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Florists Offer Much More than Roses at Christmas Time

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Dec 13, 2014

Top Floral Pieces Requested For Christmas


It’s about that time to break out the ornaments, eggnog and yes, the Christmas greenery!  Florists are busy this time of year with an extensive line of holiday products just perfect to spruce up your home.  Worried that your budget can’t handle the extra expense of centerpieces and roping?  Don’t be!  Boston designers have all you need to fit anyone’s spending guidelines.  Many are actually unaware of the multitude of choices that they have access to during the month of December, holding the presumption that trees, wreathes and roses are their only options available to them this time of year.  Well, nothing could be farther from the truth and to convince the hesitant floral buyers, you wont believe these stunning holiday décor pieces that I’ve come up with just for you!


Boxwood Trees

Boxwood trees are lovely compliments to your regular Christmas decorations and provide an authentically elegant appeal for holiday parties and festivities.  Produced in a variety of different sizes and themes, box trees can be purchased plain or with ornamental accessories, although trust me, they are equally as stunning.  Florists are clever in they way they are constructed by placing balsam strips into a preformed structure of oasis making them durable and healthy for a long period of time as long as they are watered consistently.  Box trees are perfect either dispersed throughout the home or placed in the center of the dining table, making it an excellent fuss-free option for centerpieces. 


Kissing Balls

Kissing Balls may seem traditional but have remained one the most frequently requested items from Boston florists.  Shaped in a ball of balsam, some designers have put their own signature stamp on the piece by adding tiny pine cones, dried flowers, white lights, ribbons and even round sparkle gems.  Historically kissing balls were used to instigate a smooch from couples standing beneath one, (resembling the mistletoe effect) but nowadays, many are hung in front of houses in replacement wreathes.  Again, these simple but charming Christmas florals are both inexpensive and easily maintained to last throughout the entire season. 


Contemporary Christmas Flowers

Contemporary Christmas flowers hold a traditional appeal but possess a modern presentation for the Christmas lover dying to create outside of the box.  Most of the time, this consists of changing one aspect of the arrangement such as replacing a clear vase with a vessel wrapped in birch bark or using a bright flick of orange to break up the ho-hum red, green and white holiday palette.  Berries are another wonderful option for those wanting to design a piece themselves.  Since there is an abundance of pinecones, fir greenery and wild bittersweet growing naturally in the New England habitat this tie of year, these are extremely easy to find and are less expensive than some of the harder to find and imported flowers. 

suze Suzie Canale, Freedom Trail Boston, 2014

You can be sure to see orchids at Suzie's home in Westwood at Christmas time.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Trees, Christmas, Christmas Flowers

Themes for Christmas Tree Decorating

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 12, 2014

Christmas Tree Boston 

Tree decorating is one of the most time-honored traditions during the holiday season where families and friends gather together to prepare their most important centerpiece for the Christmas holiday.  Decked out in ribbons, pearls, heirloom ornaments, popcorn and stars, we see some of the most stunning and imaginative Yule tide creations which represent our personal interpretation of the beauty of Christmas.  The interesting part of this tradition is the fact that no tree is exactly alike and holds their specific theme within the décor of their branches.  Around the world, people intertwine their vision with baubles, sparkle and lights, swaying away from the customary palette of red, green and gold.  Contemporary decorators see no fault in purveying a new and unique embellishment for their seasonal balsams and why shouldn’t they?  Don’t be afraid to mix up the motif this year by adding a modern flair of imagination!  Here are a few suggestions that may help to get your creative juices flowing.



