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Head to the shops and you’ll notice it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – which means it must be time to think about creating your own winter wonderland at home.
But while bringing out the same decorations year after year could be called nostalgia, it could also mean you’re stuck in a festive rut. So, before you deck the halls and trim the tree, why not put the sparkle back into Christmas and try something new?
Real tree vs fake tree
Even real tree connoisseurs will agree that shedding needles are one of the big drawbacks of having one. But a real tree has less than half the carbon footprint of a plastic one and if you burn it or have it chipped and use it as mulch after Christmas, it can reduce that footprint by 80%.
While having a plastic tree might save you vacuuming, you’ll need to use the same one for at least ten years before the carbon output from its manufacture becomes less than that of a single real tree.
For a Christmas tree with minimal needle drop, choose a variety like the Nordmann fir or Norway spruce. If you simply prefer a plastic tree or suffer from allergies triggered by spores from a real one, then Balsam Hill has the reputation as the number one artificial Christmas tree company.
Balsam Hill trees have graced no less than the Albert Hall so they don’t come cheap. An unlit 6.5” European fir tree (the most realistic) will set you back £469 which is a hefty price tag – but over ten years it’s a mere £46.90 – far less than a premium real tree so it’s well worth the investment (they also come with a three year warranty).
Red, gold and green are synonymous with Christmas along with poinsettias, Santa and robins and one of the great benefits of keeping it old school, is that your decorations will remain timeless.
To keep your timeless classics fresh each year, bring a little of what’s outdoors in, and use winter foliage. If you’ve trimmed down a real tree, tie the excess branches in bunches and drape along mantlepieces, windowsills or sit them above picture frames. Use tartan or velvet ribbon for a touch of festive luxury.
There’s also a reason why holly, ivy and mistletoe appear in carols – they’re abundant over winter and make ideal decorations – if you’ve got some in your garden, they’re also free. Whether you use these in garlands wrapped around bannisters or arrange them in displays they make Christmas instantly classy.
Scandinavian design is all about understated elegance and Christmas is no different. For inspiration, think of natural materials, winter white forests, pine cones and silvery greys.
For stylish minimalist trees why not consider ones made of wood which don’t need the added bling of baubles – visit Notonthehighstreet.com for a selection of interesting alternatives. To make a bolder statement, Nordic House have a range of wrought iron decorations including candle holders and even a tree.
If you’re going for minimalism, texture is important as colour palettes are relatively flat. Glass is always a good choice, especially around low lighting as these will cast a soft and cosy glow – Gisela Graham can be relied on for a range of stunning crystal ornaments and baubles To add extra interest, mix your natural materials and head to Etsy for leather decorations to create a truly designer-styled Christmas.
Keeping it for the kids
If you’ve got kids, you can’t deny that Christmas is all about them. Not only does December mark the start of advent calendars, it also means a steady stream of interesting ‘decorations’ inevitably made out of salt-dough, toilet rolls and lashings of tissue paper. But while it can mean you wave goodbye to good taste, kitsch doesn’t have to mean cringe.
Simple, child-like decorations can embody the spirit of Christmas with their naivete. Paperchains are a great example – colourful chains can bring a bright, party feel and single coloured strands add unpretentious charm.
Woollen animal decorations, felt cut outs and porcelain figurines bring a sentimental chic to festivities – for a great selection go to Cath Kidston It’s also worth taking a look at George with their pom-pom bauble and cupcake decoration as well as their Santa tree topper.
But sometimes – you just have to give in and embrace tinsel, glitter and paper plate angels in all their glory – after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.