Southern Arizona holiday traditions are as diverse as the people who live here.  Holiday decorations are temporary, and can be whimsical and over the top.  I asked business owners, home owners, and children how they like their home and/or business decorated and they shared some of their favorite decorating tips.  Creativity and imagination abound to get and keep families in the holiday spirit in the desert.

The holidays are also the time to enjoy special collections that may include objects and ornaments collected over the years.  At Steve and Brenda Baumann’s, Brenda puts away her “everyday accessories” to make room for their holiday decorations and special collection accessories that she has collected over the years and have special meaning to her and her family.

At Elin Rapp’s home, she has a tree and a few decorations, quite a down-sizing from the days where she hired a professional to decorate her 2 fireplaces, staircase and common living areas.

For Lori and Louie Escalante, the holidays are a family affair, engaging the kids and the grandkids to decorate the tree and home.  “Our ornaments range from the very first ones we received as a married couple to the one we purchased last season- we add an ornament every year to commemorate the year”, she excitedly explains.   Lori also loves the lighted garland, accented with red velvet ribbons, that adorns their banister.  It gives their home a warm glow.

At DeGrazia’s Gallery in the Sun, they decorate the gallery with Christmas lights and the Mission in the Sun with luminaries, casting a warm glow over the 10-acre foothills property, which is now part of the Historic Register.

Some of my favorite decorating tips for the holidays, include engaging all the senses using live materials such as ivy and twigs for wreaths, fresh evergreens as accents on chandeliers, mantels, bookcases, sideboards and stairways.  Also, since green design is so in these days, use live greenery such as sage, rosemary and thyme.  They are all evergreen and wonderfully fragrant.  Cinnamon sticks and fruit bowls are another way to indulge the sense of smell.  Color evokes strong emotions and the color scheme may be more important than the objects, in some decorating schemes.