Mary Anne Smiley’s Christmas collection started small. When she became a new mother over 50 years ago, the Dallas-based designer strung up homemade sugar cookies and hung DIY-ornaments to cover her barren tree.
Decades later, Smiley’s once-small ornament collection has grown. Her contemporary Dallas home boasts a gallery wall of Christmas cards, a mass of snow globes, holiday dishware, and even multiple themed trees. When asked recently to describe her vast trove of holiday decor in her own words, Smiley was speechless.
Ultimately, Smiley, whose eponymous company offers interior design plans, remodeling, and more, says she opted to stick to her Yuletide mantra—“Let Christmas mean something to you, in whatever that is”—when decorating her home for the holidays.
Each element of Smiley’s holiday decor, from the snow globe display and the extensive nativity collection to the hand towels sitting in her kitchen, has a special and personal story. “It’s really not about decorating in a theme,” Smiley says. “Tradition is what our [Christmas] is about.”
For example, one of Smiley’s many Christmas trees, the “Lady Tree,” started with a single De Carlini Lady ornament gifted to her by a client. Since then, family and friends have added to the De Carlini collection. The tree dedicated to these hand-blown figurines now sits front and center in Smiley’s living room.
Other special tannenbaums around her home include ornaments from around the world, a callback to Smiley’s travels, while another tree displays dog collars and paw-printed tributes to the family’s former pets.
But, Smiley says, “You really don’t have to have all of this to have a wonderful Christmas.”
After all, her collection began with just cookies.