When it comes to decorating your house for Christmas, most people naturally start with a tree. Whether you opt for a colour co-ordinated, eight-foot fir shipped in from Canada and decked with a tastefully curated collection of hand-blown glass baubles, or a pink three-foot, fibre optic, plastic tree with built-in LEDs, the beauty of festive decor is that you can’t get it wrong. Anything goes, so choose what makes you happy.
Historically, evergreen trees were decorated to brighten up the long winter months of Northern Europe and remind people that spring would come again. Meanwhile, in the UAE, we’re dreading the thought of spring coming again! It may be dark by 6pm but with bright blue skies and balmy breezes throughout our winter days, the sole purpose of Christmas decorations here is to add a touch of celebratory joy to your home – and what that looks like is entirely up to you.
There is no other time of year when you can so easily get away with a maximalist, ‘more is more’ approach to accessorising, and the tree is just the warm up. There are so many other areas of your home that can be decorated, so why hold back? Whether your taste veers more towards ‘pared-back Scandi’ or is better described as ‘full-blown, technicolour Ho Ho Ho!’ there are a host of products available to suit every scheme.
Starting at your front door, festive mats, wreaths and external lights can set the tone for the winter wonderland to be found within. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly isn’t just a carol, it’s a clarion call. Adding scented candles or a diffuser to your entrance hall is another great way to set the festive tone and to draw people in. Think notes of spiced orange, fig and cinnamon for a modern take on frankincense and myrrh.
Moving into the living room, there are plenty of areas that can receive a temporary seasonal makeover. Switching your regular cushions for furry ones and adding chunky knit throws will make your sofa a cosy place to snuggle up on while drinking hot chocolate in your onesie (it’s OK, we’ve all got one). You may need to turn your AC on to get the full effect, but it will absolutely be worth the Dewa bill. The crafty among us may even consider making a DIY fireplace from MDF covered in brick effect wallpaper, giving an extra surface to style with a fir garland and the perfect place to hang your stocking. Wintery wall hangings or a cluster of oversized baubles strung from the ceiling will ensure that the space is fabulously festive from every angle.
Food is a major part of the Christmas celebrations in most homes, so don’t forget about your kitchen and dining room. Jars filled with gingerbread, plates of mince pies and bowls of clementines or pomegranates will both look beautiful and allow for ease of snacking. Patterned textiles, such as tea towels or table runners inspired by the season, will also help soften the space. Festive dining decor can range from something as simple as some candles and a sprig of holly tucked into napkin rings through to elaborate tablescapes complete with individual place settings, floral centrepieces and the good china that’sonly for special occasions. Add a soundtrack of Wham!, Mariah and Michael Bublé and your guests will truly be walking in a winter wonderland.
Last but not least, the room where the real magic happens. Bedrooms are easily given a festive feel with a few extra cushions, blankets, fairy lights and even Christmas themed bed linen ensuring that the stage is set for the big man in red’s visit on the night of the 24th. The only problem is how empty and boring our homes look when it all comes down. Here’s hoping those New Year sales will throw up some inspiration to start decorating again…