NOW IS an ideal time to prepare dressing your home for the festive season. Decorating in the past relied on natural materials. Candles, homemade paper flowers, gingerbread shapes and confectionery-decorated evergreens.
Holly, ivy, yew, mistletoe, box and laurel garlanded homes, and a yule log was burned to bring prosperity and protect from evil. In mid-Victorian times Christmas became more extravagant and sophisticated Christmas decorating began to creep into affluent homes with real silver tinsel garlands and blown glass ornaments. More modest families would create decorations from coloured paper, scraps of lace and handmade trinkets, and there is much from historical decorating traditions we can copy today.
Handmade, natural and vintage looks are popular, so collect pine cones, decorative twigs and evergreen stems. and scour local sales and charity shops for vintage jewellery, pretty china and fabric swatches.
Get baking to produce your own tree decorations and edible gifts. Non-edible food decorations are a Christmas classic. Stud oranges with cloves to make a pomander and tie with ribbon. Dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks not only look good, they smell divine. (To make, cook thick slices of orange in a warm oven for around 40 minutes then dry off in an airing cupboard.) Tie up sticks of cinnamon and arrange in a bowl with the dried slices.
Pat Elliott, The Borders Design House. Visit our website for design services, courses and workshops. Start a new career as a Homestyle Advisor or learn to ‘Be Your Own Designer’ with our distance-learning interior design courses (07765 057 409, thebordersdesignhouse.co.uk)