Joyous Trimmings: Festive home decor to brighten your Christmas celebrations

Festive home decor, when done right, can brighten any Christmas celebration

With temperatures falling steadily of late, everyone is inevitably reminded of the approach of one of the year’s most festive and enjoyable seasons – Christmas. As most Hongkongers have been prudently and cautiously staying indoors since January this year due to Covid-19-related health concerns, this has unwittingly treated them to the luxury of constantly being being able to connect with loved ones at home. The perfect culmination to this is the upcoming Christmas holiday, a perfect and auspicious time to celebrate in the upcoming holidays together under with all those you love under one roof. To ensure everyone is in a conducive mood for the Yuletide festivities,  jazzing up your home with colourful, finely-crafted, exotic and artistically-designed decor, notably a Christmas tree, ornaments, lights and table settings, is a vital must.

Joyous Trimmings Festive home decor to brighten your Christmas celebrations (7)

Christmas tree

Any celebration of the year’s grandest holiday will never be complete without the display of an iconic, decor-laden Christmas tree, a tradition said to have originated in Germany in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Though Christians are a minority in Hong Kong, most upmarket abodes in the city will look all the more festive and elegant if adorned with a 10ft-tall authentic fir tree sourced directly from a North American or European farm. Finding an artificial Christmas tree is easy, but authentic trees are also readily available in various florists and other shops in town. And the good news is that aside from right-to-your-doorstep delivery, some shops even offer the extra service of recycling a Christmas tree after it has brought cheer and joy during the Yuletide festivities.

Joyous Trimmings Festive home decor to brighten your Christmas celebrations (8)

Christmas ornaments

A vast array of attention-grabbing Christmas ornaments can easily be found in major stores such as IKEA, as well as in upmarket shops in luxury shopping malls, notably ifc and Pacific Place on Hong Kong Island and K11 in Tsim Sha Tsui. They offer a wide selection of the most attractive decorative items that family members will enjoy setting up on a Christmas tree, perfect for family bonding time  over a relaxing weekend. If wary of shopping for Christmas decor in person, a viable option is to shop online at Amazon or even Taobao – which stocks ornaments of every imaginable shape and hue – and arranging their shipment to Hong Kong before Christmas. For optimum ornamental impact, it’s best to start by distributing your statement timepieces evenly across the tree. Then, in the spaces between, hang the smaller, more colourful decorations, while being careful  to avoid clumping. Finish with an angel or star at the tree top.

Joyous Trimmings Festive home decor to brighten your Christmas celebrations (6)

Christmas lights

The sight of frenetic and vibrant movements of bright, flashing and dancing lights never fail to delight and lift the spirit of anyone and everyone, whether you’re young or not-so-young. Head immediately to IKEA or any one or several of the major shopping malls in town if in some rush to purchase and set up indoor or outdoor Christmas lights much earlier than the day of the Yuletide celebration. 

Those blessed with a garden outside the home is certainly in an enviable situation to enjoy and even show off a dazzling, bright and attention-grabbing outdoor display of Christmas lights set up in an artificial or authentic tree or shrub in the external space. A set of lights for external use is certainly designed to withstand the elements, including rains. If you’re struggling with a confusing array of Christmas lights, making the best choice may pose some challenge and even some degree of difficulty. When unable to make a choice of indoor lights, an easy way out of this not-so-complicated fix is to simply pay a visit to the most luxurious and upmarket Christmas lights display in any of the major local shopping malls for quick reference and even assistance in the selection of the most impressive, suitable and grandest Yuletide lights for your home. 

Festive Flourishes: Upping the oomph factor of your ho-ho-home decor

With the weather turning cooler and the shopping malls, restaurants, pubs and shops all selling attractive wares, deals and more to usher in the end-of-the-year revelry, it’s safe to say that Christmas is on everyone’s minds. To make the festive season even more fun, now would be a good time to start decorating your house with festive flourishes. Whether you prefer traditional decor or something more modern, there’s no better way to get into the holiday mood than by adding a touch of red, green and white to your home.

Festive Flourishes - Christmas Decor

While the sheer variety of decorations available in the stores, from lights and ornaments to indoor and outdoor decor, can cater to every theme – be it rustic, vintage, glamorous or contemporary – it’s easy t o feel overwhelmed by the plethora of options available. To help you resist the urge to go overboard, we have put together a list of accessories to help you welcome the holiday in true style.

