Start your Christmas decorating plan by creating simple, clever ideas for transforming your rooms. Try to stick to one theme, whether it’s classic red, gold and green, or a more contemporary scheme of silver and white. This way you can refresh your collection each year by adding new styles and on-trend decorations.
Mix in woodland animal decorations with some of your family’s favourite traditional baubles for a simple update, or introduce the latest lustre finishes in nude and pearl with the palest blue for a fresh look. All items featured in this exclusive photoshoot are from Tesco.
Decorating your hallway
Think of your hall as the gateway to the festivities in your home, and decorate it as the starting point to all your other rooms. Start your scheme by having a good clean and clear out, as this will give you a blank canvas to start your transformation.
Wired garlands are ideal for winding along a banister as they don’t require taping – but always remember to leave spaces for hands to hold the rail. Buy a plain garland and embellish with your own decorations, stylish touches and creative additions if you can’t find one to match your scheme.
If you don’t have stairs or a banister then consider hanging a selection of big, paper decorations from the ceiling; if you have room for a table then a few simple twigs
in a favourite vase can make a seasonal alternative decoration to a tree with
some hanging baubles.
Choose a beautiful wreath for your front door to welcome friends and family and brighten up your neighbourhood, and light the way along your garden path with lanterns or candles in votives for your guests to follow. Battery-operated tealights look just as good as the real thing, and are safer for your outdoor space, especially if you have young children or pets.
Dine in style
Every year, the pressure is on for the cook to create what is often perceived as the most important meal of the year. So whether it’s turkey for two or a full buffet for the whole family, take time to add the special personal touches that will make your day memorable.
If you are serving pre-dinner drinks, make special ‘mocktails’ for the children and those who are driving home. Add a few drops of rosewater to cloudy pink lemonade or mix elderflower cordial with sparkling water, slices of lime and sprigs of mint for a refreshing treat.
Keep your tablecloth and china neutral and build up colours and accessories as you go along. Scatter mini baubles, shimmering confetti or, if you have children, shiny wrapped chocolate coins in between the place settings, before introducing the bigger pieces such as candles and flowers.
If your tableware is patterned, choose a plain tablecloth and napkins, and tailor your scheme around it. You don’t have to include fresh flowers; collect twigs, holly and foliage on winter walks to create a look inspired by nature. You can then add in some faux berries or a few of your favourite fresh blooms and arrange in a row of jam jars for a pretty, rustic look, finishing off with raffia or Christmas ribbon.
Get the children involved by making mini menus or putting up a chalkboard with a list of what’s to come. Kids will love spending an afternoon in the Christmas holidays making bunting out of festive fabric or wrapping paper and cutting out homemade paper snowflakes for the table
Tips for the perfect Christmas table
- Make your own crackers and fill with personalised gifts, or get your children to draw little pictures or make up their own jokes.
- Keep any table flowers or decorations simple and low so as not to obstruct eye contact between guests.
- Everyone likes to feel useful, so ask guests to be involved by bringing in dishes and pouring drinks for a relaxed, informal meal.
- Fill glass bowls, bonbon jars and vases with colourful sweets, such as peppermint balls, marshmallows, shiny wrapped chocolates and candy canes, for an alternative centrepiece.
- Buy inexpensive baubles and write guests’ names on with glue pens and glitter for a personalised place setting and table gift.
- A row of herbs in pretty pots with festive ribbon is a stylish alternative to flowers on the table and the guests can take them home when they leave.
- Encourage guests to swap places between courses so that everyone has a chance to mingle.
- Make sure you have enough chairs in advance, so there’s no last-minute panic for dinner or your party.
- Prepare your vegetables on Christmas Eve and refrigerate them in cold water.
- If you are feeding a crowd, put everything on the table in warmed serving dishes so people can help themselves. Stick Post-It notes on empty dishes in the kitchen so you know which food is intended for which dish when serving up
Focus on your living room
Your living room is the social hub of your home, so extend the decorations throughout the whole space. If you have a fireplace, make it the main focal point with festive greenery, stylish garlands and candles*.
Whether you prefer a freshly cut real tree or an authentic-looking imitation one, check your fairy lights are working before you start, then wind around the branches so they are evenly spaced. If using other kinds of garlands, drape these around the tree next, starting at the top before finishing with baubles and other hanging decorations, making sure larger ones are placed nearer the bottom, with smaller ones at the top.
Egg boxes are ideal for storing breakable baubles, and loosely wind your fairy lights around a kitchen roll tube when you take down the tree to prevent them tangling.
Introduce tableware and soft furnishings to make your room feel welcoming. Look for decorative throws and cushions with festive motifs and animal images to really bring Christmas cheer to your living space.
If you are planning a party, think about introducing a cocktail bar; festive drink mixes for guests to try will make a great ice-breaker, and a hot chocolate bar, complete with whipped cream and marshmallows, will appeal to younger guests. Finally, bring in
a tray of Christmas cupcakes glowing with white candles or indoor sparklers, and give sweet snacks and canapés a sprinkling of edible glitter for the ultimate party food.
Tips for a stress-free day
- Fit any batteries needed for children’s gifts before you wrap them to save
time on Christmas morning.
- Try and wrap presents as you buy; if you have a lot, colour-code wrapping paper and tags for each family or family member to avoid confusion.
- Stock up on essentials such as sticky tape, Blu-Tack, batteries and bin bags to avoid running out in the middle of wrapping or decorating.
- Ensure your oven is big enough to accommodate the turkey as well as all the other dishes, and if it’s not, work out an alternative plan.
- Lay your festive table the night before, so you have one less job to think about in the morning.