WHAT CHRIST­MAS MEANS TO ME Emma Bridge­wa­ter

For Bri­tish pot­tery de­signer Emma, mince pies, home-reared turkey and fam­ily car­ols at her Ox­ford­shire home are just a few of her fond­est Christ­mas tra­di­tions

House Beautiful (UK) - - CONTENTS - EMMA BRIDGE­WA­TER

Emma’s stun­ning Ox­ford­shire home. The de­signer loves an ex­cuse for a bon­fire, and they fea­ture reg­u­larly over the fes­tive sea­son

MY TRA­DI­TIONS

Some of my ear­li­est Christ­mas mem­o­ries are of dec­o­rat­ing the tree with my sis­ter So­phie and brother Tom; it’s some­thing my four chil­dren have also en­joyed do­ing to­gether over the years. As a fam­ily, we love Christ­mas mu­sic and en­joy sing­ing car­ols around the pi­ano to­gether – my son Michael was a cho­ris­ter one year, and I love hearing him sing.

On Christ­mas Day, we have a big break­fast to keep us go­ing, then eat our main meal later in the af­ter­noon. It usu­ally stars one of the tur­keys from our own flock. I adore Christ­mas pud­ding, but seem to be the only one. Each year I try to tempt my fam­ily with my own ver­sion, which I make on Christ­mas Eve. It’s full of apri­cots, figs and lots of orange and lemon juice.

With all the eat­ing that goes on, I like to fit in some long river walks, which the labradors are also al­ways grate­ful for! I love bon­fires, and at Christ­mas there’s an ex­cuse for one ev­ery day. Twelfth Night is per­fect for a bon­fire at dusk. I’ve al­most al­ways spent Christ­mas at home in Ox­ford­shire with my fam­ily, but now that the chil­dren are grown up, I like the idea of go­ing abroad. One of my daugh­ters is liv­ing in Mex­ico, so I’ve been toy­ing with the idea of vis­it­ing at Christ­mas. I’m al­ready dream­ing of the gor­geous dec­o­ra­tions I’ll find there!

MY HOME

I ap­proach Christ­mas dec­o­rat­ing in the same way I’d style a dresser. I dig deep into my ar­chive of dec­o­ra­tions, pair­ing old favourites with new. My mother re­ceived a card when I was born – just be­fore Christ­mas – from my grand­fa­ther that said ‘Bless­ings on Char­lotte and her baby girl’. It oc­ca­sion­ally resur­faces, and gets a spe­cial place on the tree.

There are some lovely 1960s pieces

I have that I mix with more cur­rent buys, and I al­ways in­clude some of the tiny Emma Bridge­wa­ter china items on the tree. This year, I’m look­ing for­ward to us­ing the new lit­tle mugs with gold ini­tials – it took a long time to get the colour just right.

The more candles the bet­ter at this time of year, and I even take the time to pol­ish my brass can­dle­sticks! I en­joy eat­ing by the light of tall, cream church candles, sur­rounded by ivy and branches of bay. Each year, I do as my mother and grand­moth­ers did, in­cor­po­rat­ing tra­di­tional pieces of fam­ily china among the din­ner­ware, such as a well-loved plat­ter for the turkey, and a ded­i­cated dish for the pud­ding.

MY IN­SPI­RA­TION

I ab­so­lutely love mince pies, which is why there’s al­ways at least a cou­ple of plates for them in­cluded in the Emma Bridge­wa­ter col­lec­tion each Christ­mas. Our plate at home gets a lot of use in the win­ter months, I’m ashamed to ad­mit! When I’m de­sign­ing, I al­ways think back to Christ­mas at home – open­ing stock­ings, go­ing to church – and re­mem­ber how spe­cial the day feels. Ev­ery year, we de­sign a densely dec­o­rated pat­tern in red and green, and this Christ­mas, I’ve added a rein­deer to our tra­di­tional Joy range. I also en­joyed mak­ing a fes­tive edi­tion of our sig­na­ture Black Toast pat­tern – it’s been re­con­fig­ured as Christ­mas Toast.

It’s so sat­is­fy­ing to see an ex­ist­ing pat­tern take on a new life.

Candles are a big fea­ture of Emma’s fes­tive decor and she loves to hang tiny china mugs (above left) on the tree. Her Christ­mas Joy range (right) in­cludes plates for mince pies. Emma al­ways makes her ownChrist­mas pud

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