The 12 new trends of Christmas (hint: bigger is definitely better)

Showstopping doorways. Exotic birds on your tree. And a winter wonderland in your garden. Blame it on the year from hell, but 2020’s decor is loud, luxurious and deliciously escapist… The 12 new trends of Christmas (hint: bigger is definitely better)

  • FEMAIL shares the top interior design trends heading into the Christmas period
  • The tips include going over-the-top on your table decorations for Christmas Day
  • Another key tip is to try lighting up your back garden to create a warm feeling 

We’re all in need of some extra magic this Christmas. And it seems in the absence of preening and parties, we’re channelling our festive spirit into decadent decorations.

Fuelled by social media, ‘competitive Christmassing’ has us shunning simple strings of fairy lights or wilting wreaths in favour of the kind of dialled-up displays normally reserved for high-end hotels. 

At John Lewis, sales of Christmas room decorations are up 67 per cent compared to last year, with baubles up 45 per cent, lights 47 per cent and trees 30 per cent.

In the frenzy to pile on the festive extravagance, B&Q sold out of most of its lights and decorations two weeks earlier than usual. Here, the best in the business share the 12 trends that will maximise your Christmas…

Feast your eyes: Alice Naylor- Leyland pictured with her The First Noel Tablescape. The ‘tablescaping’ trend was pioneered by Alice who writes for Vogue

1. GO OVER-THE-TOP WITH YOUR TABLE

The trend for ‘tablescaping’ was pioneered by Vogue writer Alice Naylor-Leyland, whose fans clamour for her exquisite offerings at mrsalice.com.

‘I think after the year we’ve all had, Christmas is a time to push the boat out,’ says Alice.

You can splash out £360 on a full Swan Lake Tablescape for four, which Alice will be laying for the big day (‘It’s my daughter’s favourite.’)

As for creating your own masterpiece, Alice recommends avoiding one large tablecentre (we’ve all been that guest hidden behind a towering vase of flowers) and scatter fresh foliage from winter walks with evenly distributed candles and flowers or fruit.

Candlelight at different levels is crucial for an atmospheric glow and napkins are the finishing fashion accessory. Tie with velvet ribbon in giant bows for serious glamour.

Fans of The Crown can buy Maison Margaux’s ‘Christmas in Balmoral’ settings with stag plates, beaded mats and tortoiseshell cutlery (from £47 a head for two plates, maisonmargauxltd.com).

2. DITCH THE TINSEL FOR FOLIAGE

Social media is awash with mega mantelpiece displays. Pearl Lowe enlisted the help of achingly trendy Kitten Grayson Flowers (kittengrayson.com) to create her blush pink floral fantasy that fans out from the fireplace. 

The emphasis is on sustainability, using fallen branches, bracken, dried flowers and climbing shrubbery, but displays in 2020 all have that maximalist vibe.

One Christmas design tip offered up is to ditch the traditional tinsel in favour of featuring foliage on your mantelpiece

3. BUILD A GINGERBREAD HOUSE

The gingerbread house could overtake the Christmas cake as our favourite festive bake, with Waitrose confirming that sales of its kits have increased 387 per cent this year.

The upmarket Biscuiteers kit costs £35. The firm’s founder Harriet Hastings says: ‘Gingerbread houses are flying off the shelves.’

Kits include pre-baked biscuit walls, roofs and windows which you glue together with icing sugar and egg white before letting your kids go wild with the sweets. (M&S, £5, in store, Morrisons, £5, groceries. morrisons.com and Lidl, £4.99, lidl.co.uk).

Gingerbread houses could be set to overtake the Christmas cake as the nation’s favourite festive treat, with Waitrose reporting a 387 per cent increase in sales of its kits on last year

4. PERCH A BIRD ON YOUR TREE

The Duke and Duchess of Rutland have turned their home, Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, into a festive palace with an elaborate peacock atop their 15ft tree, while model Jodie Kidd has a friendly owl perched on hers. 

