"It is the same, really," he said. "Colors, textures and the elements of design. Now it is in a room instead of on a page."

The Zealors' Williamsburg Christmas takes two days to roll out, and there are regular trips to the grocery store until the day after New Year's. when Maureen Zealor insists that it all be packed away until next year.

Between now and then? The Zealors will be making a trip to, of course, Colonial Williamsburg.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

twitter.com/susanreimer

Christmas zeal

Bob Zealor calls these his "lucky 7" Christmas decorating tips:

Start with a clean slate. Pack away all your everyday accessories before you decorate. Don't just add Christmas items. This will make your holiday collections stand out.

Go fresh. Use fresh greens and fruits wherever possible. It always looks and smells better. Replace them throughout the season when necessary.

Faux is fine. But you should invest in the best quality when using faux greens. Use them as your base and add to them.

Work your contacts. Develop a relationship with a florist or supplier you trust. Repeat customers often guarantee themselves the freshest flowers and greens.

Add old and new. Mix old and sentimental ornaments with new finds. However, know when to retire an ornament that is showing its age.

Stay true to you. Your holiday decorations should reflect your tastes and traditions, just as your home does for other occasions.

Grocery shop. Don't forget the grocery store when decorating. Fresh fruits and vegetables make beautiful centerpieces or mantel decorations. An artichoke, with fruit and Christmas greens, can be a fun substitute for a pine cone.

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