Chuck the fake snow and go local


Cape Town - In the northern hemisphere, Christmas is synonymous with chilly weather and huddling around the yule logs. But South Africans have the luxury of long summer days. So toss out the fake snow and woollen stockings and instead create a festive atmosphere with local flair when decorating your home this Christmas.

Interior designer Karina Palmer, who founded American Shutters with her husband Stephen, advocates a coastal theme.

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For sophistication and to avoid the cheap mall display look, go for simplicity and a couple of carefully chosen cool coloursPear-shaped baubles in aqua, pewter, pink or champagne are available at Woolworths.Homeware store @homelivingspace has table settings, candles and baubles in blues, purples and silver  the palette for this season and ideal for a coastal Christmas.

“Cool blue crockery and silver décor is ideal for an outdoor Christmas celebration. Spray ornamental shells, starfish and a few pine cones with glittery silver for a fresh take on the traditional Christmas table.”

The party doesn’t have to end at sunset.

“Light lanterns and candles. These emit a soft yellow light, which creates a warm and enchanting atmosphere,” said Palmer.

She loves homemaker extraordinaire Martha Stewart’s simple but effective Christmas tree created with white string lights. (Check out the tutorial on the website

“The absence of pine needles means it’s no mess; a real plus when you already have beach sand to contend with.”

If you opt for a minimal look, Palmer suggests putting Christmas baubles on display in bowls and vases, creating a ribbon garland with gold baubles or trying silver and shades of blue or purple for a fresh seaside look.

She says that all the Christmas “bells and whistles” should integrate, not clash with existing décor. “You don’t want to end up with a room that looks like a cheap mall display.”

Before rushing out and buying more baubles for the tree, take a moment to consider the overall colour scheme of your home and each room you plan to decorate.

Colour schemes can roughly be divided into two categories, cool and warm.

“If your walls, floors, shutters or blinds fall somewhere between the shades of pure white to deep blue, your room is a cool room. Instead of the traditional Christmas colours of gold, red and green, which are suited for a warm scheme, try decorations in silver, white, purple and/or blue.”

She says cool coloured decorations help create a modern and sophisticated effect, perfect for a blue and white beach house or a contemporary white-washed country cottage-style home. Create a classic effect using just two colours (like white and blue) with touches of silver to add shimmer.

“Wrap presents in plain silver or white paper and decorate with stunning ribbon combinations,” says Palmer. “Write your message on the plain wrapping using silver or gold liquid pens.”

“Have a bit of fun with coloured lighting. It’s an easy way to make a temporary change and capture the Christmas spirit.”

Brand manager for @homelivingspace Nicole Newman says their stores offer a wide variety.

“Get creative and personalise your table setting to suit your theme this year. Add colour and create a festive atmosphere with a variety of candles. Purples and blues are the palette for this season, so don’t be shy to mix and match.

“Baubles are a great way to add festive cheer. String a variety together to create Christmas bunting or hang them in front of a window to add colour to a room. For a classic and elegant setting, we recommend a white palette with hints of silver. Look out for our textured and innovative tree candles in silver and white and our beautiful glass votive candles.

“Reindeer are trendy too. We have a 60cm rattan reindeer with LED lighting to add a bit of quirky fun and glitter to your tree.”

For the traditional, try scented candles from the Yankee range, including fragrances such as Winter Wonderland and Snow in Love.


Cut a ribbon to the desired garland length and cut shorter pieces for each bauble. Wrap the shorter pieces of ribbon around the main ribbon and tie a bow or knot to secure the Christmas decorations. Tie a cluster of ornaments on either end and, if you like, add a bow in the same colour or a complementary colour to finish the look on either end.

Alternatively, cut out the letters for the words “peace” or “joy”, paint in a solid colour, metallic or glitter finish, punch holes in the top of each letter, string on to ribbon and drape from a mantel. - Weekend Argus

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