Decorating the home for Christmas sets the mood — the more holly, the more jolly.

It can be stressful. It's a very busy time of year and little elves are watching every move.

Fear not. Everything your holiday season needs is out there and ready for a place in your home.

Ramona McCrovitz has owned the Merrillville Florist Shop and Tea Room for  36 years, making a name for herself for the beautiful designs she creates for the holiday.

“We have many homeowners who ask us to come out and decorate their home for the holiday season,” she said. “Sometimes it is specific to Christmas, other times it’s a mix of Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’re very flexible in providing our clients what they want.”

In addition to onsite makeovers and decorations, McCrovitz and her talented team create items for customers who have a particular design in mind. “We get a lot of business from people who bring us a photo of what they want,” she said. “Sometimes they want the exact same item; sometimes the colors will be different, and occasionally they want a type of decoration added. We love the challenge of creating holiday decorations that inspire our clients.”

McCrovitz cut her teeth as a window designer for large stores such as Evans Furs in Chicago and Merrillville. “The work I did back then taught me how to blend colors and textures to make the window pop,” she said. “Over time, I’ve been able to apply those lessons in holiday décor.”

Merrillville Florist Shop creates centerpieces, candles, wreaths, bouquets, dining room décor, and accessories for all the above. They create decorations for trees, hallways, arches, mantels, and stair railings — just to mention the ones she rolled off the top of her head. “We also create custom pieces that may not easily fit into one of those categories,” McCrovitz said. “But if the client wants something specific, we’ll take care to make it.”

As the season draws near, the shop is full of holiday décor. McCrovitz likes to use neutral colors as a background to contrast the bold ones of the decorations. She uses painted hedge apples as an example of bold color. “No one wants those hedge apples, but when we paint them, they have multiple uses in holiday decorations,” she said.

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McCrovitz has squirreled away several other design secrets and is careful to not reveal too much. “Don’t want to give away the store,” she said with a grin.

Likewise, Alsip Home & Nursery in St. John is brimming with holiday finery that   Alsip designers have been busy creating.

“New trends this year include a lot of greens, natural elements, and berries,” said Maggie Vega, marketing and design director. “Eucalyptus is a highly sought-after floral addition to trees, wreaths, and other Christmas greenery.”

Interior lights have been trending the last few years. Vega said that several new models include table-top options and battery powered designs. “Christmas is truly the season of lights, indoors and out,” she said.

Color trends include the natural elements, champagne and platinum. Textures such as black-and-white buffalo plaid is also trending, according to Vega. “Our designers set themes so it’s easy for our customers to add onto their trees and other decorations,” Vega said. “We have a great selection of vintage throwbacks that will resonate with memories of Christmases past.”

Outdoor decorating is very popular and it gives families an opportunity to show off their Christmas style to the neighborhood. “LED and contractor grade lighting provide endless possibilities, especially LED lights with the look of incandescent bulbs,” Vega said.

Warm white is still a the color choice for the cozy glow that goes with any home exterior, according to Vega. “We also love to help shoppers who are looking to crank it up with multicolor combinations,” she said.

Whether it’s mantel décor, trees in every room, or even neon, Christmas is coming, and the Griswold within each of us awaits release.

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