Keep Calm … Christmas is Coming
A few friends have asked recently why they haven’t heard from me lately. Good question! In truth, I think the Christmas mayhem hit home earlier than usual. At times like this, we often find ourselves overwhelmed by all the pre-Christmas house guests, the gift shopping, the food shopping (which generally starts a good month out), the festive social encounters, and getting the house looking like it’s just a little bit of Christmas. The action plan keeps growing by the minute (a little like my waistline at Christmas…argh!).
Why is it that we place so much pressure on ourselves in the lead up to Christmas? If I consider my relentless need to create, update and mark off a daily action plan, I suspect the problem could well be me.
Despite the mayhem and energy that drains me like the kitchen sink, I adore Christmas. Bringing together family, friends, fun, love, and laughter is worthwhile.
Our house consists of two these days … and yet this does not stop me from filling our home with Christmas joy. It is about creating a festive welcome for every guest who visits. Share the cheer, I say!
Let’s get to the more exciting part of entertaining at Christmas, home decorations! What better excuse than Christmas to pull out all your little bits and pieces and apply some decorating glory.
1: Christmas tree | black is black
A busy working mum said that she did not have time to put up a Christmas Tree for her children. She is so busy juggling her business, house and children, and I am sure many of us know exactly what that feels like (well, at least remember what that felt like). She is so not alone. Many of us feel overwhelmed, yet if we take a breath, we might find that decorating can be one of the most mindful things you can do leading up to the Christmas mayhem.
Decorations need not be extravagant or complicated work. Find a theme and do more with less.
This year I have gone with a lit black Christmas Tree adorned with baubles (a great eBay find). Black is more contemporary, and I love how the black worked back with an abundance of colourful, bauble splendour.
Photo | well, isn’t this a little ray of pitch black!
2: bauble delight
Each year I grow my collection of Christmas baubles. I invest in 10 new ones each year, in different colours and styles. Baubles work for me with a touch of heart here and there, while another friend has a collection of birds. I go with a more lux look while she has a more natural organic look. We love many of the same things, yet we both create entirely different looks. I love that! Share ideas, and then go make them yours.
photo | the more colourful, the better
3: light show | the easy way
I purchased a few outdoor lamps online this year. They were inexpensive and yet gave a great splash of Christmas cheer … with nothing more than the click of the switch. You don’t have to spend weeks installing outdoor lighting (but please don’t let that stop those who provide such magical wonder); you just place this in your yard, shine it on your house, and have an instant light show in red or green.
I plan to also install one in our internal courtyard for our Christmas dinner. In seconds it showers thousands of lights and movement all over the walls. What is a little more movement when the house is already awash with so many busybodies?
photo | google laser light
4: glorious tulle
Personally, I adore tulle (while my friend again prefers more natural fibres). The softer tulle gives a softer look and is easier to work with. It is a cheap way to get some wow. Fill gaps in your tree with a handful of tulle, which can resemble a rose when bunched correctly.
photo | naturally black tulle for a black tree
5: doing more with less
Hint | Don’t attempt to fill the entire house with decorations, as this can sometimes resemble decoration mania and quickly go from elegant to overwhelming. Focus on various locations throughout your home that you can decorate…more with less.
Don’t forget to layer your Decorations. So much more attractive to the eye.
Photo | decorations don’t need to be expensive!
photo | don’t forget your little touch of cheer in the guest bathroom
6: wrapping up Christmas
Wrapped boxes to match your tree makes for a gorgeous complementary look. Better still, shop where they wrap your gifts which can then be placed under your tree and create some additional wow (the added bonus of shopping in the same shop is that the packages all look lovely in the same boxes and paper).
Photo | we have a bit of a Chanel thing happening this year, so there is no great surprise for my family here.
7: the power of flower
Flowers are a gorgeous Christmas inclusion, yet they can cost the earth and not last past a few days! This is an already expensive time of the year. I prefer investing in white potted orchids because they keep giving for months and months (if you talk to them nicely and don’t overwater them). Dried stems can also look equally as attractive.
Photo | this orchid has been given back to me for 18 months. I am still astounded by its kindness.
8: secret scents
Loads and loads of candles always look fabulous at Christmas. Combine plain with scented because nothing looks better than when it gives off a wonderful scent.
Hint | tie bunches of cinnamon sticks together with black ribbon (or a colour of your choice) and place them in your tree to add another beautiful slight secret scent.
photo | there can never be too many fairy lights
9: adorn the table with all your little wonders
Your table is a great space to decorate. You can provide a look filled with Christmas decorations before and on Christmas Day. Load your table with anything you think looks festive, and move it around. Add coloured stones, candles, nuts, potted herbs, etc. My husband knows that the table is not for eating in December.
I appreciate this is not terribly practical if you need to use your table in the lead up to Christmas, but since when has practicality played a role in the art of decorating? Remember to layer your table and add your little treasures here and there to make a gorgeous splash of Christmas. Many looks can be achieved very affordably.
Don’t be limited by colour. Christmas does not need to be red and green, you know.
Photo | Lesley would be proud of me for shopping at K Mart and buying a few table decorations. So affordable and so good!
9: all plated up
I cannot believe that we are switching to disposable plates this year (can you hear me gasp). We are opting for a more leisurely Christmas Dinner, and paper plates come with that option. Finding the ones that actually look great on the table can be a challenge. So many of the more decorative plates are way too small and very expensive. So, what to do? I opted for a mix of more expensive paper plates, which I now plan to team back with a cheaper Coles variety.
photo | paper plates and paper napkins – mix up for larger gatherings
10: just how sweet can one get?
Don’t forget the lolly jar. When you fill it too early (as we have done), you will just need to keep on refilling. Every house should be filled with lollies for our little treasures and big kids.
How can I do a Christmas blog without sharing a pav! I tried this one out last night to see how we could make it look more like Christmas. Add some pistachio and dried raspberries to a brittle, and then add the shards to the top of the pav for a little added wow! Note, however, I had 3 goes at this before I got the brittle to look more like shards and less like a slab of peanut brittle. The key I found is to make sure the sugar is totally melted before bringing it to a boil.
Sending you loads of love and sugar!