By Elizabeth McGiffert
After a hot and humid summer, I believe that we all look forward to Fall. When I think of Fall, I envision beautiful foliage, cooler weather and football. As a native of Tuscaloosa, I equate Fall with football as do most Crimson Tide fans. My fond memories of Fall include a cozy season with natural beauty and snuggling up to the fire with a fresh cup of hot chocolate. Another reason that I love Fall is that it signifies the beginning of holiday season. I truly cherish family time during the holidays and spending quality time with our extended families.
One of my favorite things to do is to prepare my house for the season. Decorating is a fun hobby of mine. The first thing I do is grab a big stack of magazines and go through them for inspiration. I turn down all of the pages that I like and get organized. I love new ideas combined with some of my old favorites. For Halloween, I pull out my favorite punch bowl and fill it with candy. I use my Halloween punch bowl more for decoration than I do punch. Pumpkins are a necessity to begin the season. As Fall approaches, I cannot wait to see the pumpkins pop up in our neighborhood. I am always curious to see which house will have the first pumpkin displayed on their front porch.
As we transition from summer to winter, Fall is our first opportunity to begin decorating. For Fall, I concentrate on my front door, foyer, dining room table and my island in my kitchen. Pursuant to my front door, I can never get enough pumpkins and gourds. I especially love big ones, but have all different colors, shapes and sizes. Orange does not work as well inside my house, yet I feel like I need some orange ones outside. The softer colored pumpkins have grown in popularity over the years. I am a firm believer that your foyer needs a glimpse of the season. I have a great French jardinière that can be filled to suit any occasion. My ingredients of choice are pumpkins, gourds, cabbages, squash, and fresh flowers. For Fall you can also use fun dried items that fit the season. My favorite decorating assignment is my dining room table. As a rule, it is more formal, but for Fall I like my wooden table to show. The dining room table is an original piece to my house. Each room is an octagon and so is the table. Setting my table is a pleasure as I build it around beautiful hand-painted china from my mother-in-law, Betty McGiffert. I also look for any excuse to use my sterling silver and heirloom linens. The more you use sterling the better shape it stays in. Florals are my favorite on the dining room table. I am definitely a flower person and can never have too many fresh flowers. For Fall I utilize florals, pumpkins, and natural elements of different textures in my centerpiece. Only the fresh flowers would need to be changed out over time. I do like a little yellow and a touch of orange in my arrangement for an Autumn look. I go very formal for Christmas, so a more casual look is interesting to me for Fall.
Our comfortable, gathering place is the kitchen. Therefore, I always want something fun and unique on my island because we are in there so much. My huge French scale is the perfect piece to do something in that you don’t ordinarily see. My advice is to embrace the colors and textures of Fall in your arrangements to reflect the beautiful foliage outside. We love to sit in the kitchen at the island with a fire going, a football game on the TV and a pot of soup on the stove.