Rachael Ray Is Skipping the Christmas Tree This Year But Her Home Still Looks So Festive

updated Dec 7, 2020
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Rachael Ray
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Rachael Ray has had a year. However, that isn’t stopping the “Rachael Ray Show” host from embracing holiday vibes in a whole new way.

You may recall that back in August, Ray and her husband John Cusimano lost their home in a fire. Since then, the couple has been living in a guest house on their property. And on the Tuesday, December 8 episode of her show, Ray will highlight how she went all out to decorate their home for the holiday season. However, there’s a unique twist this year: The couple is going sans-tree. 

“We lost our main home, our big house, but we absolutely would not let the holidays come and go without some decoration,” Ray tells the camera, while showing off some of her notebook doodles of inspiration she came up with at 3 a.m.

“Here’s a little holiday tour of what we did this very weird year to try and make it a little more festive around here,” explains Ray. “Instead of trees, we did garlands. I wanted partridges and della Robbia [wreaths]. And the garlands go all the way around the doors.”

Ray’s back porch serves as a wintry delight. Inspired by a musician friend’s weekly concert setup, she strung long strands of white lights vertically along the back wall, creating an illuminated backdrop that resembles falling snow. From the ceiling, paper lanterns that resemble falling snowballs hang, while two stuffed llamas with Christmas bows around their necks sit in the corner. Interspersed on the table are topiaries and trees in boxes, which Ray says reminds the couple that “it’s all about renewal.”

One piece that means a lot to Ray is the horse sculpture that was salvaged from the couple’s home they lost.

“In the center of our back table, saved from our house that burned, a horse sculpture that is exactly the same as my mom had in our house when I was a little girl,” said Ray. “I found it at a flea market.” 

One small Christmas tree does exist in the home, in contrast to Ray’s typical nine interspersed through her space. She wanted it to look like the cypress trees from where the couple were married in Italy, and adorned several branches with little white birds. Below, a collection basket for grapes, which Ray uses to make her favorite Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, is filled up with more garlands and partridges.

The use of della Robbia—a fruit-laden wreath named after the Italian sculptor Luca della Robbia—throughout the home stems from Ray’s own childhood with her grandpa Emmanuel.

“When I was a girl, he used to actually dip fruit in meringue and coat it with rock sugar and put it in fresh pine,” Ray explained. 

After this challenging year, Ray said the unique decor is a great way to make her feel comfortable while celebrating the season. 

“It’s not a lot, but these partridges and pears and sugar fruits and things, they do make me feel at home and nostalgic and grateful for the family I have and the life I’ve led, and I love that you guys are a part of it,” she said. “I don’t know where I’d be without friends and a community  and people so dear to me that helped me bring Christmas to life even when you’re not at home.”

The episode airs Tuesday, December 8. Viewers can find showtimes in their area here.