Holiday Centerpieces That Aren’t Santa Claus Red is New Trend

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By Jill Brooke

Although we love Santa Claus’s cherry-red attire, which has come to symbolize Christmas, the color isn’t great for every holiday table. 

If your dining room clashes with red, it can pose a problem.

Furthermore, millennials are veering toward modern design that consists of a sea of neutrals, which adds to the dilemma of creating a satisfying focal point.

This is why many are creating centerpieces that include luscious white flowers like lilies and lisianthus and other options such as garnet hydrangeas or lilac alstroemerias.  And why we at Flower Power Daily are offering you these gorgeous inspirations to tone down your displays from a profusion of red poinsettias and amaryllis and consider other options. If you don’t order from these fabulous florists – then be inspired by them.

Dionne Pia, who works at Floral Petals of Westchester, strategically ordered fewer “fire engine red amaryllis,” red roses and carnations this season, anticipating clients who want more subtle designs.

Another bonus of this thinking is that the world is more multi-cultural. For those who celebrate Hanukkah, florists will add more blue tones such as hyacinths, larkspur, even blue peacock feathers. For those who celebrate Kwanza, orange tones are always appreciated – especially day lilies or parrot tulips.

Part of the fun of floral displays – since flowers make people so happy – is to maintain traditions and then offer a surprise to add excitement. “People still love rustic,” says Theresa Colucci of Meadowscent Flowers. “But we’re finding that white flowers, as well as ombre and burgundy-colored flowers, are now more popular for centerpieces as well as for wreaths on doors.”

We love Christmas and all holiday traditions. We have no problem with saying Merry Christmas or Happy Everything. But there’s nothing wrong with adding a little piece of your own magic. In fact, making this effort creates a lasting legacy for you in your family. The prettier the table, the better the food tastes and the more lively and fun the conversation!

Here are five tips for a fab holiday centerpiece.

Pine is the ideal green to scream, “It’s the holidays.”

Buy lots of it and use it everywhere. Plus it’s a great vase filler and you can put it next to the vases for a dramatic but cozy effect. You never want to omit the sentimental traditions of the holidays. You are just making the display work for you and your table settings. I’ve been known to spray a little Frasier Fir pine scent from Thymes on my displays. People love it! I also took a clear vase and wrapped it with a green ribbon, which added to the simple effect. In this display, I used the greenery along with lilac alstroemeria and white lisianthus.

Juniper is a way to add some blue to your display.

You can also use peacock feathers to add blue, which is linked to Hanukkah. And more and more florists are taking a paintbrush to turn things like craspedia (those things that look like ping pong balls on sticks) into a range of colors for special effects.

We see the juniper being used from Flower School Los Angeles as well as by florist Mary Lou Pappas. She also used white roses in her beautiful floral arrangements. A detail I loved?  Scattered on the tables were clear balls filled with gold glitter that matched the color of the vase for an event I went to at Caramoor. That was a particularly subtle but beautiful touch. The balls said holiday and were not in red or green but clear. I am using these balls at my own holiday table.


Flourish Bespoke in Columbus, Ohio, created hints of blue with muscari-like flowers and made the arrangement warmer by adding ivory ranunculus.

Using painted leaves in a variety of colors is also trending. 

It adds pizzazz and, when mixed with hydrangeas, roses and other flowers, add a modern flourish. Copper seems to be a very popular shade but you can use all shades of green too. These displays by Floral Petals of Westchester use it in very inventive ways. Yet you still feel that these are winter-themed floral arrangements. 

Don’t forget to use interesting vases to complement your arrangement.

Look what Lawrence Scott Events did with this setting.  This design team used glass vases that were airy and attracted light to put clusters of roses. Then maintained the glass theme on the dinner plates. So beautiful. And for the smaller sized vases, they paired it with terracotta for warmth. You can mix and match vases on a table but be consistent in theme. Here they created such eye candy with different sized glass vases and plate coverings. Though this was for a larger event, you can reimagine this for smaller groups too.

The Flower Factory in Vancouver used a birch vase that elicits feelings of snow-covered trees and sledding. I also liked how they used blue thistle and copper tones to create this modern design. The white flowers were an accent but not the main focus. Just start collecting vases and you will have so much opportunity to create a variety of styles for your eating pleasure. After all, if we are going to be home more, make the table as pleasing as the food.

If using red tones, find a variety of colors in that palette

It’s not only multiculturism that makes life interesting. It is also multi-colorism, as we say at FPD. Therefore use many colors in your display as well as red. Juan Villaneuva toned down the reds he used in this modern display by adding coral parrot tulips and even an amaryllis he found called “tarantula,” which had the perfect Burgundy tones. He used ilex winterberry in bunches to incorporate the traditional colors. The vase was also rectangular, which makes for better conversation because the flowers aren’t too high. 

Meadowscent Flowers used a more traditional arrangement, but added the burgundy tones with roses and leaves.

Larry Walshe, who is a master florist in London, used cornflowers in a variety of colors to achieve a modern look that still looked festive. He also did a similar floral painting in green and whites that was more subtle but equally as beautiful.

A bonus tip:  Angle the flowers as Flourish Bespoke did here. Like many florists, he used vanda orchids in a burgundy color matched with green succulents. It was a way to express the holiday without using fire-engine red flowers.

As we say at Flower Power Daily, no act of love is ever wasted. Use your creativity, be inspired by these floral designers and have a happy holiday.


Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.