Add a bit of Christmas cheer

Posted On December 14, 2006

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It’s time to deck the halls with boughs of holly, gold, twigs and a wealth of other things that come to hand. We do have some ideas!

CHRISTMAS is the time when our homes come alive and with just two weeks until Christmas Eve, why not embrace that festive feeling? The Romans kept lamps burning in their homes to ward off evil spirits and candles burning in their windows to call back the sun or to symbolise enlightenment for the New Year. In the Middle Ages, both in churches and homes, it was the custom to set up and light one large candle on Christmas Eve in remembrance of the Star of Bethlehem, which announced the coming of the Light of the world.

Today an abundance of electrical Christmas lights and countless decorations are available and people the world over go to great lengths to make this time of year, and their homes, feel special. Take a look at our 51 Sensational Seasonal Ideas – find what works for you – and be inspired!

1. Bring Christmas cheer to your dining table with a vibrant colour combination of red and white. Lift a plain white tablecloth by adding a floral centrepiece with a red theme, then place red charger plates beneath white crockery, use red napkin rings on white napkins, and top off with two or three arrangements of red candles and berries.

2. Stuff a striking, clear vase with cordless fairy lights. Switch on for instant glow.

3. Add a glittery touch to Christmas wreaths. Wind some of the latest LED lights around yours or buy one of the sparkly varieties available in shops.

4. Go for elegance with white lilies and cream church candles for a gorgeous centrepiece for your dining table. The popularity of candles never wanes as candlelight has an enchanting quality which single-handedly transforms a room.

5. Make a wave of candlelight all along the length of your dining table using candles in increasing sizes to form a crescendo of light. Don’t go too high, make sure your guests can still have a clear view of each other across the table.

6. Create a cosy feel with sweet-smelling cinnamon, orange, bergamot, and spice-scented tea lights arranged around the room.

7. Place three votive candles inbetween five topiary trees tied with simple silver, red, gold, or green ribbon.

8. Glittery silver tea light holders will create a sparkly look once filled and lit. Find these at Debenhams, along with charger plates and other silver accessories.

9. If you are entertaining, and if you have a front garden, one of the loveliest and cheapest effects is to create a pathway to your door with lanterns or even a simple line or two of tea lights.

10. The latest colour trend at Marks & Spencer is midnight blue, and has inspired their new Christmas collection of home decorations and accessories. Midnight blue Christmas trees, baubles and even a flamboyant feather wreath are among the selection. This deep blue creates drama and looks good combined with silver and white. The impression will be fresh and crisp as well as festive.

11. Layer midnight blue with black, amethyst and gold for a luxurious effect.

12. A touch of frost can be combined in various ways to create that Christmas feel. Frosted white glassware, sparkly silver table mats, coasters, or table runners give a modern, sophisticated look. Soften with the gentle glow of a large, white pillar candle. Complete your dinner table with white tableware.

13. Create a magical white scheme with a fairytale feel. Use silver or glass candlesticks, cut-glass goblets or frost-patterned glasses. Make sure the table sparkles as much as the conversation by dotting it with twinkling silver confetti, beads or crystals, better still use all three!

14. Shake up the frosty look by adding the most delicate lilac, rose, soft green or shimmering light blue accessories. If you fancy doing something really special, revamp your rooms with calming, frosty paint shades in one of these fresh shades.

15. Berry red or deep plum look great combined with gold. Add texture with silk, velvet, or satin table runners and matching napkins.

16. If you have a brown leather suite with cream cushions, pack these away for the season and replace with cushions and accessories of turquoise and/or silver. Debenhams have a good selection of both, in vases, ornaments and soft furnishings. You may like the look so much you decide to keep it!

17. Remember, you don’t need to use everything in your Christmas box, yuletide décor does not need to look cluttered. Your objective is to achieve harmony. Everything in your room should work together. Ideally, use the same theme throughout your home and garden.

18. Hang Swarovski crystals from strategic places to give that twinkling feeling. Drape a crystal drop curtain at the window or over the mantelpiece to bounce glittering light around the room.

19. Turn your favourite Christmas cards into a stylish feature by suspending them on different lengths of silver twine, and weighing down each string with a sparkling decoration to reflect sun or candlelight.

20. Be creative with baubles! Buy large oversized baubles and hang them outside for a bright welcoming touch.

21. Use a tall clear plain vase, or a bowl, to display your favourite baubles. Place in the centre of your table as a centrepiece, or on side or hallway tables.

