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Positively Philadelphia: The Ritz-Carlton’s Festival of Trees

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Mary Jo Gallagher of Greystone Interiors works on her tree in the Ritz-Carlton lobby.  Photo provided by Jimmy Contreras.

Mary Jo Gallagher of Greystone Interiors works on her tree in the Ritz-Carlton lobby. Photo provided by Jimmy Contreras.

lipton_lauren DL Lauren Lipton
Lauren Lipton, a fixture in Philadelphia journalism, is “at the...
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By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the many holiday attractions this year is the Festival of Trees at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, on South Broad Street (the “Avenue of the Arts”) at Chestnut.

It’s a collection of trees designed and decorated by different groups around the area, on display in the hotel’s historic rotunda lobby.

Mary Jo Gallagher, from Greystone Interiors in Haddonfield, NJ, was working on  her tree (top photo) as we visited during the setup.

“Everything on the tree relates to a winter wonderland,” she said.  “The winter owl, a lot of pine.  It looks like there’s freshly fallen snow on the limbs.  We have some white birch at the top.”

(Michelle Seidman's tree.  Photo provided by Jimmy Contreras)

(Michele Seidman’s tree. Photo provided by Jimmy Contreras)

Michele Seidman, with Interior Dialogues, had a slightly different approach for her tree (right):

“Right now we’re doing lots of silver, lots of pink, lots of feathers, lots of reindeer.  We love reindeer.”

Dai To (below) and her husband Tung just opened Tobox, a new men’s shoe store at 25 South 19th Street, near Chestnut.   Guess what was on their tree?

“Shoe trees! And handmade men’s accessories.”

(Dai To, of Tobox Shoes, with her tree decorated in shoe trees and men's accessories.  Photo provided by Jimmy Contreras)

(Dai To, of Tobox Shoes, with her tree decorated in shoe trees and men’s accessories. Photo provided by Jimmy Contreras)

I asked these experts for some ideas on tree decorating that we might want to try at home.

“If you’re going to do a monochromatic tree,” advised Michele Seidman, “you want to have different textures working with it.”

Mary Jo Gallagher offered, “I have some trees in my own home, and I put silver spoons on them from when my husband was a baby, when I was a baby, when my children were babies.  It’s about sharing memories,” she said.

Bradley Pacana, director of marketing and sales for the hotel, says visitors can come to the lobby, see the trees, have a cup of the hotel’s famous cocoa, and support a local anti-hunger organization — all at the same time.

“Every hot chocolate that’s purchased, one dollar of that goes toward Philabundance,” he explains.

And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

Listen to the extended “Festival of Trees” podcast (runs 7:17)….


“Positively Philadelphia” main page

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