‘Think long and hard’: No to political colors on your Christmas tree

Rep. Len Alonte’s Christmas tree by Badang Rueda

Christmas ornaments are investments.”

This is Badang Rueda’s tip for homeowners shopping for Christmas decor. The event stylist to celebrities such as Heart Evangelista and Regine Velasquez advises going for elements that they can use for years to come.

Rueda embraces traditional Christmas colors such as red, gold and silver. Instead of buying new decor every year, he suggests following this color scheme and to just keep adding to them.

“To update a tree, I mix in new elements. The previous years’ decor that did not make the cut this year are used in other parts of the house,” he told Lifestyle in Filipino.

A high price tag doesn’t equate to beauty. That’s why he is not afraid of mixing expensive pieces with cheaper ones. He advises his clients against following trends. Decorating a tree to show one’s political color during this election season, for example, is something he doesn’t encourage.

“Think long and hard first. Is the color choice something you’ll like next year or two years from now? If it is, go ahead,” he said. At the end of the day, the colors you use should reflect your personality.

Red, gold and local find their way even on the tablescape. —PHOTO COURTESY OF BADANG RUEDA

Pine trees

Experience has also taught him what to avoid. He discovered that imported pine trees are not ideal for the local weather. He used to order fresh ones from warehouse clubs. But, he said, “They wilt easily, unless you decide to keep your aircon on 24/7 for it—but, of course, who would do that?”

The wilted leaves become a fire hazard, too.

But this has not turned him off from using fresh elements. He uses plants for plantito and plantita clients. He’s proud of a minimalist design he created for a friend. He used four slim trees of different heights outdoors. The trees were decorated with warm lights and potted poinsettias lined their bottom.

Rueda also does not limit himself to poinsettias. He likes using other pretty flowers, too. He decorated Rep. Len Alonte’s tree with silk hydrangeas and roses.

“Choose silk flowers. They are sturdy and they’ll be good as new every time you wash them. Stay away from the velvet ones because it will be difficult to remove dust from them,” he said.

His design style is all about keeping the decorations in the body of the tree. Rueda doesn’t put a topper and avoids adding decorations under them. Too many elements in different places tend to overpower the tree, he said.

“I still want to see the essence of Christmas trees there. The bottom of the tree is where you put your gifts for your family,” he said. This has become his signature. His trees denote abundance and festivity.

Minimalist trees lined with potted poinsettias at the bottom

Steady light

How many lights should one put in a tree? Rueda said he doesn’t keep count. What he does is utilize the lights to make the decor look nice during the day and glow at night. This is also why he prefers a steady light over blinking ones. He stays with his client until nighttime to make sure that the look he’s aiming for is achieved for both day and night.

If there are trends that the pandemic brought about, it’s that local suppliers are the place to source materials from again. Delays in shipment have slowed down importation and thus, local sellers have the opportunity to corner the market, he said.

Finally, Rueda still encourages choosing timeless pieces and storing them properly after. “After the holidays, keep your decorations. Don’t throw away the boxes that they came in when you bought them,” he advised. Keep them inside balikbayan boxes and their condition will be preserved for next Christmas.

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