For most of us our home is our haven; an extension of our personalities. What we have in our home says a lot about our individual tastes and is often a musing for the way in which we would like to be perceived. The perfect paint colour coupled, the ideal sofa and careful balanced lighting combined with the trinkets and accessories that are as important to us as the perfect shoes and handbag combination.
So when December rolls around and the festivities take over it is important that your tastes are reflected in your Christmas decorations. Holiday décor sadly often translates to tacky metallic tinsel, red and green coloured lights that clash with your muted tonal living space and decal decorations that look as if they belong in a grotto. But Christmas doesn’t have to be the commercial tack the stores insist on, it can be chic, delicate, glam and even rustic.
Candles and Christmas go hand in hand. But instead of powerful scents and themed colours opt for simple cream or white church candles for a subtle elegance. Display varying sizes of candles along your mantelpiece with some simple greenery for an effortless look that will see you right through to the New Year.
Wreaths can often feel a bit over the top when adorned with glitter, faux snow and bright ornaments. Instead keep things fresh by using rustic natural elements in seasonal hues, or choose a simple green wreath in something a little unusual such as olive leaf. Or if you’re feeling really creative why not fashion a wreath out of baubles, twine and cut-out lettering.
Along your staircase or arranged over your fire place is the usual home for a festive garland, but this versatile decoration can be a simple and stylish way to bring the wintertime feeling to other objects in your home too. Consider draping a garland over the corner of an oversized mirror for a real show stopping piece or even wind one along the foot of your bed to take the decorating to every room in your home.
Part of the joy of presents is in the wrapping and unwrapping. Ensuring your gifts look as good on the outside as they are on the inside is all part of the gift experience. So whether you are buying for a loved one, a friend or even a little one try adding a little extra touch. From rustic brown paper and string to glam gold, chic matte blacks and candy cane striped packages, your tree will rival even some of the best dressed shop windows in town in no time
As much as this isn’t a Christmas decoration per se it is an absolute must for the festive season. The house is dressed, the presents are wrapped and looking gorgeous and now it’s time to entertain; eat, drink and be merry! Treat your guests to decadently good homemade fig and olive chutney which is perfect paired with warm breads and cheese.
325g soft dried figs (snipped in half)
220g pitted dry-packed black olives (2 x 110g jars)
100 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cloves
60 mls marsala
150 mls red wine vinegar
100 mls water
Put all the ingredients into a small (approx. 17–18cm / 7 inch diameter), heavy-based lidded saucepan, bring to a bubble and when it starts boiling, clamp on the lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat, take off the lid and let it stand to cool a little for 5 or so minutes, then tip into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
Spoon the chutney into warm jars, then seal with their lids and leave to cool for about 3 hours before transferring to the fridge.