Add woodland magic to your holiday décor

By: Linda Shepard | C&G Newspapers | Published November 12, 2014

 A rustic, whimsical theme is a modern take on holiday décor.

A rustic, whimsical theme is a modern take on holiday décor.

Photo by Linda Shepard

METRO DETROIT — A natural woodland holiday theme brings the outdoors inside for a cozy, charming and modern effect.

“Each year, when we go to the buyers shows, we look for new trends,” said Casey Thomas, vice president of Sherwood Forest Garden Center in Oakland Township. “New this year are more natural looks with a woodland theme.”

The popular movie “Frozen” has also become a decorating trend, Thomas said.

“The icicles and the ‘Frozen’ look works well with a woodland theme: wood mixed with snowy items and earth tones,” he said.

Jonathan McGowen, merchandising manager at Bordine’s in Rochester Hills, agrees.

“There is a mid-century resurgence in design,” he said. “The old ‘country’ is now a modern, natural look. The more natural, simplistic look — with ice, snow, pinecones and birds on your tree — is more modern. Not plain pinecones and baby’s breath, but natural effects with a modern twist, with a touch of glitter or ice.

“Glitz has its place and it always will,” McGowen said. “For the baby boomer population, it is always over the top. But as they go into condos, they want a simpler look. There is a little bit of a shift to simplicity, and when that happens, it goes to a more natural look.”

McGowen said holiday décor follows decorating styles. “Christmas [décor] is three to four years behind the design trends,” he said.

Bordine’s nurseries offer seminars on wreaths, mantle décor, theme trees, fresh greens and more. For more information, visit

“We are doing three seminars on using fresh greens,” McGowen said.

Sherwood Forest, on Adams Road at Silver Bell, features a selection of small showrooms — each decorated in a specific theme and designed as an idea showcase — in addition to a wide selection of natural trees and greens.

For more information, visit

Thomas recommends using fresh greenery with canella berries both inside and outside the house.

“It gets very dark in Michigan,” Thomas said. “When you can get a red berry on something, it really stands out. It can bring a lot of pizzazz to a wreath; a little bit of red really pops.”

“We have a lot of families that come as a tradition each year,” Thomas said. “We see kids of all ages picking out the tree. Then they come into the store to pick out an ornament. They say coming here gets you into the spirit.”

Jessica Higbee, department sales manager and buyer at the English Gardens locations throughout the area, said the natural look is extremely trendy.

“We sell a lot of pinecones, burlap, natural fabrics and plaids to go along with them,” she said. “Plaids are browns and maroons instead of red and green. It gives everything a softer look with a more intimate, cozy feel.”

Higbee recommends lanterns on the Christmas tree with battery lights, and decorating the tree with woodland animal ornaments.

“Owls are one of the most popular animals,” she said.

Repurposing vintage items, like old chairs and crates filled with greens, is also recommended.

“We sell a lot of old-time nostalgic pieces, too,” Higbee said. English Gardens sells birch branches and birch bundles for atmosphere around a fireplace.

“We still have the glitz and glitter customer, but shows and magazines are pushing the natural look,” Higbee said. 

For more information about a variety of holiday decorating-themed classes at English Gardens, located in Royal Oak, Clinton Township, West Bloomfield, Eastpointe and more, visit