Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style

room decorated for Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style with tree, decorated mantel and two ladies dressed for the Derby and wearing fascinators

You can celebrate this year’s milestone 150th Run for the Roses with our Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style party ideas! You say you’re not able to join the over 150,000 in attendance at Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May? In any event, you can bring the party home and celebrate in style – Christmas style!

It’s in the Blood

cover art of "The Black Stallion" by Walter Farley in 1941

I’ve loved horses and horseracing ever since I was a little girl. By the time I was in fourth grade, I’d read all the Walter Farley “Black Stallion” books. My dad brought me a photo of his coworker’s Standardbred mare and her foal. And I longed to be a jockey.

I’m not as tied to Triple Crown Saturdays as I once was, but my husband is well trained. You see, he still reminds me when it’s Race Day. 😉

And just this spring the saga continued when I visited Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina. Remarkably, a piece of horseracing history began there in 1942 when owner Prince Dimitri Jorjadze brought sensation Princequillo to Boone Hall. Indeed, Princequillo is known as one of the best long-distance runners and for his successes as a sire. In particular, his descendants include four triple crown winners: Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), American Pharaoh (2015) and Justify (2018).

Plenty to Celebrate with Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style

two young ladies decorating a tree Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style

A Kentucky Derby Christmas Tree

What’s a Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style without a tree? In truth, not Christmassy! So Debra from our decorating team decorated this slim-line 4 1/2-foot tree with a classic Derby look.

Undeniably, I love a fireplace and the opportunity to center small gatherings around it any time of year. And our Derby tree, no doubt, belonged right next to it. Debra, a Bronner’s tree decorator, found ornaments that spoke Kentucky Derby AND Christmas in exemplary style. In fact, Bronner’s offers about 8,000 styles of ornaments in our Frankenmuth, Michigan, store, most every theme or style. Many of those are available online at and

Also, our 4 1/2-ft. slimline tree demonstrates how a smaller tree can actually have a big presence. Finally, Debra topped a straw hat adorned with a poinsettia, holly spray and feather spray for real Derby class.

young lady decorating a Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style tree with a glittery red ornament personalized to read "150th Kentucky Derby"
a young lady putting the finishing touches on a Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style tree

With this in mind, you may wish to incorporate some of our favorites on your own Kentucky Derby tree! (Items not online are available in-store or by contacting customer service at 800.361.6736 or

The Fireplace

In honor of 150 years, I wanted our Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style mantel to have a vintage look. Hence the old hardcover books, worn horseshoe and black riding-style boot filled with artificial poinsettias. Green taper candles suggest an earlier time, especially in our ruffle brass candle holder and mercantile candle holder. In addition, I love how our eucalyptus garland brings a classic red presence and sense of movement along the wall behind the fireplace. (#1231279, 6-ft. long, available in-store and by contacting customer service at 800.361.6736 or

closeup of decorations on fireplace mantel for Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style

Leave a little space on your mantel for guests to set down a beverage. And if you plan to serve mint juleps, a Derby tradition, you might also want to offer this non-alcoholic option.

two young ladies wearing Christmas-Style fascinators and drinking glasses of incredible punch
two glasses of incredible punch on fireplace mantel

Incredible Punch

Jane Grysko


  • 1 large plastic container with lid
  • 1 mixing spoon or whisk


  • 2 46-ounce bottles cranberry-raspberry juice
  • 1 32-ounce bottle pina colada mixer
  • 2 liters raspberry or regular ginger ale


  • 1. In a large plastic container, combine cranberry-raspberry juice with the pina colada mix. Freeze overnight.
  • 2. Remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to serving.
  • 3. To serve, place frozen slush in punch bowl and slowly add ginger ale. Or place frozen slush in tall glasses, slowly add ginger ale, and place a red-and-white-striped straw in each glass.

Derby-Worthy Dips and Appetizers

All things considered, you may want to serve traditional Derby or southern dishes during your Derby Fest. But if the idea of Derby-worthy dips and appetizers interests you, we recommend these from our blog:

Jalapeño With Cheese And Bacon Appetizer
3 slices bruschetta on a white plate
cheese garlic biscuits on a black baking tray
fruit salsa and cinnamon chips

The Fascinators

closeup of young lady wearing small fascinator for Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style
closeup of young lady wearing large fascinator for Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style

No doubt, the fascinator makes the outfit at the Kentucky Derby. For this reason, we’re showcasing a couple of ideas for fascinators – Christmas-Style! Christmas ribbon, tulle, poinsettias and select sprays will give you everything to work with. Assemble with hot glue. All in all, we recommend you use a headband with some “teeth” in it to provide hold, especially if your fascinator is large.

supplies for making a fascinator

Happy Derby Day to all!

two young ladies wearing Kentucky Derby Christmas-Style fascinators, one sitting in a large chair and the other standing behind it

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