Text by Katie Ellis
For Maggie and David Griffin and their two young sons, Henry and Samuel, Christmas is a family affair that begins well before Thanksgiving. “Generally, we start in early November,” Maggie admits. “We love Christmas! I decorate super early so we can truly enjoy it for a longer period of time.” From following the Advent calendar and reading all of the Christmas books passed down from David’s mother to donning matching holiday pajamas, the Griffin family wholeheartedly embrace their holiday traditions. “Christmas with children is so very special. We talk a lot about how Christmas is really about being with those we love and celebrating the arrival of Jesus,” Maggie says. “Our neighborhood is full of young families with kids, and sharing in the excitement is a highlight.”
The Griffins have called their 1945 cottage charmer in Gainesville, Georgia, home since 2015. And while its chic, Southern style definitely delights year-round, there’s no doubt the home shines brightest when dressed for the holidays. “My style is definitely about a mix of old and new,” says Maggie, an interior designer, “and that’s how I approach my clients’ homes, too.” From the front door to the back porch, you’ll find Maggie isn’t afraid to mix design elements and accessories from different periods and styles to create a cohesive, comfortable space for her family. “I prefer comfy upholstery, layered rugs, and a touch of chinoiserie,” she says. “Antiques are also fun to mix with modern elements, especially fresh works of art.”
Sticking to a rich palette of blues and greens, the Southern cottage exudes a fresh and welcoming panache. “I gravitate toward blues that remind me of sunny skies and beautiful oceans and the greens that remind me of growing up surrounded by lush farmland,” Maggie shares. “I have always felt that sticking with this ‘natural’ color scheme is the best place to begin and to punctuate that palette with bolder hues of coral or citron.”
The open-concept kitchen and keeping room is a great place to gather both for family and for entertaining. “With two young boys and lots of company, a space for our family and guests to relax while I am cooking has always been a priority at each of our homes,” Maggie says. “I love preparing a meal while our company can have a glass of wine, and I still feel a part of the conversation.” And Maggie is no stranger to playing host—especially during the holiday season. From small dinners with their neighbors to cocktail parties with friends, Maggie shares that she always keeps a festive table set. “During the holidays, I keep the table set for two reasons: I love the festive feel of a chic tablescape, and it’s already done if we have an impromptu dinner party!”
Thanks to the mild Southern climate, the Griffins can easily extend their holiday hosting outdoors, even in December. “The porch area is truly the reason we bought our home. We spend tons of time here,” Maggie says. “During the holiday season, we can enjoy the sparkle of the tree and the fire burning.”
Throughout the season, this family home glistens with hospitality, traditions, and charm. “The character and original elements gave us a warm feel from the start,” Maggie says, adding that “any excuse to come together with cheer, use all of my entertaining pieces, and to gather for the Christmas season” only adds to the home’s warmth and holiday glow.
See the full tour of Maggie’s home in our Christmas 2019 issue.