Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

By Alethea Temple



lethea Temple, an interior designer, knows how time-consuming and chaotic decorating for the holidays can be, even for someone who loves doing it. That’s one of the reasons that she started SimplyChristmas, a company that provides the look of a designer Christmas tree at a more affordable cost. Since childhood, holiday decorating has always been her favorite Christmas tradition and now she is sharing that passion with others. SimplyChristmas helps clients to have personalized, unique decorations in their homes without the hours spent planning, shopping, and dealing with the frustration of decorating. It really does make decorating for Christmas much simpler. So how does it work?

SimplyChristmas was created to help customers by using a “Christmas in a box” concept. The client’s unique Christmas tree comes packaged, complete with personalized colors, themed decorations, ornaments, and almost anything else they can imagine so that all they have to do is open it up and enjoy. Alethea has very graciously agreed to share some of her professional know-how with our readers to help make their holidays more merry and bright.

Choosing Your Colors

When it comes to holiday decorating, traditional red and gold are always in style. In addition to the traditional color palette, this year Parisian blue and white, evocative of the popular antique china pattern, is very popular. Mixed metals such as copper, gold, platinum, and bronze can add a glitzy, glamorous feel to your home. Finally, purple with grey hues can give your home an ethereal, enchanted feel. Whatever color scheme you go with, make sure to choose colors that you really love so that you can use your decorations year after year.

One of the most popular themes is the “natural” Christmas tree and decorations.

If you love the beach, go coastal! Add your own personal touches of shells, netting, driftwood, and sea grass for your coastal themed Christmas tree.

Themed Décor

By going with a coastal theme, you can escape the realm of cold weather and imagine yourself at the beach, soaking in the sun. There is more than just white sand around the beaches of Georgia. By adding touches of shells, driftwood, starfish, fishnets, pinecones, and sand dollars, you are able to transform your living room from traditional Christmas to the warm beaches of the coast.

One of the most popular Christmas themes lately is the “natural” theme. This look is achieved by combining natural colors with wood, preserved plants (such as berries, evergreens, and cattails), and other natural items. By adding a natural theme to your Christmas, you create an earthy vibe that evokes a rustic visage. It adds a cozy, family-oriented feeling to the traditional Christmas decorations, certain to make you want to grab your blankets and hot chocolate and sit by the fire with loved ones.

If you are looking for a more personalized theme, the sky is the limit. When we asked Alethea what some of the quirkiest and most original themes she’s seen were, she shared a few gems with us. One was a tree in a healthcare facility decorated all in healthcare paraphernalia, like empty pill bottles, needleless syringes, and other medical items. She also shared a tree she decorated for her daughter one year, decorated to match her daughter’s bedroom at the time, which included stuffed animals and other toys. This year she plans to decorate her daughter’s tree with colors and patterns inspired by Vera Bradley and Lilly Pulitzer.

Personalize Your Décor

Everyone has a unique personality and style, which means we all gravitate towards different types of decorations. Rustic modern, as noted above, has been a popular trend in recent years and this popularity has really influenced the marketplace. Keep in mind that just because something is popular, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Your decorations should express your own style and taste. Having at least a few pieces that express your individuality is the key to having decorations that you will love for years to come.
Sometimes you will find that one item can inspire your entire tree, and maybe even the rest of your home, no matter how whimsical it may seem. When trying to create a personalized design for your holiday decorations, you shouldn’t be afraid to venture outside of the box and embrace your creative side. If you find an item that truly speaks to you, get it and see where it takes you.

Decorating Made Easier

Decide on a look, make a plan, and stick with it. One of the biggest mistakes to avoid making is impulse buying your decorations. More is not always better. Resist the urge to buy a few items each time you go shopping, or you’ll end up with an accumulation of items and no idea what to do with them. You will probably spend more money than if you had planned your décor ahead of time. If you don’t have time to plan and execute an elaborate decorating scheme, keep things simple.

If you are on a budget, consider creating your own decorations. One thing to keep in mind is that you can get decorations for a steal if you shop after the holidays and put things away for next year. Fresh greens are also an inexpensive and elegant way to decorate your home, though they only last for about a week without watering indoors. Outdoors your fresh greens will last longer, especially if the temperatures stay low and you keep them out of direct sunlight.

DIY Evergreen Preserving:

  1. Cut fresh evergreen foliage. Good choices include juniper, magnolia, holly, cedar, and boxwood. Gather your foliage at midday to decrease the amount of moisture in the plant.
  2. Do not place the cut foliage in water. Thirsty foliage will absorb the preserving solution more rapidly.
  3.  Mix preserving solution using a 1:1 solution of glycerin and hot water. For example, 1 cup of liquid glycerin to 1 cup of water. If you want a deep green color, add 1 TBSP of green floral dye or food coloring to the mixture. Glycerin can be purchased at craft stores or retail pharmacies.
  4. Re-cut the stem of the foliage before adding it to the preservative solution. Pound the ends of woody stems with a hammer to increase the absorption rate of the solution.
  5. Insert the foliage in a plastic container or a glass jar of the preservative mixture. The stems should be submerged 4-6 inches.
  6. Place the containers in a cool, dry location with good air circulation. It normally takes 2-6 weeks for the greenery to be completely preserved.
  7. Remove the cuttings from the containers and allow to air dry for 24-48 hours.

Your freshly preserved foliage can now be used for decorating.

Alethea Temple is the owner of Temple & Co. — Unique Designs. She, her husband Jody, and daughter MacKenzie live in Rome, GA. Alethea is an Interior decorator that specializes in holiday and seasonal décor for homes, businesses, and events. She also does interior design work which includes consultations on colors, fabrics, flooring, and fixtures. She can be reached at,, or call (706) 290-3338.

You may also like...