By Amy Mangan
The first clue was the holiday adorned envelope that arrived in the mail to the Ocala Style office. A Christmas tree sticker hugged the return address. Inside was ornament lined stationery and my initial observation was confirmed: this was a family serious about Christmas. After reading Gloria Wilcox’s heartfelt plea to turn her home into a holiday retreat, I could see why it was so important to her and her family. Her husband, Byrd, was a career military officer who took his wife, a pre-school teacher, and two children across the country on multiple work assignments throughout the years. Nine moves prevented any sort of holiday tradition. The one artificial tree that managed to survive the repeated moves finally bit the pine tree dust.
“Our Christmas tradition has been that we don’t have a tradition,” says Gloria, “We’re happy that we are finally putting down some roots here.”
A return to Byrd’s family homestead in Anthony, Florida gave this family a chance to establish a permanent home. Byrd personally oversaw building their two-story brick dream home on property that has been in his family for many years. Now, according to Gloria’s letter, all they needed was a little design help just in time for Christmas.
Enter the wonderful work of Dan Truluck, owner of Petal Pusher Florist. After visiting the 20-acre farm, Dan knew just what he wanted for the Wilcox family — “a woodsy, Florida Christmas.” Serving as the centerpiece is a custom created pencil tree with vibrant colored ornaments, lights, and other embellishments.
“They live in a very natural setting and that kept speaking to me as I was putting together the design concept,” says Dan.
The statuesque pencil tree is the signature piece in Dan’s design as it frames the corner of the Wilcox living and dining area. Celadon greens, cranberries, and gold adornments drip off the grapevine creation that was handmade by Dan himself. Always known as a detail-oriented person, Dan even found yellow-hued acorn lights in keeping with his woodsy theme.
Gloria says she loves the finished result.
“It is very elegant and bridges the seasons together,” she says, “It’s a real Florida Christmas look.”
Gloria’s final request in her letter was to have a real “Marion County Christmas.” Thanks to Dan Truluck and his amazing Petal Pusher Florist team including Elaine, Robin, Pauline, Pat, and Robert, mission accomplished for a grateful family who now has a beautiful holiday tradition.
Straight from the Decorator
“My Christmas wish for the Wilcox family is more of a ‘Thank You’ to a teacher and a soldier.”
Dan Truluck, Owner, Petal Pusher Florist
Tips from the Decorator — A Case for Slim-Line Christmas Trees
1. You don’t have to re-arrange rooms around them.
2. To store them, simply unplug and throw a plastic cover around it.
3. More room at the bottom of a tree equals more presents!
4. And, unlike a baby, these trees like to be in the corner. (Kind of hokey Dirty Dancing reference)
By Amy Mangan