10 Ways to a Stylish Christmas
The wonderful thing about this time of year is that everyone celebrates in their own way; whether you revel in glitter or prefer a more restrained festive look is your personal choice.
This list encapsulates my own ‘golden rules’, and I hope you may find them inspiring but the most important thing to remember is to enjoy the time, whether that is with family, friends or even your beloved pets.
1. Sparkle and light make everything shine bright. Although candlelight makes everything look magical, even a simple tealight in an old jam jar, another trick I like (particularly useful when you have free-ranging children) is using battery-powered fairy lights in glass jars, lanterns, glasses or bowls. Just as twinkly and perfectly safe.
2. Use paper creatively. Try making Christmas decorations out of paper, white, patterned, coloured or metallic card (think paper snowflakes, chains, stars or even bunting). Search out some basic guides online and then get creative. You’ll find they can be really simple to make and yet make a real statement.
3. Think beyond silver and gold for metallic lustre. Silver and gold decorations are traditional, but other metallics such as bronze and copper are very on trend and can create really interesting looks. And forget stuffy rules about mixing your metals - Christmas decorating offers a great opportunity to experiment and try new things.
4. Utilise fragrance to stimulate one of our most powerful senses, smell! It’s not too fiddly to stud an orange with cloves to make your own pomanders or buy them at a local craft market. Gather bundles of natural greenery to make wreaths or fill vases. And, of course, nothing evokes Christmas like home baking, scented candles and a real tree.
5. Create a focal point (whether that’s the beautifully decorated tree, a gorgeous wreath or – if you’re lucky enough to have one – adorn a roaring fireplace) but don’t neglect the rest of the house. Follow the theme through. Baubles aren’t just for the tree, I place them on my mantlepiece interspersed amongst my candles and then I can enjoy the beautiful reflection of the flickering candlelight on their jewel-coloured surfaces.
6. Resist the pressure to follow the latest trends. Whether your personal style is ‘more is more’, ‘matchy matchy’, or ‘minimalist chic’ there’s no need to suddenly embrace a whole new aesthetic just because that’s what the fashionistas dictate. When I unpack my decorations each year I love rediscovering old favourites and mixing them up with new finds.
7. Be generous and indulge your guests. Pile the satsumas high, lay out an array of nuts and pretty bowls of chocolates. Nothing is as welcoming as a feeling of abundance, laid on for friends and family. Make the assortment of lavish goods the centrepiece of a decorative table or beautifully laid sideboard.
8. Banish your fear of mess. I love entertaining family and friends and hate myself for getting twitchy, worrying about spills and crumbs! Instead of fretting, I now use blankets or throws to cover the seating. This might sound extreme, but actually the effect is warm and welcoming. Guests feel easy curling up on the sofa and it gives me a chance to experiment with different colours and textures and add to the general ambience.
9. Create space to put drinks and nibbles within the main seating areas around your home. I use two large trays in the centre of the sitting area for food and drinks so everybody knows where to put their glasses and they don’t end up lining up on the floor (ready to be knocked over).
10. Make your home your sanctuary. Although Christmas can be a stressful time, remember that your home should be your serene place. However you may decorate, make sure it’s a place to give and receive love, to share stories and memories and – most importantly - to relax and enjoy the season.
Merry Christmas to you all!