Deck the Halls

A festive mantel at Door County Nature Works.

The turn from Thanksgiving to Christmas is a very noticeable one, with decorations taking a turn from natural tones of brown, green and orange to vibrant hues of green, red, silver and gold. If the thought of decking the halls in the same old way as years past makes you dread dragging the décor from the attic, worry no more – Door County Nature Works owner Polly Helm is here to help you navigate holiday decorating trends old and new.

The home décor and furnishings store has been open for more than 20 years and has been offering decorating classes for the past 17 years. Two such classes are held every year for the big transitions – from winter to spring, and from fall to holiday season.

“It is a fun time to gather with customers and friends, old and new, and get inspired,” owner Polly Helm says. “It’s kind of like Pinterest live! Some of the ideas we share are very easy – anyone can do it.”

The two-hour classes serve a dual purpose: teaching people to beautify their homes in new ways, and as fundraisers for different Door County charities. Several years ago, Door County Nature Works began charging a $10 registration fee for the classes and since then, has donated approximately $600 to a charity during each session.

The most recent recipient (following the Nov. 7 – 8 classes) was We Are HOPE, Inc., a non-profit providing employment and home energy services to individuals and families in need in Door and Kewaunee counties.

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree.

With the next month focused on tinsel, tree toppers, decorations and lights, Helm offered up the following tips to make sure you’re making the most of your holiday décor.

O, Christmas Tree

Always use at least 100 lights per foot. After the lights are in place, fill in with garlands – it can be green, iced or berries. This will really give your tree another dimension and texture. Next, we make our tree topper. We love large and unusual toppers here at Nature Works. On our largest tree right now we have snowy branches with pinecones, ices ferns and magnolia bud sprays. It is a beautiful topper. One year we put large skis in the top – you are only limited by your imagination. Next we always place a few large objects (like lanterns or decorated bird houses) and then our ornaments in all shapes and sizes. Finally, we fill in with ribbons and greenery/floral picks. Decorating a tree is a process – you have to continually step back and assess what area needs more.

Merry Mantel

A holiday mantel should have a few large key items to draw your attention. Right now our store mantel has two large, white frosted paper trees and silver deer. We usually put our garland and lights down first and then add the items. The depth and length of your mantel will determine how much you can do. We have a large mirror propped in the middle of our mantel with snowflakes hanging from ribbons in front. You want to make sure the items you select for your mantel are varied in height, size and shape.

Tinseled-out Tables

Holiday tables should be a mixture of tradition and inspiration. You want to make sure when your guests are seated that they all have a view of each other and of something lovely on the table. For Thanksgiving, I love a variety of pumpkins and gourds mixed with leaf garlands and candles. Beautiful table linens and special serving pieces make the table special.

New decorating trends include glass containers and table landscapes.

Festive New Trends

Two new trends we talked about this year were creating holiday scapes on trays and using glass containers. Trays are a great base because they can easily be moved and it gives you a definite area to decorate. Again, it is important to vary the heights of the items you showcase. Small white rice lights add a little sparkle to your display as well. We created one with a snowman collection and small trees and lights – it was very cute. Glass containers are great to fill with artificial snow, then add a special candle – one shaped like a tree or a pinecone. Or instead of a candle you could put in a special Santa, deer or snowman.

Door County Nature Works is open daily through Jan. 5. Call 920.868.2651, email [email protected], or find them on Facebook.