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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Chartreuse brings a sense of liveliness to the Christmas tree in Cindy Friend’s home.

Go natural, go crazy: There’s a holiday trend to suit every taste

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Avast, matey! Pirate ships, seahorses and prints of pirate life decorate A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees. The tree won the Most Creativity award for Kathy James of Kendallville.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Cindy Friend’s centerpiece carries the chartreuse color scheme of her Christmas tree into her kitchen.
LEDs adorn this battery-operated wreath from Menards.

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house … .

If you’re into holiday décor, you might find something featuring one or more of these motifs around your house. While not all represent the newest of the new, they’re trendy enough to have staying power through this year’s holiday season.

Yes, we know some things about Christmas never go out of style. But if you like any of these ideas, be quick – before, like a reindeer, the season dashes away.

Unusually themed trees

In Fort Wayne, we’ve seen trees with themes at the Embassy Theatre’s Festival of Trees for years. But now more people are taking the idea home, says Cindy Friend, owner of Cindy Friend Boutique in Covington Plaza – especially those who decorate more than one tree or decorate a small tree in a child’s room.

We’re not talking just snowflake or teddy bear themes. These play off interests or hobbies, even eccentric ones, such as A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas tree – with ornaments of skulls and swords and sailing ships – at this year’s festival. The tree won the Most Creativity award for Kathy James of Kendallville.

Ornament companies have caught on. has cowboy boot and cowboy hat ornaments for rodeo or Texas-themed trees and robots for Sci-Fi trees ($14 to $35). Aquatic creatures from sharks and stingrays to octopuses and a starfish-riding Santa can be found at for an under-the-sea tree (most $30 to $45).

Friend says a favorite tree she’s worked on was dance-themed, decorated with old but newly blinged-out ballet shoes. Another used the family’s dogs as a theme, with pet pictures, mementos and dog treats decorating the tree in honor of their two Yorkies.

Light green

Once upon a time, not too long ago, turquoise-and-bronze was trendy for Christmas, and hot pink and light blue looked frosty cool. Those colors are still around, but this year, red and green have come back in a big way.

But it’s not the jolly-holly green you’d expect, inasmuch as emerald was 2013’s Pantone color of the year. “It’s what we call the lime and red,” says Marla McAfee, garden center manager at McNamara Florist at Sand Point, 4322 DeForest Ave.

In other words, chartreuse.

“It was all over the catalogs,” says Jane Ford, manager of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory gift shop.

Some think the bright color adds a whimsical, retro or, when mixed with neon pink, yellow and orange, a funky look. Some mix the green with metallics – silver, bronze, or gold – or white, mint or darker green for something more elegant.

“People either love the color or hate it,” McAfee says.

The shop’s ahead-of-trend colors? White and silver. “We’re calling it white diamonds,” she says.

Natural materials

Interior designer Roberta Stone of Rome City says this trend isn’t going anywhere.

“There’s a lot more ornaments and (décor) items made with natural products – pine cones, nuts, fruits, grasses, berries, twigs, dried flowers, feathers or wood,” she says.

Macy’s at Glenbrook Square has dedicated a tree in its ornament shop filled with critters – squirrels, rabbits, lions and others – made from dried bottlebrush, flowers from a tree native to Australia.

Natural greenery is making a resurgence as part of a country or rustic look. An example this year is the Rome City homestead of the late Hoosier naturalist and author Gene Stratton-Porter, Stone says. The staff there recently recreated Christmas in 1917, as described in one of Stratton-Porter’s letters.

Ground pine was placed on mantels, holly wreaths in windows and Spanish moss on chandeliers. Décor made from twigs and branches also were featured.

Two real evergreens, one in the library and one in the dining room, completed the look.

Alternative lighting

Holiday lighting options have come a long way in the past few years, and no, not just because of those eye-popping outdoor LEDs.

Light projectors with holographic laser technology now save the up-on-the-housetop jitters. An example: BlissLights projectors (, $160) can transform a 25-by-25-foot area into scores of sparkly points of light. Roofs, fences, trees, shrubbery and siding can be lit with Bliss’s outdoor devices, which are staked in the ground. Similar projectors are made for indoor use.

These light-emitting diode bulbs makea variety of holiday adaptations. Battery-operated flameless candles that realistically flicker are making their way into luminaria and indoor applications, where they’re touted as safer than regular candles if used around paper, fabric or wood.

Sold through many vendors, including Bed, Bath & Beyond at Jefferson Pointe (where most are between $8 to $30), some candles have timers, and some work by remote control. Yep, scented ones are available, too.

Many holiday decorators have wanted to put a lighted wreath or garland where there was no electrical outlet. Or maybe they just didn’t like the look of a dangling cord. Battery-operated pre-lit LED decorations have solved that problem.

An example: Menards has a 24-inch realistic untrimmed evergreen wreath with white lights that blink, phase or stay steady, powered by three AA batteries. There’s a timer that will shut off automatically after six lit hours ($16.99).

Repurposed items

Who says a glittery evening or holiday-themed scarf can’t play the role of a table runner or mantel décor? Why not group some clear glass vases or bottles and fill them with seasonally colored glittery ribbons?

Why not stuff a pile of old toys into an overflowing pillow case tied around the middle with a fat ribbon bow and topped with a Santa hat?

Scour the house for anything red, sparkly, white, green, silver, gold or whatever your color scheme might be and let your imagination take over, Stone says.

Abbreviated wishes

Should we blame shortened attention spans on the age of the 140-character Twitterverse?

Decorations bearing holiday sentiments, from ornaments to pillows to candles and rugs, have shortened “Joy To The World” to “Joy.” “Let it Snow” becomes “Snow,” and “Peace on Earth” becomes “Peace.” Instead of “Merry Christmas,” we get just “Merry.”

Gary Ragan, manager of the gift shop at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, has noticed the trend. “We don’t have that many things that say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore,” she says.

To that, we say, “Holidays.”