May 03, 2012

Mother’s Day is one of those times when a grand gesture seems too much, even though we would love to do something to say “thank you, Mom!” This celebration is not a major milestone like a 50th wedding anniversary. Still, we are talking about the person who has been there through our own life events, both big and small – and a small gesture doesn’t seem like quite enough.

So what to do?

Flowers? Wine? Chocolates?

All three?

All fine ideas, just not that original. This year, perhaps add a little fun and whimsy. Use a little imagination. For example, if you can’t take mom to the beach, why not bring the beach to your mother?

Beach vignette designed by Catherine Holliss. Photo © Catherine Holliss

I cannot think of anywhere we associate more with escape and relaxation than the beach. There is a reason for all those mid-winter travel posters with palm trees, white sand and aquamarine waves.

Still, we cannot all buy plane tickets for a Caribbean vacation with mom.

In a previous post on holiday decorating I talk about how to create a design vignette, or “tablescape.” This might be a personal corner where you display a treasured collection, a seasonal assemblage of objects—or it might be a mini-installation that evokes a place.

Create the perfect seaside mood with few well-chosen items that you gather together from your existing home decorations, or which you pick up from a home decorating store, like

In this case, I used sand, seashells and sand dollars collected from different trips to the beach and included a blue deco fish, seashell wall mirror and seashell table.

I show how to put these together in a charming way. In this case outdoors but you could create something on any flat surface in your home.

For those of you lucky enough to be able to invite mom over for brunch, set up the vignette as a centerpiece on the table, serve colorful drinks with fruit chunks on swizzle sticks and little umbrellas, serve fish tacos with black beans and mango salsa and play some calypso on the stereo.

Have some fun.

If you are putting your objects together as a gift package, consider wrapping everything in blue tissue paper and skip the sand—or put it into a small jar so she can make her own mini-beach.

Hopefully you’ll get a big smile and make a delightful memory that says “thank you” in a way she’ll never forget.


Written by Catherine Holliss

Interior Design Blog Writer,, LLC

Director of Interior Design, Sander Architects LLC.  


Photographs © Catherine Holliss unless otherwise noted. 

Blog Post © KOUBOO LLC. All rights reserved.