Maybe there won’t be a multigenerational Christmas dinner party this year. Maybe there will be more Zoom gatherings than in-person ones. Maybe New Year’s Eve will be a cozy party of two. The rising second wave of the coronavirus will force everyone to reevaluate certain holiday traditions, but a pared down season is absolutely no excuse to forgo the Christmas decorations. Take it from Sue Barnes, founder of London’s Lavender Green Flowers, who was responsible for Pippa Middleton’s peony- and rose-strewn wedding in 2017: “Your main Christmas tree should still be decorated to the hilt, and as big as your room will allow, even if fewer people will get to see it this year. It’s there to warm your own heart, not simply to be admired by visitors.”
In that spirit, Lavender Green is hosting a series of virtual wreath-making masterclasses led by store manager India Burrill, whose resume includes floral arrangements for all the royal palaces (classes from £75, dates and details here). There are three types of wreaths to choose from—Traditional, Botanical, and Winter Wonderland. The Traditional garland, for example, uses fresh Blue and Scotch pine as a base and layers on pinecones, orange slices, clementine, and cinnamon sticks. The Winter Wonderland wreath, on the other hand, is an explosion of pine, eucalyptus, dried lavender, and waxed flowers. All necessary materials will be sent via courier once you’ve signed up.
“First impressions really count, so start the all-important Christmas decoration of your home outside,” Barnes says. “Nothing is more cheerful than a fabulous wreath. Even if we won’t have many family and friends to visit, it’ll cheer us all when arriving back home and add a festive spirit to our streets.”
As for decorating the rest of your house for the holidays, Barnes takes a more is more approach. Among her tried and true tips? If you’ve purchased a real Christmas tree, you’ll be blessed with natural fragrance all season; if it’s faux, add pine fragrance sticks to the base. And fewer guests around the dining table is a good excuse to amp up the centerpiece with more candles and as much natural foliage as possible. Use curtain poles to hang garlands of freshly picked ivy.
Then, of course, there’s the mantel. “Nothing warms the heart and soul like a well-decorated mantelpiece,” she says. “Use this area to add foliage garlands and foraged woodland cones and berries. Add candles and voila, the essence of Christmas.”And finally, don’t forget about the kitchen! “We all spend so much time in the kitchen, especially at Christmas, and a large jug of fresh flowers adds a festive touch,” she says. “I really go to town with the decoration in my kitchen as family and friends all seem to congregate here.”
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