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‘Queen of Christ­mas’ Gisela Gra­ham pro­duces around 2,400 dec­o­ra­tions ev­ery year – but she still loves the fes­tive sea­son

Ideal Home (UK) - - Editor’s Letter -

Meet ‘Queen of Christ­mas’ Gisela Gra­ham

Gisela is the busi­ness­woman be­hind the dec­o­ra­tions you find in de­part­ment stores and in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques. Orig­i­nally from Bre­men, Ger­many, she started her com­pany in 1983 as a stay-at-home mum. Her two sons are now grown up and she lives in Ful­ham, Lon­don with her hus­band Richard and cats, Sissi and Lud­wig.

By the time Christ­mas comes around, I just want to re­lax!

Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber is my busi­est time, be­cause we plan, de­sign and create our dec­o­ra­tion ranges for the fol­low­ing Christ­mas.

Peo­ple of­ten ask me how much I’m still in­volved. The an­swer is: a lot! I look af­ter the Christ­mas and Easter ranges ev­ery year, but have learned to del­e­gate and I have won­der­fully tal­ented teams to look af­ter other ar­eas of the busi­ness now. I couldn’t imag­ine not do­ing it – it’s my life.

I cherry-pick my favourite dec­o­ra­tions

be­fore we go to spend the hol­i­day with our son, who lives in Bos­ton. He wraps each one up and gives them away to fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours. It’s one of our lit­tle tra­di­tions!

I love tra­di­tions. They’re what make Christ­mas so fa­mil­iar and

make you feel like you’re home, wher­ever you are in the world. We mix tra­di­tions from Ger­many, the UK and the US, with the cel­e­bra­tions start­ing at 11pm on Christ­mas Eve. Af­ter church and car­ols, we come home to eat and the house is alive with peo­ple into the early hours of Christ­mas Day. The Ger­man cus­tom is for adults to ex­change presents on Christ­mas Eve, with small presents for chil­dren. The chil­dren get their stock­ings on Christ­mas morn­ing and I make a late break­fast of but­ter­milk pan­cakes with crispy ba­con.

All my dec­o­ra­tions are old.

I’ve col­lected them over the years, and grew up with some of them. I al­ways have an Ad­vent wreath, or Ad­ventskranz – a wreath with four can­dles in the mid­dle. Each one rep­re­sents a week of Ad­vent and you light a new can­dle ev­ery week. Even though we don’t spend Christ­mas at home in Lon­don, I still dec­o­rate the house.

We’ve been in this house for more than 20 years.

It was in a ter­ri­ble state when we moved in – we did a lot to it and it took over five years to com­plete. It’s put me off redec­o­rat­ing or ren­o­vat­ing for life!

Our home is very clas­sic look­ing: calm and neu­tral – but not bland.

I don’t like very con­tem­po­rary spa­ces. I think they’re quite soul­less. They’re very dif­fi­cult to fur­nish, too, as you have to have un­be­liev­ably good taste and you can’t have too many bits out on show.

Our cloak­room is the only Bri­tish-look­ing room, as it has wall­pa­per.

My style isn’t very Bri­tish, over­all. I’m not keen on things like head­boards on beds or but­ton-back so­fas.

I love a gallery wall.

I think it’s the most ef­fec­tive way to dec­o­rate a home. Pic­tures, pho­to­graphs, paint­ings… what­ever you pre­fer. It’s just so per­sonal and unique. My walls are cov­ered with them!

Fab­ric heart dec­o­ra­tions, £5.25 each, Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

ALL IN THE DE­TAIL Mu­si­cal wooden house glass dome, £54, Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT ‘Iced’ gin­ger­bread stars and snowflakes, £6 each, Gisela Gra­ham Buy now with OWN­ABLE

FES­TIVE & FROSTY White berry and cone wreath (sus­pended hor­i­zon­tally), £30; as­sorted baubles, from £2.50 each, all Gisela Gra­hamBuy now with OWN­ABLE

FIN­ISH­ING TOUCHES metal­lic wood star, £4.20; but­ter­fly mini dec­o­ra­tive glass plate, £4.50; feather dec­o­ra­tive glass plate, £7.50, all Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

‘I LOVE TO GO HOME TO BRE­MEN – IT’S SO WON­DER­FUL. THE CATHE­DRAL, THE TRAMS… IT’S A BEAU­TI­FUL PLACE’

THE BIG COUNT­DOWN Nat­u­ral wood treeLED Na­tiv­ity or­na­ment, £30, Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

SEA­SON’S SCENTSCin­na­mon & Ap­ple, Clove Spice, Orange & Thyme scented can­dles, £5.25 each, Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

WRAP IT UP Taupe wo­ven stab stitch cot­ton throw, £21, Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

BED­SIDE BUDDYGold foiled feather glass wa­ter carafe with glass, £15, Gisela Gra­ham. Buy now with OWN­ABLE

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