Some tips on styling your home for the holidays
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.