Ask Randolph

Randolph (Rudolph’s interior decorating cousin, of course) is available to help solve your holiday decorating conundrums. Email him at

Dear Randolph,
I want to invest in an artificial tree, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help?
Tired Of Spending Ninety-a-Year On Disposable Trees

Dear Disposable,
A lot of people are in your same position – buying discounted real trees that are difficult to decorate, hard to get in and out of the house and that shed all over the place. When you invest in an artificial tree, you’ll find that everything from set-up to clean-up is a little easier and that your dollars actually stretch further as you use your tree year after year. Head on over to our Buyer's Guide... it will give you everything you need!

Dear Randolph,
I live in a modern loft. I want Christmas magic, but everything I see is either country or kitsch. Please advise.
Modern Doesn’t Mean Sterile

Dear Modern,
Almost any tree can be made modern. First, don’t get too hung up on how a tree on display is trimmed- simply look for a beautifully, pre-lit tree in the profile you desire (modern rooms usually look great with dramatic and strikingly profiled trees). Consider a tinsel tree for added flair.

Then, address the ornaments – the tone-on-tone look is a very modern one, as is a personally themed tree. A bibliophile friend once interspersed her tree with black, white and red ball ornaments, typewriter ribbons, keys and bits of paper containing literary quotes. I can’t think of anything more modern than abandoning staunch tradition to show off your personal interests and style.

Dear Randolph,
I don’t need any help with my tree – it’s gorgeous in our family room. But the rest of the house is about as festive as our beige carpet. Any suggestions?
Blue Over Beige

Dear Blue,
You’re right, one tree does not make a home well decorated for the holidays. But it’s a fantastic start! Take what you like about your tree (colors, theme, lights?) and pull that out into the rest of the house. You may want to grab some garlands to wrap or trim with corresponding ribbon, or hang your extra ornaments on a pre-lit wreath for the front door. The options are endless, but if you use your tree as a palette for the rest of your home, you’ll be steps ahead in your decorating. Why don't you check out our Decorating Ideas? We've got a ton of fun (and easy) ideas there! And that's not to mention our Unique Uses page, full of amazing photos of one-of-a-kind ways to use traditional wreaths and garlands.

And, remember, decorating isn’t just for the eyes. A well-rounded décor stimulates the ears (Aimee Mann has a sublime holiday album) and nose (stock up on potpourri and oils), as well. Good luck – be sure to send us a picture (and scratch ‘n sniff?) of whatever you come up with.