Hot pink, orange and lime green.  Yes, it might sound a bit risqué but I assure you this color combination packs a “wow” factor punch particularly when hosting a Christmas soiree.    The element of bright and cheery is reflected when using these pigmentations together and can be easily accomplished by using simple accents throughout the tree.  Hot pink roses, baby tangerines and limes make affordable yet glamorous ornaments that are guaranteed to stun and awe onlookers.  If you feel that this style might be perfect for your holiday party but a little too much for everyday appearance, you need only to substitute the hot pink pieces for shades of cream, blue or silver which pairs well with the remaining tones. 

 woodland christmas tree theme

Although ornaments are traditionally crafts that represent the holiday season such as icicles, tinsel and bows, there’s no reason why you can’t utilize objects that you love to become display items as well.  For example, a woman collected fine pieces of doll set china and wondered if she could use her beloved treasures to decorate her Christmas tree.  She soon figured out that many of the items could be hung with string or easily tucked carefully and securely within the pine needles.  Another family who loved animals and had several dogs and cats decided that they would represent this special adoration by placing their pet’s paws in a molding clay, creating a print and then poking a whole at the top to be strung.  There was even a boy who enjoyed folding origami and thought that the clever projects he made would be a wonderful theme for his parent’s tree.  Whatever you come up with, it will be great but just remember one thing, don’t forget to use a lot of light, my husband insists on over 1000.

suzie_canale_westwoodSuzie Canale lives in Westwood, MA with her 2 sons and husband. She decorates her tree on December 11th, her son Lance's birthday. What a great tradition.

Tags: Traditions, Christmas Trees, Christmas, Holiday Memories, Holidays

Would You Like Snow on Your Christmas Tree

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Dec 05, 2014


Did you ever want a Christmas Tree that looks like it should be in the White Mountains ? Snow flocked Christmas trees have been around for decades. My father has been setting up a snow flocked Christmas Tree for more than twenty five years.

At Exotic Flowers in Roslindale, we have been making pink, blue, white and even black Christmas trees for years. While incredibly popular on the west coast, snow flocked trees are only favored by few in New England. The snow flock is applied by machine that is hooked up to a garden hose.  Snow flock is water based, so one must allow adequate time for drying. The process is best done in a heated enclosure to ensure the fluffiest snow look for your Christmas tree.  Keep in mind, it is best to but Christmas lights with white cords if installing a white snow flocked Christmas tree.


Since 1990, Exotic Flowers employee Paul Iantosca has been creating snow flocked Christmas trees for Bostonians. He offers his tips here.

Favorite Christmas Tree to Flock: Fraser Fir

Favorite Color Snow Flock: White with mica (glitter)

Do You Have A Snow Flocked Christmas Tree at Home: Yes

Your Best Tip: Have the lights put on before you flock your tree to camouflage the cords.

If you want to try a custom snow flocked Christmas tree, make sure you order early. We do deliver snow flocked Christmas trees.  Keep in mind you will not be able to pick them up when it is raining. Also, if you'd like to video record your own tree, please do.




Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Trees, Christmas

Where Do You Buy a Fresh Christmas Tree in Boston ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

Exotic Flowers in BostonExotic Flowers on American Legion Highway in Roslindale has been selling cut Christmas Trees for more than fifty years in the same location. At Exotic Flowers, there are hundreds of cut Christmas trees to choose from. Our Christmas tree lot features balsam fir, fraser fir, concolor fir, white pine, douglas fir and even snow flocked Christmas trees.
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, all our Christmas trees have visible pricing. No tree lot haggling, swindles or off the cuff remarks. An experienced sales staff will help you pick out the perfect Christmas tree for your home.
Our Christmas trees are all standing and can be viewed at all angles, no hidden sides. After you select your perfect Christmas tree, our sales staff will bundle your tree for easy transport and tie it your car at no charge. We also give every Christmas tree a fresh cut to ensure freshness.
Of course, we do not just sell Christmas trees. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we offer hundreds of plain and decorated Christmas wreaths. We also have kissing balls, evergreen roping, mistletoe and a greenhouse filled with locally grown poinsettias, cyclamen and amaryllis.
We can also deliver your Christmas tree to your door. Not sure if you have a tree stand, we sell Christmas tree stands, ornaments, lights and removal bags. Also every child gets a book and candy cane at no charge. 2015 Exotic Flowers wall calendars are also available for free to adults too.
BOXWOOD TREE IN BOSTON resized 600Boxwood trees are a specialty at Exotic Flowers in Boston. Many Bostonians live in apartments and have a need for these miniature Christmas trees. Our boxwood trees can also be created in any color scheme and with fresh flowers too. 
When you visit Exotic Flowers to buy your Christmas tree, ask for a tour. We would love to show you around.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas Trees, Christmas, Holiday Memories, Holidays

