So Christmas is nigh. The commercial countdown has begun with the John Lewis advert claiming its number one position on our televisions. I contacted all of my Christmas clients this week to confirm times for tree decorating and the wind and the rain outside certainly tells me winter is here.
Personally, I keep my Christmas very simple and take inspiration from my Italian roots. It’s all about loved ones. The gifts, adornments, excesses are simply dressings for what is really a day to celebrate family (and the fact that the phone doesn’t ring).
When I think of Christmas a few images spring to mind. Cracking walnuts and eating tangerines around my Zia's table in Italy, a roaring fire ablaze, collecting chestnuts in the woods behind our family home in the mountains with the running stream of melting snow, creating a 24/7 soundscape and my family singing traditional partisan songs into the late hours of the evening. Sounds idyllic and it was in many ways. A time before the internet and Facebook and where we had to go and visit neighbours carrying cards and gifts of Poinsettia.
So, what are my favourite decorating schemes and tips.
I love the opportunity to get willow and rustic woods out, mosses, winter foliage intermingled with pearly fairy lights and old-gold cherubs or harps. Lambs Tail on trees, furry baubles and sprayed dried thistles take the place of shiny baubles. Smells of pine and baskets of simple pleasures comprising fruits, pinecones, board games and books amidst candle-lit fireplaces and the workings of a month-long ambitious puzzle.
Always hang your lights first then place baubles or tree ornaments laterly and always use green wire (removing the tacky thread that come with most baubles these days) to apend your decorations. Drape pearls and lace and vintage beads to fill the gaping holes at the top of your tree. Pin vintage Christmas cards with pegs to branches to create contrast and finally cover your base with a sheepskin rug or stack logs around your base to hide the tree base and light wiring.
It has been known however for me to create a Pop-Art Christmas scheme and even to build trees out of coat hangers. Painted Wellington boots surrounding a tree and advent calendars made out of jam-jars to hint at a few Christmas scheme commissions in recent years. The environment dictates and your tree is an extension of your home, tastes and personality.
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