Is your holiday tree ready for a makeover? Maybe you’ve recently downsized, or changed your decor. Either way, consider the collar, the trendy alternative to the traditional tree skirt.
Just like a skirt, a tree collar covers and dresses up the tree base and stand. But tree collars are more compact than voluminous spreading skirts, making them a good option for condo and apartment dwellers and anyone short on space.
“A skirt can take 60 inches, but these [collars] have the footprint of your tree,” said designer Bridget Connell, co-owner of Haute Flower Boutique, a Twin Cities floral and event design firm that offers holiday decorating.
And the clean-lined look of the collars complements today’s modern home decor, she said.
“Most clients want their holiday decor to coordinate with the aesthetic of the house. Tree collars allow you to do that.”
Collars come in metal, wood and basket-weave, among other materials, that pair well with the “rustic industrial” look popular in interior design.
Tree collars started showing up at holiday industry trade shows a few years ago, and are now available from mass-market retailers, including Pier 1, Crate & Barrel and Balsam Hill, a California-based holiday decor retailer that introduced collars this holiday season and has sold out of several styles.
“Galvanized metal is pretty popular,” said Thomas Harman, Balsam Hill’s founder and CEO. “It looks like an old-style wash basin or laundry tub upside down.”
Prices range from $69.95 for a glossy red metal version from Crate & Barrel, to $179 ($129 on sale online) for a hinged galvanized collar from Balsam Hill, and up.
The collars are designed to accommodate artificial trees, which represent 80 percent of the market, Harman said, “but you can use them with a real tree, as long as the stand has a small enough footprint.”
For ease of use, he recommends choosing a hinged tree collar, which snaps open and shut to accommodate watering or moving the tree.
Tree collars started as a DIY phenomenon, Connell said, then morphed into a mass-market innovation.
“The whole Pinterest era has revolutionized ideas,” she said. “People started taking galvanized buckets and gluing feathers or chains or shells onto them.
“We did one for a Florida client, with seashells that the family collected.”
Harman said, “We saw it first on design-forward blogs. It’s something new and different, and it still accomplishes the purpose of covering up the less attractive part of the tree.”
Will tree collars be a fleeting fad — like the upside-down Christmas trees that made a splash a few years ago — or an emerging trend with staying power?
Harman is betting on the latter.
“The style of the collar may come and go,” he said. “But I suspect this is not a three-year trend, but something that carries.”
Tree skirts aren’t going away, he added. But tree collars offer an alternative that fills a particular design niche.
“It’s more of a contemporary, fresh aesthetic, for a little younger demographic,” he said. “If you have a formal living room with 14-foot ceilings and Oriental rugs, it’s not the right look.”
Whichever look you choose, less is more when dressing the base of your holiday tree, he said.
“Your skirt or collar should not be the showpiece of the tree,” he said. “Invest first in what’s at eye level. You want the whole ensemble to be beautiful.”