Christmas on the Lake


"It's Our Happy Place."

It was not what they had originally planned to do, but when the Bonacio family found themselves at their house in Lake George for the holiday season, they couldn’t have been happier. 

“I love and adore Saratoga, it’s really special to me and close to my heart. The lake house – that’s our relaxation retreat. It’s where we can go to get outta Dodge. It just feels really special to be there,” said Julie Bonacio. 


Located right on the water, the spectacular view is impossible not to love on this property; which includes the main house, two guest cabins, and a six-car garage – plenty of room for all of the Bonacio family. 

The space is filled with pieces that exude mountain charm. There are huge wooden ceiling beams, live-edge tables, and chairs made from twisty branches.  Natural elements such as antlers, feathers, and furs give it an undeniable forest feel. 

Chosen on shopping trips throughout the Adirondacks with Interior Decorator Robin Fusco, they searched Lake Placid, Keene, and other remote locales for furniture and décor with that irreplaceable character and charm of the mountains. 

“We really had fun getting individual pieces so there was a different look and feel in each room,” said Julie.

The holiday decorations are tucked in the nooks and crannies to help accentuate some of those special finds, including a quirky raccoon, curled up and fishing inside a Cracker Jacks box. 


When the Bonacio family realized that they’d be staying at the lake house over the holidays, Julie asked Shelly Walker, owner of the award-winning interior design firm, Finishing Touches Home Decor, Inc. to help give it that Christmas sparkle. 

In addition to the twinkling lights from the chandeliers above, there is also an abundance of candles (both scented and unscented) - because there’s nothing like the flickering of candlelight to add that soothing feeling of warmth to a space. 

“It brings on such a beautiful mood. It sets the tone and creates the ambiance of a really relaxing setting. It just fills it with love,” said Julie. 

Above the dining room table are three chandeliers from Spain that bring the feeling of being outside in. Their branch-like form evokes nature, while the delicate lights add an air of elegance. It’s a combination that creates an eye-catching focal point and sets the mood for family gatherings. 


If they had been in Saratoga, the Bonacios would have been participating in the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, but because they spent Thanksgiving at the lake house last year, their holiday feast was there, too. 

Like their décor, their holiday feast is a combination of different styles. There are the traditional American favorites; turkey, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, but there is also a caviar starter course, and the Italian dishes that Julie’s husband, Sonny, and her daughter, Gianna, love to cook. They include Braciola, Sunday Sauce and eggplant parmesan. Sonny’s mother bakes the pies they have for dessert. 

For Christmas, the Bonacios opted to have a large brunch, which is kick-started by morning mimosas and Bloody Marys. 


Instead of the lavish affair that it has been in previous years, last winter at the Bonacio lake house was more refined – but still stunning!

There were four trees; an evergreen, a gold, a silver, and a flocked white Christmas tree (to give it the look of fallen snow) ranging in size from 5 ft to 12ft tall. 

Julie and Sonny were joined by their three children; Gianna, Will, and Luca, as well as their five-year-old German Shepard – who particularly loved playing with the white balls hanging on the tree in the family room. 

To add an extra bit of fun to Christmas morning, the Bonacios like to change things up a bit each year. A high-stakes game of darts was the method for doing that at the lake house. Around the board were placed tickets for trips, sporting events, or other experiences, and each child was given three darts to throw. Whatever they landed on is what they got. They were then joined by the rest of their extended family to exchange gifts and share a meal together. 


The Bonacios enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, boating, and snowmobiling while staying at their lake house. Because they were there for an extended period of time last year, they had a “she-shed” custom-built and the whole family pitched-in to help. 

Sonny stained it and Shelly (Walker, Finishing Touches) decorated it in a style that mimics the main house, with an Adirondack-themed décor. There’s a comfortable sitting area covered with a variety of fabrics and textures, a television and a fire pit with additional seating nearby. 

“That’s our little cabin in the woods, so to speak. It’s where we’d have our wine at night and our coffee in the morning. It was a calming and relaxing place to get away from all the craziness that was going on,” said Julie. 

At the lake house, it’s all about creating balance in a meaningful, life-affirming way.

“I just loved spending the holidays there. We could slow down and live in the moment. It’s just our happy place.”

    Simply Saratoga Magazine is published  by Saratoga Publishing, LLC, who brings you such award-winning niche magazines as Saratoga Bride, Saratoga Family, Welcome Home and the weekly newspaper, Saratoga TODAY!

    We love Saratoga Springs! The people, the shops, the history, and of course racing season. Our Mission is to bring you everything Saratoga.


    We would love to hear from you.

    2254 Route 50 South, 
    Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

    Website Design & Hosting by Spa City Digital.