Christmas with Southern Lady

Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady. Photography courtesy of Southern Lady Magazine.

The following is an excerpt of an article in the December/January issue of VIP Jackson.


Christmas with Southern Lady, Volume 2, is a second installment of holiday inspiration published by Hoffman Media. The first volume appeared in 2013. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Whaley, Editor of Southern Lady Magazine and editor of Christmas with Southern Lady, about Hoffman Media’s lovely new holiday book.


This 160-page hardcover book highlights the defining features of a classic Southern Christmas with sections on home décor, floral arrangements, table settings, and delicious food. The book captures the variety of ways that Southerners love to celebrate the season. Whether trimming the tree or preparing a classic Christmas dinner, this latest volume is sure to inspire a memorable holiday.

VIP: How does Volume 2 of Christmas with Southern Lady differ from Volume 1? Is the plan to publish this Christmas book every other year?
Kathleen Whaley: With Volume 2 we give readers a lot of Christmas ideas and inspiration, and we offer new recipes and tablescapes using pretty china and beautiful homes decorated for the season. There are a lot of similar ideas between the two books, but in our new book there are new twists or angles. We don’t yet know if we will publish this book every other year.

VIP: Do you have personal favorite holiday gifts to use as host or hostess gifts? The White Chocolate Snack Mix looks fabulous!
KW: This blend of sweet and salty tidbits makes an irresistible flavor combination. Mix up plenty of it as it disappears by the handful. Pistachios and dried cranberries add the Christmas color. This gift might be placed in a beautiful container that the hostess may keep after the season has passed. It makes the gift a two-for-one.

All of the recipes are developed in our test kitchen by professionals and created especially for the book or the magazine. When I think of hostess gifts I sometimes pair a favorite gift with the packaging. For example, I might wrap a gift in a pretty tea towel so the recipient may enjoy the delicious food gift but also have an attractive tea towel to use for years to come. This time of year really lends itself to opening up to people in the exchange of gifts. Homemade food gifts are one of the best ways to share your heart. It’s really personal. It’s a nice way to approach Christmas gifts with neighbors and church friends and all of the special people in your life.

VIP: What’s new on the package decorating scene? I love the Faux Snow packages in which you used doilies, lace and frills.
KW: Vintage prints, chunky yarn, and lace accents lend beaucoups of charm to a cottage Christmas. Even brown craft paper takes on an elegant look when wrapped with twine and sprigs of greenery. Gift wrap is a way to share yourself with the people that you love. A lot of people focus on the gift part, but they skip past the gift wrap and the presentation, which makes gift giving really fun and adds to the joy of gift giving. Finding a look that suits your personal style is the way to go. If you tend toward a vintage style or natural look or gardening, craft paper might be the look for you. Shiny paper and fake snow is another way to present your personality and add to the fun of gift giving.

VIP: Tell me about ways to creatively decorate for the holidays.
KW: A variety of options are available. You might use an ornament as the vase to help hold flowers in place on a dinner plate. Look around and pull out things from your cupboard and find a new unexpected vase like a silver goblet for flowers. Christmas is an opportunity to really create your own kind of beauty of the season. For those fortunate enough to live in the far South you may extend your decorating to the porch.

VIP: Talk about including kids in Christmas celebrations.
KW: Christmas is for kids, too. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fancy side of decorating, but don’t leave the kids behind because it’s fun for them too. I love the idea of creating a special little nook for them to enjoy milk and cookies. I have great memories of sitting with cousins and having fun together and enjoying the Christmas season. And that’s what the season should be about.

The children’s table might be decorated in Tartan fabric and they might sit on tree stumps, which set a casual tone. With a set of crayons, wee ones may create their own place mat on the craft-paper table topper. A hanging lantern lends extra light to this playful space, and a plush wall mount is oh, so dear.”

For more information or to purchase Christmas with Southern Lady Volume 2, visit