Christmas Mornings With Treetopia: How To Decorate A Non Traditional Tree, Three Easy Ways
This year, I've been asked to take part in a Christmas Mornings With Treetopia blog hop and as a result, am now the proud owner of two fabulous trees - Oh Christmas Tree (a 7.5ft pre lit green fir) and Winter White (a slightly smaller 6ft pre lit white tree). Christmas mornings in the Dawson household usually involve being woken at 5.00 am at the latest - in fact, its been known for us to be woken at 3.00 am - by Leo, our eight year old, who will already have opened his Christmas stocking and eaten all the chocolate. After being harassed downstairs by all three, we'll be eating croissants and drinking Bucks Fizz by 7.00 am and ready for a day of fun and festivity.
I bloody LOVE Christmas on Instagram. First of all, the fact it starts mid November is, for me, only a bonus. Christmas Day itself is, after all the massive build up, generally a bit of a let down and involves spending the majority of my time in the kitchen, shouting at Joe to clear up wrapping paper, loading the dishwasher, clearing up dog sick after he's eaten the canapés and ultimately, washing up fifteen baking trays and swearing that next year we're going out for lunch. The run up to the day is the blissful bit - building the excitement, buying the presents, planning the day and styling your home to the limit. Oh, and having the excuse to drink 'Christmas' drinks every night of December and eating your way through countless Asda BOGOF Celebrations tubs. Much more fun.
When it comes to Christmas tree's, we've always put ours up as early as possible. I can never understand why people would wait until the last week before Christmas to get their tree swag on. My family were always early tree erectors - my Dad would get the Homebase 7ft luxury edition faux special out of the garage and spend at least half a day putting in the individual boughs. My Mum would then spend literally hours decorating it to within an inch of its life, adorning it with decorations, tinsel and angel hair, finishing off with lametta. For those of you not familiar with the wonder that is lametta, it's shredded strips of metallic foil made of tin and lead that you hang over your tree for an 'authentic' winter icicle effect. I'm not even sure that they make it nowadays, tbh, it must breach about 20 Health & Safety regulations.
When I was small we had a cat called Willy (true story) and he made the fatal mistake once of eating a piece. Our suspicions were first aroused when he paraded around the living room with a long strand of lametta hanging out of his backside. My Dad leapt into action - he stepped sharply on the strand and Willy ran for his life, leaving behind a full length, rather unsalubrious strip of silver. You'll be pleased to know that piece of lametta didn't make it on to the tree that year.
Joe and I had a huge faux tree for years when the children were small. Anyone who has children or animals will know that bringing a real tree into your home is like a death knell for any poor fir unlucky enough to be chosen. If they're not pulling it over, eating it or climbing it, you can guarantee the cat will be using it as a litter tray. Joe insisted we keep it for years and when we moved to York, I freecycled it without him even knowing anything about it. I would thoroughly recommend that method, btw. The first he knew was when he went to look for it in the garage.
For the past three years, we have had the Real McCoy but despite the age of my children, it definitely has its downsides. Due to me insisting that it's up and decorated by the end of November, it's always completely dead by Christmas Day. This could also be something to do with the fact that I am shocking at watering but also because they have a limited shelf life, unless you buy them as growing trees in pots. But of course, then you are restricted to about 4ft high which doesn't fit in with my 'buy the biggest bastard you can, even if it's virtually touching the ceiling and you have to move all the furniture around and even out of the room to accommodate it' mantra. So despite the fact that I love both the smell and the look of a real tree, the reality is is that they hold no longevity for Instagram purposes. Priorities, darlings.
This year, it's faux, faux, faux all the way to Christmas. There's Oh Christmas Tree, a 7.5ft green pre lit beauty in the sitting room from Treetopia. The dining room is home to Winter White, a 7ft white pre lit wonder, also from Treetopia. These trees are a complete revelation - having the lights already installed makes such a huge difference when it comes to the ease of putting it up. The green one is so realistic that it's hard to confirm whether it's actually faux until you are close up.
I've gone for gold in Ella's room with another 7ft white tree of loveliness from Festive Lights. Not forgetting the twig tree in the living room and the mini tree in the kitchen. Overkill? Never.
So the question was, how to decorate them? Last week I presented a Christmas tree decoration workshop on behalf of Viktor & Rolf to 20 very gorgeous beauty influencers and found myself pondering the idea of Christmas tree trends. This is how I narrowed it down.
1. The Hygge Scandi Style Tree
Everyone knows this one. Scandinavians are shit hot at decorating and it's a trend that has been welcomed with open arms over here in the UK. The concept of hygge (pronounced 'hue ga' - I've been pronouncing it 'hyg' for the last five years) is all about being cosy, warm, comfortable and snug and that's what we all want to feel at Christmas. It's no surprise that it's such a popular trend.
The ideal Hygge tree is real (that rules me out then), perfectly formed, warm lit and strung with white and grey decorations. Natural textures and neutrals abound.
2. The Contemporary White Tree
The all white tree is endlessly popular. If you hanker towards this decor style, then this will be very appealing to you. Pure white decorations on a green tree is consistently stylish and fits brilliantly into a modern, contemporary or minimalist interior.
All white creates a calming and relaxed environment and blends in easily with all decor styles.
3. The Totally Traditional Tree
This is another popular choice. The traditional tree will be primarily red, gold and green, with decorations handed down through the family and new ones being added each year to create a tree that is filled with memories.
Red is also a current fashion trend so there's loads of it on the High Street this year when it comes to theming your tree.
4. The Wide Ranging Non Traditional Tree Category
Okay, so this is the big one. Current interior trends are translated on to the boughs of your tree and the world is your oyster when it comes to decorating. Millenial Pink has been a biggy this year and this has been reflected in tree decor, with pinks and pastels everywhere. Mixed metallic is another popular one and there's a copper, gold and silver bauble extravanganza going on on the High Street.