Different Types of Christmas Trees

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Nov 30, 2014

It's that time of year where we just can't wait to get the boxes of ornaments and tinsel down from the attic eaves and decorate the star of Christmas-our tree!  Many might believe that selecting any old variety will do and that there really isn’t much of a difference with the acceptation of cost but I can assure you that this is simply not true.  Trees come in a large selection of breeds and with a versatile array of characteristics including size, smell, shape and branch dispersion.  So if you want to be an educated arbor buyer this season, learn more about the choices you have and pick a tree that is perfect for you and your family.  Keep in mind that not all trees are grown in the New England region, so it is important to know as much as you can beforehand. 

Christmas Trees in Boston 

Balsam Fir

The balsam fir is not only a New England tradition, but the best selling Christmas Tree at Exotic Flowers in Boston. Most Balsam firs sold in the Boston area come from Nova Scotia. The balsam fir has strong branches and beautiful scent. This fragrant Christmas tree evokes all types of wonderful Christmas memories.



                                                   photo credit:

Douglas Fir

The Douglas Fir is one of the more higher in demand Christmas trees on lots because of its desirable pyramid shape and full body display.  The coloring of the tree is blue and green with a grey trunk that adapts as it ages, a feature that I believe exacerbates the beauty of holiday lights and brightly decorated ornaments.  An interesting fact about the Douglas Fir is that it remains the most frequently requested tree variety for shipment to exotic places such as Guam, Maui and countries within Asia.  This tree also holds the characteristic of longevity so if you are the type who loves to put up their Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving and keep it up for weeks past; this is the right tree for you! 


Fraser Fir

This species is native to New England and enjoys being grown in colder climates, which makes this tree a solid choice for the frigid temperatures of Boston.   Since the Douglas Fir is commonly grows in nearby and comparative regions, it is usually well priced and affordable for our Christmas budgets since there is a natural abundance of them.  Other desirable traits include a strong pine perfume and needles that change from green to white as the needles grow from top to bottom.  Another alluring factor is that the trees are sometimes cut at shorter heights making them perfect for smaller rooms or apartments.  The Fraser Fir makes my top three list because it was my first Christmas tree, in my first apartment, on my first Christmas-a holiday that I fondly remember.  The fraser fir is always the hoice at the White House.



Noble Fir

I love this breed and can attest that it is aptly named since its appearance is completely reflective in the description, “noble”.  Native to the woods and mountains of Oregon and California, you will want to make sure that the trunk is freshly cut since this variety has been trucked from the other side of the country for our special holiday season.  Consisting of pretty blue and green needles, the Noble Fir is idyllic for hanging ornaments since the branches curl up with an upward congruent to a cupped hand. The branches are often adequately separated to showcase several baubles and the tree usually has a body that is filled robustly with aromatic pine needles providing a lovely yuletide fragrance for your home. The Noble Fir is my husband's favorite tree.

florist_costumeSuzie Canale, Westwood Public Library, October 2014.

Suzie puts her Christmas tree up every year on December 11th, her son Lance's birthday.

Tags: Symbols of Christmas, Holiday Decor, Christmas Trees, Christmas

A Countdown to Christmas Calendar

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Nov 29, 2014

We all know there are a million things to get done during the month of December in order to prepare for one of the biggest holidays of the year, Christmas!  Our lists are long and we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed with trying to accomplish an impossible tally of tasks, at the end feeling apprehensive, uneasy and exhausted.  Well, that’s not the way the holiday season should be at all!  Christmas is about being together and enjoying the special spirit the yuletide season summons in all of us.  So how do we fix the Christmas frenzy of anxiety?  We get organized with a simple calendar that will help us get all of our undertakings accomplished while still having fun and enjoying Christmas for all of the magic that it brings.  Here is a schedule that works for me but design yours to suit your specific needs and agenda.


December 1st    Break out the Christmas Advent for the Kids. Lego offers a really cute one with a new mini set daily. LEGO_ADVENT_CALENDAR_2014


December 2nd   Begin preparing the house for decorations by storing excess clutter

                            and knickknacks. 

