Christine Visneau runs a creative household. As the vice president of retail, art, and curation at hospitality design and management company MakeReady, she curates The Adolphus’ in-house shop, Commerce, and works on any creative endeavors for the hotel—from art selection to uniform design. But when she’s at home, she’s not the only one with an artistic eye. Her husband, Steven Visneau, is a photographer. Their teen girls, 15-year-old Amelie and 17-year-old Miette, dabble in creative thinking, drawing, dancing, painting, and jewelry design. So when it comes to the holidays, everyone has an opinion on decor. “It becomes difficult when you’re married to someone creative [when] decorating, because he has an opinion,” Visneau laughs. But, she admits, “where we’ve met in the middle is pretty great.”
Surprisingly, though, Christmas decor around the Visneau house is pretty minimal—in keeping with their equally minimal home. They opt for a simple tree with Scandinavian influences and greenery for adornment. “It’ll probably take me an hour to decorate,” says Visneau. But the simple design choices allow for the memories made to take the true spotlight: “I hope my kids will look back and say the holidays were fun and drama free.”
Visneau doesn’t host a lot during the holidays—her family usually takes a trip on Christmas Day—but she does make her celebrations memorable yet casual. “We have our immediate family over for Christmas Eve and make lasagna—we’re from Jersey and Upstate New York, so it’s not a very common thing here,” Visneau says. The cousins and grandparents then spread out to eat—no formal table set—before swapping White Elephant gifts. Even her gift giving is cozy—she bakes for two days, boxes up cookies, and delivers them to friends’ doorsteps. “I want my kids to look back on Christmas and know the smells—mom’s lasagna, or mom baking cookies,” she says.
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup lemon curd
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest together until smooth, scraping the bowl with a spatula a bit during this process. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt.
Add the flour a little at a time until just incorporated.
Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1-ounce balls, about 11/2 tablespoons. Place them on the cookie sheets and press with your thumb to create a little well in the center. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. If the indent from your thumbprint puffed up from baking, use a small spoon while the cookies are hot to reinforce the well. When cooled, fill each indentation with a scant 1/4 teaspoon of lemon curd.