Guest of a Guest's editor-in-chief gets a tour of her favorite East Village haunt just in time for the holidays

John Derian’s store in the East Village, John Derian Company, is an Instagrammer’s dream, with every table, cupboard and wall filled with a hodgepodge of goodies. Now that it’s the holidays, there are even more treasures to be discovered. My personal favorites: vintage-looking glass garlands (set up like a circus tent opening in the store), whimsical crown Christmas tree toppers and shimmery lobster ornaments I want as gifts for all of my Montauk friends. I had the unique pleasure of spending the morning alone with John in his store to ask him about his holiday favorites and pick up some of my own.

Rachelle Hruska: What’s your holiday aesthetic in three words?

John Derian: Lights. Garlands. Champagne.

RH: What makes a standout piece?

JD: Sparkle, color, beauty and humor.

RH: How does someone add drama to his or her home on a budget?

JD: Candles: they have impact when you have lots. A couple of bags of votives will do the trick.

RH: What’s your favorite holiday destination in New York?

JD: I love walking along any Christmas tree seller’s alley and being swept away to the country by the scent.

John Derian Company

Artwork from Hugo Guinness makes an eclectic collage on the walls of the store.

John Derian Company

Dinosaur ornaments and other knickknacks fill the shelves, walls, and cupboards.

John Derian Company

John Derian crowns Rachelle Hruska with a fun tree topper.

John Derian Company

Opened in 1994, the store is a treasure trove of unusual, unexpected items.

John Derian Company

Where the wild things are in the East Village.

RH: What kind of Christmas tree are you loving this season?

JD: I have a homey sort of Charlie Brown antique feather tree with small antique ornaments. I’m into classics, so the things are packed away and then come out again. With Christmas, I don’t change that much.

RH: Can you suggest DIY ornaments for our readers?

JD: I think tying bunches of flowers to the tree brings one back to the first kinds of decorations. Even just pine cones (natural or painted) look nice.

RH: What are your tips to decorating the perfect Christmas tree?

JD: Frankly, I have only had a tree these last 4 years. My first-ever tree as an adult was 28 years ago, and it was potted with heather and pepper berry tied all over it. In between I didn’t like fake trees and didn’t like to kill trees. This antique feather tree I have now seems to do the trick. I love them all plain and full.

RH: What are your top sellers at the store during the holidays?

JD: Glass, jeweled ornaments.

RH: Do you have a memorable holiday story of your own?

JD: With my boyfriend Stephen getting snowed in on the Cape in my house with fires going, cooking dinner and watching movies.

RH: What’s the latest trend in gift-wrapping?

JD: Lots of skinny string obsessively wrapped.


John Derian Company, 6 East Second Street (between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery)