Regardless of any religious beliefs you may or may not hold, holiday home decorating brigh-tens up the darkest days of the year. For those who haven’t yet decked their halls, Benjamin Newbold, Winston Flowers’ head event designer who creates spectacular public Christmas displays and brings seasonal swagger to private homes, offers Metro inspiration and tips.


Let it get personal:

“The fun part about holiday decorating is it’s very sentimental and personal,” says Newbold. “Christmas is one of those times when it’s all about you and your home. The traditional evergreens and red-and-green look great, but if your home is more modern, then keeping it organic with grays, greens and browns might work better.”


Think sustainability:

The main trend for the season is sustainability, with berries, pine cones and leaves taking the place of plastic baubles.


“People are using more organic elements in their holiday decor. Less is thrown in the trash. People reuse ornaments and hold onto them. They become sentimental,” says Newbold.


Take advantage of this time of the year:

There’s little rationality to seasonal decorating, says Newbold: “Pine cones exist in nature year-round, yet this is the only time of year that we bring them into our homes. Also, poinsettias are tropical plants —how did they come into the Christmas picture?”

Be yourself:

“No matter what you choose,” says Newbold, “this is your home, this is your life. Don’t decorate from something you see in a magazine if it’s not you.”

Newbold’s Top 3 tree tips

Pick a sturdy one: “Run your hand down the boughs and if a lot of needles come off, then the tree had a bad season, or it’s old. If you have a lot of ornaments, choose a Frasier or Noble Pine that will hold the weight.”

Do some design planning: “It’s best to put the lights on first so they don’t tangle with the ornaments.”

Look at the colors and shapes of your ornaments. “Lay them on a table and see what works together. Secure them well — wire usually works better than ribbons.”

Call it quits: “Know when to stop. Don’t throw everything at the tree. If the boughs droop, you’ve probably gone too far!” Find more info at