Solutions: Tweak your traditions for a fresh look

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

While it’s easy to repeat the same holiday drill every year, your decor runs the risk of being predictable. If you’d like to deck the halls a little differently this time around, it’s possible to get a fresh and festive look without spending a fortune. Here’s how.

Following my recent visits to a few local retailers, I came away inspired to refresh my own seasonal embellishments. For starters, a trip to the new At Home location in Bloomfield Hills made me finally acknowledge the fact that it’s time to replace our old artificial Christmas tree that has seen better days.

Not only do I hope to find a taller style to accommodate the assorted ornaments we’ve accumulated through the years, but I’d like to try something other than green. Unfortunately, my family did not share my vision for a black specimen that could also work on Halloween. So, after explaining that a white one would disappear against our neutral walls, I’ve decided to go for gold.

While some may say that’s straying too far from tradition, my fake green tree wasn’t fooling anyone either.

At a holiday event hosted by Art Van in Warren, I gathered more holiday decorating ideas from a seasonal garland that was draped across a table instead of the requisite mantel or staircase railing.

This inspired me to reconsider some of my own existing pieces that could be relocated around the house, such as candlesticks and trays that can be filled with ornaments. Today’s nonbreakable varieties make these displays easy to assemble.

Another unique combination I spotted at Art Van featured colorful woven baskets filled with holiday ornaments, a pretty pairing that has plenty of contrast. Wicker or wood containers would have the same effect.

During a holiday open house at Home Interior Warehouse in Walled Lake, I was drawn to a gold plaque that says Merry Christmas. The seasonal accent became even more attractive when shown in a variety of ways, gracing everything from a classic Christmas tree to a festive wreath.

It could also adorn a front door or hang from a stocking holder on a mantel.

While it’s always a fun challenge to reinvent what we have, I also enjoy adding a few new finds to my seasonal inventory. Since I haven’t found the right piece for a portion of the mantel in my living room, I borrowed a female bust from the hallway that just happens to be the right size and height. With some festive accessories like a holiday-themed hat or some costume jewelry, she might just do the trick.

After an extensive search for the right holiday card holder, I may have finally stumbled upon it online while looking for something else, which is what often happens when I give up. This year I’d like to feature the personal greetings in a more creative presentation, making them part of the new look I hope to have in my home this holiday season.

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at