22. Give your presents a unique touch this year. Cover them in layers of white tissue paper, tied with silver twine and a small Christmas decoration.

23. Alternatively, wrap gifts in colourful tissue paper layers, tie with brightly coloured ribbons, and finish with pretty crystal beads.

24. Go for the natural look and wrap gifts with plain brown paper and raffia, add a piece of sparkle with silver or gold string, and a glitzy matching gift tag.

25. Wow your guests with one or two key pieces for maximum impact on a low budget, rather than lots of little bits and pieces that will disappear into the background. Try two potted trees made with willow twigs and fairy lights in tall elegant pots, standing either side of a doorway to create drama.

26. If you have a fireplace your mantelpiece will become a focal point. Try to create colour, texture, and balance within a theme you have chosen. Don’t try to put everything on your mantel. Pick a theme and stick to it!

27. For a contemporary look use repetition and symmetry, odd numbers of objects work best. Use simple objects and repeat them several times.

28. For a natural look to your mantelpiece, gather some branches such as willow, or twigs. Stand branches up in narrow vases or lay them on the mantel, layering them so that the cut ends show as little as possible. Hang ornaments from them and complete with natural greenery such as pine and moss, pinecones, and grapevine balls and intertwine with ribbon.

29. Traditional mantelpieces look beautiful swagged or layered with natural greenery, traditional ribbons and bows in satin, velvet or taffeta, mini white lights or ivory votives and artificial, sugared fruit.

30. Place one or two mini evergreen trees in clay pots, spray-painted silver or gold, if you wish, near a doorway and add mini white lights. Alternatively, place two large topiary trees either side of your front door and adorn with fairy lights.

31. The Ancient Greeks regarded mistletoe as a charm against evil. Romance has since taken over its meaning. Hang above your entrance doorway or from strategic places around your home or use mistletoe in your arrangements so that it can be easily grabbed for that fleeting kiss.

32. Make a dinner table centrepiece by filling a simple glass bowl with water, add floating candles or tea lights. Alternatively, fill a shallow bowl with a little water, place a large candle in the centre, and sprinkle in a handful of delicate rose petals.

33. Place a tall candle on a silver, gold, or coloured platter. Surround with greenery or twigs and add embellishments in the form of sparkly decorations.

34. Hang droplet-style decorations to chandeliers.

35. Drape lights along your banister to light up the stairway.

36. Tie cutlery with festive ribbons for an elegant plain setting.

37. Create a special presentation box by grouping some gifts together. Wrap items with tissue paper and ribbons.

38. Check out some of the variations of fairy lights in the shops. Hang over and around your front entrance for a cheery feel.

39. Combine Christmas-themed china with your everyday crockery.

40. For a cosy Christmas bedroom, team plain bed linen with soft throws. Surround yourself with a selection of sumptuous, beautiful textures.

41. Get creative, make your own decorative arrangements, using pine cones, evergreen foliage, ribbon, and whatever else comes to mind.

42. Sew an elegant table runner. Visit a local fabric shop and choose a fabric that will go with your theme.

43. Follow a theme when decorating your Christmas tree, ivory and gold, pearlescent blue, pastels, all white, burgundy, deep red with gold, or white and silver, are a few possibilities. White lights will look best with these combinations.

44. For a burst of colour, decorate your tree with rich jewel tones of emerald green, sapphire blue, red, gold, purple and red, and combine with multi-coloured fairy lights.

45. Enjoy a festive real fire, gather scented kindling, such as pine cones, bunches of dried herbs and strips of dried orange peel.

46. Cut fine slices of orange, place on a baking tray in a low oven for 90 minutes. Remove and leave to dry out. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, nutmeg, star anise, and pine cones. Place in a bowl and enjoy the natural aromas.

47. Find a florist, there are some florists which stand out. Order a large, beautiful flower arrangement or centrepiece and transform your room in one fell swoop.

48. The hallway is the first room your guests will see so make it festive and homely using some of the tricks listed here. Also, display groups of beautifully wrapped presents, and hang up Christmas stockings.

49. Decorate glassware, invest in a set of markers to wrap around the stems of your Christmas party glasses. These glass charms offer a decorative way to remind your guests whose drink is whose.

50. Scent sheets of gift wrap with a couple of drops of essential oil to make fragrant drawer liners.

51. Go for gold, add touches of gold and gilded accessories for an opulent feel in your home. Use gold polished tableware when entertaining. Place your favourite photographs in elegant gold frames, and display eye-catching fresh flowers in a tall vase for a hint of glamour.