Think sparse trees and wintry palettes
Garlands and wreaths, fairy lights, ornaments and bows… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Traditionalists believe that the holiday season isn’t in full swing until the Christmas tree is kitted out, but there are other small and simple ways to incorporate the sights and smells of this magical time into your home. We suggest you get into the holiday mood by choosing a décor style that suits you and your home best.
Traditional: You can never go wrong with a classic red and green palette. But Mumbai-based décor influencer and avid Christmas enthusiast Rukmini Ray Kadam recommends darker shades — one notch darker than jewel tones. “Think dark maroon and dark, dark greens. Flank with dull, antique gold,” she suggests.
Modern: Almost anything can go in this kind of setup. Neutrals and nudes with a bit of cream and gold work well as does the dark green, white, and black palette that looks brilliant. Rukmini offers some other options: “A bit of blush and sage, or of course, all white!”
Farmhouse/ rustic: Decking the halls in country chic can translate into a rustic and vintage-style Christmas. Pair plaids, buffalo checks, and ginghams with exposed wood, cheery accents, and winter greens. “Work with natural textures, reclaimed woods, distressed metals, and a seasonal colour palette to create a warm, comfy space,” says Hyderabad-based designer Aditya Goutham.
Wintry: Wintry palettes can either be white or cosy. “For the white winter, stick to whites and add lots of textural details with a tiny bit of blue or white glitter,” Rukmini says. For the cosy winter palette, bring in ample textural elements in wood tones, green, and rust.
The holiday season and the drop in temperature necessitate cosy textures at play, both visual and tactile. “Think faux fur, plaids, chequered patterns and some grain sack in cream and red. Strewn all over the house, they look and feel absolutely wonderful,” Rukmini says.
Abhinayah Sundaramoorthy, co-founder, The Yellow Dwelling, suggests bringing out classic reds, prints, and patterns in cushions along with a comfy throw to create that hygge feel. “Place a few candles by your side table or coffee table. Yes, this could be your perfect setting to binge-watch your favourite holiday movie with a warm drink in hand!” she suggests.
Other quick Christmas ideas? “A pretty wreath that can be DIY-ed very easily using greens from the garden, a few pinecones, and red ribbons. It’s the perfect addition to your door, entryway, or even in the dining room,” she says.
But just visual charm can’t complete Christmas decor; it must appeal to all the senses. “Christmas is also a sensory thing. I love spots of scented candles in the house that remind one of either the forest or a cosy, crackling fire. I also love scents of nutmeg and cinnamon — scents that are very reminiscent of a Christmas kitchen,” she says, adding that texture is also vital.
Aditya suggests brewing up a stovetop potpourri with seasonal fruits and spices to spread the cheer across the home. “Fill a saucepan with water. Tip in whatever you have handy: orange segments, fresh/ dried apple slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, grated nutmeg, a splash of vanilla extract, rosemary/ sage leaves, and let it simmer. And, voila!”
You can also add to the sights and smells of Christmas by stringing up a homemade dried orange garland. “Just cut the orange in slices, about 1/3rd of an inch thick. Line them up in an oven tray and bake at 180 degrees celsius for about an hour. Half way round, take the tray out and flip the slices. They are done when glassy and translucent. Run a twine through them and place on a tree or on the mantel,” Rukmini suggests.
In today’s time, no celebration is complete without thinking of the 3 Rs. The Yellow Dwelling, which is offering a special Christmas collection comprising cushions, curtains, table linen, ornaments, and stockings, is focused on a “sustainable holiday season”.
“Sustainability is key to us and for those reasons, we love using our fabric tree ornaments as decor pieces. Our stuffed tree ornaments have multiple uses — they can be used as curtain tie-backs and napkin rings, or can simply be hung on doorknobs or shelves.
Rukmini offers her take on incorporating sustainability in Christmas décor. “You can start with a live tree. Let it grow, as your Christmas cheer, every year. But you can also buy a good quality artificial tree and use it year after year,” she says.
She’s also a big advocate of reuse. “Reuse your ornaments. If they’ve lost shine, give them a good wash and spray paint them. You can also rub and buff gold and silver. Stash them away in a paper-lined box, and use for year after year.”
Investing in good glass ornaments is a good idea as they stay with you for decades. Once your home is set, get in holiday mood by baking a special cake. Call friends and family over, light those candles, bring out the bubbly — and have yourself a very merry Christmas.
Tips for buying a Christmas tree
Rukmini Ray Kadam feels nothing adds more holiday feel to one’s home than a garland or vase full of pine leaves. “Of course, tall, proud spruce/ fir/ pine trees — real or artificial — are the very epitome of Christmas,” she says. How do you go shopping for a Christmas tree?
Decide the space first: Choose a tree depending on your space and area. Ensure there is at least 6 inches between the top of your tree (including the topper) and the ceiling.
Shapes matter: There are many types of Christmas trees, but the four most common shapes are full, wide, slim, and sparse. Pick one depending on your décor style. Sparse trees can be beautifully decorated in both farmhouse and Scandinavian-style homes.
Needle type: You can choose between PE or PVC, but most trees in India offer the PVC option. Choose PE needles if you can as they look very realistic.