So it’s now December (where has this year gone!?) and we all know what that means… That time of year where you dig out all your decorations from the loft, go out in to the cold, wintery air (unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, which I am completely jealous of) to do gift shopping, hearing carols and merry songs constantly playing on the radio and needing to find time to get your home ready for one day. It’s Christmas time!
But, what if you don’t want to do the same old thing you do every year, and want to decorate differently, or have moved in to your own or new place and want to give this years festivities your own personal touch?
I love tradition but I love out of the norm even more and I’m always thinking of ways to do things in a way that hasn’t been thought of or that breaks the mould and has my own flare. Below are a few ideas on how you can create your own personal style this Christmas.
Bohemian can almost mean anything and can be a jumble of lots of different styles, bit is often thought of in relation to hippies, being avant-garde and nonconformity. To me, bohemian means these, as well as being free spirited, open minded, having a love for nature and being drawn to cultures, and can easily translated in to the home.
(Images: Pinterest, Advice From A Twenty Something, A Designer At Home, Casa Watkins Living, Pinterest)
When decorating your bohemian tree, try mixing and matching your decorations with metals, colours and neutrals, hard and soft textures as well as bringing in some cultural influences and natural pieces. Don’t be afraid to clash patterns and colours against each other. Complete the look with fairy lights, lace, crystals and feathers.
(Images: Anthropologie, Pinterest)
For the table setting, it’s the same principle. Be free with your decorations, mix and match the textures and colours, and this includes the dinnerware. Try decorating with eucalyptus, baubles, lace, flowers, candles fairy lights as the centre piece in a vase or as the table runner across the table.
(Image: Casa Watkins Living)
You can even bring this look in to the wrapping of the presents. Wrap your loved ones gifts in brightly coloured and patterned paper or natural fabrics such as calico or hessian, using lace or twine to tie it up or to add name tags.
Now, this may look the same as the bohemian style, but it’s a lot less traveller and more rainbow and much, much brighter. This is not a look for the shy and faint hearted. If you are a colour lover, then this is the Christmas look for you!
(Images: By Claìre)
When decorating the tree, go all out with a colour explosion. Mix textures from smooth to soft and bumpy, mixing and matching shapes. Add colourful tinsel, baubles and multi-coloured christmas lights. These could range from colour blocked baubles with abstract patterns on them to multi-coloured/one colour pom poms.
The same could be done to the home. Try hanging colourful paper streamers, pom pom wreaths, smaller rainbow coloured christmas trees, bunting, baubles and paper snowflakes. The possibilities are endless.
For the table, you could go all out and use a tie-dyed table runner, similar decorations from the room and tree. The plates could either be plain or also have pops of colour in them if you want to take it to the next level of colour obsession, however bringing in natural pieces such as plants will help break it up if you don’t want the table to be overwhelming with colour.
You can get creative with the christmas wrapping, by using colourful, ombre or rainbow wrapping paper, or making your own wrapping using brightly coloured silk scarves and fabrics, being crafty and printing on to white paper with your own designs. Ribbons, frills and gift tags can be colourful, too, or white or black for contrast.
Colour of the Year 2017/2018: Pantone’s Greenery and Ultra-Violet
These two Pantone colour trends can give you lots of inspiration for decorating this Christmas.
Pantone have just announced that the colour of 2018 is Ultra Violet. I am a self professed purple addict, and am very excited about this colour trend. I’m pretty much in love with this look for Christmas and will most likely decorate this way for my first Christmas as me and my partner are both purple obsessed. If you are a purple lover like me (and Sam), then this look may be what you’re looking for, and you’ll be on trend for the New Year!
It’s simple really, decorate your tree with baubles, objects and tinsel in different shades, tones and hues of the colour purple. The lights don’t have to be purple unless you want to go all out! Add some metallics in their in silver and gold to break up the purpleness and to give it a more luxurious look. You could even buy yourself a faux purple christmas tree to really show off your love for this colour.
(Images: Confetti Style)
If you are still in love with the greenery trend, then you, too, can just decorate with the colour green. Again, adding gold and silver to the tree helps break up the greens.
(Images: Pinterest, Confetti Style)
For the table, try incorporating more metals and some natural textures from plants. Adding purple or green candles helps bring the theme through, as well as having matching plates, table runners and napkins.
(Images: Pinterest, Confetti Style)
For presents, it can’t be any easier! Purple or green wrapping paper, with metallic ribbons and gift tags. For greener, you could attached bits of foliage to the ribbons to add a natural touch.
