If the prospect of another traditional reindeer-filled Christmas where red and green tinsel abound leaves you less than a little inspired, opt for a fresh, home-grown Christmas instead.
This may sound extreme but anyone who’s done it will know how simple and impactful it proves to be. Paint a feature wall in your dining room red for Christmas. Your friends and family will be bowled over when they walk in to find you have boldly taken the big day seriously and transformed your entertainment space with the help of a coat of festive paint.
For an out-of-this-world option, we recommend the sparkling magic of a stars-and-planets-themed Christmas table. The theme is guaranteed to enhance an evocative mood that will have your guests reflecting on life, the universe and family.
Suspend silver baubles on clear fishing line to create an inter-galactic installation above your table. Create generous wreaths and galaxies from silver and blue baubles of varied textures. You can even play with luminous children’s wall art featuring spaceships and satellites or seat your guests on silver Pilates balls. The sky’s the limit.
For a Christmas with global reference, we love the idea of picking a country and planning a Christmas celebration around its style and traditions. For example, a French Christmas could mean a table decorated with macaroons and plenty of other feminine French touches – even Chanel-style chains around the napkins.
If your budget allows, hire French café chairs for the day to give your Christmas dinner an authentic feel. Your menu could include French onion soup and definitely some Edith Piaf on the iPod. German Christmas food is heavenly and those lovely spicy lebkuchen iced in delicate pinks and white make gorgeous table decorations.
Cut down on trees
If you have limited space or can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to choosing a Christmas tree, create a wall-art installation instead. Using either tape or string and nails, you can create a fun Christmas tree outline against the wall, decorating it as you wish with stickers or wall art that you can paint over later.
You can even draw or paint in a couple of imaginary gifts so that family and friends know where to place their contributions.
Sweets not only make for festive table decor, they’re also sure to keep the children busy for hours. Instead of flowers, create a massive red and white candy-cane installation in the middle of your table. Add to the magic by trailing matching chocolate balls and peppermints down the middle of the table.
Keep the sweet sensations going on the Christmas tree (candy canes make great decorations) in the lounge and even the bathroom – surprising everyone with an endless trail of Christmas sweetness. After lunch, you could stage a treasure hunt for the children. Let them rummage to find even more sweets in the garden while the adults relax.
Remember where you are
You should have at least one African-style Christmas in your life and embrace all things local.
Shop around for great African decorations. Your local street hawker will have beaded options aplenty as well as tablecloths and napkins that reflect an African flavour. Make Johnny Clegg and Lira your home-grown soundtrack of choice and keep your menu suited to a hot, African climate. Banish all signs of a northern hemisphere Christmas.
Go au naturel
If you have a penchant for a pared down, neutral Christmas or you live in a space where too much Christmas colour might jar your senses senseless – consider a neutral, natural Christmas palette. With a bit of creativity, you can create your own, inexpensive Christmas decor – all in natural tones and textures.
Small hessian bags are a great alternative to traditional Christmas stockings. Wrap your gifts in hessian or brown paper and tie a bow using a piece of raffia or string. Ditch the tablecloth and allow the wood grain of a table to show through.
Collect pieces of driftwood or pine cones to arrange as table decor, use bamboo placemats and collect dry twigs and evergreen branches to arrange in a glass vase for a rustic centrepiece. Tie pieces of raw, un-waxed string around your napkins.
Take reference from Mother Nature and layer all the tones and textures that nature has to offer to create a chic natural style. For some extra festive sparkle add a string of twinkling white fairy lights.
One for the kids
Christmas is all about the nostalgia of childhood. Let your inner child guide your Christmas decor endeavours. Christmas is the most anticipated time of the year in a child’s life so creating a Christmas dedicated to them is a way of creating cherished memories for years to come.
Think kids’ Christmas toys on the table, festive-themed gingerbread men for dessert, a candyfloss machine and a bottle of bubbles instead of a Christmas cracker for each guest. Dedicate a section of the wall to ‘‘kids’ art’’. Supply them with a range of non-permanent, colourful markers and tell them to draw their favourite Christmas motif. You can wash it off after the holidays, but the memories will last forever.
Decorators recommend repeating a theme many times for maximum impact. The same applies to your Christmas decor. Don’t place just one gold star on the tree; go for a starry theme and fill your tree with stars. If pine cones are your thing, spray hundreds of them gold and silver and pile them down the middle of your table. This is one time when ‘‘more is more’’! - The Mercury
* Information supplied by Decorex SA.