Disclosure: this post was written in collaboration with Amara but all views and opinions are my own.
I have such fond memories of Christmas as a child. Every year we would visit my granny and grandad’s house and stay for at least four days. In fact they would put up about 18 of us for those four days, providing a cooked breakfast every morning and hosting a party on Boxing Day for all of their friends and neighbours!
My granny was, and still is, the queen of Christmas.
Walking into their home was like entering Santa’s grotto; it was magical. Every inch of the house would be adorned in multi-coloured decorations from the 1970s. Remember those? The red, green and gold foil lanterns hanging from the ceiling, brightly coloured fairy lights on the tree, all the tinsel in all of the colours. I loved it.
We would play charades in the afternoon whilst making our way through the tin of Quality Street (some things don’t change). In the evening we would settle in front of the TV to watch whatever Christmas film was airing.
A small part of me misses those days of gaudier-the-better decorations and only three TV channels to choose from. But when Amara offered to send me some of their beautifully tasteful Christmas decorations to update our tree, I couldn’t have been more delighted. The perfect excuse to put the tree up in November!
Over the last couple of years I’ve converted from a Christmas tree snob (only real will do and never before the second week in December) to more of a Christmas-comes-but-once-a-year-so-make-the-most-of-it kind of girl. It might also have something to do with the fact that since my children became teenagers, I’ve had to make my own magic.
The year I bought a fake tree, a small part of me died. But you know what? I’m now a fully blown convert!
1. Invest in a Good Tree
If you think about how much money you would spend on a fake tree (upwards of £50) and how long a fake one will last (about 5 years) it’s well worth spending a decent amount of money on it. You do get what you pay for so don’t scrimp. This tree was from Tesco’s luxurious range and I’m actually really pleased with it (although I would probably avoid pre-lit in future).
2. Consider the Height of your Ceiling
Can you have a tree without a topper? No! Think about what you want to put on the top of your tree and then add that to the height you purchase. I’m writing this in hindsight as our garden room has low ceilings so the husband, who is considerably taller than me, had to do a little jiggery pokery before I could get the star on. It’s also advisable to put the star on before all of the other decorations (another fail).
3. Position it in a Corner
If you’ve got pets and/or a busy household then positioning your tree in a secluded corner is the best place for it. With a fake tree there’s no need to think about the position of radiators but don’t forget that you’ll need a plug socket for the lights!
4. Fluff Out the Branches
Your fake tree will come in pieces, as you add each one, fluff out the branches and angle them in different directions. There’s nothing worse than a sparse Christmas tree but this will make it look lovely and full.
5. Put a Skirt on it
Let’s face it, an artificial tree is not the prettiest down below and there’s no way anyone will question its origin if you’ve got all of that on display. Where some people go wrong *cough* is putting the skirt on after the decorations – not the best idea. I got my tree skirt from Matalan which was an absolute bargain. I’ve also seen fur throws being used so anything goes.
6. Stick to a Colour Scheme
Choose three colours and don’t deviate from your colour scheme. I went for white, gold and coppery shades.
7. Hang Baubles Wisely
My advice would be to buy a dozen more expensive and unusual pieces. Don’t hang those ones around the lower branches (to avoid breakages) but do space them evenly around the tree. Fill the rest of the tree in with a big box of cheaper baubles that come in a range of sizes. I tend to buy baubles in sets of three to give the tree some uniformity and luckily all of the decorations I chose from Amara could be purchased separately or came as a set of three.
I’m a sucker for simple, elegant decorations so the Winter Blush range from Amara is very much to my taste.
Feathers in a giant glass bauble? What could be more gloriously elegant than that? I also love the set of three white and gold heart-shaped decorations with ‘Love’ ‘Peace’ and ‘Noel’ written on them. I think they inject a bit of classic in amongst the elegant.
And for a little bit of Christmas chic, I added these lettered baubles, one for each of my children. Made from glass with a gold chord, the dark green tree provides the perfect back drop.
If I’ve not yet convinced you that November is permissible, then have a read of this article that I came across in the Independent yesterday – people who put up their Christmas decorations early are happier. Now go forth and decorate!