(Image: Etsy, Pinterest)
If you can’t decide between the two trends, why not do both? Mix and match the Greenery and Ultra-Violet colours to create your own trend-worthy Christmas style.
This is perhaps a bit traditional, however it’s not what you may associate with just some fake snow and snowflakes everywhere. The White Christmas look is what all christmas lovers dream about. This look is perfect for those who prefer or have a more minimalist taste and style, without clutter and more light.
(Images: Pinterest, Ikea, Maison Du Monde)
Start off with a white tree, and then go from there. Decorate with different white baubles with contrasting textures to add some variety, even some clear glass baubles with white patterns on them could work. Hang some white tinsel and feather garlands to soften it up, this will also give off the illusion of snow on the tree branches. Bring in some natural objects or textures, such as pine cones and foliage to break it up a bit if it feels too cold and needs a bit of warmth added to it. You could add some silver to give it some glitter and extra shine if you need to break up the white decorations a bit more if you wanted to. Add some fairy lights to give it that final magical, winter wonderland-esque touch.
The table setting can match the tree with white candles and dinner ware, gold or silver cutlery, white textured/lace placemats and table runner, with white baubles and foliage for the centre pieces.
The gift wrap could not be any more simpler. Use white wrapping paper, whether it’s smooth, glittery or textured to wrap your presents up this year. Add some natural elements to add some interest to the presents.
This one is for not only those that love tropical vibes, patterns and plants, but for those that live in tropical climates. I never thought about it when I was younger growing up in Cape Town about the way we decorated our christmas tree. We used the exact same style of ornaments that is used in the Northern hemisphere int he shape of snowflakes, icicles, snowmen, pine cones, etc., used wrapping paper covered in images of snow, christmas trees, reindeer and winter scenery, and listened to songs and watched music videos that all depicted a white Christmas, yet it was 45 degrees celsius outside and 40 degrees inside. We even had traditional (as traditional as it could get, I don’t think they know what bread sauce is, and I don’t think they sell it in any of the shops, either) christmas roast dinner, (sometimes we’ll have a braai instead), occasionally we might go to the beach or have our christmas lunch round a family member’s house that has a pool in their back garden so us kids could cool off from the Summer heat. I’m rambling and reminiscing now, but when I think back on it, it may have been because the world was not perhaps as forward thinking in terms of design for Christmas back then. However, now there are copious amounts of inspiration and stores are selling their own tropical inspired Christmas decorations.
So this Christmas style is for the other part of the world or for those, like me, who absolutely adore summer, being warm without having to wrap up, or have moved somewhere colder and are missing those hot, summer, christmas days.
(Images: Pinterest, Paperchase, Oliver Bonas)
You can really have fun decorating your christmas tree in this style. You can use a traditional, green tree and decorate it with vivid colours, or alternatively look at faux coloured christmas trees in summery colours, such as pink, yellow, orange, sea blue, and decorate them with palm tree, tropical birds (toucans, flamingoes and parrots to name a few), pineapples, watermelons, coconuts, cacti, shells, starfish, etc., there are infinite amounts of possibilities. You could even make your yellow christmas tree resemble a pineapple is you wish, or decorate a real pineapple or other tropical plants with baubles to add a quirky twist to your christmas decor.
For the table setting, create centre pieces with succulents and tropical leaves, or flower or cacti shaped candles. Bring in terrariums to add some metallic shine. You can go for more neutral and natural colours and textures, or bring in some brighter, more lively colours.
Be adventurous with the christmas wrapping. Use tropical printed wrapping paper with palm trees, exotic fruits and flamingoes, tie on some shells or DIY your own gift decorations with pop up flamingos, little tropical foliage and leaves, potato printed pineapples and sculptural florals.
(Image: Look and Love with Lolo)
I am a lover of mixing metals to add more light and depth to an interior scheme, and this can create a really opulent atmosphere in the home when mixed metals are used to decorate at Christmas. If you want a truly luxurious and grand look this christmas, then this look is perfect for you!
(Images: Pinterest, Look and Love with Lolo)
Mix together different shaped and textured baubles and ornaments in lots of different metals: gold, silver, copper, rose gold, brass, chrome, etc. Add metallic tinsel and fairly lights. Decorate your home with mixed metal tea light and candle holders, ornaments and christmas wreaths covered with a variety of different baubles.
