Lake Barrington shop ushers in the holidays
Treetime Christmas Creations has become a pre-Christmas tradition for many suburban families as they excitedly add to and update their Christmas displays.
It is a magical, fantasy Christmas showroom that changes each year in an effort to keep people coming back to see what they have done differently, said Laurie and Joe Kane, the seasonal business's owners.
"We would like Treetime to become people's yearly Christmas destination. We want to be everything Christmas for them," Laurie said. "So we shop the world -- literally -- to bring the latest, most unique and most beautiful Christmas items to our customers so we can help them create the magic of Christmas in their own home."
Treetime, 22102 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington, is open each year from Labor Day through the second or third week of January, and sells trees through its website, www.treetime.com, as well as in the store.
"We also serve coffee, hot chocolate and cookies. We have a big-screen television so the men can watch sports. We are a Toys for Tots donation location, have an annual Breakfast with Santa and even offer pet photo shoots with Santa. We want to become a family tradition."
The Kanes spend much of their year traveling the world and preparing for the next Christmas season. Laurie and one of her buyers travel to Europe's biggest Christmas decor show each year and she and Joe travel to their tree factories in China twice each spring.
While decorating trends come and go, at the core of every year's celebration are the trees and those trees are what set Treetime apart from big box retailers and other competition, Laurie said. All of the store's trees are custom designed and then hand assembled and hand wired with lights.
"We introduce six or seven new, custom-designed trees each year. Joe and I are extremely picky, so we make these trees the most beautiful we can," she said.
"We bring photos of real live trees and molds of real branches that we want them to copy and they do that right down to replicating spring growth on trees by making them a lighter green at the ends. They will also make flat or pointy needles, dense or sparse. Then we work on the tree's overall branch density and placement and also the color. They are real custom designs," Laurie said.
Flocked trees are also available and now come in many different sizes and types of flocking, from a very cool frost-kissed flocking which shows just a hint of white to the heavier applications of white and, according to Laurie, the flocking has been vastly improved so that it actually stays on the tree and doesn't make a mess of your house.
Treetime staff members also offer decorating hints, supply Christmas lovers with high-quality holiday decor; inspire them with their fun, interesting and groundbreaking displays; and teach decorating classes. They even have a do-it-yourself area that shows Pinterest-lovers easy ways to make wonderful decorations themselves and have designers on staff who are willing to create custom bows, wreaths, garlands and centerpieces.
"Our aim is to share our holiday vision with our customers, not just sell them an artificial tree," Laurie said.
"It seems that every year the decorations in local homes only get more and more elaborate," she continued. "Homeowners want to see little touches of Christmas throughout their homes."
So, they are creating themed trees of all sizes and shapes in many rooms of their house. There are slim trees in the corners, potted trees near the front door and even small potted trees along the banisters on the staircase. Gone are the days when there was only one Christmas tree per house, covered with an eclectic mix of ornaments.
Mantels, hearths and doorways are other focal points for holiday decorating.
"The pine garland is the heart of every mantel," she said, "and most of them are lit. Then we usually weave a soft cascade of ribbon through it and accent the garland with picks of something to coordinate with the rest of the room, like berries or fruit or packages or whatever. We often also put potted trees on the floor on either side of the hearth and a large wreath above the mantel."
Doorways, particularly exterior doorways, are also often festooned with pine garlands and wreaths.
Treetime Christmas Creations can be reached at (847) 527-8880 or by visiting www.treetime.com.