John Lewis’s ‘Mr Christmas’ Dan Cooper, who has eight trees in his house, says: ‘Long, feathered peacocks added to the tree or used as a decoration can give your decor a glamorous feel. I put almost anything on the top of a tree rather than a star or angel. Peacocks and parrots are ideal.’ 

John Lewis’s ‘Mr Christmas’ Dan Cooper has suggested adding a bird to your Christmas tree decorations to follow in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland

5. SERVE A VIBRANT FOOD PLATTER

A picturesque platter is the new way to serve nibbles.

Ottolenghi recipe tester Claudine Boulstridge (@healthyfamilyfoodideas) says it’s simpler than it looks: ‘Most can be made in advance, reheated and thrown together at the last moment.

‘I recommend a combination of cheeses with roasted sprouts, cauliflower and parsnips, cured meats, hot cranberry sauce, beetroot hummus and halved clementines.

‘Arrange three bowls containing dips with bigger things such as chunks of cheese, meat and batons of vegetables around them in a fan. Fill in the gaps with the daintier items such as olives, herbs, nuts, berries.’

Amaze and Graze’s pre-made platter serves ten for £120 (amazeandgraze.co.uk).

A picturesque platter is the only way to serve food this year, with experts suggesting you can prepare them in advance

6. CHOOSE A MISH-MASH OF BAUBLES

According to Gisela Graham, whose decorations are found in Liberty and Harrods, an exciting, charming tree ‘should look as though it has been sprinkled randomly with colour’. 

Avoid matchy-matchy baubles and go for individual items that will become treasured old favourites.

Morag Hickmott, responsible for Selfridges’ iconic windows, says it’s all about nostalgia this Christmas: ‘We’ve kept our windows relatively simple with a tree in each. Concentrated moments of joyful chaos is the idea. It’s that lovely mish-mash of different decorations we’re playing on this year.’

Gisela Graham, whose decorations are found in Liberty and Harrods, says that your decorations should look as though they have been randomly sprinkled with colour

7. REPLACE TURKEY WITH GOOSE

With smaller gatherings and a little less pressure, home cooks are seeking out luxurious, alternative main meals.

Award-winning butcher Farmison & Co has seen a 200 per cent increase in its goose crown sales and a 100 per cent increase in free-range goose sales, while Waitrose has seen sales of goose increase by 53 per cent.

The store’s speciality poultry and turkey buyer, Nick Coleman, says: ‘As it is a seasonal meat, goose at Christmas feels like a really special celebration.

‘It was the traditional centrepiece before turkeys arrived in the UK, so has a classic festive feel as well as indulgent flavour.’

Nick recommends cooking the bird at 170 degrees in a fan oven for 35 minutes per kg, adding: ‘A goose contains quite a bit of fat which makes delicious roast potatoes.’

With smaller gatherings and less pressure on home cooks, some people are looking for alternative main meals to the traditional turkey

8. LIGHT UP THE BACK GARDEN 

As we soldier on with al fresco entertaining, many have decorated their back gardens for the first time.

Florist Nikki Tibbles, of Wild at Heart, has been creating magical winter wonderlands with snow-capped firs and twinkling lights.

‘Outside one London home, we made a series of pine trees from birch poles to which we attached different types of pine branches,’ says Nikki.’

Less extravagant but no less heart-warming, Nikki suggests lining a pathway with miniature, beautifully lit trees. ‘Take time to wire every single branch all the way to the end methodically,’ she says. ‘We allow about 200 bulbs per metre.’

Selfridges’ Morag Hickmott says you can’t beat lit foliage to decorate a building: ‘If you’re going for that warm, fuzzy feeling, warm white lights are the best.

‘Kitsch coloured lights are also having a moment.’

One tip suggested to brighten up your home this Christmas is to light up your back garden

9. PAINT A FESTIVE SCENE ON YOUR WINDOW

Artist Aga Skiba spends up to 13 hours painting charming Christmas scenes on the window panes of a select group of customers including TV personalities such as Jamie Theakston.

She says: ‘For the Theakstons I created a classic gold and white natural design with flowers and leaves, but I’ve also done Christmas Tudor villages and nutcracker scenes for other clients.’ Aga works with acrylic paint which can last for ages. ‘One little boy kept the Christmas tree on his window for three years!’ — but you can erase it easily with window spray and a scraper.

