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For many people, decorating their home for the holidays is a cherished tradition, which can be made even more magical by incorporating fresh flowers. Live blooms bring cheer and a dashing elegance to front halls, kitchen islands, mantels and dining room tables—the main areas people dress up for the holidays. 

To “florify” your home in a festive way, we turned to three North Shore florists for inspiration. Here are some of their thoughts and creative ideas. 

A touch of bling

“I’m finding people want cleaner design styles,” says Elyse Gaynor, Owner of Bella’s Floral Design in Lynnfield. “So, for the holidays, you’re not going to want green and red and gold balls and really busy-looking styles, but one that is more monochromatic or uses one kind of flower, like a bouquet of all calla lilies or all red roses.” For entryway tables and alcoves, Gaynor suggests filling a tall cylinder vase with hearty greenery, such as balsam, boxwood, and magnolia leaves, and then adding long-lasting bleached white, dried Italian Ruscus and feathery Pampas grass, both uber-popular with her Millennial clients.

“I think it would make a really nice holiday entrance piece and then, if you’re entertaining or having company, just grab some red roses or white calla lilies to add in. They won’t last for more than five to seven days, but you will still have your base, which will be longer-lasting.” 

To spiff up the mantel, she suggests a long garland of mixed greenery interspersed with small vases or water tubes holding Cymbidium orchid blooms, particularly the pale green ones with pinky-red centers. “You also could use the same dried materials in your hall arrangement, so you have a long garland of the mixed greenery and short repeating designs with the Ruscus and Pampas grass.”

To add some bling to the holiday table, Gaynor likes spritzing spray adhesive on oversized succulents and then dusting them with red, gold, or silver glitter. “They’re really long-lasting and can even sit on a bit of moss directly on the table or a long piece of velvet ribbon.”

Simple but elegant

Floral designer Sandra Sigman, owner of Les Fleurs in Andover, also says her clients prefer a cleaner aesthetic regarding holiday florals. “People have a lot going on with their holiday decorations, whether it’s the Christmas tree that’s blinking, mantel decorations, wreaths and boughs, so they want something more neutral.” For her own holiday table, she continues, “I do all winter white—white amaryllis and flowering paperwhites—and then I add silver Brunia, eucalyptus leaves, and accents of princess pine, which is really soft and doesn’t shed.” She’ll also create a tablescape of three small “Charlie Brown Christmas trees,” each anchored in floral foam hidden by moss on its own tray and then adorned with tiny pinecones or vintage glass balls. She then intersperses cordial glasses filled with cut paperwhites among the trays of trees. “It’s an easy do-it-yourself look.” 

For Sigman’s clients who want florals in their kitchens but not big arrangements for space considerations, she goes small. “I’ll make a whole vignette with little wreaths for the kitchen windows made from eucalyptus, seed pods and princess pine and then fill small mercury glass, votive-like holders with greenery and white florals, like Ranunculus, to sit on the windowsills.” She creates similar vignettes outside people’s homes for the front door, urns, and columns flanking them. The mixed greenery she uses for the urns shows up in the door wreath (or swag) tied with the same gorgeous ribbons wound around the columns. Jumbo pinecones in the urns get stacked in a corner by the front door to pull the look together. “People are like, ‘Oh, my gosh, yes, yes,’ as everything evolves. So, you’re not just putting a wreath on your door.”

Thinking beyond vases

Amy McLaughlin of Amy McLaughlin Flowers in Newburyport likes to use interesting vessels for holiday table arrangements. “We have these authentic reproductions of a Chinese footbath, which are long and low and wonderful to use for a centerpiece.” For the holidays, McLaughlin fills them with potted orchids in deep red or white and then surrounds them with greenery, which she adorns with fresh flowers in water tubes. Last year, she adds, “one client brought in an antique gold-and-white Limoges tea set, and we put a mix of red roses, white hydrangea, bay leaves, and lemon leaves in the teapot, teacups, and creamer. They used it as a centerpiece for their Christmas dinner.” 

For tables or mantels, she’ll embellish mini boxwood wreaths with roses, Ranunculus, orchids, anemones, and berries like pink pepperberries or snowberries to encircle a glass hurricane and pillar candle. She also dresses up the banisters. “We’ll do sweeps of garland, made with cedar, eucalyptus, evergreen, and boxwood [for clients]. And, if they’re having a Christmas party or special event, we can incorporate fresh florals in water tubes, like cymbidium orchids in this burgundy-mauve with garden roses and hydrangea. It’s a temporary but beautiful look for that evening.”