Only the fantastical mind of Jonathan Adler could consider using the phrase "happy chic" as a verb. Yet somehow, that's exactly what he teaches the reader in his new book, "100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life" (Sterling Signature, 2012), which is packed with gorgeous photos of interiors, sketches, lists of recommendations and words of whimsy.
Here are some tips from this design/life guide, plus a last piece of advice from the man himself:
Contact information ( * required )
• Put tables under tables. "One can never have sufficient number of low tables and cubes at the ready," he writes in the book. Nesting them keeps them out of the way for when the chowing stops and the dancing begins.
• Try your hand at cross-stitch. Adler provides this as a year-round tip, but the nostalgia of thread and needles works perfectly for the holidays.
• Do something a little strange. Everyone will have snowflakes and candy canes. Put out something that people will remember specifically about your house. "Probe the inappropriate parts of your mind, then go public with what you find," Adler writes of his knack for subverting the norm.
• When all else fails, bring a guest. Adler says this is his number-one tip for any family gathering. "Be sure to have at least two non-family members there. Then everyone has to act a little more civilized than they really are," he suggests, fervently. "It's something I learned over many years of trial and error. This is the answer."
-- Bettina Chang