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Fresh and artificial holiday décor complement each other

Fresh products are not as expensive as many people would choose to believe.

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A fresh poinsettia nearly blends into the holiday décor surrounded by artificial greens and trees in the home. John Zvirovski / The Jamestown Sun

There used to be a time when most Christmas greens and decorations were real, but with technology, many of these items have been replaced by artificial replicas that can be used from year to year. Fresh Christmas trees have been replaced by reusable plastic trees made from petroleum and various other chemicals to last years. Their fresh scent has been replaced by sprays and scented oils that fill for the next Christmas season. Rarely do they need much touching up other than a periodic dusting.

Fresh greenery has also been replaced with artificial garlands, wreaths and swags that can be touched up each year with new color schemes and ribbons. Indoor centerpieces can be altered and chucked in the closet just to be taken out again for some new artificial flowers or embellishments to spruce them up. As we all know, these artificial items can take a beating and continue to be useful, unlike their live counterparts.

Another side of the artificial world is that most of those products are made overseas, whereas fresh product is grown locally or at least within our general region. It is also a renewable resource that is managed very well through green tree farms.

Fresh products are not as expensive as many people would choose to believe. Fresh garlands can be purchased for anywhere from $1 to $5 a linear foot depending on the evergreen type selected. Inside they will fill the air with a wonderful pine scent and should remain away from heating elements to maintain their freshness longer. Outdoors during the winter, they will nearly last the entire season without discoloration or loss of freshness.

Fresh Christmas trees can be purchased for as little as $35 and tend to go up from there, depending on the evergreen size and type. Selections of spruce, white or scotch pine or frazer fir are among the most common. Of course, there is any size you may be looking for from 3 feet tall to as high as 15 feet if you have the room for them indoors. There are nearby Christmas tree farms where people can cut down their own tree for a little family tradition at a nominal price. There is nothing like the pine scent of a fresh tree in the home, and they will retain their freshness through the holiday as long as they are watered on a daily basis and never allowed to dry out. Fresh trees can be recycled into mulch after the holidays once they are picked up so nothing goes to waste.

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Fresh wreaths and swags are also available in the markets and nurseries. Most are sold plain, but some can be purchased decorated for the season, especially if requested ahead from a local florist. Many choose to decorate these items themselves for their own personal touch. Some groups even sell these items for fundraisers so it is a win-win situation for the purchaser and the organization selling.

Poinsettias are available in so many colors to match your color scheme for the holidays. Buy the live ones, which you can get for a low cost, but they have to be watered frequently to keep them from wilting. Once the plant goes into a full wilt stage, they usually do not fully recover and drop numerous leaves.

As wonderful as all the fresh products are for personal use, some people may be allergic to various types along the way. In these cases, the artificial selection will serve its purpose. Some people also enjoy artificial products as they are easier to mold into shape due to their wired interiors and never drying out. Mixing some fresh product within the artificial items actually brings a little more life to the fake compositions. For example, place some fresh flowers stemmed into water vials to place within an artificial centerpiece and soon the greens take on a natural look all their own.

Add other natural products into items such as arrangements, wreaths, garlands and swags to create a new dimension to live and artificial products. Choose items from the yard and garden such as pine cones, ornamental grass plumes, dried berries, and dried baby’s breath to add depth, color and texture to your greens.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to combining fresh, dried and artificial products into your overall design scheme. Always keep in mind there isn’t just one way to do things, but use your imagination and try an array of new ideas to see what works best for your décor.

If you predominantly use artificial product by choice in your decorating scheme, try adding some fresh product for scent, texture and depth for something different. If you only use fresh product, add a few artificial embellishments to add a new spark to your designs. Whether using fresh or artificial products, both have a dynamic place within our holiday designs. Have fun with your decorations and enjoy the season as it will go by very quickly.

To read more columns written by John Zvirovski, click here.

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