CHRISTMAS

Christmas is a time for personal celebrations and traditions shared with family and friends. Flowers and plants have long played a special role in Christmas festivities and are as personal and individual as the people doing the celebrating.

Trends for Celebrating the Holidays in Style with Flowers

The winter holiday season is the No. 1 floral-buying time of year. Great holiday arrangements begin with greenery. In ancient cultures, people believed that bringing foliage into the home during the season was lucky and guaranteed the return of vegetation in the spring. Even today, green remains a staple in holiday décor.

Tips for Sprucing Up Your Home

  • Incorporate a scented pine or other greens into a centerpiece or table arrangement. Accent the greens with flowers that complement the home’s décor.

  • Ask your florist for a bunch of evergreen, cypress or mistletoe to place throughout your home – over the threshold, in the foyer or on the mantel. Line a mantel or dining table with small evergreen topiaries or “baby” Christmas trees decorated with bows or flowers.

  • Florists carry a wide selection of poinsettias in pink, peach, white, plum and speckled or marbled varieties, in addition to the traditional red.

  • Whether it’s a gift or for home décor, colorful greenery is a thoughtful and long-lasting way to send holiday cheer.

Gifts of Abundance

It is well known that people remember receiving flowers. In fact, according to research by the Society of American Florists, 77 percent of women can remember the last time they received flowers. Because they are a time when memories are made, there is no better time than the holidays for sending a sentiment of caring.

Sending flowers for the holidays is the gift of emotion. The season has a way of conjuring up feelings of nostalgia. We think about grandma’s house, the cozy fireplace, the great feast and good times with family and friends. Flowers and plants are the finishing touch that make the holidays complete.

From wreaths to centerpieces, bulb plants and topiaries, here are best bets for the holidays.

  • Amaryllis and Paper White Narcissus are examples of bulb plants that if given after Thanksgiving or in early December, will bloom just in time for Christmas. Cyclamen, kalanchoe and Christmas cactus are other great flowering plant options.

  • Ask your florist to design an arrangement incorporating fruits and vegetables to create a winter harvest feeling.

  • Candles added to a centerpiece create a sense of warmth and glow to the holiday table. Shiny decorative balls incorporated into a centerpiece will reflect the light for an even more festive feel.

Holiday Soirees

  • Consider simple elegance with a flair for fun. If you don’t have a white Christmas on the outside, bring it inside, with big bunches of anemones or other white flowers.
  • Florists are now creating beautiful flower arrangements using colorful poinsettias and amaryllis – now available as cut flowers – for a stylish centerpiece.
  • Decorate a brunch table with splashes of morning hues, including oranges, yellows and reds in decorative containers, or even champagne flutes.
  • Fill a round Christmas ornament or other small holiday container with small bunches of flowers to use as place card holders for guests.
  • A palette of white and silver adds elegance to a holiday table and is expected to be a popular color scheme for the upcoming holiday season.
  • Arrangements and centerpieces in robust hues of purple and burgundy will create a sensuous, lush setting for dinners, both intimate and large.
  • If you are attending a holiday gathering, ask your florist to deliver a cheerful arrangement or holiday plant before you arrive. When you show up, you’ll be the talk of the evening.

Ready Your Home For Holiday Guests

The holiday season brings with it great meals, presents, beautiful decorations and guests… lots and lots of guests coming and going. Holiday guests — be they family members or friends — often show up early, stay late or even pop by unexpectedly. And with them can come hectic, harried moments as you rush to get your house company-ready.

Organizing expert Vicki Norris calls this phenomenon the “dash and stash” — when we frantically rush around hiding clutter, hanging up coats or even strategically placing a plant or floral arrangement before opening the door. “I recommend people strive to keep the most visible spaces of their home organized 24/7. It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds,” says Norris, author of “Restoring Order to Your Home.”

Norris suggests several simple tricks that can help keep your home’s public spaces, such as your entryway, living room or family room, neat for holiday traffic. “For instance, placing flowers or a favorite accessory where clutter typically congregates does two things: it brightens the room and prevents future messes from settling there,” suggests Norris.

