HGTV star and interior designer Leanne Ford has earned renown for her “modern yet lived-in” aesthetic that breathes fresh life into old spaces. Her HGTV shows Restored by the Fords and Home Again with the Fords, both co-hosted with her brother, Steve, feature the designer’s white-on-white interiors in stylish and approachable structures.
And it’s this vibe Leanne has put into the handcrafted gifts she’s designed for the World Vision Gift Catalog — a set of mango wood and resin salad servers, handcrafted by expert woodworkers in India. Proceeds from the celebrity-designed, handcrafted gifts in the World Vision Gift Catalog go through the World Vision Fund to empower kids and families around the world to lift themselves out of poverty.
Leanne sat down with World Vision to talk about her family’s holiday season and the spirit behind her designs.
What does it mean to you to choose joy this Christmas season?
This season it’s all about choosing joy. There’s hard times but there’s always some joy and there’s some happiness. You just gotta look for it.
What do you love most about the Christmas season?
What don’t I love about the Christmas season? Everything. Christmas is about love. Our family has a lot of traditions, but could playing Scrabble be one of them? Our family gets together Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and we take turns hosting it. And now as I get older, I get to host a holiday, too, which I love.
What are you looking forward to about the holiday season this year, perhaps that you missed out on last year?
Humans. I’m so looking forward to this holiday season. We did not get to be with our family last year. So, this year it’s all about family.
How do you stay grounded on what matters during the busyness of the holiday season?
During the holiday season, it’s really easy to forget what it’s all about and I think it’s just about remembering what Christmas is and ignoring the distractions that cross your path. My faith is the reason I love Christmas. It’s the most important part. As you give gifts, as you spend time together, you really have to remember the real reason for Christmas. As mom says, the reason for the season.
What made you interested in first working with World Vision? Why partner with World Vision this year?
Growing up, we sponsored children through World Vision for as long as I can remember. So, when I became an adult, I was able to do it and we still do. I’m partnering with World Vision this year because I love what they’re doing. I love what their causes are, and they’re all about spreading love and taking care of people. I love to help that.
How has the World Vision Gift Catalog become a part of your Christmas tradition?
I love the World Vision Gift Catalog. You can buy people in need goats and donkeys and cows, and you don’t even have to wrap them. So, that’s a perk!
This is your second time featuring an item in the World Vision Gift Catalog. What do you love most about your handcrafted gift this year?
I love these little salad servers. It seems like it’s not a big thing, but they’re so lovely. They’re handcrafted in India, and they’re something that your friends and family can use all year. And you can buy a pair for yourself so you can use them at your holiday table. They’re an easy and useable gift to crank out your holiday shopping and empower families in need.
Donations for the salad servers go to the World Vision Fund, helping empower people out of poverty for good. What are you hoping people think about when they use these salad servers?
As people use these salad servers, just think about the impact that you’ve created and think about the people who gave them to you who love you.
Why do your salad servers make a good gift, especially this year as we’re coming out of the pandemic? Are you excited to start hosting people again?
Salad servers were a really natural, fun thing for me to help create, mainly because I love using them. I love hosting. I love presenting a beautiful plate. I love to use pieces like salad servers even when no one is around and I’m just making a pretty dinner for my family. And, you know, everybody needs them!
How did this process of designing this World Vision gift bring you joy? How can it bring others joy?
I love designing, period. I love designing anything and I love designing with artisans. And then I love it, on top of that, when my design has a beautiful cause, so this was pure joy. As we go to buy things, there’s a lot of awesome stuff out there that we all love and want, and this gift is all about using some of those resources and some of those opportunities to bless others.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length. Elisabeth Rickard of World Vision’s U.S. office contributed to this story.