Designers offer tips for holiday home decor

Even though designers promote new color schemes for Christmas decorating each year, William J. “Buzzy” Heroman says people in Baton Rouge generally prefer the traditional.

“Most of the people we see go for red and gold or red, green and gold,” says Heroman, owner of Billy Heroman’s and the fourth generation of his family in the florist business.

That’s not to say there aren’t those who want a tree decorated in apple green and white or even one with an LSU theme.

Every family has its own tradition when it comes to decorating the Christmas tree. Some prefer the monochromatic look with ornaments all in the same color or theme.

“Some people have trees with every homemade ornament their children ever made,” says Heroman.

The first choice people have to make is whether to get an artificial tree.

“So many men want an artificial tree, but the wife wants the live tree,” says Heroman, who has the perfect solution.

Get the artificial tree and a Fraser fir-scented candle that smells exactly like a fresh tree.

“Everybody is happy,” he says.

Buying an artificial tree or any artificial greenery is an important purchase that requires some study, Heroman says.

He recommends items made of a combination of silk and polyvinyl.

“The harder plastic doesn’t look as nice as you want,” he says. “The better stuff is a blend — a blend of five or six different textures. With proper care and storage, these trees can last for many years.”

Sometimes, when the children are grown and families downsize or move to smaller homes, they no longer want to decorate as elaborately as they did in the past.

“Put a small tree on a box or crate and skirt it down,” recommends Heroman. “Or take a lamp off a table and put up a three- or four-foot tree. You don’t have to have a seven-foot tree.”

One of the biggest trends in Christmas decorating over the past decades has been the rise of Christmas collectibles.

Santas, elves, religious figures and angels are among the most popular items. This year, Heroman’s has a new collection of porcelain carolers.

“People still love the Annalee Christmas dolls that have been hand-painted in New Jersey for 75 years,” he says.

His advice when considering collectibles is to go for the best quality.

“Buy one nice item a year,” he said. “That way you will acquire a really fine collection.”

If you have only one piece, put it on the mantel or on a small table.

Over the years, as you acquire more pieces, you can create the display on a larger surface.

Heroman traces his family’s business to his great-grandfather, Fred Heroman, who had a shop across from St. Joseph Catholic Church, now St. Joseph Cathedral.

“He started selling religious articles,” Heroman recalls. “The story is that he knew a man who knew a man who sold mums (chrysanthemums). They asked him to decorate the altar at the church for All Saint’s.”

That led to other holidays and what is now “the oldest business as a family in Baton Rouge,” he says.

Heroman and his wife, Susie, are already planning for Christmas 2014.

In January, they will go with at least seven family members and employees to market to purchase items that will be delivered in early summer.

“We walk a million different miles,” he said. “We don’t miss a showroom. We don’t want to miss a thing.”