While your family room probably is your home’s superhighway, a few tweaks can eliminate those piles of roadway rubbish, such as toys and magazines. And quick fixes that yield permanent results can help ensure your entryway (the natural “drop zone” for your family’s coats, shoes, and keys) doesn’t become an unruly hazard.

Entryway

  • Because the entryway is the easiest place to drop things, and is the first space guests see, your focus in this area should be clutter control. Determine what types of items are left here and then implement a clutter capture system.
  • Look around. Do you see a handful of coats or an entire closet full? Do you spy a few shoes or a shoe mountain?
  • Select and install the right storage solutions, whether they are hooks, bins, shelving, benches or other furnishings. Think about your aesthetic preferences. If you prefer not to see clutter, consider a narrow armoire to neatly store your belongings.
  • Then personalize your entryway. Welcome your guests with an inviting display of family photos, a favorite collection, or fresh flowers to suit the season. Having these items on tables actually will prevent future clutter from collecting. Also, a strategically placed floor plantcan divert attention from less appealing areas.

Family Room or Living Room

  • As for the family room or living room, Norris recommends determining the room’s direction, de-littering and finding homes for such nomadic items as backpacks, toys, magazines and everything in between.
  • First decide upon the room’s direction. For example, should it be an off-ramp of the kitchen or an entertainment hub where you will gather to watch TV and play games? Set up a “go-elsewhere” basket, so at the end of each day you can relocate items that don’t belong here back to their proper places.
  • Create a plan of attack for accumulating papers and other misplaced possessions, including a reference binder to create a permanent home for take-out menus, gift certificates, coupons and commonly reached-for phone numbers such as the dry cleaner, your florist, hair stylist and movie theater.

And don’t be a litter bug! Keep surfaces such as ottomans and tables clear, and beautify the room with flowers or a plant to reclaim the space and make it a nice place in which to spend time — both for you and those holiday guests.

“Perfection is unattainable and should never be the goal,” stresses Norris. “By clearing out the clutter and reclaiming your space, you create more time for the things that are truly important in your life.”

Christmas Flower Wreaths

Nothing says home for the holidays like a Christmas wreath made from evergreen or holly.

  • Your florist can spruce up your wreath with a modern look. Be the first on your block with a square or oval wreath made from magnolia, ivy, lemon leaf, herbs, fruits and berries.
  • Ask your florist to create a “lifestyle” wreath by using a single variety of flowers, foliage, berries or fruit.
  • Wreaths aren’t just for your front door or the wall. Wreaths make beautiful centerpieces. Fill the center with a trio of pillar candles or with fresh fruit, candies or glistening balls.

Christmas Trees Decorated with Flowers

  • Less is more. The 4-foot Christmas tree is hot. What’s hotter: Grouping three small trees together, with the tallest one near the center. Decorate all three or just the tallest one.
  • Ask your florist to create a nativity scene in your tree.
  • Instead of wrapping garland around the tree, place garland on the tree from top to bottom for a different look.
  • Ask your florist to recommend fresh flowers for your Christmas tree.

Christmas Colors

In addition to the holiday colors of red and green, below are other festive and beautiful Christmas color combinations. For the best options for your home or loved one, consult your florist.

  • Chartreuse greens with reds in deep shades.
  • Natural greens in different textures, such as: Ming fern, cedar, long needled pine and arborvitae are beautiful with twigs and deep red berries. This combination is comforting and welcoming for the holiday.
  • Think pink. Not traditional pink, but deep shades. For impact, combine pinks with red-orange. Shades of violet, sage and deep pink also work well together.
  • Red and burgundy create a warm, sophisticated look.
  • White, winter wonderland. Accent with burnished gold, not shiny gold.
  • A combination of white and silver looks elegant and makes your home sparkle.
  • Any shade of red — separate or together — accented with gold or bronze.
  • Ivory, mellow gold and cream. Pearl garlands and jewels give these colors a romantic flair.
  • Blue accents add flair.
  • Make a bold statement: Bright citrus colors of orange and lime green paired with hot pinks and teal shades.

Aboutflowers.com is hosted by the Society of American Florists, the U.S. floral industry trade association. Click below to find a local SAF member florist to send flowers, roses and gifts for delivery.