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Welcome Mat: Local garden centers are ready for the holidays

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
Bordine's Christmas store is now open.

Local garden centers kick off Christmas open houses, demonstrations

Don't look now, but Christmas is only 57 days away. With that, several local garden centers are holding their annual holiday open houses. English Gardens' annual Christmas Open House is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at all six of its locations. There will be a wide variety of its professional decorated trees, which are always decorated in a range of themes, and a "social distanced Santa." "Christmas Open House will look a little different this year," said the retailer, which is donating a portion of Sunday's proceeds to the Festival of Trees, on its website. Farmer John's in Farmington Hills, meanwhile, is holding its Christmas Open House Nov. 6-8 with an array of holiday decor, deals, music and more. And at Bordine's, which has three locations currently open in Metro Detroit, designer mantel demonstrations are being offered throughout November. Its Christmas Store also is open. For details about what's available at each retailer, go their websites: englishgardens.com; farmerjohnsgreenhouse.com/events/; and bordines.com/events/all-events/.

Kathy Ireland is launching a new RV furniture collection at Camping World Holdings called Kathy Ireland Recreation & Adventure.

Kathy Ireland, Camping World to launch new RV furniture collection

RV sales continue to surge these days as people look for a safe way to travel and social distance amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the RV Industry Association, retailers and rental agencies are reporting inventory shortages and record demand for these homes-on-wheels. And with RVs -- especially for those fixing one up -- comes the need for RV furniture. Airstream and Pottery Barn introduced a collection this year. Now, former Sports Illustrated model Kathy Ireland is introducing her own RV furniture line in December. Kathy Ireland Recreation & Adventure comes out of Kathy Ireland Worldwide’s newest partnership with Camping World will include several seating options. Prices will start at $549. 

The 2020 Friendship Ornament.

Friendship ornament sales supports Children's Hospital of Michigan

COVID-19 has claimed another beloved holiday tradition -- the Festival of Trees that benefits the Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation -- but there's still one way to support this worthy cause: buy a Friendship Ornament. This year's ornament is $50; all proceeds will go pediatric research at Children's Hospital of Michigan. A limited number of ornaments are available so don't wait. Each year, Festival of Trees commissions an artist to create a small number of handmade ornaments called the Friendship Ornament. To bring up an order form and mail your check, go to https://fot.org/wp/sponsors/friendship-ornaments/.

Surprise your neighbors with a Boo Bag this Halloween.

A Halloween treat this year: boo bags

Looking for alternatives to giving out candy or trick-or-treating this Halloween? Try giving neighbors a “boo” bag. Fill up a bag with candy, add a note that says “You’ve been Booed,” put it on a neighbor’s porch and ring the doorbell. “We anticipate the growing ‘You’ve Been Booed!’ trend to be really big this year as families look for fun ways to embrace the season safely,” Meijer Group Vice President of Home and Hardlines Shawn Sinicrope said in a press release. “With so much uncertainty around the usual Halloween celebrations like haunted houses and even trick-or-treating, ‘Boo Bags’ give families an opportunity to still have fun together while starting a new tradition.” If you don’t want to give candy, try mini pumpkins. If you need some ideas for different types of Boo Bags, Meijer has some suggestions

AutoPets' Cat Orb is made from woven natural banana leaf and has a front and top entrance. It's $129.

Local pet firm introduces modern cat furniture line

Brad Baxter's life changed forever more than 20 years ago when he inherited two cats and found out what it's like to scoop cat litter. Not fun. An engineer, Baxter set out to change the process, eventually creating Litter Robot, a self-cleaning litter device. Litter Robot is part of AutoPets, a firm Baxter co-founded that's headquartered in Auburn Hills (co-owner Jacob Zuppke is from the Detroit area). AutoPets just recently introduced a line of modern cat furniture. For people who take their cats seriously, Litter Robot offers a Cat Pyramid, Cat Orb, Cat Silo and Cat Tower. And with clean lines, they'll blend in with your furniture seamless. Prices range from $69 to $269.