‘Time stops for no one’. Never is this well-worn phrase and notion more achingly unsympathetic than when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances and this year, has proven difficult for many.
Regardless, the earth spins on, nearing its completion of yet another revolution around the sun. A process that seems to gain speed with each passing year and while every year predictably concludes with Christmas, I think we can all agree that Christmas can be just as unpredictable as life itself. The last two Christmases are proof of that and 2022 will be the first unrestricted Christmas in two years. So there is much to celebrate and to be grateful for.
Our yo-yo dieting, Christmas budget is, for many, slimmer than it has ever been and this will challenge our imaginations. It is interesting to note that some of the most priceless gifts received are hand-made using our most precious commodity, time. However, when we cast our minds back to Christmas 2021, it seems, we had too much of it on our hands.
The lockdown was a lengthy chapter in history that presented an opportunity to enhance dormant skills and talents. Many a biscuit was baked and shared on social media. Ideas and businesses were born along with influencers that are currently thriving. For others an imposed state of inertia offered the freedom to reassess and adjust our priorities and values and we have carried that revised attitude into our days as they gather momentum along with the speed of time.
This Christmas we may witness an involuntary restraint in spending due to rising inflation but we may also adjust our spending based on our renewed, collective mindset. Shared experiences and time spent nurturing our relationships may outweigh the need for yet another scented candle.
The mere notion that we shall once again, be begging for real estate around our extended, dining tables and borrowing the wonky office chair from the study is an exciting thought. That old adage, ‘the more the merrier’ has never held more weight. It is for this reason, that we take stock of our homes and the latest, festive styling trends to warmly welcome long-awaited guests, even those surprise visitors!
Refreshing your Christmas decorations doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start from scratch, even if you’re going for a whole new colour scheme. Dust off those boxes and take a look at what you already own. Metallic baubles never date and will compliment most colours. This year we’re seeing a swing towards deeper tones like navy, black and ash. These work beautifully with pearlescent ornaments and accents of gold and white. Go all out and add plumes, white, chiffon bows and crystals!
Another fresh trend we’ve spotted is a mix of greens on green. Start with a spruce and embellish with every shade of green. Add a dash of silver and pearlescent white.
Wood decorations are always a favourite and don’t seem to be going anywhere as far as trends for Christmas. They work well will foliage-free trees set amidst an all-white interior, particularly coastal and Scandi styles.
Try swapping the drab Christmas skirt by raising the tree inside a beautiful, large, ceramic pot or basket. This creates drama and balances the canopy. It also gives you a place to hide that unsightly power-board and lead. If necessary, weigh the tree down with some bags of sand to keep it stable.
Accessorising your table at Christmas is so much fun. Bring out your best, white, fine bone china and pair with gold or rose-gold cutlery. This will work perfectly with a centrepiece of fresh, pine branches in place of a table runner, adorn with crystal candle holders, or alternatively add a row of poinsettias in a beautiful, decorative planter, or grab one you may already own and bring it back to life with metallic spray paint.
Try placing pine branches in large, glass vases of varying shapes and heights and sprinkle with gold and white baubles. Get crafty and make wreaths instead of place mats, place baubles and Christmas crackers on each plate. Attach an ornament with your guest’s name to glass stems or linen napkins.
With La Niña finally abating over the summer, we have every reason to enjoy the sunshine alfresco this year. This means a more-relaxed and unfussy approach to hosting your Christmas lunch. In Australia, the festive season is synonymous with summer holidays and the backyard pool. You can create a fun table with bright and playful dinnerware, melamine glassware and printed napery, then repeat this theme through to your tree. String coloured festoon lights across your balcony to enhance that bright, party atmosphere or add sheer curtains to your eaves for added privacy and drama.
We are fortunate here, to be blessed with an array of beautiful green/gray eucalyptus foliage, so for something different, why not go with a native theme? Make wreaths from Eucalypt branches or bottle brushes and purchase gifts made locally. Accompany this theme with rich, rustic, hand-made earthenware in chocolate browns, sage greens and caramels. The textures and uniqueness of each plate will make a wonderful talking piece and will provide a sense of comfort as it connects us back to nature.
When it comes to food, you can’t go past a great serving platter or three. These are a must have, particularly if you love a good buffet. Whether they’re round, rectangular, or come complete with their own Lazy Susan. Don’t forget to add some festive touches to your spectacular spread. If you can’t bring yourself to put away the tinsel there’s an opportunity to use it here, but please keep it off your trees!
While we may be free of compulsory restrictions this holiday season, many of us might be feeling the pinch in other ways. This can only make us more determined than ever to celebrate and appreciate what we missed last Christmas by giving up our most valuable asset to spend it with those we love and even those few we don’t. And when you consider that an average life span consists of only eighty Christmas days, it puts it all into perspective.