It’s 1 December today, which means you’re officially allowed to go full-blown Christmas crazy for the next month. Time to get the box of decorations and leftover cards out of the loft or from under the bed. It’s time to display those odd festive things you can’t help but buy and only use for a few weeks a year. We’ve all got them.
For the most part restraint and good taste generally goes out the window in December, which is one of my favourite things about the holidays. This is the moment when I truly believe that more really is more. I honestly think you can never have too much metallic, bows, feathers, glitter, robins and fairies – you name it, anything goes.
I’m inconsistently organised, but ordering cards, wrap, decorations, even trees and wreaths is just so easy now, you could pretty much do the lot in one evening so I find I have little excuse not to plan ahead. I would suggest you search around for offers, as there are loads of multiple buys for less this time of year. Here’s my list of must-haves to turn your home Christmassy for under £40.
Wreaths and garlands
Let’s start with the front door. A wreath. Yes. Never not lovely. It says the holidays are here and that your home is a welcoming place of joy and celebration. I love this frosted mistletoe version from Not On the High Street for £24.95 or this really pretty gold glitter leaf one from Next, £25 .
A garland wrapped around a fireplace or up the stairs, perhaps around doorways is really effective. If you’re in the mood for toning down the gold and silver explosion, I rather like this delicate green leaf string from Cox & Cox for just £3.50.
It’s last minute I realise, but if you’ve not bought an advent calendar yet – hurry up. You think you don’t want one, but actually you do. It’s fun and will crank up the excitement levels as the big day creeps ever nearer. Good news is that lots are now marked down as we’re into December. This paper star garland from Urban Outfitters, £15 is great as you can fill each 3D star with a your own surprise treat.
Stockings and sacks
I think it matters not a bean how old you are, a stocking is brilliant and makes waking up on Christmas morning even more exciting. I love the red and white Nordic knitted ones, but this white embroidered one from Liberty for £6.95 is just beautiful and would look amazing dangling from a fireplace or bedframe. If a lucky family member is about to get more presents than they can handle – and particularly if it’s a youngster – a Christmas sack is such a good idea. It’s one of those things that ups the excitement madness and on a practical level is hardwearing, won’t take up much space to store and can be used for years. This personalised printed one from Not on the High Street for £22 is perfect.
Little decorative touches will really get you in the mood and small objects placed here and there can really look the part. These silver corals from Kelly Hoppen for £21 would look really effective on a bookshelf or a coffee table while a scented candle can really evoke the right mood. These winter ones from The White Company smell delicious. These wooden Alpine reindeers from The Design Museum serve no purpose whatsoever, other than looking lovely, maybe placed on a side table. A classic nativity scene or manger can look a bit old fashioned, dare I say, tacky, sometimes, so I love this new take at John Lewis – a Russian dolls set, beautifully painted and just £12.
Artificial Christmas Trees
Fake Christmas trees. I’m conflicted. The real thing is lovelier, but it’s not environmentally sound, cumulatively it’s pretty expensive and you’ll be vacuuming needles for weeks. There are so many great fakes around – the artificial ones that look authentic or those that don’t pretend to be real. I like this one from Christmas Trees and Lights for £39.99 because it’s really bushy, while Argos is doing a handy pencil-thin tree for those with limited space –and it’s only £14.99
Fairy lights and tea lights
It’s all about the fairy lights at Christmas. There are loads of great ones around. These outdoor LED stars at M&S are perfect for trailing around your windows or an outside tree if you have one. These Moroccan-inspired lights from Tesco are really twinkly. And these red bauble lights from Habitat will look really pretty, £20. If flickering candle light is your thing, scattering lots of sweet tealights is a great way to create atmosphere. These gold bird tealight holders from Ella James for £6.50 are lovely, as are porcelain house lights from Bonnie & Bell for £11.50.
And just because…
And when the party’s over, you’ll need to get rid of stuff. You clearly need Christmas pudding rubbish bags. Obviously. They’re just £10 from Topshop. Job done.