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Switch it up this Christmas: Shy away from the flashing santas and tinsel

PUBLISHED: 11:12 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12 15 December 2016

L-R: Crested Bird Globe Ornament £9.99, Party Dog Globe Ornament, £14.50, Mr Penguin Globe Ornament, £15.50, Crowned Swan Globe Ornament, £15.50, all from Cody Foster & Co (a small, family-run business from Nebraska who specialise in holiday ornaments). All available from the stunning Christmas selection at Orange Tree theorangetree.co.uk. Photo: Ewen MacDonald

L-R: Crested Bird Globe Ornament £9.99, Party Dog Globe Ornament, £14.50, Mr Penguin Globe Ornament, £15.50, Crowned Swan Globe Ornament, £15.50, all from Cody Foster & Co (a small, family-run business from Nebraska who specialise in holiday ornaments). All available from the stunning Christmas selection at Orange Tree theorangetree.co.uk. Photo: Ewen MacDonald

Archant

Christmas doesn't have to be flashing santas and tinsel wrapped around your pictures, you can do seasonal joy with taste, writes Carol Burns

We all love Christmas - but we don’t all love the same Christmas. For some it’s about seeing loved ones and gathering together, over-indulging and swearing never to do it again next year. For others its a chance to retreat, have some quiet time or even get away. So why should our Christmas decorations all be the same?

Cornwall-based interior designer Kerry Knight (beatengreen.co.uk) thinks a rigid colour scheme can ruin your Christmas. ‘I am particularly against a colour scheme. My design philosophy has always been to create a natural feel, that ‘thrown together’ effect that seems to work effortlessly (but has actually been agonised over for weeks on end!). I carry this philosophy into Christmas and while I think that an understanding of how certain colours work together, is important, I avoid those ‘packaged’ decorations at all costs, preferring to stick to my jumbled array of mismatched but nostalgic pieces.

‘Christmas for me is about nostalgia and the gradual collection of meaningful decorations that have been collected throughout the years.

Christmas tree filled with locally made and crafted decorations.Christmas tree filled with locally made and crafted decorations.

But for many of us a colour scheme provides a guide for when that thrown together look ends up looking literally thrown together. ‘If you decide to choose a colour theme, the best starting place is to take a look at your house and work out what sort of style you are going for, traditional or contemporary, Scandinavian or English for example, and what colour resides most dominantly. For example, if you have a home with lots of natural wooden finished such as floors, staircases and mantles, then I would favour a green and gold decor over red, which tends to clash with natural wood. Wild foliage can provide a great accent to wooden features. However, if you have more of a neutral backdrop of creams ,whites and blonde woods, then reds and golds can work very well together. A minimalist apartment can carry the drama of whites, which would look unconvincing in an 18th century cottage.

‘For me, interiors are designed to nourish and nurture so as far as trends go, I try not to follow them but tend to be led by what makes me (or my clients) happy, especially over Christmas. It’s such a personal time of the year and everyone’s traditions are so different that I think the decor is best suited to reflecting this than a trend. If the smell of citrus makes you happy, dry some lemon slices for the tree or use them on a wreath for instance, or if you favour pine create some Christmas incense before the tree is up by adding stems to cut flowers.

‘My personal favourite is a handmade wreath which was started a few years ago and lives outside between seasons to die back before being bought in over Christmas and renewed with fresh foliage, berries, hollies and dried oranges. My husband and I take turns choosing the tree each year. For my turn its always a real one, last year one which we dug out of the garden but which didn’t survive the transplant, and this year it will be his collection of shadeless lamp frames strung together in the shape of a tree. We generally keep the decor to a minimum with a tree, some table centrepieces and a mantle topper.’

Christmas tree filled with locally made and crafted decorations.Christmas tree filled with locally made and crafted decorations.

And if you have slaved over a Christmas feast - it’s worth ensuring the table set to meet your culinary magnificence. ‘I’m not much of a cook so I am always in charge of the table.’ says Kerry. ‘I usually visit family in the New Forest early December and last year we made a point of going foraging for pine cones which I used in conjunction with some left over tree decorations, lots of green foliage and some lovely rustic candle holders. When Christmas is over most of these can be composted and replaced with some fresher greens as the season rolls into spring.

And sit back and relax...

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