The table setting can be decadently decorated with this theme in the dinnerware and decorative items used for the centre pieces.
Match your christmas decor with mixed metal wrapped presents, with glittery ribbons and gift tags to add some extra sparkle.
This look is for those that are fascinated by and love other cultures, whether it’s the colours found, the patterns use and created by or the traditions from those cultures. Below are a few different themes you could try out in your own home this Christmas.
(Images: Pinterest, John Lewis)
For the tree, think bright, bold, jewel coloured decorations, such as rich reds, deep fuchsias, vibrant orange and lapis lazuli blues with golden details and intricate patterns. Add colourful fairy lights and jewel toned tinsel. Add in some different shaped baubles as well. This gives the whole look a really opulent and luxurious feel. The tree will look fun and vibrant, yet sophisticated at the same time.
You decorate the room in the same theme, with large paper decorations or streamers, wreaths incorporating the same lively colours, and paisley or mandala patterned cushions and throws, or tapestries on the walls adorned with fairy lights. You could even add golden tea light holders or golden elephants around the room to bring the theme through more.
The table setting can be just as playful, with bold dinner ware to match the colours used in the decoration of the tree. You could even bring in some patterns, such as paisley in the napkins or table runner. Place oranges among the centre pieces, have gold cutlery and golden edge plates or glasses. Don’t be scared to show off your luxurious side.
For the gifts, try using jewel toned wrapping paper, with golden accents in the ribbon and patterns. John Lewis has a fantastic range of decorations and gift wrap inspired by eastern culture in their Tales of the Maharaja christmas collection.
Another fun and colourful way to decorate your tree with cultural influences is to look to Mexico. Spanish and Mexican textiles, designs and culture is becoming more and more popular across the globe, and what better way to celebrate it’s vibrancy than by incorporating it in to your Christmas festivities.
(Images: Pinterest, Etsy)
With the tree, you can really have fun with colours, textures and even cultural references. Try adding pom poms, miniature pińatas, sugar skulls, llamas, tacos, sombreros, colourful roses and cacti shaped baubles.
You could even have a vibrant coloured faux tree in orange, blue, pink or red to be more playful, or embrace your darker side with a faux black christmas tree to really make the decorations stand out.
Or you can create your own alternative christmas tree, using a cactus or building a christmas tree out of green sombreros in different sizes. Add a mixture between normal and colourful fairy lights to complete the look.
For the table, add colours and patterns through the runner and napkins, dress the centre pieces or runner with cacti and succulents, vibrant baubles and candles. Your dinnerware can be plain metallics, textured or with fiesta fun patterns on them.
With the presents, you could use fun and quirky wrapping paper with cacti patterns printed on them. Tie the presents up with vibrant silk scarves and ribbons, and perhaps decorate them with pom poms as well acting in place of a bow.
There’s always something mystical about oriental cultures, from their traditional ceremonial clothing, art and design to their festivals, landscapes and architecture. It’s so unique and contrasting to what we see in western culture, and it has been something that has captivated and fascinated us for years. If you have a love for oriental design and art, then here is how you can achieve a look inspired by these cultures.
Think red, gold and paper for the tree. This may give the tree a more traditional feel in terms of colour but the decorations will indicate that it is far from it in western terms. Buy or get crafty and create your own origami christmas decorations. Use lighter colours such as pale pinks, whites and blues for a more romantic feel, with sakura blossom sprays or oriental umbrellas and fans, with small kokeshi dolls and Kimekomi Balls baubles. You could even use a faux white christmas tree to help make the concept stand out more, or decorate a real or faux bonsai tree with christmas decorations. For the lights, try using miniature paper lanterns/fairy lights to finish the look. Conran has some beautiful oriental inspired christmas baubles on their online store, in the shape of fortune cookies and lucky cats.
(Images: Pinterest, My Own)
To achieve the oriental look for your table, try using natural materials. Bamboo placemats and wooden or stoneware bowls, sake cups and bottles, napkins folded in to origami shapes, cherry blossom sprays/branches, lanterns hanging above the table. The possibilities are endless. You can make it as minimalist or as maximalist as you want.
With the presents, you could wrap them using a Japanese wrapping technique called Furoshiki. This is when you wrap the gifts up in fabric and tie it up with a knot at the top. You can learn how to do different Furoshiki techniques from this tutorial by Kyoto Design House on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fhPumcPla0
Another christmas scheme to try is Monochrome. Monochrome can be seen as quite masculine, however it can be softened with different textures in wool and faux fur, bits of natural greenery and metallics. This decor would work perfectly for minimalists and can also fall in with the hygge/scandinavian style and trends trend.
