Our monthly columnist, Lisa Dawson, on Christmas prepping
When it comes to planning your Christmas décor, how early is too early?
This is a question I ask myself every year. October has barely ended and I’m trawling Pinterest for ideas; by the first week of November, I’m perusing Ebay for bargain paper decorations and my colour scheme is set in stone. Previous years’ decorations are held up for assessment, X Factor-style, with only the best and most beautiful making it through audition stage to the finals. Those that don’t hit the right notes are cast into the ‘Losers’ box and returned to garage storage. It’s hardcore.
The last week of November, festive mania hits. The hallway bannister is laden with honeycomb, pom-poms and eucalyptus – just negotiating the stairs through the barrage of paper jollity is a feat worthy of Bear Grylls. The kids are sent to forage in the woods for branches suitable for fairy light festooning, the only vaguely outdoorsy activity they’ll have done all year (if you don’t count building fortresses on Minecraft). And then, finally, the tree will go up.
There is a method to my early decorating madness. One, the Christmas season is a busy time on Instagram – there are more trees than a Finnish forest, and if your twinkle’s not on fleek, you’re not in the game. And two, my daughter, Ella, has her birthday on 28 December. She’s never allowed Joe and I to forget our inability to plan conception on a date that would take into account the festive season and, as such, we try and differentiate between the two joyous occasions by taking the tree down the day after Boxing Day. Despite the fact that we are obviously not following the Twelve Days Of Christmas rule, I secretly quite like the fact we are needle free by the 27th.
For many years, we have had a real tree, embarking on a family trip to the local tree farm to find the biggest, best and most perfect tree that it is possible to grow. Invariably, we’ll get home to discover it’s far too large for the space and end up having to reposition an entire room of furniture just to accommodate it. The problem, of course, that arises from erecting your tree so early is that it’s completely dead by the big day. So last year, we threw caution to the wind and went full out faux. Not just any faux, oh no, pre-lit, seven-foot-high, four-foot-wide faux. A veritable King of Faux. It was glorious. Perfectly shaped, gleamingly green, its 500 bulbs lit up the bay window like a beacon and could be seen across fields from three miles away. I decorated it with faux pink peonies and roses and swathed it in chiffon ribbon – it was more wedding cake than Christmas pudding but looked amazeballs. No drooping and no needle injuries. Winning.
One of my favourite things about the festive season is that it is absolutely essential to eat at least one mince pie every day of the month. It’s an actual law. Every visit to the supermarket sees me throwing at least two boxes into the trolley with abandon. Party food is another December rule in our house. Saturday nights will see us trialling the range of every supermarket across the country, a different one every week. We’re brutal in our critique – mini toad in the hole, spring rolls, tempura prawns – no nibble is safe from our marks-out-of-10 grading. We know how to live in Yorkshire.
So the answer to my question?
It’s never, ever, too early. Throw on your Christmas jumper, deck the halls, uncork the Cava, bring out the mince pies and enjoy every moment of the best month of the year.
Happy Christmas everyone. FOLLOW LISA @_lisa_dawson_
‘The kids are sent to forage in the woods for branches suitable for fairy light festooning’