When it’s time to deck the halls at your place, do you pull out that tattered cardboard box of ornaments you’ve lugged from apartment to apartment since 1994?
Or maybe you’re just the opposite, and start anew every holiday season, riding the wave of decorating trendiness through feather trees and icicle lights. Either way, some of Atlanta’s top décor emporiums can help you make this year’s holiday season memorable.
Flora Dora
If you like your holidays with a “wow factor,” then you’ve probably already discovered Flora Dora. This year’s décor will not disappoint, said General Manager Paul Getty.  Dragonflies and butterflies in iridescent colors will make your tree a gleaming conversation piece.  Getty said they are using a lot of silvers and have some gorgeous new glass ornaments in stock. The colors for Christmas 2009: coppers, golds, reds combined for a luxe look. Getty said their customers from previous years are calling them again this year, but the economy is having an effect. “They’re still doing just as much, but the price point is lower.  Where they would have spent $50 on an ornament in previous years, now they want to spend $18 to $20.” 1830 Cheshire Bridge Rd., (404) 873-6787, www.myfloradoraonline.com



Ten Thousand Villages
Cast off the gloom of short dark winter days and celebrate the holidays with handmade holiday décor from Ten Thousand Villages in Virginia Highland.  This favorite shopping spot stocks thousands of Fair Trade items from dozens of countries, including more than 100 types of Nativities, said Store Manager Marg Lambert.  One her favorites is a stylized manger scene from Peru, and she also fancies another from Argentina made of different woods with bone inlay.  Hand-blown glass ornaments from the West Bank would add a swirl of color to the tree, while the wide variety of animal ornaments is certainly festive. “We also have a flying pig made of wood from Indonesia,” Lambert noted.  If your Christmas fantasy doesn’t include a flying pig, well, colorful tablecloths and mosaic glass candleholders from India will add a sparkly touch to any celebration.1056 St. Charles Ave., (404) 892-5307, www.atlanta.tenthousandvillages.com


Mingei World Arts
At Mingei World Arts, you will find many old favorites as well as some beautiful additions to the store’s regular decorating offerings, said Co-owner Ellen McFee. “There is beautiful tin from Mexico, in the form of brightly hand-painted ornaments, boxed Nativity scenes, angels large and small and bright menorahs,” she said. Handmade ornaments from a variety of countries are also available. The whimsical gourd ornaments decorated as animals or nativity scenes from Peru are returning. You can find colorful treasures from India, including the elegant Kashmir balls, as well as new cloth puppets and fanciful elephants. “And finally, garlands of puffy straw balls in blues, green, reds, and oranges will brighten any tree or doorway as you celebrate the holidays,” McFee reported.427 Church St., Decatur, (404) 371-0101, www.mingeiworldarts.com



Traders/Area Urban Exteriors
The newly combined shops are working with two styles this holiday season, said Michael Knight, who owns the East Atlanta business with Shawn Ergle. One theme features a blue tree with brown and green ornaments. The tree boasts frosted tips. They are also doing a trio of trees–red, brown and champagne colored–with different colored ornaments in brown, red and green. “We’ve had red trees before, but this is more like a burgundy,” Knight said, adding that these trees are tall and thin with short needles like a fir. “It’s all really pretty. The blue tree with the green and brown is modern, and the red, brown and champagne is more sophisticated.”485B Flat Shoals Ave., (404) 522-3006, www.tradersatlanta.com


DRTC Design Studio
Christmas trends come and go, but the one thing that always is popular is tradition, said Willis Watts of Willis Watts Design and DRTC Design Studio. “It’s a time that people want to remember those special times with family and friends.  All of us have those decorations that our grandmother passed down to us, or the ornament that we put on the tree as a child,” he said.  Now more than ever, people are clinging to tradition when it comes to the holidays, according to Watts.  There are great new decoration items that are still traditional such as faux spruce trees that look real, he said.  Another option is papier-mache pumpkins that you would swear they are just out of the field.  Also popular this year are etched glass and traditional blown-glass ornaments.905 Juniper St., Suite 110, (404) 874-5583.




Providence Antiques
Claudia Riley Thompson says she always wants a sentimental touch at Christmas and is featuring Old World-style Nativities.  But, what’s Christmas without a touch of whimsy?  Surprising touches like scarves tied around statues and Christmas balls hanging from chandeliers bring joy to everyday items around the shop. This holiday season, Thompson has chosen her colors from a winter palette, with aquas accented by neutrals of grays, blacks and whites.  Overall, Thompson says, Christmas 2009 may be a bit more subdued that last year. “We had just had the presidential election, and I did a more exuberant 60s and 70s theme to reflect that excitement,” she said. “This year, we’re a little more contemplative.” 1409 North Highland Ave., (404) 872-7551, www.providenceantiques.com



Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.