National Post

Bauble- icious

It’s year-round Christmas for this guy.

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Audy Czigler is a bona fide Christmas junkie. Even his f-orearm is etched with the in scription “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

His passion for the season runs so deep that he owns Ottawa’s only year- round Christmas decor store, Tinseltown Christmas Emporium.

“Ever since I was a kid, there was Christmas and religious statues in my bedroom. My mom was like: ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with you.’ But as long as it wasn’t skulls and crossbones, she didn’t care.”

Perhaps his love of the season was inevitable. After all, he was due to be born Dec. 25 (he arrived two days later).

The 34- year- old and his mother, Antoinette, have owned Tinseltown and Marie Antoinette, its sister French Country decor store next door on Somerset Street West, since 2012. Czigler is clearly in his element being immersed in holiday decor, furniture and giftware all day.

Even his immaculate downtown condo, which he shares with his dogs, Remi and Molly, is decked out in elegant festive style.

T- he holiday spirit begins the mo ment you walk in the door. A foyer roomy enough for a “fireside” vignette — complete with armchair and a mantel where the stockings are hung — sets a welcoming tone. The cosy dining area features a lightly adorned tree, while the cheery table is set with blue china and a piece of garland, which serves as a table runner.

Nearby, a kneeling angel looks over a display that includes an etched silver urn containing Cz-igler’s grand mother’s ashes. Be-side it is the orna ment that holds the most meaning for him: a blue and silver ball given to him by the family of a longtime client who had died.

The Christmas tree in the living room offers the apartment’s biggest pop with strands of twinkling lights, ornaments, ribbon, flowers and a trio o- f birdcages, each stuffed with vin tage balls and garland.

“I love things that have that old, nostalgic feeling,” Czigler says. “It’s called romantic decorating.”

A fan of Paris and French Country decor, he favours a vintage look that’s both refined and cosy. The tiny space is trimmed in generous doses of white, blue and silver hues, which hold an appeal even after the holiday season is long over.

“Everything in my home has an old look to it. It’s a casual elegance,” says Czigler, who enjoys nothing m- ore than relaxing with a cold Stel la or Corona and a bag of barbecue chips after a hard day’s work.

“At the end of a long day, this is where I want to be.”

Tinseltown’s top trends

Get personal -The most popular orna m- ents are ones that can be person alized with a name or that speak to someone’s hobbies and interests. “It m- eans something; when they un pack it ( in following years), they’ll remember,” Czigler says. Counting the days Wooden advent calendars with little doors that open are in demand. They offer a nostalgic t- ouch over department store calen dars filled with chocolates. German influence Glass ornaments made in Germany are sought after. “They have very fine glass and a lot of attention to detail.” Lead tinsel that’s “almost like a piece of linguini” is also big. Seeing red -No matter how many col our combos Czigler brings into the store, “it always goes back to red. Everybody wants red for the holidays — except for me, I have to be blue.” Other hot colours White is big, more so than gold; purple is also hot but hard to find; and for the blues, “it’s all about the turquoise right now,” Czigler says. Champagne has taken over as the metallic colour. He recommends a metallic hue to go with your tree. Light bright -Old- fashioned light re flectors are making a comeback. While they’re new, they have the oldstyle look. Shelf elf Thanks to the Elf on the Shelf craze, customers can’t get enough of the elves dressed in red and white. “People used to collect Santa Claus figurines and that kind of thing. No more. Now they collect elves.”

Audy Czigler’s dc e orat ing tips

Think big Want to make a statement with your tree? Go for big, unusual decoration­s. While shopping in Atl-anta for the store, “we saw chande liers in trees, we saw chairs in trees,” even clocks and birdcages, like the ones he’s added to his tree. “It breaks up all the little things.” On the cheap -Floral and ribbon decor ations are the least expensive way to fill a tree. Light it up “The more lights you have in a tree, the fewer ornaments you need because the lights fill in the space,” he says. A general rule: For every foot of tree you should have 100 lights. Welcome in A wreath on the door is usually the first thing guests will see, which acts like a big welcome sign. “It makes people feel at home.” Faux fir If using an artificial tree, make it look real by adding fresh cedar or pine branches. “You poke it into the tree and you can really fake the look ( of a real tree).” They’ll dry out and need to be replaced, but they help. Also works for garlands and wreaths. Handle with care Pre- lit trees are popular, but when a set of lights goes out you’re in trouble, Czigler says, “so pre-lit is all about storage. Never jam a pre-lit tree back into the box it came in.” To help prevent damaging the light strings, store tree pieces in p- lastic containers or bag each sec tion. Better yet, if you have the space, store it assembled with a tarp over it. Fresh scent Add the feeling of a real tree with scented oil. Cz-igler recom mends Thymes Frasier Fir Refresher Oil. (A 30 mL bottle costs about $25 and will last a season.) “This is a way to get that fresh scent in the home with an artificial tree.”

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 ?? Ashley Fraser / postmedia news ?? Though Czigler’s apartment is new, he has decorated it in a style that recalls days gone by. The design, at Christmas in particular,
reflects his tastes with mixed tones of silver, white and blue.
Ashley Fraser / postmedia news Though Czigler’s apartment is new, he has decorated it in a style that recalls days gone by. The design, at Christmas in particular, reflects his tastes with mixed tones of silver, white and blue.
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