It’s nearly time to get the home ready for Christmas. We asked florist and event stylist Fleur McHarg to conjure up her favourite decorative ideas for Christmas. Here, she discusses how she styles her trees, her little tips and tricks for creating Christmas magic for children, and how she beautifies a home for the holiday period.
If you’re really traditional, you have everything up and your home Christmasified by December 1st so you can count down the twenty-five days until Christmas. It helps to build the anticipation and excitement. I feel that it’s incredibly important to tell the Christmas story through transforming the house – my statement trick is to have intense greenery and nature en masse in the home. Not only striking, the smell is intoxicating, I love it. The scent takes us adults back to our childhood and we get just as excited as the little ones.
What I most love about Christmas is the delicious smell of real pine trees in the home. I like to have two trees at different heights to add more depth. They don’t have to be as big as the ones we’ve used here; you could do two small ones. I don’t put pressure on myself to decorate them intensely – it’s just a few decorations in a complete colour palette, and it’s so effective. Here, I’ve balanced the gold over the tree in a very spaced out design which is subtle and simple. You can’t go wrong with green, white, gold and black. I’ve never felt it necessary to place a star atop the tree – I love the natural line of the tree’s shape.
Decorative things can be collected throughout the year, like pine cones – start collecting these when you’re out in the country during the winter. You only need one bowl of pine cones to add a festive touch. And you can get it all straight from nature, which is so brilliant.
I bought these terracotta pots from Bunnings and painted them myself, it was so simple. If you choose gold, like we did, make sure to paint the pot black first so that the metallic colour sticks. A little trick of mine if the tree isn’t balancing in the pot, is to stuff the base with off-cuts and small branches from the tree, which will not only stabilises it but will make it look really lush and abundant.
I also like to put another little tree or excess pine branches in mini terracotta pots and place them around the house for additional accents. Put one in your child’s bedroom so that they can decorate it exactly how they wish – let their creativity thrive! It is about having a stylish tree but also letting your hair down and having fun with the messy times.
The other major thing to think about is what to leave Santa. He goes to every house and he’s going to get the same biscuits, so why not try something different? Do something a little bit special so he really remembers the visit he made to your home. It’s exciting for him and it’s a part of the storytelling and the magic of Christmas. Make your own shortbreads, or Santa and Christmas tree shaped cookies, and he’ll know that you’ve gone the extra mile.
The Reindeer’s snack is also another chapter in the Christmas tale. My two children Millie and Archie and I spend quite a while outside finding the perfect spot to leave the carrots in a bucket. It’s the logistics – I take it so seriously that they then take it so seriously too. People might think that I’m mad but it’s about the children and creating Christmas magic, and that’s really important. Every year we sit up on the couch in front of the trees, everything is primed and ready, and we sit there and read The Night Before Christmas.