Decorate your tree with graphic, simple, stripey, dotted and patterned black and white baubles. You could consider adding silver for some sparkle and fairy lights. Take this theme one step further with a black or white faux christmas tree, or strip it back by having a minimalist, sculptural tree.
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(Images: Pinterest, Maison Du Monde, Pinterest)
The table doesn’t have to seem lifeless with this palette. Try decorating with fern and other wintery foliage, silver or gold, and graphic, geometric, striped, or spotted monochrome patterned dinner ware, table runner, place mats, glasses or napkins. Mix and match the types of patterns used to create an interesting look.
For the gift wrap, use contrasting black and white wrapping paper. Make it more interesting by mixing and matching plain and patterned paper with tags. You could even print your own designs to give it a more personal touch.
Last but not least, how to decorate responsibly and sustainably this christmas season. This is something that more often than not is over looked at this time of year, where we buy presents and decorations that we end up throwing away in a few years, that are made out of non-recyclable materials and can’t biodegrade in landfill, therefore harming the environment and releasing horrible toxins, polluting the air and warming our planet. Sounds like a drag, right? I feel that after the last Blue Planet II episode about how much we’ve harmed our planet, and with global warming rapidly on the rise, it’s a good time as any to address this issue. If you want to help reduce your carbon footprint and be more conscious this Christmas for your own health, as well as others and the planet and all that inhabit it, then this should hopefully get you going in the right direction.
(Image: FSC registered christmas tree from B&Q)
Now, this part of this post will contradict and make it seem strange that I suggested faux trees earlier, however plastic trees are not environmentally friendly. They are made of non-recyclable plastics and when thrown away, they just sit and clog up landfills, unable to break down. Plastic takes over 400 years to biodegrade. Now, this is not to say that you should throw out your plastic tree for a new, real, living tree. If you have a plastic tree and it’s in good working condition, then keep it, look after it, don’t break it when it’s time to pack it away in the New Year. However, if you do decide to get a real tree, give the fake one away to charity or secondhand stores so that someone else could have it for their home and not have to pay for a new fake tree to be made and continue to pollute the environment. If you do choose to buy a plastic tree, for any of the themes above, this one or for your own, inventive christmassy scheme, make sure you take good care of it and that you can think of new ways to use it (especially if you buy yellow, pink, purple or other colours). Those trees and styles take dedication, and if you go with a new style next year, you can easily make other themes fit if need be!
If it is your first Christmas in your own home, then a real christmas tree is the way to go! You can buy your real life christmas tree from a local nursery, preferably one that is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. This means that it’s managed, grown and sourced responsibly, and eco-friendly, will have less of a carbon footprint than plastic trees. You can even buy a small tree that is potted, and so when the holidays are over, you can plant it in your garden. Or, alternatively, you can decorate other house plants such as succulents (aloe vera, christmas cactus, etc.) and indoor trees with christmas decorations in favour of chopping down pine trees or buying a false one. Real life christmas trees will biodegrade and give back important nutrients that the soil and our earth needs. They improve indoor air quality as well. Another idea is making your own christmas tree out of branches you could find in the woods or in your local park, and hanging them on the wall in size order to create the shape of a christmas tree, or place them in a recycled glass vase and hang baubles off the branches.
Next are the decorations. Many believe that being sustainable means that objects and furniture will be dull and boring, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! There’s lots of options to choose from for a sustainable christmas! You could go foraging for decorations when on a walk in your local park or woodlands, where you can find holy bushes, pine, eucalyptus, ivy, fir, and other local trees and shrubbery to collect leaves and sticks from to make your own christmas wreaths. Avoid tinsel at all costs if you really want to be efficient, however if you do have some, then use it again every year, or give it away to charity when you no longer want it. For under the tree, use a natural or recycled rug made from jute, hemp, bamboo or recycled saris to bring in some colour.
You could add a splash of colour to your decor through dipping pine cones in eco-friendly paint. DIY your own glass baubles, by placing foraged leaves and other plant matter inside, or use glass terrariums and place air plants or succulents inside. Make paper decorations as mentioned above with origami, or papermaché baubles with newspaper or recyclable paper, ensuring that the glue you use is environmentally friendly as well. You could hang orange slices and cinnamon sticks on your trees or around the house, ensuring that they are organic or if bought as ready-made decorations that they were responsibly sourced. Use old scraps of fabric or buy organic fabrics to make handmade and sewn decorations such as bunting, garlands, wreaths and stockings.