 December 3rd   Lights go up outside - white lights are my favorite!

 December 4th  My husband's birthday. The Christmas Wreath is hung on the door and the Christmas cards are addressed. The Jimmy Fund offers beautiful holiday cards that Exotic Flowers send to its top clients.

 December 5th   Make a complete list of gifts for family and friends.  It’s better to plan

                          ahead to defer from going over the budget. 

 December 6th   Bake a cranberry pie and put in freezer to be stored until Christmas

                          for last minute hostess dessert needs.   

 December 7th   String the rest of the cranberries for garland.  They are beautiful on

                          The tree!

 December 8th   Gingerbread House Project Day!  One of the kid’s favorite activities!

 December 9th    Make sure the kids have made their last and final version of their

                           Christmas lists.  You don’t want any new wish list surprises popping

                           up any later…

 December 10th  The tree arrives!  Put in stand with water to allow the branches to

                             relax overnight.

 December 11th  My son Lance's birthday. We have a tradition of putting up ours today. The tree is ready to                         be decorated with lights, tinsel, popcorn strands and ornaments!

 December 12th   Buy Christmas pajamas for everyone!  Decorate the hearth with

                            candles and balsam garland. 

 December 13th     Christmas bonuses for the mailman and paperboy. 

 December 14th    Buy the wine for the holiday table.

 christmas_cookies                                                 photo credit:

December 15th    Bake sugar cookies for the neighbors and package those that are to

                             be given as small gifts.

 December 16th    Donate items to the local soup kitchen for their holiday feasts. 

                            make sure to include some children’s books for the kids.           

 December 17th    Finish up any last minute Christmas present shopping and be

                             officially DONE!

 December 18th    Plan your menu for Christmas dinner including everything

                             from the main course to the dessert.  Don’t forget the rolls!

 December 19th     Finish wrapping all of the presents and hide them in the attic. 


December 20th     Pick up the floral centerpiece from Exotic Flowers in Boston 



December 21st     Brace yourself-its grocery store shopping day for your holiday


 December 22nd    Grab stocking stuffers at CVS- make sure you don’t forget the

                              candy canes.

 December 23rd     Prepare the side dishes that can be refrigerated.  Get as much of

                               the cooking done as early as possible!

 December 24th    Christmas stockings are hung by the fire and cookies and milk are

                              left by the fireplace for Santa Claus. 

 December 25th    Christmas Day-Enjoy the holiday with friends and family!


suzie_canale_boston Suzie Canale at Fenway Park with her boys May 2014.

Suzie will be celebrating this Christmas with her familly at her home in Westwood, MA.




Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas Trees, Christmas, Holidays, #EXFL

Decorating your Boston Home with Garland and Swags for Christmas

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Nov 28, 2014

Christmas garland Boston resized 600

Did you ever decorate your home with Christmas garland for the holidays ? If not, now is the time to start your own tradition. Live evergreen garland can decorate banisters, light poles, mantles and doorways.  Although garland can be artificial, the staff at Exotic Flowers firmly believes in fresh evergreen garland. We often say, 'real garland means real Christmas.'

Christmas garland can be ornate or simple. Some use simple long needled white pine roping. Some Bostonians look for mixed greenery which includes balsam fir, noble fir and berries. Some even add light strings to their garland. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we offer all the ingredients for Christmas garland. We even install holiday garland in homes in Boston, Canton, Brookline and Beacon Hill.

Evergreen garland often comes in twenty and thirty foot rolls. Of course we can sell you any length your home requires.  Fresh evergreen garland not only enhances the beauty of your home but also brings the scent of Christmas into your home.

10979213455_6b77cd2312_h                                                                               photo credit Flower Factor

Evergreen swags are another great option to decorate for Christmas. Swags are made from evergreen sprigs tied together. Swags in the Boston area are created with  Balsam fir, Cedar, boxwood and  a combination of  berries and cones.   Swags are often hung vertically with a bow added for color. You can hang a swag anywhere you would hang a wreath; of course the front door is most popular. The swag is often the most economical alternative to a wreath.



