I’l admit it. I’ve been a Christmas snob. And frankly, I’m hanging my head in shame.
You see, we’ve been homeowners for 27 years – that’s twenty seven years we’ve had to slowly build a colection of beautiful decorations, traditions and rituals. Every year we just buy two real trees – everything else is there and ready. It’s been so long that we’ve been doing it, that I’d rather forgotten where we started.
This is a paid collaboration with Tesco, who have compensated me for sharing with you the new Fox & Ivy range. All product choices, opinions, reviews and photography are my own. Also contains affiliate links.
It’s the time of year when parents feel the pressure more than any other, I think. Of course we all want to give our kids the most amazing and magical time. Of course we want them to feel the magic, and feel treasured and special. But that doesn’t mean adding to the stress of the house for months as you try and manage financially with the burden not just of the gifts but the decorations, the food, the drink, the entertaining, the wrapping…
Our first Christmas together, we had pretty much zero funds. We were broke. But we still wanted our house to look pretty and magical. And it totally did. When Tesco asked me to create a beautiful room just from their decs, I admit, I hesitated. How could my house possibly look pretty without my 30yrs-worth of carefully curated decorations?
I’m an idiot.
Because of COURSE it can. Our first year together, we did what I’m guessing everyone else does when they start out – you cobble together what you can.
We bought the cheapest sparkliest baubles we could find – a boatload of rubbish plastic ones from the cheap store at the bottom of the high street. And you know what? They looked brilliant. I relaised you don’t need hand-blown artisan glass – you need some enthusiasm, some colour, some sparkle and some fairylights. You need to make the mood, not a masterpiece.
Yes, slowly over the years you gradually add to it, and build your own collection and memories. But when the budget is tight – the cheap stuff is just as pretty by fairylight..
So I took on the challenge – and starting from scratch you can see how it looked; the only products in that picture are items already in the house, or new from Tesco’s current Christmas range. Total spend? £98 – and I pushed the boat out.
If you don’t use individual baubles, but dress the tree the way I did for the Christmas Dining Room, that brings the total spend down to £67 for the whole room!
Now, not to brag or anything – but that’s pretty damned Christmassy, right?
And here it is in the cold light of day, because we all know it’s cheating to just light a room by fairy lights, they make everything prettier.
And actually – that’s rather the point here. Fairy lights DO make everything prettier. You simply cannot tell whether those baubles cost me £10, £1… or £5 for 50 of them. You just can’t.
Use fairy lights, add a little sparkle – and hey presto, the magic happens.
So, here’s what we did:
The Christmas Tree
It’s been years since we used an artificial tree, I’d honestly forgotten how effective they are – and at £35, this one’s a total winner. It’s the 6ft Luxury Cone & Berry Tree; it was £50, but is now on offer at just £35.
It has a decent stand, and the tree branches are bracketed to make putting it up super-easy. It fluffs out perfectly, and the branches are stong enough for the glass ornaments, too. the cones and berries add a really nice depth of colour – totally recommend, not sure you can beat it for that price.
(btw – also featured are the Cotswold Cake Tins, £6 for the pair. They’re so so pretty – we’re filling ours with home made cookies and mince pies and giving as gifts to the grandparents.)
The Fairy Lights
Key to the success of any tree. We used the box of 200 multicoloured LEDs (now half price, at £12 a set), and the fill the tree perfectly.
(btw – tree up, then lights, then baubles. And never any tinsel on the tree, okay?)
This is where we splurged on this tree – Tescos have a big range, and they’re currently on a 3 for 2 offer. And there are some peaches in there. Here’s some of our favourites from what we picked: they range in price between £1.50 and the most expensive (that postbox) is £2.50.
Probably my favourite item, the scarlet postbox with a snowy top and a robin. Loving the small detail of the last posting date on the front, too!
There’s a telephone box in the series too, which is just as lovely.
This glass Father Christmas has a real vintage feel – once he was on the tree I’d swear he was from the 1950s. He’s roughly the size of the palm of my hand, and has a deep lustre finish that makes him look gorgeously jolly nestled among the branches.
NOw here’s the thing. This little guy is a light, cheap plastic covered in glitter. He’s just £1.50.
And yet – he looks spectacular.
Expensive decorations are a glorious luxury (we, like most families I know, buy just one new one each year) – but a little smart buying of the stylish cheap ones, and your tree will look amazing for a fraction of the price.
It’s quite hard to capture this one, but I love it; a sparkling little village scene inside a pretty glass dome.
The Extra Details
The tree always makes the room – but it’s the smaller details you scatter throughout that lift your Christmas decorations to something extra special.
We have a wide oak beam as a mantelpiece – just crying out for a little Christmas treatment.
So we’ve used the battery-powered fairylights (100 set for £5) to string along it (over the next day or so I’ll nip out to the local fields and forage some ivy from the hedgerows to thread through the lights), and placed that fab red Noel sign in the centre. Made of layered wood with a rustic feel, it’s a snip at £6,
Next to the Noel sign, at the end of the mantelpiece we stood Mr Magnificent the standing stag. He’s just £5, is a very simple thing – and honestly he looks fabulous. Once again, it’s amazing the effect a little sparkle has.
And just one final touch – we’re in LOVE with these Initial mugs:
The mugs are £4 each, and are a creamy white with a really special little gold touch around the handle and on the initial (the coasters are £1.50). They’re gorgeous, and a perfect gift.
(also, that yellow throw in the background? That’s the £10 one we featured in the garden outdoor cinema, and the same as the silver one in the family movie nights. Whatever the latest colourway is, I can’t recommend them strongly enough. They’re £10, people!)
FIND IT AT TESCO…
To find out where you can purchase any of the Christmas Decorations featured in these pages, check Tesco here.
Some of the smaller products are available online with your grocery shopping, and the rest can be found in selected Superstores and Extras, subject to availability.
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