Christmas with Lola Herndon

In Clinton Downing by Lola Magazine

“Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”- Norman Vincent Peale.


In my 28 years of holiday designing for homes, I have a genuine enthusiasm each late November waving a wand over the home of Dan and Lola Herndon.

Each Christmas they gather with daughter Bennett Herndon, son Rogers Herndon and his wife Liz, as well as their three granddaughters, Lola, Charlotte and Frannie. It is a home of warmth and grandeur that truly makes the season bright. Over the 45 years of their marriage, Lola has accumulated an exquisite collection of decadent Santa Clauses, splendid snowmen, whimsical fairies and elves. The most prevalent though is the expansive collection of more than 700 hand-blown ornaments from around the world that adorn her foyer tree among the twinkling lights. It is simply breathtaking.

It is a task that Lola delights in without any assistance. Bennett jokingly says her mom has a case of P.O.P.D., otherwise known as “Perfect Ornament Placement Disorder.” Each ornament has a fond memory and significant placement on the massive tree. From the moment you approach the entrance of the home, you are aware that the holidays are alive and well as the four seasons terrace the steps leading to the magically bordered front door of Christmas delight. This clearly sets the tone for entering the main rooms of the home.

Each year is more exciting unveiling the jewels carefully packed away from the previous year as well as new finds from the past months’ journeys. It is a day of pure imagination. As the swags of greens are hung over the mirror and mantles, the foundation is ready to transform this home into a wonderland of whimsy and endless amazement. They will soon have clusters of ornaments and pave clusters of blossoms. The palette for the designs is as vivid as the spectrum of colors that bring this home to life.

Each room embodies the uniqueness and brilliance of Lola’s spirit. It is a home of comfort without losing its character or signature style. Its opulence resonates candid images one might find on the covers of Veranda or Architectural Digest. With such beauty, one might find it unimaginable how much more breathtaking it could be during the holiday season. The key to creating a joyous holiday atmosphere is to balance out Christmas décor among her endless treasures. Among my favorites are the creations of French glass designer, Rene’ Jules Lalique. Their craftsmanship and simplistic beauty bring a twinkle to my eye.

That same twinkle is displayed by Lola as the day goes forth and each room is transformed. We have a joyous day of fellowship and fluffing up the home for an array of parties that are hosted within its walls. They are a must on each guest’s December calendar. An evening with Dan and Lola sets the tone for the merriment of the remaining holiday season for those who have the privilege of a bit of the holiday with the Herndon family.

I am grateful for the endless blessings and the opportunity to bring the joy of Christmas to life each year. It is amazing to be able to share a glimpse into my world of design and one of favorite ladies in my life named Lola. She is Louisiana and the lifestyle.