Homeowners traditionally haul out the holly the weekend following Thanksgiving to start trimming their trees. But with Thanksgiving falling so late in November — only four weeks to the day before Christmas — many folks are preparing to decorate their homes over the next two weeks, say local florists, hobby and design store retailers.
“I’ve got several customers who’ve come in that already have their houses decorated,” says Gil Cartwright, co-owner with Curt Hodge of Flowers by Gil and Curt. “We’re already booking parties; and usually people wait to book at the last minute.”
More than 300 women packed into Trees N Trends in Cleveland, Tenn., last weekend for its annual holiday decorating seminar led by Kevin Roberts and Michelle Sowder. Although there aren’t any new, unseen trends in holiday decorating this season — burlap and Deco Mesh still reign — Roberts did show accessory items for updating decorations that homeowners have collected over the years.
1 Lighting: “Lighting brings the magic to your decorations,” says Roberts. “You can have the most beautiful pieces, but if they aren’t lit properly, they fall flat.”
Roberts and Sowder wowed visitors at the design seminar with ideas incorporating metal candle display holders ($19.99 for box of six). Designed like a small hanging basket, one end holds tea lights, LED votives or mini-pillar candles while the opposite end is shaped into a hook to suspend the basket.
The designers used them inside lanterns in place of candles, hanging from pedestal arrangements and dangling from Christmas tree branches. Roberts even created a chandelier from an inverted wreath then suspended candles at staggered heights below.
Miniature white lights have been popular for several years, but this year’s light strands are even smaller. Rice lights — so named because each light is the size of of a grain of rice — are strands of thin wire with tiny lights spaced along the length. They can be purchased in battery-operated or electric styles, and in lengths from 6 1/2 feet to 25 feet. Other trade names for these dainty strands are Starlights or fairy lights.
“Anywhere you can run a tiny wire, you can use LED lights,” advises Roberts.
Ginnia Staley, creative director for The Great Christmas Place at The Pool Place, says LED candles with timers on them are “another thing that is really taking off.”
“Once you turn them on, they will continue to come on at that time and then turn themselves off four or six hours later,” she says. “When used in arrangements, you have the look of a glowing candle, but you don’t have the mess that goes with it.”
Domed glass globes, used singly or in clusters of three, were a strong theme in holiday lighting. The globes are lit from within by rice lights; some use only lights, others mingle lights with a “filler” such as pine cones, metallic balls, Santa figurines or other collectibles.
Large block letters spelling out holiday welcomes have been popular mantel accents for several years, but this season’s versions are illuminated in white bulbs. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres recently pitched her own line of these lit letters on television retailer QVC.
“You buy them in sets, either in your monogram or spelling words such as ‘Joy.’ They are battery-operated so you can put them on the mantel or table or even in the tree,” says Roberts.
2 Nontraditional trees: Both permanent trees and their color schemes are veering from the traditional.
“Black and gold — we’re seeing a lot of that,” says Michael Greenwell, general manager of Hobby Lobby on Gunbarrel Road. “We sell a black Christmas tree that can be decorated in all-gold ornaments. The cool thing about a black Christmas tree is that you can use it for Halloween, then turn right around and decorate it for Christmas.”
Dreaming of a white Christmas? White or flocked trees will be trimmed in garland and ornaments of one nontraditional color. Most prominent: turquoise/teal. Think “Frozen” movie colors, which retailers say most likely inspired this look.
One retailer already expects this look to evolve into a major color trend for Christmas 2015.
“There are a lot of ‘Frozen’ colors out now, but in the next year we’ll see a resurgence of a more elegant blue, like cobalt, and icy colors. I think we’ll see icy blue and purples on next year’s color palette,” Staley predicts.
3 Sophisticated burlap: Burlap … sophisticated? Sounds like an oxymoron, but that nubby textile so integral to the country/rustic look takes on chic style this Christmas when combined with white lights, metallic textures, glass globes, gold- and platinum-colored ornaments.
“We’re seeing burlap with sparkling accents, seeing it get more feminine with laces and glittered looks rather than just plain burlap,” says Staley. “We’re seeing a resurgence of more natural looks this season — using pine cones, birds and mixed greenery — and burlap goes with natural greens.”