Last Minute Festive Decorating with Emily Armstrong |

Last Minute Festive Decorating with Emily Armstrong



It's never too late to get into the festive spirit and if you’re anything like me, creative juices tend to flow as the advent calendars are nearly all opened...

When entertaining at home it’s easy to get carried away with decorating (sometimes at the expense of the food, beware of this!). Here are 10 last minute festive decor tips to help you celebrate in style this Christmas. The list assumes your Christmas tree has been purchased and trimmed, and comes with a southern hemisphere bias, where because of the weather, we can bend the rules of traditional festive decor. By The Paradise Catcher‘s Emily Armstrong Holding Shot: Cameron Bloom


Table settings...

Choose a theme or palette, your flowers or centrepiece decoration, and then work out the rest from here. Decorations could be anything from a mix of flowers or foliage with baubles laid down the centre of the table, to glass jars or cloches holding mini fir trees or branches, to silver spray-painted pineapples and pine cones to mini wreath decorations at each place setting, to a large foliage/banner above the table. Do remember to make room for candles and make sure you don’t go so overboard with decorations that your guests can’t see each other across the table. Also leave plenty of space for the turkey to be carved! You can also have fun with napkins, cutlery and glassware in terms of choice and placement, and bespoke place cards for your guests. And don’t forget the crackers. For a more relaxed vibe and a larger group, invite guests to a buffet table first then let them sit next to their favourite relative.


Buffet/bar...

Even for the smallest group, it seems you always need that extra room to place platters and glassware. A well-considered buffet or side-table, can really make a difference to the look and ease of your party. Elevate some platters with wooden crates and plate stands to give you the space and styling opportunities, and place buckets of ice for drinks under the table. Glass mason jars filled with vintage cutlery look great with some festive ribbon tied around and so does a pile of linen napkins with a bauble on top. Litter the table with tea lights (if an evening affair), festive cherries, nuts and baubles.


Children’s table...

I always think it’s a lovely idea to seat the entire extended family around the one table…. then I think again! A kids’ table (for the littlest ones) is fairly vital in my experience. Keep the setting simple, as there will be much spillage. Run butchers paper or a disposable plain paper tablecloth along the table/s and place jam jars of crayons and some Christmas stencils or cookie cutters, so the kids can get busy decorating while their meal is served.


Wreaths & mantle decor...

With not much time left, this is not the time to attempt to craft your own. There are some very chic wreaths available, or spray-paint one that’s looking a little tired from storage. A star frame works well with festive ribbon or some foliage from the garden. Simple is best. And try placing wreaths in unexpected places like pinned to the front of your tablecloth on the buffet table. Visit The Doors Of Berry, Papier D’Amour and The Design Hunter Shop for some wonderful wreaths and festive decor. For your mantle (or sideboard/hall table etc) you can really have fun – candles and fairy lights mixed with foliage and baubles is a great combination. Try filling up the fireplace with fairy lights and silver pine cones, if Santa has already been. If you’re by the beach this Christmas, the traditional green/red palette may feel a little hot. In this case, ramp up the silver and keep the base white, with a touch of green foliage.


Spray paint...

This is your decorating friend. Metallic spray paint – your best friend! Spray anything and everything – old tacky wreaths, pineapples, cherries, pine cones, berries, twigs, bells, a branch from the garden for the dining centrepiece or placed in a large jar or vase for display. It’s quick, easy and really effective.


Flowers or foliage...

Blooms are obviously always beautiful when entertaining at home but getting to the markets or coordinating deliveries at this busy time of year is probably not a priority. So perhaps choose foliage over flowers and search your garden and neighbourhood for larger options like branches for over the table, some small branches off your Christmas tree to place on the table, or some succulents in terracotta pots for a break from tradition.


Lighting...

Fairy lights are mandatory festive decorating arsenal, and best to keep them white and on a calm setting. But there is also so much more you can do with lighting to make some festive magic in your home and garden. String lights outside look great and can sometimes work inside too draped over mantles and around mirrors. Any leftover fairy lights could be (carefully) hung above your kids bed or somewhere in their bedroom for some extra magic.


Candles...

Galore! Obviously take great care when kids are around. Try a bucket full of candles, tea lights in old jam jars or mini Campari or Perrier bottles. Hang lanterns from tree branches, paper bag lights to illuminate the driveway or entry and some more glow for the front door and guest loo.


Don't forget the loo...

Always a great opportunity for some decorative styling, whether it be mandatory scented candles, mini Perrier bottles in a bucket (or bathtub) of ice, and a festive reminder with a mini wreath on the door or a holiday quote taped to the mirror.


Mistletoe...

Hang it by the door, in the loo or anywhere your guests will pass through. As a host you should be encouraging a good deal of kissing during the festivities.


COMMENTS

Comments

comments