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Nevada experts give advice on how to decorate for the holidays.
Photo: Jay Aldrich
Designing a holiday arrangement doesn’t have to be tough, but it does take some planning. To create a knock-your-socks-off piece, you can follow suggestions from Steven Craig, owner of Reno’s Briarwood Finer Flowers and Gifts.
Craig’s holiday vignettes top clients’ pianos, dining tables, counter tops, and entry tables. His mantel creations don’t have to be expensive, he says. Items harvested from the garden, purchased at the grocery store, found around the house, or discovered at a discount mart can make some of the best decorations.
To create your own mantelpiece design, start with a utilitarian bowl filled with floral foam that extends about two inches above the container. The idea is to drape the greens (tip them with bronze) with the focal flowers (in this case anthurium). Both the flowers and the greens are anchored into the foam in such a way as to flow over the edge of the mantel.
For height, use inexpensive metal pieces—cylindrical, triangular, or oblong in shape—sprayed with gold, bronze, and copper paint. To a couple of tall candle sticks Craig suggests adding smaller sprays of painted greens and other bronzed foliage to create a topiary look.
For a touch of whimsy, hollow out fresh artichokes and use them as votive candle holders. Sliced fresh kiwi fruits and bronze and gold ornaments can be used as fillers to camouflage bare spots. Unify the elements with wired burgundy ribbon flowing through the arrangement. You can also fill in with holiday boxes of various heights. A few cinnamon sticks tied together add a bit of tradition.
Craig says peacock feathers in their natural state are popular this season. “Tuck them into your dining table centerpiece and wait for your guests’ reactions,” he says.
Deck the walls
When it comes to decorating Christmas trees, Ginda Jones, co-owner of Ralph Jones Display, is an expert on the holiday tradition.
Year-round, her Las Vegas family-owned business sells retail store fixtures, but between September and January, the public can stroll through the company’s two showrooms filled with imaginative decorations. Designers are available to answer questions and offer advice.
This year the focal showpiece is a 14-foot display in a “Night Before Christmas” style decorated with toys. Jones says the more formal look for a tree would include a color scheme of brown, gold, and copper.
Today, people are displaying more than one tree in their homes, according to Jones. “I’m a traditionalist,” she says, so her formal tree has gold globes that have sentimental value. “I’ve been collecting them all of my life.” In the den is the memory-laden “kids’ tree,” the perfect place for family keepsakes. “They’re good for the soul,” Jones says, referring to candy canes, popcorn strings, gingerbread cookies, and gift ornaments from friends and proud third-graders.
Space-saving trees help holiday decorating. Like people, there are different-shaped trees, including tall and slim or the more Rubenesque models. Know the measurements of the area you want to decorate, the ceiling height, and take into account your holiday party plans before starting, suggests Jones.
Christmas trees that are designed to hang on the wall are useful for apartments and small homes and are a safety option that can protect small children. “They can’t pull the tree over,” Jones says, “and decorations can be above their reach.” Decorations and toys placed on the floor can then be used to distract and entertain kids.
“Sometimes we suggest placing the tree in a playpen and decorating it with garlands,” she says.
Another space-saving tip includes placing ornaments on a wreath that has been hung upside down on a chandelier. “That way the centerpiece is over the table, rather than on it,” she says.
Many people leave the decorating to the pros, which is where Ralph Jones Display comes in. “Everything is instant now,” says Jones. All trees are pre-lit, come on wheels, and are delivered and set up. After the holidays the homeowner bags the tree, rolls it in the garage, and it is ready to go again the next year.
Jones’ best advice? Organize your holiday plans, and don’t try to do so much that you are overwhelmed. “Relax, sit by the fire, and watch the tree,” Jones says. “You’ll get a homey feeling that will never change.”—By Ann Henderson