The tree has been bought. Not quite the eight footer my husband was hankering after (where does he think we live? Downton Abbey?), but it’s tall enough, enormously bushy and the perfect Christmas tree shape. C and I decorated it this afternoon (she kept asking if she could “deck the tree” – am not sure if this is after ‘deck the halls’ or an abbreviation of ‘decorate’) – which mostly involved her running around excitedly, passing me the odd bauble with instructions to “hang it there, Mummy”. This year, I have gone down the ‘liberally festooned path. And I have not stopped humming Christmassy songs since.
Aren’t we all, Bing? Fingers crossed.
This is my default scheme: oodles of lights, glass baubles (collected over the years – from beauties picked up on Christmas trips to Paris to glass birds from Zara Home), silver bells (picked up from Habitat the first year I had a proper house – and still much loved, especially by my little one), tiny silver balls. Done (and super chic). This is the White Company option and a beautiful one it is, too.
Its simplicity means you can mix it up by adding one colour: the December my daughter was born, I bought a stack of hot pink baubles (very Bollywood) to mark her birth on the tree (they’re out again this year – I have a yen for colour). I’m also planning to entwine fairy lights with branches cut from my parents’ giant bay tree along the mantelpiece.
Plus, it works really well for small trees/spaces. Small can still be beautiful.
Get the look
Porcelain birds, £12.50 for 4 Cox& Cox; Six mini baubles, now £8.40, The White Company; Gisele Graham glittering ivy wreath, £36.95, Selfridges
Hanging willow wreath, £45, Cox & Cox
May your days be merry and bright
This is truly the antidote to minimalism. Sparkle, sparkle and more sparkle. I love the idea of going over the top with glitter. Christmas is not a time renowned for restraint, so why not go mad. Deck the halls with boughs of glitter-sprayed holly. Festoon anything that doesn’t move with fairylights. Think vintage, think Gatsby and buy these baubles immediately because they are too fabulous and I am reeling to learn that they are from handyman’s favourite, Wilko.
Get the look
Deco bauble; midnight bauble, £1.50 each, Wilko; black glass bauble, £4, Marks & Spencer
Glitter wreath, £25, John Lewis; shiny baubles, £9.99 for 3, Zara Home; vintage style bauble, £12 for 8, Marks & Spencer
Walking in a winter wonderland
This is the Nordic Christmas. Pine cones piled in the fireplace, homespun, wood, real fires, brown paper packages tied up with string, lashings of greenery dragged in from the garden/a winter walk in the countryside.
One year I used cheap square vases from Ikea, stood a pillar candle in the middle, and surrounded them by rosemary snipped from the plant outside my back door. Or use twine to tie rosemary sprigs onto white napkins and terracotta pots of winter flowering hyacinths (or paperwhites) for a chic table setting.
Don’t confine yourself to the tree. Take your decorations outside – string fairy lights through trees (or in a window box), use tealights in jam jars to light visitors to your front door, hang baubles on the tree in your garden.
Get the look
Natural decorations, £7.99 for 3, Zara Home; rustic ball garland with lights, £19.50, Marks & Spencer; 3 wooden characters, £5, Habitat
Decoup baubles, £5.60 for 3; Form birds, £3.50, Habitat; heart twig wreath, £15.50, Cox & Cox