Decorating our homes and gardens for Christmas is a way of bringing light and joy to the darkest part of the year. This year, more than ever, Christmas decorations will bring us much needed joy! Features Writer Rob Bullock offers this guide to decorating for Christmas.
Even before the decorations go up, due to my better half’s Christmas obsession, we are getting festive in our house. Christmas movies are playing on the telly from October, plans are made well before the good weather departs, and our family and friends are discussing coming together over the holidays – this year virtually – possibly.
Staying home to enjoy Christmas
There is nothing quite so wonderful as a lovely decorated home at Christmas time, opening up the boxes of baubles, and tree decorations that our children made when they were little, it is like a trip down memory lane! Perhaps you want to make some of your own decorations, that will create their own lovely memories. Or perhaps you want to push the boat out and buy some sparkling new decorations that will glisten away on the dark evenings. Whatever you do, staying at home for Christmas is where it is at this year. And even though some of us might be isolating or shielding, why not share your decorated homes on FaceTime, Instagram, WhatsApp or Zoom.
This Christmas needs to be made extra special so why not make the most of staying home with even more decorating fun! And it need not cost the earth, you can enjoy re-using old familiar decorations and you can even try your hand at making your own. Whatever you try, Christmas 2020 is going to be the best ever!
History of decorations
The ‘modern’ Christmas tree tradition with its decorations is thought to have originated in 16th century Germany, where small evergreen trees were decorated with the likes of candles, apples, nuts, and berries as “Paradise trees” in church plays.
Over time, devout Christians brought these decorated trees into their homes during the holiday season and started making their entire home festive.
It is Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who is widely credited with being the father of modern Christmas’s and that goes for decorating our homes too. In the late 1840s, a published depiction of the Queen celebrating Christmas with her German-born husband and their family around a decorated evergreen tree transformed the practice into a fashionable one that wealthy families on both sides of the Atlantic rushed to adopt. And since then we have not looked back!
Home-made decorations are fun to make, can bring out your creative side and can be inexpensive. And it is something you need to do well ahead of time!
Here are just two suggestions for making your own decorations using things found on walks around our beautiful area:
These sound simple and they are! And they are easy enough for you to make with children and they are nature-inspired decorations. As you are out for a stroll just grab some twigs, but please do not pull them off trees, look for some on the ground. Take them home and brush any dirt off, then use things you may already have in your cupboards such as have glue, embroidery thread, eco-friendly glitter, poster paints and beads to make some creative patterns and shapes. Simple!
Make your own wreaths
If the twig ornaments have got your creative juices flowing why not try something a little more challenging, making your own wreaths? Wreaths can be made from anything, leftover decorations, recyclable paper, wool, fabrics and our personal favourite, natural objects from outside. Why not take the family on a scavenger hunt of either the garden or your nearest park, collect branches, leaves, holly, mistletoe and pine cones and then weave them all together using garden wire or string. Basic wreath bases are useful but try to use ones that can be recycled.
Do you just go for tinsel or cover the whole house!
Some people prefer the minimalist approach to Christmas decorations, just the odd white bauble or two on your tree, or neatly placed colour co-ordinated tinsel on your mantle piece. I came from a home where my mum piled all her decoration onto one poor tree to the point where the tree was completely covered, but I am married to someone who likes to do it a little more carefully. Today, traditional colours of red, green, white, gold and silver have given way to brighter, eye catching colours giving us all plenty of scope for individual designs for our homes.
We have all seen programmes where people in our communities try and outdo each other with elaborately decorated houses. One of my favourite Christmas movies is ‘Deck the Halls’ with Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick. The premise of the movie, if you have not watched it, and you really should, is two neighbours vying for the best decorated home. By the end of the movie the lights on DeVito’s house can be seen from space! I am not sure how many of us would want to have Christmas lights that can be seen from space, but whatever you do, do what makes you feel festive.
Taking decorations down
Some people hate taking their decorations down so much that they leave them up all year! But, traditionally, all decorations should be boxed up and stored safely by twelfth night. And whilst the house might look strangely empty it does offer the opportunity to give the place an early spring clean in anticipation for the warm days and shorter nights to come.
After Christmas we are all looking forward and full of optimism for a happy and healthy new year and, remember, by twelfth night we are well past the winter solstice, when the days are at their shortest and every single day is longer than the last!
This article is from our Festive edition of Lancaster District Magazine. You can read this edition online here or pick up a copy from distribution points all over the District. Click the image below: