize and label your decorations when you store them so that they are easy to find the next year. It is all about preparation!

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