I love Christmas. Who Knew? My parents made each holiday season so special. Even though they were grown-ups they had managed to keep that child-like joy of dressing things up and making everything sparkle. The anticipation of the big day was palpable in our house and all of us joined in with the preparations. Nothing was too much, if it stood still we put tinsel and lights on it!
That over-excited exuberance and unadulterated joy has stayed with me into my adulthood and I have absolutely no time for any baa humbug grinch-like nonsense. In my house it’s go big or go home! I have fond memories of Christmas movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone, where the outside of people’s houses are adorned with the magic of the season. American’s really know how to have fun with it. Here, in the U.K it seems to be frowned upon to go crazy on the outside of your house and I don’t know why. I think there’s a little bit of snobbery involved and somehow it’s seen as tacky.
Come on! Let’s go crazy!
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be! Truthfully, I’m not actually a fan of multi-coloured lights and hundreds of neon adornments on a house, I think it looks a bit like a disco. However, I will never put anyone down for doing so, good on you for spreading a little festive spirit in your neighbourhood and never be told otherwise! Once you get past Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, the nights are long and usually dark by 4pm. Why wouldn’t you want to bring light and happiness into those weeks running up to Christmas? What harm is it doing? In times such as the ones we are currently enduring, I think it’s even more important to spread the joy. We all need to find something happy to hold on to and keep us going.
Now, there’s one slight problem with my Christmas offerings this year – we sold our house! Gone are my fabulous steps and New England house of dreams. Enter “Dark and Dingy rental” in all it’s lack-lustre grinch-loving spitefulness! However, despite that, I will not be beaten! A wreath is on the door, there’s a festive foraged garland over the 70’s inspired Greek Taverna mantle and the tree will be up this weekend, come hell or high water (please God, not the high water!).
If you’ve been following my Instagram pages, then you’ll know that we recently bought @theharbourdeckhouse – which, once renovated, will become our temporary home and eventually an Airbnb. Yes, you can stay! We’re also in the process of buying our main home, which is yet to be announced.
I have the most beautiful wreath to put on the rustic (that’s being kind) front door of the deckhouse. It’s from Isabella Millay and it’s so beautiful! It’s all the things I asked for: silver tones, natural vibes with a hint of blood red ribbon. Do check out her Instagram page and website as she’s so talented!
It doesn’t have to be “extra” to be beautiful!
I’m also planning a few lovely shots with winter sleighs and ice skates, so although it may be on a lesser scale, it’s still utterly fabulous! All that is to come on Instagram and here on my website in the next week or so.
Earlier in the year, however, I got the chance to style up my previously infamous steps for Cox & Cox, as part of a partnership with them. So, if I was still living there, this is what I would have done.
For me, (based on not selling up and scurrying to the coast to the depressing rental) this year it’s about warm white lights, Fir trees and Nordic Pines, light up rattan reindeer and presents wrapped in festive paper and jolly jute ribbons. I’m channeling my inner Scandi vibes, I am a natural Nordic blonde after all!
However, it could be as simple as a Spruce wreath for the front door and a pair of potted Christmas trees either side of the door. That would surely create a warm Yuletide welcome for all that came a calling.
I’m known for my front steps displays and so I plan to go large with wild festive abandon – Christmas with bells on! I’m a huge fan of symmetry either side of a front entrance. I have a staircase leading up to my doorway of Yule-tide dreams and so I’ve adorned them with a Christmas Tree forest and light up woodland animals – it’s a magical Narnia in the Surrey Hills! Every now and again though, it helps to use a little asymmetry just to jolt the eye and make people take notice. The odd LED faux rattan hare wouldn’t go a miss just to counter balance the trees either side of the steps.
I’ve used indoor/outdoor light up stars of various sizes and fabulous pre-lit pine garlands on the bannisters leading up to our home to entice you in for a mince pie and a hearty glass of something delicious!
The forest of fabulous pre-lit pine trees, some as high as ten feet tall create a sense of enchantment. I can just imagine our friend’s children venturing through the branches of pine needles, pushing them aside like they were pushing the fur coats hanging in the old wardrobe in the famous novels to a winter wonderland beyond. Lucky for them, they won’t be greeted by an icy snow queen when they reach the other side! Wouldn’t it be great if it snowed though? Can you imagine the joy on their faces! The look is completed with indoor/outdoor light up wired deer. It’s a menagerie of lit-up faux rattan heaven in a snowy Scandinavian forest. What will the neighbours say?
Well, they didn’t say a lot, actually! That’s one of the reasons we moved! We had the most beautiful house on the most strange, unfriendly, nonchalant street. Every time I did a front step transformation it was either met with total indifference or mumblings of: “Why does he show off so much?”
We had one lovely neighbour next door and we are still firm friends and there was a lovely couple further up the lane, but everyone else was decidedly duplicitous. I’ve never known a street like it. We have lived in so many places and have always had great relations with neighbours. In seven years, hardly anyone ever said hello.
Still, to end on a positive note: we are where we are supposed to be. The coast came a calling and we answered. We have been welcomed so warmly and finally feel that we are in a place where people celebrate happiness, success and a joy for life. Wherever you are, show your best side on the outside of your house this year, even if the neighbours tut! If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us it’s that life is precious and very short. There’s not enough time to worry about what the neighbours will say. Go all out! Do the Christmas you have always dreamed of doing, but were too scared to! Knock yourselves out with the joy of twinkly sparkling lights! I dare you!
Other Christmas posts from jpslifeandloves.com: