Greener BeeGreen TipsLocal pros offer holiday decor tips

If there’s one word that comes to the minds of David Lowe and Chris Triplett during Christmas, it’s “embellish.”

As the owners of the full-service floral boutique Edward on Saint Simons in the island’s Redfern Village, they know a thing or two about transforming a home into a holiday panorama.

The hallmark holiday colors of red and green adorned their island store Tuesday as they prepared for what will surely be one of the busiest seasons of the year. The wreaths and garland you’ll find at Edward on Saint Simons, though, aren’t the kind you’ll find just anywhere, Triplett said, the shop’s operating owner.

“What we sell is no comparison to big box stores. All it takes is just looking at it and people know,” Triplett said. “Of course, our price point is higher than what you find there, but not significantly.”

But before budding interior designers set about scooping up ornaments, garland and wreaths, Triplett said there are a few factors to consider when decorating a home.

“First, you have to decide whether you’re going to use fresh, or what we call ‘faux.’ Other people call it permanent, or silk.” Triplett said. “Fresh (trimmings) smells beautifully of the season, of course it’s natural, but it’s one season that it’s good, whereas faux can last year 10 years with proper storage.”

Faux wreathes, of course, aren’t made of real greenery and trimmings, but Triplett said that doesn’t mean a sacrifice in quality. And if the budget is tight, he has a suggestion of where to prioritize.

“If you’re on a budget, I would say you should focus on buying the best quality wreath for your front door, with the highest quality ribbon or bow,” he said. “You’re looking for something well made, something that looks real and has elements of real things like real pine cones. Find something that’s sturdy. We’re talking an investment of about $100 or more, but again, with proper care, that will last you 10 or 15 years.”

David Lowe, Edward on Saint Simons’ designing owner, added another tip for saving a little green this holiday season.

“Consider what you can gather from nature to be installed fresh in your home,” Lowe said. “(Look for) magnolia, native greenery, berries — then you can purchase the ribbon or other ornamentation to embellish it.”

Lowe also suggested using locally specific items like freshly picked cotton to add southern flair to holiday items.

You don’t have to stick to a traditional wreath, either, Triplett noted. Garland or swags — teardrop-shaped hanging garland arrangements — make a festive alternative, he added.

And don’t forget to make sure the neighbors see all your hard work.

“If it’s got beautiful lighting, you won’t need more lighting, but you can always add spot lighting and things like that. That’s the first focal point of your home, the front entry way,” Triplett said.

Once you’ve tackled your front door wreath, Triplett said the obvious next step is a Christmas tree. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade organization representing the industry, people should think about a few factors if you decide to select a live tree.

First, knowing the amount of space you have to spare for a tree is crucial. Most commercial Christmas trees are trimmed at an 80 percent taper — meaning if the tree is 10 feet tall, it will be 8 feet wide. Just because a tree will fit vertically into a room doesn’t mean it’s going to fit horizontally, the association cautions on its website.

People can also use the website www.realchristmas to research types of trees — and here’s the pro tip: When selecting a tree, test it for freshness by running a branch through an enclosed hand. The needles shouldn’t come off easily, and the outer parts of the branches should be bendable. If the branches snap, the tree is too dry.

Don’t forget to make a plan about how you’ll get your tree home from the retail lot, and think a step further by asking the seller where you can dispose of it after the holidays are over.

But Christmas decorations don’t have to end with the tree, Triplett said.

“Find something for the dining table to tie it all together,” he said as a suggestion. “By that, I mean a candelabra or a mini-village of Christmas trees, or even a beautiful blue-and-white ceramic bowl filled with colorful ornaments.”

And if you’re really in the Christmas spirit, don’t forget the lawn.

“Outdoor lighting is important,” he said. “You can pick up simple 100-light strings at a hardware store, and that adds so much if you just pick two or three bushes that are equidistant. It adds so much more, and it lights up your house.”

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