Christmas is back with a bang this year so create an Insta-wonderland worth sharing. Here’s an exclusive first look at our themes for 2021, inspired by the beauty of the British landscape
Of all the hopes and wishes we have for Christmas, this year it must surely be about togetherness. When Judy Garland suggested you Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, she delighted in the notion that, ‘Faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more,’ and after the last year or so, what could feel more perfect? In preparation for welcoming friends and family back into our homes, we’re excited to share our seven decorating themes for the festive season.
Inspiration for Christmas 2021 has been a little closer to home than in previous years. ‘As a team working remotely, we have found joy and beauty in our little pockets of nature and the magic and beauty on our doorsteps,’ explains Jason Billings-Cray, Partner & Christmas Buyer. ‘From windswept coastlines, to babbling rivers, the colours and feelings we discovered over the last year have inspired the looks we have created for the upcoming festive season. We know many of our customers have found the outdoors to be a tonic at a very strange time and that, even with the reopening of the world, this new love affair is here to stay.’
This year’s trends are a celebration of British scenery, both rural and urban. From the snowy peaks of the Scottish highlands to bucolic hedgerows, the weathered beauty of the coast and the bright lights of the city. Join us for a journey through: Snow Mountain, Gemstone Forest, Luxe City, Copper River, Blush Coast, Technicolour Supernature and Festive Field
If you dream of mountain lodges, snowy escapes or Scandi simplicity, this cool and calm frosted scheme will have you feeling right at home. ‘It was inspired by my trips to the Scottish Highlands,’ explains Jason. ‘It’s a traditional look in mostly white and neutrals with blue as an accent. Texture comes from frosting and heather-inspired sprigs and we’ve also introduced plush toy hanging decorations for the kids in a range of characters inspired by the Highlands.’
“We noticed a trend for door-scaping last year that looks set to continue, so we have introduced swag door decorations in two colourways to help create a warm welcome”Jason Billings-Cray,-Partner & Christmas Buyer
It’s a look that beckons you in and invites you to warm up by the fire. ‘We noticed a trend for door-scaping last year that looks set to continue,’ says Jason. ‘So we have introduced swag door decorations in two colourways to help create a warm welcome.’ Add to that fuzzy feeling with blankets, woollens and faux furs to build comfort and team with simple linens and natural wood finishes for a pared-back, honest country charm. Appeal to all the senses by turning the lights down, adding the scent of spruce, and perhaps providing a wee dram or two of something to see off the chill.
The deep woodland shades of this theme are wonderfully grown-up yet there is a playfulness afoot with an enticing invitation to stray from the path and step into the woods – fairytale ending guaranteed.
‘It is inspired by enchanted forests, mythical creatures and the stirring of twilight,’ says Jason. ‘The palette is moody and mysterious, lifted by shots of bright accent colours and opulent touches of gold, ornate decorations and luxury fabrics.’
This look suits a maximalism approach. Layer up the velvets, fill the bar cart with striking glassware and build reflection upon reflection, using mirrors to amplify the glitz. ‘The forest theme is full of greens, pinks and beautiful purples that enhance the magical feel of Christmas,’ suggests Jason. And don’t overlook the sense of fun here. ‘Decorations include fairies, butterflies and dried flower baubles,’ he adds. ‘We’ve introduced our first ever themed tree with green and magenta lights. Mixed with the popular neon lights, it creates a magical centrepiece that children and adults will both adore.’
Our towns and cities have a wonderment all of their own – hustle and bustle by day, dynamic light show by night. ‘Luxe City is inspired by urban architecture, its shared spaces and faceted glass shapes providing a striking modern look for the contemporary home,’ explains Jason.
A sophisticated theme in a modern neutral palette, there is great detail in the wire and glass baubles while the moulded designs celebrate the accessories of urban life. For giftwrap and cards, the design team have looked to festive city culture – a night out at the ballet and The Nutcracker. A clean modern take on the traditional design, with curved edges in modern colourways creates something simple and angelic.
“It’s a contemporary look in a fashion palette, with designs for giftwrap and greetings cards inspired by The Nutcracker”Jason Billings-Cray,-Partner & Christmas Buyer
‘Glass, marble and metallics run throughout this look,’ says Jason. They are, of course, favourite materials of the drinks reception, giving an excuse to stock up on champagne saucers, serving platters, decanters and not forgetting the ice bucket. Ready to play the perfect host? Chin-chin.
