It's that time of year to deck the halls for the holiday.

In times of old, most decorations looked the same. But in recent years many people are pushing for unique, up-to-the-minute style at Christmas time, just as they do in fashion and furnishings.

Russ Barley, owner of Emerald Coast Flowers and Decorating in Freeport, spoke to Seagrove Garden Club members Wednesday about the latest trends and demonstrated how it's done.

In recent years, many trees sported shades of mauve and chartreuse or lime green.

Not this year, said Barley.

"The chartreuse is going away and the traditional red and Christmas green are back," he said.

Barley said that includes all hues of red from the shiny and bright to the deeper burgundies and merlots; they're all hot.

"The old fashioned Christmas look is back in," he said.

And to spice it all up, glitter will be everywhere.

"Anything with glitz or glitter is also in," he said, "along with peacock feathers."

Barley demonstrated how easy it is to assemble your own swag or decorate a plain wreath for a fraction of the cost you would expect to pay at a store for the finished decoration.

"The swag is so versatile," he said. "You can use it over a door, over a mirror, or just hang it on the wall. It has multiple uses."

Another new trend, he said, is using silver and gold together.

"In years past, you didn't use them together, but now, it is being done," he said.

When making ribbons for wreaths, be sure to use wired ribbon, hot glue, and metallic paint to spruce up a plain wreath.

Also out is the use of large centerpieces on a dining table. Smaller is better, he said, as he showed how to make plain cubes festive for the holiday table. The cubes can be reused after the holidays, which is making them popular during hard financial times.

The use of nature and natural items such as leaves in decorating is another cost saver that is totally acceptable and in vogue.

Barley gave advice to those who might get overwhelmed with the choices in a craft store.

"Every arrangement needs a focal point. Decide what you want that focal point to be whether it's your favorite blue vase or whatever and work a theme. Start adding things, then stand back and look at it, and build from there," he said. "But don't add so much that it takes away from the focal point."

One thing not to add is silk flowers, which were big in the 80s, but not now.

"Now, everyone is into fresh," he said.