Season of imagination



The season for decorating is here. 

“Decorating is the time for imagination,” said Janet Fanning, nursery manager at The Greenery. “It’s also a time for memories and traditions.”

Sweetgrass baskets, long a staple for centuries that traces its roots in Africa and the Gullah communities here and along the Sea Islands, are ever present during the holiday season. 

Heirloom pieces also are displayed. The indispensable cash crop indigo, often mixed with plaid, has a long history here.

As always, there are tried and true holiday decorating classics that never go out of style and trendy touches that may push the boundaries of color, shape and placement always put their stamp on a new year.

Whatever your display preference is, keep it simple. Too many decorations can overwhelm the senses and complicate a good idea into a cluttered mess that loses its intended impact.

Center stage belongs to the holiday tree, almost always a Fraser fir. If Fraser trees aren’t available, standbys are firs such as balsam, Douglas, Sapphire, white, blue, grand, Nordman and noble.

Red and green are the traditional colors this time of year for hanging ornaments, wrapping presents, draping ribbons and bows, adorning branches with holly berries, hugging a garland in and around branches and stringing lights. Consider replacing tree skirts with tree collars and putting aside drab tree stands with an eye-catching bucket or basket. Add a personal touch with handcrafted or family keepsakes.

Add some old and new silver ornaments in varying shapes and sizes to make the classic Christmas tree dazzle.

Other attractive decoration options are driftwood, starfish, oyster shells, red berries, sprigs, wood picks, Christmas cactus, and cyclamen and croton plants. 

Also, magnolia leaves, bent heads of agapanthus plants, grasses, crepe myrtles, bay leaves, plus rosemary and thyme for fragrance.

Consider varying these shades of color, from soft to bold, to enhance the visual appeal. 

Red and green will never go out of style. But this year’s living room or tabletop will be seeing some rose golds, blues, white, silver and metallic throughout to add some glitter. 

Local poinsettias are a must for any home; just make sure they’re the right size, said Jordan Bruno, nursery manager of Bruno Landscaping and Nursery on Hilton Head. This year’s crop includes red, white, orange, rainbow, pink, gold and variegated. Credit the Aztecs for introducing the poinsettia to the world. If tended to, they will last long after the holiday ends.

The ever-popular wreath has its origins with the Romans, and they’re now a mainstay in the Catholic church.

Place the wreath on the front door with or without candles burning below and also match evergreens in each window. Add some English holly or wide red ribbons for a touch of red color.

“There’s a lot of things in nature you can use, whether spray painted or not,” Fanning said: pine cones, seed pods from crape myrtles, ratchet straps for pre-blooms and pre-cut agapanthus. Tie up branches with wire and place and affix an attractive bow.

Lighting a menorah also brightens the season.

Known as the “celebration of lights,” Hanukkah commemorates the triumph of the Maccabees over their oppressors. When Jews reclaimed their temple, they found only enough oil to create light for one day, but that oil lasted for eight days.

The lighting of the Hanukkah candles symbolizes that miracle — which is why the nine candles of the menorah offer great significance to this religious holiday.

Other decorative ideas include hanging swag over a mailbox.

“Outdoor decorating is a personal thing,” Fanning said. “Figure out what works with your indoor and outdoor décor.”

No matter how you decorate, be sure to embrace the season.

“Get into the holiday spirit,” Bruno said. “Getting into the spirit is step No. 1 to get ready to decorate.”