Aga’s designs start from £200, but you can also do it yourself. ‘Sketch in the design with chalk paints to begin with,’ says Aga.

‘Paint over the top with the acrylics and gain confidence with simple designs like snowflakes. Children love using handprints, too.’

Artist Aga Skiba spends up to 13 hours painting charming Christmas scenes on the window panes of a select group of customers including TV personalities such as Jamie Theakston

10. BUY SUSTAINABLE CRACKERS

Around 40 million crackers end up in landfill every year, so reusable versions are becoming fashionable.

Selfridges stock Forever Crackers made from luxury Italian silk and linen, filled with fabric crowns and include gifts such as charity donations. At £185 for six, they’re not cheap but they can be reused.

You can also make your own by gluing fabric into a tube shape, pushing a loo-roll inner through, adding your gift and tying at both ends with ribbons.

M&S has Fill Your Own Recyclable Crackers, £8 for six.

Reusable Christmas crackers are becoming a fashion statement, with around 40million standard crackers ending up in landfills each year

11. CREATE AN ENTRANCE WITH DOORSCAPING 

Holly Willoughby, Amanda Holden and I’m a Celebrity winner Giovanna Fletcher are among the many who’ve adopted the ‘more is more’ approach to doorway decor.

Think brightly coloured archways of tightly clustered baubles, sumptuous seasonal foliage studded with twinkling lights or Grotto-inspired exuberance — all created by florists Lizzie Powell and Latoyah Lovatt, who launched their trailblazing firm Early Hours eight years ago.

‘A few years back, we were mainly doing seasonal installations for restaurants, designed to draw business in,’ says Lizzie. ‘Now we’re doing more and more private homes.’

One of this year’s most feted displays is the Ivy Chelsea Garden’s Santa’s Grotto-inspired facade bedecked with baubles, miniature nutcrackers, drums and teddies. There’s even a postbox for letters to Santa and a full-size sleigh.

‘Lizzie creates the design and I’m responsible for making it happen,’ says Latoyah. ‘We try to make it really immersive. It’s a form of entertainment, after all.’

Doorscaping has become another festive trend to sweep the nation, with Holly Willoughby, Amanda Holden and I’m a Celebrity winner Giovanna Fletcher all trying their hand  at the craft

Ironically, the pair are poles apart when it comes to taste, with Lizzie the self-declared maximalist and Latoyah more understated. ‘In my home, I’ll have a real tree with dark green baubles and cinnamon sticks,’ says Latoyah. While Lizzie is ‘drawn to colour’ and has everything from unicorns to pickled gherkins on her tree: ‘Regardless of the vibe, it’s always loaded.’

How to create your own festive front door? Consider how you’re going to hang your trimmings.

Lizzie says cable ties are the best way to attach to existing fixtures such as trellises or light fittings. You can also add eyelets by drilling into grout which can be repaired afterwards.

When it comes to arranging the baubles, repetition is key. Lizzie explains: ‘If your theme is gold, buy lots and lots of the same gold bauble.

‘It can be a relatively cheap plastic bauble but, if you arrange them in beautiful clusters, they will always look juicy and full.’

12. MAKE IT MAGIC WITH WHITE 

With its delicate snow-blitzed branches and swathes of shimmering crystals, Claridge’s silver birch is the most glamorous tree of the year. Designed by florist and trendsetter Kally Ellis, the beautiful birch embraces this year’s frosted winterland trend.

‘Evergreen is very conventional,’ says Kally, founder of McQueens Flowers. ‘For this year it had to be something extra special. The snow, the shimmering branches, the crispness and iridescence from the crystals — it all creates a shining beacon of hope.’

You too can embrace the white theme with snow-dusted spruce, frost-laden twigs, white tea lights and silver, white and clear glass baubles.

Kally also suggests white hellebores ‘with holly and lichen covered branches’.

Claridge’s hotel installed a giant silver birch tree and it is being suggested that other people try introducing an element of white into their decorations

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