As an interior design firm, we know (and see) the pressure to keep up with the newest, trendiest items that are thrown at us each day. It’s even more overwhelming during the holiday season with companies pushing gifts for every single person in your life — your mother, friend, in-laws, the person who has everything, and the list goes on. 

We’ve honed the art of making this season enjoyable — overbuying is overrated. Shocking coming from us, we know. But our ADJ team has cultivated the perfect holiday season recipe… 

A pinch of nostalgia 

Remember the days of going to Famous-Barr to peruse the holiday displays and being inspired in real life? Now, it all seems to be endless online scrolling, and we’re missing that in-person muse. 

ADJ team members April and Meagan love to bring that nostalgia back by visiting the many awesome local shops around St. Louis (and even in their travels abroad or across the country). From handmade candles to handcrafted home goods to local art, shopping locally quickly evokes all the feelings. There’s nothing like touching and seeing items and holiday displays to select the perfect gift for someone special in your life.   

And it doesn’t have to be a physical item. Think about your favorite things to do during the holidays while growing up. Maybe it was sipping hot chocolate with your cousins or ice skating with friends. Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we need to give up those holiday dreams! Grab your loved ones and take a stroll together down historic Main Street in St. Charles, see lights at Missouri Botanical Gardens or the Zoo, or visit the Winterfest at Kiener Plaza. Whatever brings you joy — get out there and make new traditions and beautiful memories!   

A dash of togetherness 

For April, her Southern roots mean food is love for her and her family. Her sister flies in each year for an all-day Christmas cookie-baking extravaganza, and on Christmas Eve, the family enjoys a delicious meal. Before they gather around the table, April loves to take a moment to set her table (and the mood for their holiday celebration). 


Meagan not only has her own family tradition of a big cookie-baking day but carries on a long-standing tradition of hosting Christmas brunch. It was something her grandma started, then her aunt, and now she’s carrying the custom on including making her grandma’s casserole recipes! 

A sprinkle of stillness

We’re constantly hustling and bustling from November to New Year’s with seemingly never-ending to-do lists, gifts to shop for, rooms to decorate and clean, and so on. 

Make sure you set aside time for some low-key activities, like movie-watching. Meagan recalls how her mom took her as a child to see Polar Express in theaters on Christmas Day — what a treat! Now, Meagan transforms their living room into a tranquil movie theater with fluffy pillows, warm blankets, and hot chocolate (with marshmallows) for her family. Her Christmas tree with pink ornaments and soft-white twinkle lights provides the perfect backdrop for a night of family fun and relaxation. 

For April, the unique gifts she finds in local stores call for wrapping that makes a statement, which is where she finds joy. Whether it’s pairing a velvety red ribbon with black wrapping paper (who says gift wrap must only be red and green?!) or picking the picture-perfect nametag, some might say April is the queen of wrapping gifts. 

Happy Holidays

From our family to yours, we hope you have a fabulous holiday season and find your joy in the simple things.