Another great idea for decorating the outside of your Boston home for Christmas are mixed evergreen planters. In place of pots filled with geraniums, the staff at Exotic Flowers will install mixed evergreen planters on your front steps. These planters often include balsam fir, fraser fir, cedar, pine cones and white birch. The best part of these planters is their durability. They often decorate the front steps of Boston area homes throughout the winter.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Wreaths, Holiday Roping, Christmas Trees, Christmas

How to Play the Christmas Tree Car Game

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Dec 10, 2013

christmas tree gameDid you ever play the game padiddle/perdiddle ? The beauty of the night time car game is a way to compete with friends during long or short drives. The Christmas tree car game is very similar but you can play both day and night. 

Start your own holiday tradition with the Christmas tree car game. I had never heard of the game or even played before last year. My son and wife introduced me to this fun and festive game. griswold tree resized 600

During the holidays Christmas trees can be found from Boston to Belchertown. On my twenty minute commute to work at Exotic Flowers in Roslindale, I pass by five places who sell Christmas trees; including Louie the Florist, Exotic Flowers, Walk Hill Florist, Allandale Farm and Flowerland. 

The Christmas Tree Car Game can be played with two or more players. All one needs to do is see a car on the road with a Christmas tree on its roof and call out 'tree,'. A running tally can be kept all month long. Right now I have four points, my son has nine and my wife has six. What a great way to start your own Christmas tradition. 

christmas tree car game

You can even have a point system if you know your Christmas trees. You could offer bonus points for living Christmas trees or snow flocked trees. Like padiddle where a police car is huge bonus points, how about huge points for a double Christmas tree car or a game ender if you see the Griswold family Christmas tree. 

Tags: Traditions, Rick Canale, Suzie Canale, Christmas Trees, Christmas

When is the Best Time to Buy a Christmas Tree

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Dec 04, 2013

boston christmas trees resized 600
Whether you cut your own Christmas Tree or visit one of the many tree lots in the Boston area, people often ask when is the best time to buy a Christmas Tree ? While many people often celebrate Thanksgiving with a Christmas Tree set up, the staff at Exotic Flowers does not recommend a fresh cut Christmas in any home before December 4th. 
While all of our Christmas trees are freshly cut, a Christmas tree only has a short life span. The warmer your home is, the less durability your Christmas tree will have.
Christmas trees in Boston
You will hear that Christmas trees need fire retardant and special tree food. These are all myths, Christmas trees need cool environments and a fresh cut. Many Boston apartments are just too hot and dry to put a Christmas tree up in November.
If you do love that fresh balsam fir tree smell, then Exotic Flowers can even deliver your Christmas tree in the Boston area. Fraser fir and balsam fir remain our best selling Christmas trees.
This blog post was inspired my cousin Lisa Canale Trachtman whose father Kenny brings my fondest memories of Christmas.

Tags: Christmas Wreaths, Christmas Trees, Christmas

The Society of American Florists Acknowledges Exotic Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Nov 16, 2013

Christmas FlowersEvery Saturday, the Society of American Florists (SAF) offers sales tips to floral industry professionals. This week, Katie Hendrick shares some holiday sales tips from Exotic Flowers in Boston.

Inexpensive Perks Keep Customers Merry

by Katie Hendrick
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, convenience and customer appreciation define the company's holiday marketing philosophy. We reached out to Rick Canale, owner of the 2008 Marketer of the Year-winning shop, for some tactics to get customers in the door and spending money, amidst all their other shopping activity.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Sell Christmas trees and wreaths to generate in-store traffic
  • Provide snacks – popcorn and candy canes – to keep tired shoppers in good spirits
  • Offer complimentary containers of hand sanitizer (to keep cold and flu germs at bay). The Exotic Flowers version has "Red Sox World Series Champions" emblazoned on it.
  • Send letters reminding customers of the previous year's holiday order with a personal letter. ("This gets great feedback," Canale said. "People appreciate reminders and they really love the personalization of the letter.")
  • Hand deliver poinsettias to top 100 clients.
  • Hand sign cards to top 200 clients.

Tags: SAF, Society of American Florists, Marketing, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas Trees, Christmas, Christmas Flowers

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