Our waterways have always been such a vital element in the landscape with rivers and canals shaping our infrastructure. With rewilding projects on the up, the design team have looked to celebrate these diverse environments and their inhabitants.
‘In our copper-coloured theme of the season, we’ve included highlights in blue,’ says Jason. ‘It’s a look inspired by the beautiful iridescence of freshwater fish, where you get metallic coppers offset by cooler shades. And while wildlife is behind the colour scheme, there are some fun motifs in the decorations, wrap and garlands.’
‘We’ve also introduced a new colour for our best-selling artificial tree to suit this theme,’ says Jason. ‘The Brunswick now comes in a lovely shade of deep blue.’
Ready to decorate now? Jason suggests the orange leaf spray as a great way to add a decorative element through the autumn, ready to be built upon for Christmas. Reed sprays are another great option – great as tree toppers but also versatile for displays all year round.
Being an island, our British coastline is a huge part of our identity, from the White Cliffs of Dover to The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim and the Silver Sands of Morar. Blush Coast is inspired by the colours of sunrise over the seas, pairing soft pink with blue with a nod to that great landscape master, Turner.
“We’ve woven all kinds of natural patterns and textures into this trend, from willow, grasses and sprigs, to details such as the puffins and shells you might spot along the shoreline”Jason Billings-Cray,-Partner & Christmas Buyer
‘Having spent many of my weekends exploring the coastline, and holidaying in the UK for the first time in a long time, we wanted to ensure nature was at the forefront of this look,’ says Jason.
‘We’ve woven all kinds of natural patterns and textures into this trend, from willow, grasses and sprigs to details such as the puffins and shells you might spot along the shoreline. Sea creatures feature heavily in the decorations, from the popular turtle bauble to quirky jellyfish, crabs and lobsters, to the whimsy of sand castles and mermaids which are new this year.’ And who can resist a giant sparkly whale? Vignettes and mini décor-scapes are becoming an established part of the Christmas theme so make yours fun and Insta-worthy.
Red and green are the classic festive favourites, inspired by the holly and the ivy, berries and sprigs, garlands and wreaths made from foliage. It’s a timeless look updated for the modern day with novelty baubles and a hint of woodland foraging.
‘We visited the The Waitrose Farm, the Leckford Estate last summer and were inspired by the crops growing, the hedgerows and the colours of the fields. It was good to reflect on slow-living, slow-cooking and how we use the land,’ says Jason and this theme reminds us to be good custodians.
Look to traditional decorating ideas – the Scandinavians do this so well with wreaths of hanging baubles, candlelight and hand-made details in natural materials. And think about building new traditions of your own, from Christmas Day walks, to who gives out the tree presents, to a special plate for Santa (and Rudolph). Make your Christmas everything you want it to be.
‘In this theme we have boxed trees complete with mini baubles as we want to make it easy for everyone to have a Christmas tree,’ says Jason. ‘Boxed baubles are ideal for filling the tree with colour and creating impact, then the special individual decorations can shine through and be that extra bit special.'
Not all of our landscapes are entirely natural. Cartoons, anime, gaming and the virtual world turn up the volume to create pure escapism. This theme is big, bold and a big pinch of fun.
‘The colour palette is bright and optimistic,’ says Jason. ‘Anything goes and there are no limits, from colour clashes to textures and lighting. We have introduced our first ever white multi-lit tree, which is great for ease – no lights to untangle or arrange. We’ve also bought back our ever popular rainbow wreath – and to go with it a rainbow bauble mini tree.’
“Consider a pre-lit tree for ease. No need to untangle lights or get line lights into position – all the work is done for you”Jason Billings-Cray,-Partner & Christmas Buyer
The team have made sure there’s something for everyone here, with baubles shaped like glass monsters, planets, scuba-diving penguins and even Mrs Claus – anything you might need to create your own story fresh from your imagination. ‘We really wanted to encourage creativity, escapism and fun with a bright, punchy colour palette that kids will love,’ says Jason. Rip up the design rules and go all out on fun with this one. More really is more.