When the Christmas decorations go up, I feel that the house comes into its own. I enjoy the run up to Christmas and the busy whirl of socialising family and friends, carol concerts, dinners and parties but in between it all, it’s good to get some time at home relaxing in front of the fire.
Each year I decorate the fireplace with a swag and fairy lights, occasionally ringing the changes with new ribbon. It definitely bucks the trend for natural styling and greenery. I like subtle but this is my fancy splash of colour.
We use pine cones and twigs as fire lighters but they double as decoration in a basket on the fireplace. This year I have brought some scented candles that smell like mulled wine – not much fun for those that think I have a pan on the go, only to find out it’s just the candles burning!
Each year we choose a tree at our friends’ garden centre and my husband looks for something tall enough to reach the ceiling. A real tree smells so good. After the holiday period, we recycle by putting the branches out with the compost collection and chopping up the trunk to burn on the fire.
On the tree, we have mismatched decorations that we have collected over the years. We used to go with our sons to choose a decoration each so when the tree goes up we reminisce about when and where we bought them. Although they are different, they are mainly red, white and gold. There are a few home made decorations in the mix.
In the hall a heart wreath hangs from the mirror. It looks neat and tidy in the photo but is usually buried under coats, keys and the dog lead!
Up the stairs there is another swag of greenery. I have visions of making a natural swag tied on to rope but always seem to run out of time and the fake stuff goes up and the only thing that changes is the combination of berries, pine cones and ribbon.
In the other rooms, we add a few Christmas decorations here and there, mostly the same stuff brought out year after year. I always find it exciting to unpack the boxes and find things I’d forgotten about then wander around the house deciding where to put them.
The last thing to go up is a wreath on the door. I use a willow circle with some fake greenery, then tuck in some fresh cuttings from the garden. I usually add fruit of some kind and this year it is a lemon and satsuma for a festive touch.
There are good instructions on the Gardener’s World website that show how to make a wreath from scratch using birch twigs to make the circle and tying in greenery.