Serge Vaillancourt loves Christmas and starts decorating his three-bedroom home in early November and usually has everything in place by mid-month in time for the Santa Claus Parade. Decorations usually come down after New Year’s Day.
“Last year for the IODE Holly and Ivy Tour, I was taking down Halloween decorations and putting up Christmas ones,” he says.
Christmas Day is spent with family at his mother’s home, but Vaillancourt entertains often during the holiday season. Every room of the home is decorated, even the bathroom.
His taste in decor is Victorian and his Christmas theme is traditional. There are 11 trees on display including three large artificial ones dressed from top to bottom with colourful ornaments; many have been passed down from his parents’ and grandparents’ collections.
There are Christmas theme quilts on beds, poinsettia print pillows on chairs and beautiful displays of collectibles, such as Royal Doulton Santas.
In the mid-1980s Vaillancourt was responsible for decorating the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa. He worked for five years as the household co-ordinator for prime minister Brian Mulroney and his family.
His favourite place to shop for decorations is Home Sense, and he is planning a trip to New York City to get some new ideas.
“Christmas is a nice, happy time of the year,” says Vaillancourt, who enjoys dressing up as Santa for his young nieces and nephews.
The annual Holly and Ivy Tour presented by the Albert Ramsay Chapter of the IODE provides a perfect opportunity to get new ideas for holiday decor. The photographs for this feature were taken during the 2007 tour last November. The 2008 tour will take place Nov. 9.