If you are a fan of eclectic styling, there's really no stop button when it comes to getting creative. And why stop at a green tree? White, pink, gold, silver. Expand your tree horizons and try something different.
So how have I decorated my trees this year? Well, if you follow me on Instagram you will know I'm a sucker for non trad and this year I've pushed my boundaries. Not only were they up earlier than ever before on 24 November (some say too early, I like to say sensible), but I've cast aside tried and tested tree decor themes and moved on to something different. Here's what I've done.
Tree Number 1 - The Flowerbomb Inspired Chic Tree
My brief for the Viktor & Rolf workshop was Flowerbomb and I took that to the extreme by decorating the trees with faux silk flowers (full creds for the suggestion to Dan from Miller Grey). It was so unusual and effective that I decided to recreate the look on my own tree.
What I Did
Decorated With Faux Flowers: I wanted shades of pink but I didn't want to spend a fortune on flowers so I visited the bastion of economy purchases, The Range, a store that rarely disappoints. And sure enough, it didn't. I picked up two bouquets of pale pink roses £4.99 a bunch and two bouquets of faux peonies, £5.99 a bunch. Dunelm also came up trumps - I bought two bouquets of three large mixed colour peonies for £6 each and two smaller bunches of five peonies for £5.50. This gave me a mixed size of flowers that were perfect for the tree.
Cut The Flowers Down: I used wire cutters to cut the flowers down to a size that would fit on the tree. I took the extra green foliage that came with the bouquets and added in between the flowers on the tree. Waste not want not.
Used Florist Ribbon: Rather than using a traditional garland, I used 70mm florist ribbon to wrap around the tree. This is perfect for the purpose as it's bendable and can be bought in lots of different widths. I bought mine from eBay and it was £7.99 for 20 metres which was more than enough.
Added Mini Honeycombs. I wanted to break up the flowers so I added mini honeycombs in pale pink to match, also purchased from eBay.
Topped The Tree: I added one of the huge peonies as a tree topper. Perfect.
I arranged the decorations on a slant so that it looked as if they were wrapped around. The response? My daughter accused me of moving over to 'shabby chic' (a term she purposely used as an insult as she knows it's my worst decor nightmare). Max and Leo looked at it askance and Joe commented that he liked the fact I'd used white lights for a change instead of coloured lights, which just proved that he never looks at anything as I've never used coloured lights in my life. However, the Hermes delivery man loved it.
Tree Number 2 - The White Kitsch Tree
I have a total devotion to anything kitsch so it was only a matter of time before I produced a tree that displayed my commitment to this theme. The white tree was the obvious candidate.
What I Did
Decorated In Neon: Upon discovering that Paperchase had opened in the York Designer Outlet with 70% off all decorations, I hot footed it over there immediately and bought lots of lovely neon decorations that nobody else wanted. Sorry, what I actually meant was is that nobody else was cool or stylish enough to want to buy. Ha.
Rummaged Through 17 Years Worth Of Decorations: I went through my decoration box (extravagant word for an empty wine box) to find all the decorations that would fit this scheme. Surprisingly, after I had discarded almost an entire store full of red wooden Scandi style IKEA decorations from years past, I had quite a good collection that were perfect for the tree. I had some really old knitted ones from Joe's Grandmother and some really kitsch and retro style ones so I was able to decorate the whole tree without any further purchasing required. Everyone's a winner.
Topped The Tree: The obvious choice for a kitsch tree was a kitsch tree topper and a mint green, gold antlered stag wearing a gold belcher chain from Paperchase was perfection.
My friend Pandora came over and nearly fainted with horror - she's a Traditional Tree aficionado. The kids loved it and Joe pronounced it his favourite although this was in the same breath as the coloured lights comment so it doesn't hold much credence. No comment from the Hermes delivery man.
Tree Number 3 - The Teen Girlie Pink Dream
So Ella had asked for a tree in her bedroom and who was I to disappoint her? Her bedroom is a combination of grey, pink and white and it was only fair that her tree be the same.
What I Did
Lit It Up: It's a white tree so I needed a white corded string of lights - green wasn't going to cut it. I removed the white lights from around my bar - they're mini festoons purchased ages ago from eBay - and arranged them around the tree.
Went To Home Bargains: Seeing as barely anyone aside from Ella ever enters her room due to the overwhelming washing pile, discarded knickers and unmade Tracy Eminesque bed, I thought economical baubles would be the best route to go. Home Bargains didn't disappoint - I bought a tub of 40 pale pink, pink glitter and mint green baubles for £4 and a smaller tub for £1.99. I discarded all the mint green and hung the remainder using wire tree hangers. I put as many as possible around the tree to really bulk it out.
Topped The Tree: For a teen girlie pink dream tree, there was only one option for the tree topper - a pink bow. £1.99 Home Bargains. Job done.
This tree is really simple yet really effective and it looks brilliant in Ella's room. Because it's totally normal to have a 7ft white tree in your bedroom, obvs. No comment from anyone else as no one else enters Ella's room due to the unwashed clothes and discarded knickers. Not even the Hermes delivery man.
So that's my three trees. I've still got another to go up - my eBay IKEA bargain fabric tree is still to be decorated - and I feel that I've taken my tree decorating skills (previously of the string on the lights, chuck it all on and wait for the dog to eat the baubles, variety) to new levels this year. But the best thing about both tree decorating and interior decorating is that it's a reflection of both your personality and what you love. Your tree and your decor can be as individual as you are. Bring on the Instagram Christmas Treefest 2017.
This post was in conjunction with the lovely people at Treetopia and the product was gifted. I would never consider promoting a product that I didn't love and wouldn't have in my own home.