The singer opts for cooler tones to create an "atmosphere of peace and joy" this holiday season

By Greta Bjornson
December 19, 2019 12:13 PM
Alex Arroyo

If you walk into “I Will Survive” singer Gloria Gaynor‘s home this holiday season, you’ll be greeted with pine trim entwined with twinkling lights, shimmering oversize ornaments dripping from the ceiling and crisp white poinsettias tucked into the corners of the room.

But to Gaynor, the holiday decorations in her home create much more than a festive aesthetic — they set the tone for the season.

“The decorations seem to engender an atmosphere of peace and joy,” she says.

Gaynor, 70, who was nominated for two 2020 Grammys last month — Best Gospel Performance/Song for “Talkin’ ‘Bout Jesus” and Best Roots Gospel Album for Testimony — begins her decorating promptly after the Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten, starting her decorating process the weekend following the November holiday.

“I generally have my decorations finished by [then],” she says, “and I leave them up until the 12th day of Christmas, Jan. 6.”

Adam Shanker

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She’s so dedicated to her decor, she even varies the color palette by floor, explaining, “I wanted my basement and first floor to look different, so I decorate the basement with traditional red and gold, and upstairs with blue and silver, since blue is my favorite color.”

Her Christmas tree sports the silvery palette; it’s adorned with metallic ornaments in turquoise, royal blue and silver, draped in twinkling lights and topped off with a glowing light blue star.

Adam Shanker

It’s already served as the backdrop to one of her inaugural TikTok videos, in which she does the “I Will Survive” challenge with a friend in front of her sparkling tree.

Adam Shanker

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Although her home is full of lights, figurines and festive accents, Gaynor isn’t one to splurge on all-nnew decorations each season. Instead, she prefers to keep it traditional and bring out familiar pieces she’s already used each year.

“I normally keep the same pieces year after year, unless something goes wrong with them. Then I exchange them,” she says, adding that she’ll occasionally work in a “new element” or two.

As for her favorite piece of decor? Her prized nativity scene.

“The nativity scene in the living room is the hardest part to put together,” she reveals. “It is quite intricate, and  I think it’s quite beautiful.”

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Adam Shanker
Adam Shanker

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The hard work of putting all of her decorations together pays off though, especially when it comes to entertaining guests. Each year, Gaynor hosts a Christmas party for her friends and family at her home.

“They all love gathering around the piano and singing Christmas carols together,” she says. 

Gaynor’s piano even gets its own subtle holiday touch: a silver “joy” accent perched on top, in keeping with the atmosphere she likes to create during the season, and a small Christmas tree on the other end.

Adam Shanker

For Gaynor, it’s important that the decorations in her home are representative of her family and her life. Many of her figurines, like her Santa and her angels, are people of color. Gaynor chose them because of their own personal connection, she says.

“Every part of my life is interracial except my immediate family,” she explains. “I wanted my decor to reflect that.”

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