As if we needed reminding, this Christmas is going to be different from any other. But even if you’re going to be spending it staring at the same walls you’ve been climbing all year and with the same people, a little strategic decoration will elevate your day from monotonous to marvellous.
The great news is that with all the time we’re not spending socialising — thanks, Tier 3 — it’s a good year to get crafty, which will help keep costs down and should be more friendly to the planet.
There’s even a lot you can do to make your home feel festive with things you probably already have lying around the house.
Lisa Mehydene of London interiors brand edit58, whose stockists include Liberty and The Store, shares her favourite family-friendly yet seriously stylish tips for how she’ll be getting into the holiday spirit at home in south-west London with her eight-year-old twins.
Special touches: large bowls of fruit and cutlery wrapped in bundles can make a Christmas meal feel extra special
Pick a theme
A theme carried throughout all your decorations is a really easy way to tie everything together and make it look glamorous. Ours will be bows this year.
I’ve got lots of gingham ribbon (VV Rouleaux has gingham ribbon from £1 a metre) that I’m tying in big bows on the tree and on to each spindle on the bannisters. I’m even folding our napkins into bow shapes. It’s really easy but it looks really dramatic.
You can find loads of bespoke ways to fold your napkins with easy-to-follow instructions on YouTube. Putting everyone’s cutlery in a bundle and wrapping it with ribbon is an even easier way to elevate your table settings.
It makes all your guests feel really welcome if they have a name place at the table. I’m not the chef so I tend to go all out on the table because it’s my only job on Christmas Day.
In the past we’ve bought glasses with everybody’s name etched into them, which they could then take away with them but if you’re too late to order these this year, a simple place card will do.
At Christmas more is more, but this doesn’t mean you have to go all out for disposable tat. I love to gather all my fruit bowls and cake stands and pile oranges studded with cloves or pears and mince pies on them. I then arrange these down the centre of the table.
You can add glass cloches — easy to find and inexpensive online — to make them look even more chic. Why not tie some ribbon through the handle, too?
If you’ve got a garden, bring in bundles of foliage to display all over the house; I’ve got tons of mistletoe threaded into my chandelier.
Personalisation: these embroidered letters cost £9 each from Hand & Lock
Order some really simple napkins (if you can’t make it to any shops you can find 100 per cent cotton napkins on Amazon for as little as £9.99 for six) and embroider something special on them. Or, if that’s a bit beyond you, find fabulous applique embellishments that you can simply iron on.
Hand & Lock sells beautiful goldwork embroidered letters (£9 each). You could add each guest’s initial to their napkin for a real personal touch, or spell out a word like ‘peace’ or ‘joy’ on your tablecloth.
Stamp it out
Thanks to lockdowns, this has been the year we’ve all got into block printing; it’s really fun and easy to do with kids.
Just cut a shape into a potato — the simpler the better if you’re getting children involved — and stamp a repeated pattern across anything from your tablecloth and napkins to place cards, wrapping paper and crackers.
Keep it simple: a huge bunch of mistletoe adds some festive cheer
Let there be light
As soon as it gets dark, light loads of candles: scented ones (Boy Smells Hinoki Fantôme has a warming, woody fragrance and looks cool, £45, from andyoulifestyle.com) and regular pillar candles, you don’t want it to be too bright.
You could even hang lanterns outside your house or put one on your doorstep. Add pomanders, bundles of cinnamon, vanilla pods, pine, eucalyptus, or even just oranges with a small amount of zest taken off to release the fragrance to really make your home smell like Christmas.
Or, for those steering clear of traditional fragrances this year, try Aesop’s Ptolemy Aromatique candle which has a soothing vegan-friendly blend of cedar and fresh vetiver, £80 from aesop.com.