It’s nearly time to deck the halls and turn on the festive style.
So before you get in a tinsel tangle or baffled by baubles, TV property guru Kirstie Allsopp has compiled a guide to the top trends for trees and seasonal sparkle.
While the rest of us face the usual last-minute rush to dig out the same sad fairy lights we’ve used for the past decade, Kirstie has already chosen her colour theme and even produced a hand-made Robin decoration.
“It’s really early I know, and not like me,” she says with an apologetic smile. “Normally, it’s well into December before I get myself organised, but I’ve been able to ‘cheat’ this year as I’ve done bits and pieces over the last few months as part of my work.”
Kirstie’s been able to steal a march on the rest of us as some of her projects for her latest Channel Four TV series, Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, have been Christmas-focused.
“I’ve always had the children’s home-made decorations and now I’m going to have my own – I’m hoping to make a few more robins if I have time. It gives the tree a lovely personal feel,” she says.
It will be a getaway Christmas for the presenter, who’s leaving London and spending the festive season in her family holiday home in Devon, with her partner, Ben Andersen, their two sons, Bay, five, and Oscar, three, and Andersen’s sons from his previous marriage, Orion 11, and Hal, eight.
“We can have an enormous real tree there, which Ben staggers home with and then puts up with me shouting instructions.
“The boys and I have a great time choosing what to go on it,” she says with a beam.
“I absolutely love decorations and put a lot of time into making the whole house look really festive. I’m certainly not a puritan about the ‘look’ – honestly, you can’t have too much colour and sparkle,” she says.
Kirstie says there’s no need to stress about seasonal decor. “It’s a time of year when you can let your imagination go wild. If you’re struggling on a colour theme, simply pick the colour which features on most of your baubles.
“There are no taste rules in my book. The only bad tree is an undecorated one,” she says.
“I even indulged my love of decorations last year by buying some lovely new baubles and Christmas decorations for myself, and giving some away as gifts, which was really popular!”
“My favourite theme this year is red and white, which has a country-Scandinavian feel,” says Kirstie, who demonstrates how to make decorations and garlands on a video for B&Q.
“I like the tree and the table to have the same colours, and find that lots of greenery – holly and ivy – is a calming, natural contrast to the fussy detail of decorations.
“Get a hand-made look with felt embroidered decorations or painted wooden ones and add a traditional touch with tiny robins and reindeer.
“I also love tinsel for instant sparkle. You can wrap it along stair rails, or use it to tie a name label to each chair,” she adds.
She dresses her table with a garland of holly and ivy down the centre, entwined around large silver and glass candlesticks, and intersperses tubs of red poinsettias. White napkins embroidered with red Christmas trees are a finishing touch.
Kirstie Allsopp’s guide to making Christmas decorations and garlands are on Youtube. Search for ‘Kirstie Allsopp’ and ‘B&Q’.