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Natural elements create holiday charm

Holiday traditions and keepsakes bring the most nostalgic feelings of the season back every year, but they can seem a little tired. Add a bit of natural brilliance to your holiday decor with fresh flowers, greenery and reclaimed wood items.

Florist Hileah Cleveland has so many great seasonal decorating ideas using flowers and fauna, and she can make greenery a major element in any type of holiday decor. She has clients lined up every holiday season asking for tabletop displays, entryway presentations and large living room creations.

“Decorating with natural elements for the holidays is a fantastic way to mix in some holiday charm to any mantelpiece, table or Christmas tree,” said Cleveland, owner of Sun City-Summerlin Florist, 9442 Del Webb Blvd. “It’s also a great way to express your creative side in an elegant, artistic fashion.”

By including materials such as natural branches, evergreens, bright seasonal fruits and lush flowers, you can create a wintery woodland scene inside while outside is sunny and certainly not traditionally seasonal.

“Living in Las Vegas, you don’t get that winter wonderland landscape,” she said. “So you have to forge your own.”

Red berries add a punch of color; preserved cotton stems height and grandeur; noble fir clippings and pine cones add a touch of old-fashioned allure; and clusters of moss bring that touch of holiday green to any small display.

“The greens give out a fresh forestry smell, adding an aroma of the holiday spirit,” Cleveland said. “Most Christmas tree lots will give you the extra tree trimmings left behind, if you ask.”

Layering your moss, holiday greens and pine cones can produce a plush and sizable focal piece for a tablescape, mantel decor or entryway display.

“You can then build on your green base by adding accents like red berries and tufts of preserved cotton to capture that snowy mood,” she said.

This same concept can be carried throughout your home, from the staircase decor to the Christmas tree accents.

Easy ways to blend natural decorations into your holiday decor is by including holiday houseplants, such as amaryllis, poinsettias and blooming Christmas cactus, which can then be used throughout the year for color.

“I have used these same design concepts year after year, in my store, in clients’ homes and my own,” she said. “Every motif is drastically different from the next, simply by changing your color palette, adding sparkly winter accents or incorporating a big holiday bow into your natural decorations.”

And don’t cluster your decor in one room. Lanterns with pillar candles; clear cylinder vases full of red or green apples; bowlfuls of layered pine cones, pomegranates, moss and other festive goodies; clear vases of floating cranberries, fresh cut flowers and bundles of cinnamon lovingly placed around the house make the holiday home complete.

“I am a huge fan of the holiday season and love the decorating process,” the longtime Las Vegan said. “The idea is to bring the spirit of the season into your home. Be creative and set a festive and eco-friendly holiday mood throughout your home.”

A stroll around your desert-landscaped neighborhood also can bring an abundance of the holiday spirit into your home.

“It is so easy — and inexpensive — to bring nature indoors with things you can find in your backyard or on your neighborhood walk,” she said.

The holiday experience is enhanced by using natural materials because it brings us back to a simpler lifestyle, said Andrew Moore, owner of Reclaimed Secrets, 2912 S Highland Drive. Many of its pieces have been aged in the desert sun for decades, are scorched by wildfires or cut down due to blight, which gives each piece its own distinct character.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle and to forget that the real experience is about spending time and sharing with family, friends and the community,” said Moore, who has worked with his wife, Nic, to scour the local countryside for surplus woods for more than five years. “Our goal is to provide handmade products artistically created with love that can be shared for years to come.”

The Moores realized that their small business had a lot more to offer the community than large custom-built decor items early on. Every holiday season, the Moores donate handmade blankets to homeless shelters and have donated handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments to local charities for fundraising.

“We believe it’s important to give back to the community,” Moore said.

And the sharing doesn’t stop after the last Christmas tree has been recycled. They also donate buckets of sawdust to the surrounding urban farming community throughout the year.

“Las Vegas has become a melting pot of people from around the world, which means a lot of different traditions and practices during the holiday season,” he said. “Yet we feel there is a common practice that connects us all and that is breaking bread together.”

Throughout the year, the couple put their personal touches on reclaimed wood they’ve specifically chosen to build custom-made dining tables and kitchen islands that act as a foundation for these gatherings. And they aren’t limited to large items.

“During this cold season, we often make coasters and serving trays to place your hot cocoa on,” he said. “We also have a variety of coat/hat racks which feature a fusion of wood with metal work, river rocks, mirrors, cactus ribs and even lighting.”

Clients have been requesting accent pieces from the Moores’ large supply of aged planks and timbers to spread the joy of reclaimed wood to family and friends, such as live edge bathroom organizers with vintage mason jars, signs that read “Love” and “Joy,” spice racks, wine storage and bar carts.

“The warmth of reclaimed wood, loved ones and home-cooked meals make for an excellent holiday season,” Moore said.

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