Liv­ing

Some tips on styling your home for the hol­i­days

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - By Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is co-host of Fox­tel’s Love It Or List It Aus­tralia on Life­style, and a judge on Nine Net­work’s The Block.

Neale Whi­taker shares his tips on styling the ta­ble for Christ­mas lunch.

With a nod to Dis­ney’s new film The Nutcracker And The Four

Realms, stylist Steve Cor­dony (stevecor­dony.com) is plan­ning “life­sized nutcracker sol­diers” to wel­come guests to Christ­mas at his stun­ning ru­ral prop­erty. “I’ll be dec­o­rat­ing with two Christ­mas trees sit­ting side by side, sim­ply dec­o­rated with warm­toned fairy lights,” he elab­o­rates. “The lunch ta­ble will be white on white, with tex­tured linen table­cloths and napery, white ce­ramic plates and white hy­drangeas and gar­de­nias run­ning down the cen­tre of the ta­ble.” It’s un­de­ni­ably chic and as far re­moved as pos­si­ble from the shiny glass baubles and foil-wrapped choco­late bells I grew up with. White on white would have worn splodges of turkey gravy and bread sauce in our house.

Christ­mas is a co­nun­drum for me. Do I cling to the ghost of Christ­mas Past or ac­cept the warm hug of an Aussie Christ­mas Present? Be­ing British, I’m still bask­ing in the nos­tal­gic glow of mag­nif­i­cent fes­tive dis­plays I saw re­cently in Lon­don stores like The Con­ran Shop (my all-time favourite), Lib­erty and Peter­sham Nurs­eries, but re­al­ity is pulling me back to the unique plea­sures of an Aus­tralian Christ­mas.

For The Life Style Edit’s Heidi Al­ber­tiri (the­lifestyleedit.com.au), it’s all about the beach. “I’ll be styling the ta­ble with el­e­ments like drift­wood, shells, peb­bles and worn-out fish­ing ropes,” she ex­plains. “Think rus­tic coastal fish­er­man’s shack!” That might be a stretch for tra­di­tion­al­ists, but it’s the per­fect back­drop for Al­ber­tiri’s planned feast of “lob­sters, pip­pies, prawns and corn on the cob”.

I think I’ll land some­where between nutcracker sol­diers and fish­ing ropes for our first Christ­mas in our NSW South Coast home. The tra­di­tion­al­ist in me will opt for a pal­ette of red, green, gold and sil­ver (gold and sil­ver work per­fectly to­gether – but only at Christ­mas) and we’ll have an in­door tree with white lights. Of course, there’ll be a wreath at the front door. We’ll be burn­ing can­dles fra­grant with clove, cin­na­mon, gin­ger and all­spice. Lunch (did I men­tion what an amaz­ing cook my part­ner David is?) will be a sim­ple but de­li­cious af­fair of fresh prawns fol­lowed by turkey, and the out­door ta­ble will be in­spired by our land­scape: twigs from the pad­dock and drift­wood from the beach, with frangi­pani flow­ers and what­ever our gar­den has to of­fer on Christ­mas morn­ing. When dusk de­scends we’ll break out the can­dles, the Aerog­ard and an­other bot­tle of bub­bles. Maybe French or maybe sparkling shi­raz. It’s Christ­mas, af­ter all.

“Cling to the ghosts of Christ­mas Past or em­brace Aussie Present?”

ALL THE TRIM­MINGS (below, from left) Neale Whi­taker will take in­spi­ra­tion from the land­scape around his home to adorn his fes­tive ta­ble, as seen in this Aus­traliana theme by Eclec­tic Cre­ative; gold and sil­ver work to­gether – “but only at Christ­mas”; (below in­set) take your cues from the beach for a home­grown take on Christ­mas ta­ble dress­ing.

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