Why not try your hand at tie-dying or dye them using natural dyes, which will help add colour to the scheme. Decorate the room with hand made, unbleached, paper snowflakes. If you have children, they could make some of their own christmas decorations themselves out of air drying clay, paper, sticks, fabric, etc. which would give it sentimental value and be used every year again and again for Christmas. Use old wrapping paper to make paper chains or even your own tinsel. The possibilities are endless! If you do decide to buy new decorations and are tired of your old ones, then donating your old decor to charity and second hand shops is the next best step to take. Go along to local christmas and craft markets or fayres and see what they have on stalls for christmas decorating. When adding lights to your tree or room, make sure they are LEDs, as these are a lot more eco-friendly and use up less electricity than other christmas lights. If they are battery powered, use rechargeable batteries, and if they do require to be plugged in, make sure to unplug them when not at home or during the day or before you go to bed at night. You can do this too for any outdoor christmas lighting as well.
Same principles apply to decorating your table. Forage and make your own decorations. Use organic fabrics or responsibly sourced, sustainable wood for table runners, placemats, coasters, etc. You can naturally dye the cloth to add more colour, use bamboo serving bowls, spoons, wooden cutlery, or recycled steel cutlery and serve drinks in cups made form recycled glass. If you need new dinner and serve ware, why not buy from local craftsman, artists and designers, have a look in charity and second hand stores, or find your nearest pottery cafe or workshop where you can paint and decorate your own ceramics, placing more sentimental value on these products than mass produced products, and you can use them again every year or even every day depending on what you decide to paint on them. Use LED christmas lights that are battery powered (with rechargeable batteries, not throw aways) and organic soy or beeswax candles sourced and made by local bee keepers and candlemakers.
For the food, try shopping local farmers markets or whole food stores. This will ensure that you are shopping good, organic food, and minimising the amount of household waste produced. Take a canvas bag with you, and pick fruits and vegetables that aren’t wrapped in plastic containers or film. This is often much cheaper than shopping organic in supermarkets. And if you do shop from supermarkets, that’s ok, too. Try buying only organic ingredients from supermarkets, and without packaging if possible too. More often than not, plastic containers we buy our food in don’t get recycled because the plastic isn’t recyclable, or if it does get reused, it is then made in to a lesser value product, which then cannot be recycled. A good way to store food is in glass mason jars, or glass containers that can be repurposed. If you eat meat, shop organic or from a local butcher. Buy bread and cakes from local bakeries. It may cost a bit more, but by shopping local you help out small businesses who need the money more than mass producing, larger companies.
(Images: Pinterest, The Deliberate Mom, Lush)
For gift wrapping, why not print or paint on to recyclable brown parcel paper your own christmassy designs using eco-friendly paint, or buying recycled or eco-friendly wrapping paper from sites like Not On The Hughstreet or Re-Wrapped. You could wrap the presents in fabric, such as organic cotton, hessian or bamboo silk and use the japanese gift wrapping technique mentioned above. Lush have a whole range of patterned knot wraps that can be use to wrap presents in and it doubles as a fashion accessory, two presents in one! You can print or dye the fabric yourself or, you can use any wrapping paper you may have left over from the year before. When opening presents on Christmas day, try not to rip the paper and open them carefully, this way you may be able to salvage the paper for next year. Reuse old christmas cards or make your own by cutting up the pictures on old christmas cards and using them for new cards or turn them in to name tags for presents, or you can make your own tags from scratch and add some natural elements to it such as holly leaves or fir, miniature pine cones, eucalyptus or ivy. Try to avoid using sellotape and tie your gifts with scrap fabric strips, ribbon, lace or twine.
At the end of the Christmas season, you can place the sticks, leaves and any other foraged item in the front or back garden behind some bushes or in plant beds to biodegrade and give back to the earth, however you can keep the pine cones for next year if you don’t want to go out again looking for them. Place them in a glass jar or carefully wrap them in paper to be stored away for next year.
Whatever style to decide to choose this Christmas, I hope you love and have a wonderful time with your loved ones.
Let me know what you think about these styles in the comments below and I hope you enjoyed reading this!