I’m fast-forwarding to December today. There is a sullen mood in LA and there is Thanksgiving to come before Christmas, but I am fast-forwarding to December. If ever I needed some Frank Sinatra singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ it is this week. So I am going there. With haste.
I have favourite things I like to do in the run up to Christmas and decorating the tree is one of them. I love it. It’s like some sort of first date that develops into a love affair over a December (ok, sometimes November) evening, accompanied by red wine and a festive soundtrack in the background. I’ll be getting creative with my decorating this year because I don’t have room for a tree. But for those of you who do have the space, here are some tips on how to make your tree gorgeous.
Decorating your tree is a layering process. Get each layer right, and you’ll end up with a beautiful full tree. It starts with lights. My choice is always white lights, and lots of them. I use four to five sets of lights on my Christmas tree. You will curse, and swear, and have to walk away every now and then when you’re putting them on, but I promise it will make your tree look magical at night. I’m talking taking each individual branch and threading the lights through them. I know, it’s tedious, but worth it.
Next use your garland and what I call your base decorations (simple shaped decorations) to build out the first layer of your colour scheme. I’ve gone for a metalic and blush base with pops of burgundy and black for this post. The garland comes first. I’ve used anything from ready made garlands, to wide ribbon, to pieces of fabric as a garland. Get creative with what you use. Start from the top, and bring the garland in a spiral shape all the way down your tree.
When your garland is in place, start layering your base decorations. I cover the tree with LOTS of these. It’s the foundation for making your tree look full. You can always take some off later, but more is better here.
Stand away from your tree when that’s done and you should see a great foundation ready for adding accent decorations. This is where I like to go big with the size of decorations and add lots of texture. Don’t limit yourself to Christmas tree decorations here. Silk flowers are brilliant to use, especially ones with large heads, like hydrangeas. Keep an eye out during the year for these (they’re not necessarily seasonal), especially if you’re keeping away from traditional colour schemes.
The tree should be looking full and textured now. The final step to make the tree look complete is to add some contrasting colour. This will make the tree pop. I’ve gone with two strong colours, black and burgundy, to contrast the shimmering metallic and blush background I’ve used. Place these decorations in a zig-zag shape down the tree. Finally, I’ve added some *sparkle* for the top of the tree to complete this non-traditional festive look.
I don’t go too over the top after the Christmas tree, but I do like to decorate the mantelpiece. Simply place two or three Ferm Living candle holder strings along the mantelpiece (I would prefer to have these in white – spray painting is an option here). Dot a selection of Skandinavisk Jul Christmas candles, Crate & Barrel snowflake porcelain candle holders and some of the West Elm blush metallic ball ornaments we used previously amongst them. This is a festive look, yet some of these pieces can be incorporated into your living space once the Christmas decorations have been put away. (On a side note I have a big thing for the Skandinavisk brand at the moment. I have their Ö (Island) candle burning in my apartment. Beautiful packaging and a lovely narrative behind this brand – check them out.)
It is trivial to be talking about decorating Christmas trees this week. I know it is. The most inspiring thing about the US presidential election has unfortunately been Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. She spoke such dignified words at a time of defeat. I will be taking one of her closing messages with me into 2017 to light me up. “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will — and hopefully sooner than we might think right now”.
Now, go get all the white lights you can find folks.