How interior designer Anne Sage celebrates the holidays

There’s something about the holiday season that just makes everyone want to shine—both literally and figuratively. A sense of togetherness, a plethora of twinkling lights and sentimental baubles, and all the yummy foods available really do create an atmosphere unlike any other. We asked the wonderful interior designer Anne Sage about her plans for Christmas (and some of her holiday go-tos), and just like a certain shiny-nosed reindeer, she delivered!


Where are you spending your holidays?

My husband's family lives in the Palm Springs area, and Thanksgiving is their most cherished holiday, so we'll feast and kick off the season with them! Then, for Christmas, everyone comes to our house in Reno. We had snow last year, and all our California relatives were delighted, so I hope we get a White Christmas this year too!


How do you decorate your table? 

I love to use simple elements but repeat them in multiples for impact. For example, last year, I ordered 100 white pillar candles from Amazon and grouped them down the length of our table. The magic they created when all lit up was spectacular! (P.S. I put a runner of brown craft paper underneath them to catch the wax and protect my table!)


What's your favorite meal to serve for Christmas?

Our Christmas Day menu is always the same, but on Christmas Eve, we try out new recipes each year—and I love the adventure of planning, preparing, and serving that meal! Last year I made Italian wedding soup with every ingredient from scratch (even the tiny meatballs rolled by hand!), and as an appetizer we did this beautiful Winter Fennel Salad. It's a super easy, delicious recipe that can be prepared in advance, and it has a beautiful plated presentation that is sure to wow guests!


What's your favorite White Elephant gift idea?

I take huge pride in saying that my White Elephant gifts are always the ones people fight over and steal from each other the most! I love to curate little experience packages, which is totally doable even on a budget. A great example of a past hit is a spa-night-in with:

  • A couple sheet masks: These are my favorite sheet masks, both to use and gift to others. They're such a good price, and i buy them in bulk so i always have some on hand—they REALLY work to brighten and plump stressed holiday skin.
  • A mini hand cream: A great stock-up item for White Elephants (and stocking stuffers too) is Lanolips 101 ointment. It's the only thing I've found that soothes my chapped winter skin in our 7% humidity mountain climate! Plus, the packaging is so cute. People really love this one. 
  • A can of sparkling rosé: My fave rose is House Wine's Rosé Bubbles—it's right down the middle of sweet + dry, bubbly enough to feel like a party, tastes great on its own but mixes well too (I use it to make an Aperol spritz instead of Prosecco!). Plus, I hate wasting a whole bottle when I just want a single glass, and this is the perfect share-for-two size!
  • And a gourmet chocolate bar: At the beginning of the holiday season, I buy an 8-pack of Hu chocolate bars—you never know when you'll need a little treat for someone (White Elephant exchange, a hostess gift, or for yourself while hiding from your family in the bathroom, haha!). Plus, they're truly delish, and also great for people with all manner of dietary considerations!


What are your favorite traditions? 

One of my favorite holiday traditions is on Christmas Eve afternoon when I escape into my bedroom to wrap gifts by myself. It's a little alone-time break from the hustle and bustle of the season! Plus, I'm an excellent gift wrapper if I do say so myself, and it's fun to get creative with my bows, papers, and tags. I put on carols, sip a cocktail, and pretend I'm one of Santa's auxiliary elves! 


Anne Sage has been blogging since 2008 with her signature smart yet stylish approach to interiors, entertaining, wellness, and more. A graduate of Stanford University, she worked as a consumer strategist in Manhattan prior to becoming a full-time content creator.


In 2010, Anne co-founded the online lifestyle Rue Magazine; and in 2016, she co-founded Light Lab, a photo and events space in Los Angeles. She is also the author of an interiors book entitled Sage Living, which was released Fall 2015 from Chronicle Books. 


Currently, Anne splits her time between maintaining her own social platforms and offering client services in social media strategy, art direction, and photo styling. She lives in Reno, NV where she is in the process of restoring her family’s 4th generation historical home with her husband and daughter.

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