Christmas Decorations: Less is More
Just because Christmas
comes every year doesn't mean you have to dig out the
same old musty decorations. Barty Phillips shares her
ideas for adding a fresh look to your seasonal displays
This is the time of year when you fish around under
the bed to find the bag that holds the Christmas tree
decorations, collected over a lifetime, moth-eaten,
damaged but full of sentimental meaning. To hang them
on, you will buy a tree. Pretty though this might be,
you know it will lose its needles by Christmas day and
be thrown out in the street by 6th January. Without
the strait-jacket of existing decorations, what fun
you could have dressing up your home in alternative
Boldness in twigs
I try to concentrate on one or two spectacular displays,
rather than a trail of holly sporadically tucked above
pictures and behind wall lamps. In lieu of a traditional
Christmas tree, cut a large twiggy branch off a dormant
garden tree and hang it horizontally from the ceiling.
Spray it with gold or silver paint if you wish. Then
hang red (or blue) glass balls of different sizes from
it. This takes up no floor space, looks spectacular
and as it's dead already there's no need to feel guilty.
In florists you can buy stems of dogwood
(Cornus alba) and other colourful twigs that have been
painted white, silver or gold. These can be very effective
in an enormous vase and in generous quantity. But if
you have time and your own twiggy branches in the garden,
you can do it yourself. The normally annoying shoots
at the base of a lime
tree are good for this.
If you're into green, ivy looks fresh and pretty but
you need to use generous amounts. One of the best for
good cover is the vigorous, large-leaved white-and-green
variegated ivy Hedera
canariensis var. algeriensis 'Gloire de Marengo'.
But any ivy with lots of leaf and not too much bare
stalk will do. Use plenty of it twined round a banister
or right round the room along a picture rail.
One colour goes a long way
For real impact, stick to a limited range of colours,
just red and white, for example, or blue and white or
blue and green. Add a touch of silver or gold, but not
both together. Car spray paints are available in a number
of metallic shades.
This year, there has been a great advance in decorative
Christmas lights. The bulbs are larger, the flexes longer
and are often part of the effect. Some will randomly
twinkle on and off, some can be hung like curtains,
some have their own batteries (at last!) and don't need
to be plugged in. The smaller ones can be placed inside
a glass jug or vase to very pretty effect, or arranged
over a bowl of nuts or fruit.
To create a really eye-catching visual focus, cover
a board with red fabric (felt would be good), arrange
a string of lights to serpentine all over it and fix
it to a bare wall or prop it up in front of the fireplace.
Have a great holiday!
reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com