Hey, Baby New Year, Pass Me That Mantle Scarf!

When those post-Christmas sales hit, and I hit the stores, I don’t look across the ransacked aisles and see a rumpled, partied-out spirit of Christmas Past…

I see Victorian decorating on a budget.

After all, what we largely consider a “traditional” Christmas actually has its roots in Victorian England. So, many decorative items slated for the holidays work perfectly well in a Victorian home on any day of the year.

The Victorians were all about jewel tones—rich reds, greens, blues, and purples. And while these colors can be impossible to find during spring and summer, at Christmas they’re a staple (and after Christmas they’re a steal). So if you’re looking for slipcovers, goblets, lampshades, candles, or throws in red, deep blue, hunter or plum, this is the time to snap them up. They’ll be gone once that Annual Retail Time-Warp happens and Spring pastels bloom mysteriously in February.

And while we’re on the subject of bold colors... if you love Victoriana, all that glitters might very well be gold. Often considered too-gaudy for its own good most of the year, at Christmas, suddenly gold has this seasonal popular resurgence, with stores boasting displays to even satisfy Midas.

Then, come January, once again it’s, “Be gone! Away with you, gold! You are tacky and sicken me! Silver is the new gold now!” (Home fashion is so darned fickle.) But for folks who like Victoriana, the mercurial nature of retail is really just bonus; because from stately chargers and candlesticks, to elegant mirrors and bejeweled picture frames, if you’re going to go for the gold, the time to get it is now. And cheap.

It’s also the right time of year to secure heavy Victorian fabrics like jacquard and velvet. I got these velvet table runners at Dollar General right before the holidays at just a few bucks a piece. You’ll probably want to avoid items printed in holly or other seasonal patterns (and on jacquard, the pattern can be subtle, so it’s smart to look carefully). But it’s easy to find appropriate mantle scarves, tablecloths and tablerunners to use whenever. The Victorians loved their textiles, and Christmas offers some luxurious options.

And while you’re shopping, don’t forget to visit the craft store. Craft stores can be an unexpected resource when you’re a bit of a neo-Victorian. My favorite ornament to use all year round is the Victorian tassel. No, they don’t serve any particular function—unless you have a playful cat or a high-stress job. But the look is distinctly Victorian. And on a drawer pull, doorknob or curtain tie-back, they can be a fun little addition.

Victorian-styled ornaments like tassels, fans, old-fashioned shoes, and cherubs are also a nice way to top off a gift any time of the year. Many come in sage greens and rose colors, which work as appropriately on packages in June as they do in December.

So if you begin to suffer from the post-holiday blues, just remember: the comforting richness of the season can stay with you all year round. And for a fraction of the cost you’d expect.