Monday, 5 December 2011
Guest Blogger: Alison Cork, home expert, writer and broadcaster, on her Christmas at home.
I’m a sucker for ritual, and regardless of faith, I think Christmas presents a fabulous opportunity to be with family, take time out, and indulge in some time honoured traditions.
When it comes to decorations, I always choose a theme – this year, in the sitting room at least, it’s Decadence! I am going for the rich pinks, purples and turquoises of the orient, and as far as the tree is concerned, the more decoration the better. Minimalism is OUT.
I am particularly fond of peacocks, and have seen some stunning and really inexpensive peacock inspired decorations at Wilkinson, Matalan, House of Fraser, Angel At My Table and others. One thing I saw at Fortnum and Mason was a bejewelled peacock tree topper – cheap it was not, but I am lusting after it something rotten. Retailers really seem to have pushed the boat out this year –take a look at Tesco and Sainsburys too.
In the dining room I’m going for a White Ice theme, and will be hanging a myriad of white baubles from the central chandelier. Over the mirrors I’m going for the silver eucalyptus wreaths from B&Q! A completely white and silver table with my silvered fruit centre piece and walnut place name holders will finish it off nicely.
At which point my mind turns to food. I think this year it’s going to be very trad, with a turkey and trimmings. Boxing Day will be beef and Christmas Eve some sort of salmon and prawn dish. I have a fantastic recipe for trifle, and on the drinks front, its Gluwein (mulled wine) and Lidl champagne for me – it beat all the other supermarkets on taste (according to Which magazine) and costs half the price. For festive cakes and chocolates, you can’t beat the selection at Aldi and Lidl.
In terms of traditions, we have a bit of a hotchpotch. My mother is German, so we always have a special dinner on Christmas Eve, and indeed, as a child that was when we opened our presents. We also celebrate Hannukah, which begins on the 21st December this year. Then there are presents on Christmas Day. So basically, we start on Dec 21st and keep going until New Year – it’s never quiet in our house!
Finally, my preparations would not be complete without involving Henry, our six foot bronze stag who lives in the front garden. Henry gets his own tree and looks for all the world as if he is just stepping out of the Scottish woodland. Passers by love it and so do we. Christmas really is my favourite time of year.
Find some more great Christmas tips and tricks from Alison on AlisonCork.com. Find home and garden bargains at HomesandBargains.co.uk and recommended and vetted tradespeople at ProblemSolved.co.uk