Your Guide to Getting Ready for the Holidays

By November 5, 2019 January 8th, 2020 Gardening Inspiration and Advice, Seasonal Color
royal city nursery guelph getting ready for the holidays

I know I’m not the only one who’s been counting down the days before I can finally put up my Christmas tree. I think the holidays are truly a special time for Canadians. The snow is fresh and new, every street is alive with glittering lights, and the mood in the air is lifted—despite the drop in temperature. 

Perhaps because we have a bit of a complicated relationship with winter, we often forget how lucky we are to experience a real-life “winter wonderland” during the holidays. Don’t believe me? Try visiting Florida or Australia during the holidays—not a speck of snow on the ground, yet you’ll still find trees trimmed with artificial frost and ornamental sleighs in every size.

This year, I propose we embrace the season completely, starting now. In this guide, I’ve put together some of the prettiest decor trends for the home and landscape, gorgeous fashions to take you from the weekend to the office Christmas party, and beautiful houseplants to add spirit to your seasonal decor. Here’s your guide to getting ready for the holidays in Guelph.

Decor to Prep Your Home for the Holidays

When I reflect on the conversations I’ve had with customers and friends, those of us who love the holidays seem to have one thing in common. We’re drawn to the dichotomy between the snow-capped streets and the warm-and-cozy hearth. This year, my approach to decorating is all about emphasizing that beautiful harmony.

royal city nursery guelph getting ready for the holidays porch pot arrangements winter landscape

Holiday Trends for the Landscape

For Dave and I, our philosophy when it comes to landscaping is that the area should look beautiful through all four seasons. At this time of year, outdoor holiday decor stands in where annuals and perennials can’t. Dress up your winter landscape with a festive porch pot arrangement, cute holiday-themed statuary, and LED lights to illuminate your evergreens.

If you’re not familiar with porch pots already, consider them your new favourite part of getting ready for Christmas. They take the place of your container gardens—with arrangements of evergreen cuttings, real or artificial winter berries, dogwood twigs, and festive ornaments. You can find materials to make them yourself at our garden centre, but we also carry several porch pot designs we make in-house.

When it comes to hanging string lights, there are so many ways to create a whimsical display apart from swirling them around a tree or clipping them to your gutters. If you have multiple trees in your front yard, you can create a canopy of lights by stringing LEDs between them. You can also hang individual lines vertically from the boughs of your deciduous trees to create a cascading effect.

royal city nursery guelph getting ready for the holidays cozy holiday interior

Interior Decor for the Holidays

When decorating for Christmas or Hanukkah, I always like to start by deciding on a colour palette. Everything else falls into place once you know the shades you’re working with. If you prefer to keep it simple, you can go monochromatic with all-white, red, blue, or gold decor. 

Personally, I like a blend of one metallic, one neutral shade, one “accent” shade, and one shade of green. Deciding on a shade of green helps to keep the greenery in the space looking uniform, but it also affects the overall colour palette. For instance, if you go with cool tones, sage green will complement the other colours really nicely. For palettes with more reds or golds, a brighter emerald green will keep the space looking warm.

In 2018, minimalism was a big trend for the winter season. Now, in 2019, the theme seems to have expanded to “minimalism, maximized.” By that, I mean choosing a few simple elements and going all-out with them. One great example I’ve seen all over Pinterest is the mantel smothered in draping greenery, accented with tall, white candles. Another trend I’ve noticed is multiple Christmas trees in varying sizes, from tiny dwarf spruces to a showpiece Fraser fir, all adorned with matching ornament sets and white string lights.

If you’re on a budget this year and you’re not looking for a total overhaul, my advice is to “keep it cozy”. Look for a few faux-fur throw blankets—two to decorate an accent chair and sofa, and one to use as a Christmas tree skirt. This simple trick can really add a touch of luxe to the old decorations you haul out year after year. You also can’t go wrong with cable-knit everything; stockings, garlands, throws, or whatever you can find. I’ve even seen some brilliant crafts on the web for converting old cable-knit sweaters into adorable decorative pillows.

Lastly, don’t forget to incorporate all the senses into your decor scheme. A little bit of home fragrance makes all the difference for soaking up the spirit of the season. Take a sniff of the festive candles and diffusers at Tsuga Boutique as you browse through our holiday accents and outdoor statuary.

royal city nursery guelph getting ready for the holidays Tsuga Boutique fashion

Winter Fashions from Tsuga Boutique

Here in Guelph, the switch from fall to winter brings on a dramatic change in daily apparel. Now is the time for cozy floor-length pants, high necklines, and sweaters in every shape and length. Winter fashion is all about soft fabrics, chunky knits, and sturdy construction.

Part of the reason we love carrying Canadian designers at Tsuga Boutique is that they understand the climate we’re living in. Tribal, who are based in Montreal, have come out with gorgeous knitwear for 2019. Comfy and stylish turtlenecks, cashmere sweaters, and office-friendly long-sleeve blouses are all must-have pieces in their winter collection.

Naturally, most of the time we spend in public these days is spent bundled up in a winter coat, so accessorizing is essential. Tsuga now carries items from Canadian brand Tilley, whose hats are a perfect marriage of style, warmth, and comfort. Each durable Tilley hat is made in Canada using high-end materials like merino wool and organic cotton. Hardworking Tilley hats are made to last, with a lifetime guarantee. 

We also have a selection of berets and toques from Parkhurst, another favourite Canadian brand. Parkhurst uses high quality materials like merino wool, and designs their headwear to look stylish, and stand up to our cold Canadian winters. 

royal city nursery guelph getting ready for the holidays houseplants

Plants to Deck the Halls

While winter is technically the “off-season” for gardeners, plants are as much a part of our lives as the family members around our tables. While we may be reaching for different kinds of plants than we would in the spring, make no mistake—green is very much in-season.

The ideal houseplants for our winters should ideally be plants that do well in low-light environments, for obvious reasons. Even our brightest windows don’t see a lot of action past 4 PM when the days get shorter.

The ZZ plant is a personal favourite because their large, glossy leaves work well with the traditional colours of the season, and they’re very well-adapted to dry air and low light.

Christmas cactus is a popular houseplant during the season, as its name would suggest. If you crave some extra colour at this time of year, Christmas cactus blooms with red and pink blossoms just in time for the holidays. They’re also very tolerant of neglect—perfect for those frantic weeks leading up to the big day. – no christmas cactus but we do have peace lily, snake plant and dracaena

Succulents are still highly fashionable and can be incorporated into everything from Christmas table decor to miniature “terrarium” ornaments. There are hundreds of succulent varieties, so I suggest consulting with one of us at our plant nursery before buying. This way, we can match you to a variety that suits your project.


Once you’ve made the transition to holiday-mode, it’s time for the best part: getting merry. Fix yourself a steaming mug of hot cocoa with Baileys and whipped cream—calories be damned! Now is the time to curl up and take in the sights and smells of your wintery surroundings. Find more inspiration, plus a workshop’s worth of great gifts, visit us today at Royal City Nursery, just a short drive from downtown Guelph, Kitchener, or Cambridge.