trees fit in with a trend in white for Christmas
with many artificial things in our virtual-reality
world, they look more and more real all the time.
that includes Christmas trees, which take in not only
the idealized evergreen — branches perfectly spaced
and of uniform length — but also Charlie Brown
look-alikes of wispy needles and random placement.
technology, which also gives us innovations in lights
that include projectors that cast images of snow or
kaleidoscopic colors on the side of a house and icicles
that appear to be melting along the eaves. And more and
more bulbs are battery-operated, taking lights to areas
of Christmas decorating where they’ve never been
because lights so often are already attached to
artificial trees, you can hardly shop for one without
shopping for the other these days. Bulb sizes and shapes
range from micro to mini to globe, and incandescents
still can be found among the strands of the newer,
the innovations — from type of bulb to solid vs.
flashing to color-changing vs. solid to battery vs.
electric to timer vs. off-and-on switch — mean it’s
important to read labels on packaging to make sure you’re
buying what you want.
are some of the trends to look for — and look out for
— in the holiday decorating landscape of 2015.
LIGHTS THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
has several models of trees whose lights can be changed
from clear to multicolored or can go back and forth
between the two.
lights aren’t just those strings of weeping
mini-lights anymore but also take on a solid icicle
appearance, with lights that can have the effect of
dripping or flashing. Again, be sure the bulb provides
the kind of light you want. Reading reviews online of a
product can help if you aren’t sure.
while the brilliant LED bulbs are the cool-to-the-touch,
energy-conserving wonder, you can still find
incandescent trees and strings of lights, which are less
expensive but don’t last as long. "Most people go
toward the LED," said Shawn McCormick of Lowe’s.
"That’s what most of our lights are going to. We
only have one bay of incandescents."
solid-color lights, blue is popular this year, McCormick
said. Strings of lights and projectors of blue lights
were the first to be sold this year, he said. There also
are icicle lights that are blue, Jessica Knott of Lowe’s
it comes to picking out an artificial tree, the more
tips and more lights are on it, the fuller it looks.
"It looks more like a real tree," McCormick
said. This also increases the price.
yes, the upside-down tree is still around.
of McCormick’s customers recently asked for a
"Real Feel" tree, indicating how far
artificial trees have come from being obviously plastic.
In picking its best artificial trees for 2015, Good
Housekeeping found a 7 1/2-foot balsam fir that has true
green color and a natural sweep to its branches. It also
includes a plug-in for the tree topper, a foot pedal for
turning the lights off and on and two zip-up bags for
storage (at balsamhill.com, $999). The online Balsam
Hill sells trees in three categories of
"realism": most realistic, realistic and
traditional (made of PVC).
that project lights on the house or a tree make easy
work of decorating and have been popular this year,
also are some solar options, McCormick said.
in the life and look of battery-operated lights mean
that if you’ve ever regretted not being able to light
up a wreath because you didn’t want a cord dangling
off of it or your mantel was dark because there was no
outlet nearby, you now have lots of options.
can find tiny lights on wire strands for indoors and
regular-sized lights on heavy cords for outdoors. You
can find battery-operated garlands of pine cones,
candles and stars. Twinkling lights and steady lights.
Clear or multicolored. Short lengths and long yardages.
Binns of Roo Grayson always carries strings of
battery-operated lights, but "they’re not real
bright, so I always double-string," using the
longer lengths, she said.
lights and, more often, battery-operated candles come
with timers, so be sure you want that feature rather
than a simple off-and-on switch, though you can always
override the timer by turning it off and on when you
of these new options mean you have to be especially
careful about reading labels. Look to see whether they
are electric or battery-operated. If they say twinkling,
be sure the look is what you want; often, flashing is
what you get. Be sure the lights say "for outdoor
use" if you intend to use them in the elements.
local home decor shops, Christmas trends are already
borrowing on Sherwin Williams’ color of the year for
can see it in flocked trees and in simple white birch
branches tucked in all over the place, whether upright
in a basket or vertical on a mantel.
or flocked artificial trees are part of a natural look
that’s big now, Binns of Roo Grayson said.
berries are huge, greens and whites and the champagne
color … snow and ice. I mix it all together," she