Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sarah Richardson's Ideas for Celebrating Christmas in the Country

In my last post we had a look at how Sarah Richardson decorates for Christmas when they are at their city home in Toronto.  However, Sarah and her family also like to spend Christmas at their farmhouse in the country.  Let's have a look at how her country Christmas differs from the city one.

Canadian House and Home

Sarah likes to keep things cozy and casual, especially when she is celebrating Christmas with her family at her country home. Here she embraces decorating with elements found in nature. There are evergreen wreaths hung on mirrors and pots of paperwhites and amaryllis on mantels and tables.

Canadian House and Home
Canadian House and Home

Sarah uses lots of soft earthy colours, such as rust and olive green on the Christmas tree and her tablesettings - colours which suit the countryside.

Canadian House and Home

When Sarah is decorating her Christmas tree at the farmhouse, she likes to include decorations that she and her mother. Now that her daughters are getting older, decorations they make will likely be added to the mix.

Sarah loves making gingerbread houses with her daughters at Christmas time.  She often buys kits from Habitat for Humanity which have the houses already assembled so they can get right down to the fun of decorating.  

The whole family makes an expedition of finding the perfect Christmas tree on their property.  Naturally, it needs to be a big tree and when the right tree is found it is cut down by Sarah's husband.  Warm mulled cider is enjoyed by everyone afterwards (recipe at the end of the post).  

Entertaining is kept simple.  The table is a charming mix-and-match combination that might include (as it did one year) silverware from her mother-in-law, antique Limoges plates from her own other, dinner plates from her grandmother, and placemats made from an Irish linen runner.  Family and friends are treated to her Molten Chocolate Cake (the recipe is below).

Whole allspice berries
Whole cloves
Ground nutmeg
Cinnamon sticks
Kitchen twine
Tins or jars for packaging
Wrapping paper for labels
Shipping tags for gift card/ instructions

1.  Cut the cheesecloth into 7 by 7 inch squares (you may want to use a double layer)
2.  Mix equal parts of allspice and cloves together in a bowl
3.  Spoon a tablespoon of allspice/cloves + 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg into the centre of the square of cheesecloth
4.  Tie closed with a length of kitchen twine
5.  Trim the excess cheesecloth away from the top
6.  Package into tins or jars – ideally 4 to 6 sachets per gift, top with 2 cinnamon sticks per sachet
Serving instructions:
Heat 4 cups of unsweetened apple cider with 1 sachet of mulling spices and 2 cinnamon sticks over medium heat until cider is warm and spicy.  Serve with a cinnamon stick as garnish (be sure to pour into heat safe glasses or mugs).

1/3 c unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Melt butter and chocolate in a pan over low heat (you may wish to use a double boiler if you have one)
2. Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks – set aside in separate bowl
3.  Blend egg yolks and sugar using electric mixer on med speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy
4.  Add vanilla and chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and beat on med-high for 2- 3 minutes until it resembles whipped pudding
5. Fold the flour into the chocolate mixture by hand, but do not overmix
6. Fold egg whites into the batter lightly until blended
7. Grease a muffin tin
8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
9. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin (this recipe makes 6 individual cakes)
10. Bake for 5 – 6 minutes (the key is have a liquid chocolate interior)
11. Use a knife to carefully loosen the cakes from the tin

Raspberry Puree:
1 container frozen fresh raspberries
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp lemon or orange zest (optional)
1 tsp orange juice

1. Cook on medium to high heat for 10 to 15 minutes stirring constantly (or until raspberries have dissolved and mixture has started to thicken – it should not be as thick as jam when complete. If it won’t thicken, add a bit more sugar and turn up the heat a bit). You may put the mixture through a sieve to strain the seeds, but I like it with the seeds
2. Serve individual cakes on a puddle of raspberry puree while still warm
3. Garnish with fresh whipped cream (or ice cream) and chocolate shavings

Christmas in the country is definitely a change of pace to Christmas in the city.  While Sarah is the master of keeping Christmas simple, this one really seems warm and welcoming and calm.

Which would be your preference - Christmas in the city or Christmas in the country?


  1. I never get tired of looking at her decorating! Such a gorgeous and cozy home. As much as I love the city, I am most at home in the country.

  2. I live in the country & love natural things to decorate with, so my choice would definitatly be the country Christmas theme.

  3. I love the country house best, but the city house is equally beautiful all dressed up for the holidays! It's too bad we can't see her lake house decorated for Christmas, but I'm guessing it's inaccessible that time of year.

    Great posts!

    xo Kat

  4. Hi Grace - thanks for the tour of Sarah's country Christmas. Sarah is my favourite designer (unfortunately I didn't like her last TV show) and it's so nice to be reminded of the farm. This was one of my favourite renovations and Sarah does such a nice job with Christmas. I'm really getting in the mood this year. We had snow this morning but it's all gone now. J

  5. I think Christmas at the country house would be amazing. Such beautiful surroundings.

  6. I really enjoy seeing what Sarah Richardson decorates, she has her own ideas regarding of style and colour. A very fun post.

  7. Hmmm. I may have to rethink my City-girl roots. Christmas in the Country looks so inviting. And aren't her daughters adorable? Hubby's not bad either.

    Cheers, M-T

  8. Love her fabulous country house - doesn't look anything like the 84 year old farm house I live it!! Definitely prefer the country Christmas :) Thanks for the city/country contrast - they were great!!!

  9. I have a weakness for molten chocolate cake! I like both her styles (city and country). Wow, those corbels in the entry to the dining room are fantastic!!!