DECK THE HALLS WITH BONKERS BAUBLES!
As the Christmas trees went up around London’s landmarks, Rachel Loos discovers how we should be decorating ours this year…
IN ONE OF the more unusual Christmas tree themes, last week pictures showed Melania Trump walking between 40 scarlet berry trees in the East Wing of the White House. Social media lit up with memes, including one where the trees were topped by white bonnets, à la The Handmaid’s Tale. So if Melania’s choice has been universally panned, what should we be doing with our trees this year? The obviously artificial tree – especially if it looks like it’s been drenched in rhesus negative – is definitely out. ‘People want maximum realism,’ says Dan Cooper, Christmas buyer at John Lewis, which has seen a 72% growth in sales of real trees. ‘Even if they buy an artificial tree, they want it to look as real as possible.’
One trend is the table-top tree – it’s real but so much more manageable than a six-footer. ‘Our sales have doubled year on year from 2015, showing just how popular smaller trees are becoming,’ says Sara Gordon of Bloom & Wild.
As for decorating, with so much doom and gloom around, 2018 is all about channelling happiness and fun. This year, Geraldine Tan of blog Little Big Bell will treat her 270,000 Insta followers to a tree decorated with baubles in orange, yellow and lime. ‘I wanted to create something bright, light, happy and optimistic as we approach 2019,’ she says.
Last Christmas, she was one of a number of influencers who created the rainbow tree with baubles hung in bands of colour. It has gone mainstream this year, proving a popular addition to John Lewis’s Christmas range. ‘A lot of our customers are coming in and buying the whole look,’ says Dan. ‘It’s a tree that’s about inclusivity and happiness and the rainbow is universally liked as a symbol.’
Kitsch decorations are a hot, hot trend – and the more bonkers the better. ‘ We are seeing a more-is-more approach, with people not taking their tree too seriously and using lots of mismatched baubles,’ says a Liberty London spokesperson. ‘ Vegetable decorations are a particular hit this year – with garlic, asparagus and avocado baubles being a sell-out success.’
At online boutique Rockett St George, the gold Converse-style sneaker decorations have sold out, and the Peeled Banana is flying. Iconic figures, such as those of Frida Kahlo and David Bowie, are also proving popular.
And hurrah! Tinsel is back in from the cold, too – DJ Jo Whiley named Rockett’s tinsel with baubles as her Christmas essential decoration. At the same time, the natural look remains strong. Creative consultant Matilda Goad, whose scallop-shaped lampshades were a big thing for 2018, will be combining real-life scallop shells with on-trend straw stars ( hers are from Sweden; if you’re super-fast, you might be able to snap up the last few packs at rajtentclub.com).
But perhaps the most unusual trend is for two trees. ‘People have a statement tree in their main entertaining space that’s smart and stylish, and a family tree for their nostalgic decorations,’ says John Lewis’s Dan Cooper. Still, there are always some Christmas aficionados who refuse to be swayed by trends. ‘I’m resolutely anti-tree trends,’ says Kate Watson-smyth from blog Mad About The House. ‘For me, the tree is all about family memories. I look forward to fetching the box of baubles from the attic and remembering where each one came from as I hang it. It’s a wonderful moment to look back over the year – and indeed the years.’
Statement (clockwise trees from top): Claridge’s; Victoria Beckham’s store; The London Edition hotel; Aqua Shard restaurant
Letterbox tree, £34 (bloomandwild.com)
Bauble, £14.95, (libertylondon.com)
Bauble + tinsel garland, £22 (rockettstgeorge.com)