It may be January but I wanted to share what I did for Christmas in our cottage and maybe give you some ideas for your own home this year… Plus January is the best time to buy new Christmas decorations for your house, lots of sale bargains to be had.
I love decorating for Christmas and I will start in late November by adding in “wintery” touches such as cute robin cushions on the sofa and a cheery red berry wreath to greet us in our entrance hall. I also block out a day in late November to make a wreath with my Mum. More on all of our Christmas decor below, I’ve put my tips for decorating at Christmas in bold.
As I mentioned above, my first winter/Christmas task is always to make our wreath. After I took a flower arranging course earlier in the year I felt even more confident in this year’s attempt. I collected ideas on Pinterest for what I wanted and then sketched out (badly – I can’t draw!) some ideas in my notebook. I knew I wanted Christmas tree foliage and a good 3D effect with some pops of colour and natural additions – I used fir cones and walnuts. Once I knew what I was planning I made sure to get the hot glue gun out in advance and prep the cones and nuts by hot gluing them onto skewers. At this stage you could also spray paint them if you wanted to colour them.
Here is the finished article! Sorry I forgot to take step by step pictures, you will have to wait until I do our next one in 10/11 months…! Making your own wreath is definitely time consuming from sourcing a ring to wiring and mossing it (and collecting the moss), then designing, collecting foliage and about 3 hours to assemble but they last all season (ours is still up) and will make you smile more than a shop bought one. I also added some tartan ribbons (from our wedding!) for a pop of colour and found these little wooden doves in Hobby Craft which I also wired in for something a bit different and also festive.
Tip – Regularly pick your wreath up by its hanger as you work it, this lets you check for spaces and helps you visualise the end result.
Other touches that I added to our house this year were these fantastic Nutcrackers which really finished off the fireplace decor. I got them both for £12 (bargain!) in a pre-Christmas sale. The garland on the fire place is actually two (again bought in a sale – January a couple of years ago) and I wind them together. I also add in the Noel blocks. The Nutcrackers give good height and link the garland to the mirror. As you can see I also like to write on our mirror to fill that in a bit too. I use a chunky chalk pen and write on a festive message free hand. To help I print off my message in a fancy font first and copy it. You can buy chalk pens online – just check the surface first in an inconspicuous area. The stockings finishing off the effect were a gift from a friend – handmade by her so are very special.
Tip – I always like to pick a colour theme and work around that. I usually go with red and white with the odd hint of silver. This pulls all your decor together.
This year I also took some inspiration from the Queen of Home Decor, Martha Stewart, and made a little winter scene in a glass jar. I had bought the little houses for this on a ski holiday last year so they are a nice reminder of that, the trees were easy to find online and I then trimmed them to size, the little deer is just from a Christmas cake.
To put this together you will need a small string of battery operated lights in soft white, a container, your decor items and some rock salt to simulate snow. Layer in the lights and salt, trying to keep the lights pointed to the outside. Make sure to keep your battery pack out until you are almost finished and then submerge the base (end without the switch) for stability. Then just place your decor items into your jar and voila, winter scene! I used the house to hide the battery pack. I also placed the other houses around the outside to add more depth to the display and to pull it all together. This scene sat on our wedding cake stand (the square block of wood that you can just see) which raised it off the cabinet and separated it from the vase I also placed on the cabinet (see below)
I have already taken down the majority of our Christmas decor but have moved this to the fireplace for a bit of continuing winter cheer.
Tip – Before you start decorating think of spaces in your home that you can change up for the season and plan a piece of decor around it. I used this display in a corner which you see as you come into the room. It helps to bring Christmas to your whole room rather than just one or two focal areas (like your tree and fireplace).
Next to the winter scene from above I pulled together a simple hand-tied bouquet with greenery from the garden. I used tree ivy for a wintery feel and once I had tied it added in Christmas tree off cuts and wired together some frosted cranberries to create the red loops and provide a pop of colour (as well as tying into my red&white colour scheme).
Tip – If something doesn’t look quite right trying adding or subtracting an object, in the picture above you will notice the vase, the moose and a frame. The three different levels and objects look more pleasing than just the vase and frame sitting next to each other. The parcels in the foreground were there temporarily but looked fine so got to stay
I’ve mentioned in past posts that I like to update existing decor for the season. The little tree tied to the red car (that always sits on our book case) is one of my favourite updates this year. I had a cute bit of parcel string which I used. I also updated the two candles and, using an elastic band, surrounded one with candy canes, the other one perfectly fit a little red ribbon that was left over from a parcel pack from previous years – handy! This just updates a little corner, can be done really quickly and ties into the colour theme.
Tip – To remove stress (because who wants to be stressed about making their home cheery?!) plan ahead and book in time in your diary. I work full time and have lots of other sports commitments so getting all this done required forward planning. I didn’t do it all at once but knew what needed to be done and what the big jobs (like the wreath and tree) were. These went into my diary, along with a few hours I allotted to doing a “stock take” on existing decor, for example I really don’t need to buy more wreaths for inside the house! Welcome to my Type A life!
Along with the decor photographed I also had a garland on our staircase but this proved tricky to photograph well – you can see it reflected in the mirror though. Again this was a sale purchase. I also then add my own touch to bought decor by adding in splashes of colour – I added three bunches of red jingle bells to this one and wove in a spare set of lights. Do remember that these garlands are, generally, pre-wired so don’t be worried about bending branches and additions to cover wires/fill in a hole and generally plump them up a bit. I always go with a real tree and artificial garlands because garlands are even fussier to make than a wreath and die too quickly in a warm house. Under the hand rail on our staircase I also tied another garland of Christmas stockings, super cute and fills in a blank wall.
Tip – Don’t forget to include all your senses, including smell! When guests come over I like to have sprayed a Christmas room spray around the house before they arrive. Marks and Spencer do wonderful Christmas room sprays.
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Happy New Year!