Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Expert Rebecca Cole Says Go Green for a Red-Hot Holiday Season
The winter holiday season is the No. 1 floral-buying time of year. With that in mind, the Society of American Florists (SAF) has teamed with the host of Discovery Channel’s Surprise by Design Rebecca Cole to showcase the floral trends that will give homes a festive feeling this holiday season.
“Because we’re returning to our roots and hosting intimate celebrations at home, we’ll see more traditional colors, and greenery, whose scents will bring us back to our childhood,” said Cole, who also is a contributor to the Today show.
The Traditional Meaning of Greenery
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.
- 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.
According to Cole, “Whether it’s a gift or for home décor, ‘colorful greenery’ is a thoughtful and long-lasting way to send holiday cheer.”
It is well known that people remember receiving flowers. According to a recent study by SAF and The Michael Cohen Group, 92 percent of women 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,” Cole said. “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, Cole shares her best bets for holiday winners.
- 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.
According to Cole, this year’s designs will be all about 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,” Cole said.
Cole has this advice for creating festive, colorful tables for dinner, brunch or even cocktail hour.
- 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.
About Rebecca Cole
Rebecca Cole is a New York City floral and interior designer. She is the founder of Cole Creates, a retail and design business, and she appears regularly on television and radio shows. The author of Flower Power, Potted Gardens and Paradise Found, she is a regular contributor to the Today show and has appeared on Oprah. Cole is also the star of the Discovery Channel show, Surprise by Design.
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