It's time to start decorating!
Your Christmas tree will be the focal point of your living room over the festive period, so shouldn't it receive as much attention as the rest of your decor? Now's the time to decide what kind of tree you want to wake up to every morning, show off to your friends and have your children see on Christmas day... Let us guide, advise and inspire you!
A Russian Christmas
Decorating a Russian-inspired Christmas tree is all about excess - it's (pretty much) impossible to go over the top! A beautiful Christmas tree richly adorned with warm festive colours and touches of gold. Matriochkas (Russian dolls), Fabergé eggs, Christmas trees dusted with Siberian snow, Ded Moroz (Father Frost), Saint Basil's Cathedral with its golden and colourful domes: it's up to you to find decorative items that will create this rich magical Christmas atmosphere. The materials: glass, velvet, gold-coloured metals, pearls... and for the colours: green, blue, red and gold!
Theme: black and gold
A White Christmas
Inspired by a Christmas morning when you wake to find the world - rooftops, gardens, balconies - covered in a blanket of snow to the delight of young and old alike (come on, you know you love it: "Oh it's snowing, come on everybody look!") and you have an irrepressible urge to run outside and start a snowball fight. This is what a white Christmas is all about! Icicles, ceramic snowflakes, polar bears, white Christmas trees, cute penguins... But be disciplined and only use white!
Pair black and gold together for a chic and striking Christmas tree. Baroque, Art Deco, theatrical or graphic, find your own way to combine stylish black with timeless gold - to be used sparingly or generously, it's up to you.
Use baubles of different colour intensity and different textures (matt, satin or high gloss). Opt for plain baubles as a neutral background to which you can add more original and complex ornaments (such as stars, diamonds, black dahlias and animals fashioned from gold wire).
Opting for transparent decor and glass-only ornaments highlights the precious and ephemeral nature of your Christmas tree. Imagine you are designing a chandelier or crystal ornament: use coloured, white and totally transparent glass ornaments. Experiment with different sized transparent baubles and long or short crystal pendants to resemble icicles. Add a string of white fairy lights taking care to hide the wires. Position the baubles in front of the lights to enhance their transparency.
A traditional Christmas for the little ones?
Sick of commercial merchandise (Frozen, anyone)? Then this year, why not introduce your children to classic Christmas stories and traditions? Advent calendars are great for helping children count down to the big day. Piles of little boxes, a board covered with decorated envelopes, garlands of little boxes that can be removed and filled with sweets, chocolates, small gifts, Christmas messages - it's up to you!
Why not incorporate traditional Christmas characters in your decorations too? Father Christmas or his Russian cousin Ded Moroz, Santa's famous reindeers (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen), a richly decorated German Nut Cracker (see above) and the Christmas stocking so famously illustrated by Thomas Nast (see below) for Harper's Weekly).
Photographies © Mélina Vernant