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Solutions: Holiday displays with a twist on tradition


While it’s lovely to look at all those seasonal embellishments, it takes some effort to get there. That’s why Royal Oak-based Samantha Pattison, who has a knack for decorating, is now helping others with their holiday decor and more.

“I move things around and use what they have and see what they like on Pinterest,” she says. “It’s about creating different ways to display it and adding some fresh seasonal greens if they’re having a party.”

It can be helpful to have someone else survey your space. “It’s just a different eye,” says Pattison. “I can find different spots for things and freshen things up a bit.”

In her own charming Cape Cod, she filled a fruit crate with a smaller tree adorned with sugared fruit ornaments. “I thought that would be fun,” she says.

Her love for seasonal accents began early on. “When I was a kid on vacation I would always grab an ornament. That was my thing,” says Pattison, who had an impressive collection by the time she reached adulthood.

She’s followed a similar tradition with her children, now grown, by giving them each a new ornament on Christmas Eve. “This way they have meaning to them,” she says.

Her background in retail and holiday displays is evident in the special touches around her home like a clay cardinal that was a gift from Ed Meese, the artist. The colorful figure gets a sprig of greenery from her backyard come wintertime. “It looks like he’s nesting on the greens,” says Pattison.

The placement of a tablecloth and lantern on a vintage bistro table surrounded by vintage-inspired chairs on her patio resulted in a stunning outdoor vignette. “Even with snow, it looks inviting when you look outside,” she says.

When entertaining, an Indian tapestry from Leon & Lulu in Clawson on the dining table sets a festive tone. Above, a chandelier she rescued from the trash was embellished with beaded garland and crystals along with gilded stars from old Christmas packages.

Last winter, Pattison researched the past when decorating for an anniversary party for her parents. The all-white bouquet from their wedding photo would inspire the delightful floral arrangements consisting of Spider Mums, carnations and roses.

There’s a pureness and simplicity to her displays, which makes them all the more endearing, like a chalkboard that tracks the Christmas countdown and the kosher salt that looks like snow on a floral plate that was a little too busy for her taste. “I wanted to show less of the pattern,” she says.

Pattison says you don’t have to remove what you normally display when decorating for any occasion. Highlight what you have like she does with her sconces accented with wreaths. “Take what you have and make it seasonal and festive with ribbons and greenery from a florist,” she says.

Lastly, Pattison believes in embracing imperfection. “You should have a little bit of quirkiness in every room,” she says.

For information, call Samantha Pattison at 248-376-2104.

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