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Long Island designers give Christmas trees a stylish update

Shirin Woods designed this Gold Coast Christmas tree,

Shirin Woods designed this Gold Coast Christmas tree, which features some "Great Gatsby"-like decorations: champagne glasses with pearls in them, bubble lights, Art Deco ornaments and jazz note garland. Credit: Audrey C. Tiernan

Welcome to the new era of customization. Everything is getting the personalized treatment, from beauty and fashion products to home design. Even Christmas trees are getting into the act.

With this in mind, author Carrie Brown lays out a novel approach to decorating for the Christmas season in her new book, “The New Christmas Tree” (Artisan, $29.95). Instead of allowing the rampant commercialism of the holidays to encroach on her family’s celebrations, Brown began designing unusual and innovative trees — first in her home, and later in her California country store and cafe — that reflect her personality as much as they showcased the joys of December.

For the trees in her book, Brown encourages readers to embrace serendipity and discovery. “Start with a theme you want to celebrate,” she says. “If you’re drawn to nature, you can make an ecological statement, like The Bee’s Trees (the book’s cover picture). Or make a color statement using, for example, variations on the color red.”

It’s in the spirit of the trees in Brown’s book that we asked four local designers to interpret the bounties of Long Island. Each designer created a special Christmas tree to showcase four areas — North Shore, South Shore, North Fork and The Hamptons. Whether it’s seashells and bleached driftwood or gleaming pearls covering the branches, each designer found a way to marry Long Island and Christmas themes, creating a quartet of trees that are as fanciful as they are festive.

If you’re inspired by these trees, then heed a few words of advice from our designers about finding your own Christmas tree style. First, make sure your tree is a reflection of what you care about. “Don’t try and come up with something perfect,” says Drew Allt, owner of Drew Patrick, a wellness center and home design store in Bay Shore. “Come up with your own style, and bring your own experience to it.” And don’t forget to involve the kids. “At Christmas, there’s always room for macaroni art,” he says.

It’s also important to showcase what you love. “Back in the old days, we were stuck on everything being as-is,” says Shirin Woods, owner of Shirin Woods Interiors in Glen Cove. “But creating a new tree is about celebrating both the tree and the season. So find what excites you. Think about what Christmas means to you.”

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