‘Tis the season: Christmas design special

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in style (we deserve it)


Words Miriam Methuen-Jones


There’s no denying it, this year has been particularly difficult and none of us know exactly what Christmas will look like. There’s a very real possibility that we could be celebrating one of the most family-centric times in a very different way. Even if that is the case, after the year we’ve had, we deserve a little fun. Read on for decorating, gift and entertainment ideas for the festive season.

1 Broste snowflake, £35, Nordic Living 2 French Partridge feather wreath, from £45, Plucking Fabulous

Wreaths are getting more inventive each year, it seems, no longer limited to greenery and whatever is knocking about on the forest floor. For a contemporary take on a classic colour scheme, check out this French Partridge wreath from Plucking Fabulous (above). This would look particularly lovely on a lacquered black front door, or bring it inside to highlight a neutral colour scheme. To extend that muted theme to your tree, why not forgo expensive ornaments and stick to simple string lights all over? This sleek look is unexpected, as well as being budget-friendly. Pick up a pack of jumbo white pompoms (or make your own) to ensure a white Christmas without relying on the British weather to deliver. Similarly, the Broste paper snowflakes from Nordic Living (above) will add to the wintery feel without lowering the room temperature.

Christmas collection 2020, H&M Home

If Christmas is all about colour for you, we’ve got that covered, too. Go more traditional with deep reds, gold and a healthy dose of shrubbery. Even if you’re flying solo this year, decorating the dinner table is an absolute must. Start with a fabric tablecloth; red makes an impact and immediately sets the mood. Next, layer on a runner that matches your theme: white with foliage embroidery for a Scandi look, gold for a touch of luxury, or try a heather grey if you’re keeping things contemporary. Get out the fancy plates (yes, even if it’s just you), festive napkins, and don’t forget the glassware for the champers.
For a centrepiece, go natural. Mini trees or branches are a great choice for taking centre-stage with contrasting accessories in copper, glass and wood. Cluster pillar candles in bold hues to introduce colour to the table.

1 Make your own cat treats set, £6.95, Rex London 2 Porcelain tree ornaments, £24, Jonathan Adler 3 Felt snow leopard ornament, £9, Raj Tent Club 4 ‘I prefer my dog to humans’ ceramic decoration, £6, Olive & Berry 5 Dog snuggle bed in velour, £90, Charley Chau 6 Cuddly-coat grooming rinse, £19, Kiehl’s

Your furry companions definitely deserve a special fuss this year, so treat them to more than scraps from the turkey. Splash out on a snug new bed, a stocking of their own, or include a nod to them in your decorating. Watching them join in with the unwrapping will certainly be a bright spot in the day.

Most of your traditions can be upheld even if things are a little different this year, it just might take some extra planning. Write out a festive bucket list and see if there are any possible substitutions. Swap seasonal parties for neighbourhood wanders to see the decorations and lights. In the run-up, perfect your mulled wine recipe, or finally figure out how to get a gingerbread house to stay standing, all while you work your way through the best films out there. A Christmas day walk to burn off all the tatties is still on the cards, of course, and if you have a trivia-lover in your midst, get a themed, virtual quiz up and running for the big day.

1 Spiced apple bitters, £15.99,Your Drink Box 2 Maileg matchbox mouse, £24, Nordic Living 3 Merchant & Mills sewing book, £20, Labour & Wait 4 Camel rocking horse, from £9,500, Stevenson Brothers
1 Oak leaves & acorns wrapping paper, from £9.95, Nancy & Betty 2 Dottir Nordic Design squirrel with angel charm, £55, Nordic Living 3 Gingerbread man ornament, from £5, Glaze Me Pretty 4 DIY gift wrap: potato printing with chalk paint, from £5.95 for 120ml, Annie Sloan 

This year, we finally have the time to get crafty. Keep an eye out for good evergreen foliage while out and about. You can create a natural masterpiece for next to nothing – just make sure you’re not uprooting any plants while you forage. Try making your own garlands for above the fireplace or along the bannisters, leave them bare or thread twinkling lights through for an extra touch.
Evergreen plants are ideal for wreaths:, but get creative with dried oranges, lavender, and ribbon. Or, be inspired by this John Lewis wreath (below) and use baubles instead. If you’re feeling lost, and need help, see how the experts do it at Narcissus Flowers and Daylesford Farm. If you’re set on buying yours, check out this adorable mini wreath (below) from Planet Goods and Wares, great for adding that special detail. It won’t be the same as other years, but that could be a good thing. Now’s the time to use your imagination and to try out things you never had the time for before. 

1 Bauble wreath, £25, John Lewis 2 Faux blueberry wreath, £19, Heavenly Homes & Garden 3 Personalised fresh mini winter wreath, £9.95, Planet Goods & Wares