Winter 2006
Deck the Halls with… Stylish Holiday Decor By Kasia Dawidowska

Shop windows

Since windows act as the store’s “mini-billboards” at street level or in the mall passages, they should be made as engaging as possible. Birks & Mayors’ windows feature custom-made decorations that can’t be found anywhere else. Even if your budget does not allow for custom-made decorations, you can still chose a contemporary interpretation using just a couple of props. Very modern, sometimes whimsical designs draw customers closer and invite them to visit the store.

The transparent, acrylic Christmas trees add a modern touch, and the red ornaments in a picture frame act as a powerful color backdrop for the delicate pearl necklace displayed on a soft, blush-colored suede neck form. The large abstract red, green and yellow metal snowflakes are suspended over the display by iridescent, gossamer ribbons. They attract attention and frame the subject but don’t overshadow the jewelry.

Unusual materials

The whimsical miniature dressmaker form is a good example of an unusual, custom-made decor item. The form was purchased separately for Birks & Mayors and tightly wrapped with custom sparkling green fabric featuring little iridescent dots for extra shine. The mini silver presents tied with a ribbon (which features the company logo) play into the holiday gift-giving theme.

The shiny silver bows, silver leaves, and other sparkly greens add a wintry feel and reflect the interior store trim. The props (including the custom-made jesters) serve as decoration only, and never display jewelry. “Jewelry is always ‘the star’ and is displayed separately, on a suede background,” Brown says. “It’s never hanging from a pine branch or displayed on a prop.”

Less is more

These holiday windows and displays are modern and attractive, but without an abundance of Christmas-themed decorations. Brown’s theory of “less is more” results in a clean, contemporary look with a focus on the most fashionable pieces. The display features a few high-end items with huge “wow” factor, but also includes less expensive and more accessible pieces, so that the windows are not too intimidating. The focus is on what’s fashionable right now, without the cluttered “look at how much we have to offer” approach.

Flower arrangements

The holiday theme starts in the shop windows and carries through the interior of the store with lit wreaths and garlands. Fresh flower arrangements add a feeling of luxury and give the store a cozy feel. Brown suggests placing them in focal points, such as near the cash register or the customer seating areas, to make visitors feel more comfortable. This one includes a combination of white orchids, natural pine braches and cones, eucalyptus and scarlet bittersweet berry branches. The chic round vase enhances the contemporary look. “I always use fresh flowers in my arrangements (except windows) and orchids add a luxury feel and are appropriate anywhere,” Brown says.

Kasia Dawidowska

Dawidowska writes frequently for both trade and consumer magazines. She can be reached at

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