Festive Flourishes - Tree

Christmas tree
Nothing makes your home look merrier than a cheerful Christmas tree. For a truly authentic touch, choose a Noble fir sourced directly from sustainable North American tree farms. Not only do they come in a huge range of sizes, there are several florists in Hong Kong that offer to pick up your tree after the holiday season for it to be recycled, so that you can fully enjoy the verdant seasonal centrepiece in your home while still caring for the environment.

Festive Flourishes - Ornaments

Christmas ornaments
Once you’ve found the perfect spot to show off your festive foliage, the next important step is to make it look as stylish as possible. Bedeck your perfect Christmas tree with baubles, ornaments, figurines and lights, all perfectly coordinated to match your central theme. If you want to glam it up further, just spritz some metallic spray paint to ensure the branches and leaves sparkle. A tree-top ornament is also a beautiful way to enhance its inherent appeal. Although time-honoured festive flourishes such as angels, fairies, stars and ribbons are popular choices, for a touch of uniqueness, you can even create your own customised ornament, ensuring your tree-topper is a true showstopper.

Festive Flourishes - Stockings

Christmas stockings
One of the most enduring Christmas Eve traditions is to hang stockings from mantels or bedposts for Santa Claus to fill up with gifts. Putting aside the myth of Father Christmas, these woolly accoutrements can go a long way in adding festive cheer to your home. From classic reds and greens to colourful pompoms, whatever it is that catches your fancy, make sure to hang up a holiday stocking that is just as envy-worthy as the goodies inside.

Festive Flourishes - Table Setting

Christmas tableware
While a hearty spread goes hand in hand with any celebration, go the extra mile to ensure your Christmas table setting does your dinner justice. From festive flourishes and colour-coordinated plates and mugs to red-hued crystal glasses and ornate napkin holders, nothing creates a more lasting impression on loved ones than a wonderfully decorated table. Pay attention to the little details, however, as a mishmash of objects and clashing themes can take away from the allure of the whole experience.

Festive Flourishes - Lights

Christmas lights
Brighten up the holidays – and your home – with those merry, twinkly lights that lift up the mood with the click of a power switch. No matter your mode of illumination, be it mini LEDs or retrostyle globe strands, there’s no going overboard in  this department. For the tree, drape the trunk andthe branches with as many strings of light as you want. You can also wrap some strands on wreaths and mistletoes for a touch of extra warmth, while longer strands can be used as a curtain of light on the windows. Mix and match with colours for an element of fun or to create a calm, soothing ambience. Those looking to add a vintage touch to their Christmas cheer may also opt for traditional candles with ornate candleholders as centrepieces for the tables. When it comes to festive flourishes, brighter is truly better…

Text: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay
Photos: AFP

Mistletoe Maker: Florist extraordinaire Gemma Hayden Blest on Christmas decor

Gemma Hayden Blest has been a part of making Hong Kong beautiful for nearly seven years now. Hailing from the UK, the floral designer built up a not-too-shabby resume working under brands such as Alexander McQueen and Burberry before finding her true passion – flowers. We took a stroll with Gemma down the streets of Central, and had the floral connoisseur give us tips on how to make our Christmas budding with beauty.

Flowers GHB

Gemma Hayden Blest

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work…

I work as a floral designer. My work ranges from events to shop installations to editorial. I specialise in communicating ideas through flower power, creating a mood or ambiance through flora or using them to help create a concept.

You studied fashion design; so, at what point did you know you could use that experience and expertise to channel it into floral designs and arrangements?

I love fashion and a huge amount of what I do stems from my fashion background. I think I found the lag times in fashion frustrating and prefer the speed that’s required for flowers. They have to be designed, created and enjoyed in the moment.

Gemma Hayden Blest
Arrangements by Gemma Hayden Blest

Since the holidays are typically a time of indulgence, can you give us suggestions on how to incorporate eco-friendly arrangements in decoration?

Definitely. There is no need to be excessively plastic with your designing. Invest in good-quality products that can be stored each year. The beauty in flowers is that it’s so easy to make a set of vases of candle holders look completely different each year. Pine, berries and eucalyptus are pretty long-lasting, so a few sprigs can last a few weeks.

How do holiday arrangements in Asia differ from say the UK, where you’re from?

We’re lucky to live in HK where imports are easy to get. I struggle with the loss of scent though. Boxed-up goods just never smell like freshly cut pine from the garden. I tend to give imports a helping hand with scented candles or room mist. Jo Malone does a beautiful Pine & Eucalyptus candle that helps bring back the aroma.

Gemma Hayden Blest
Arrangements by Gemma Hayden Blest

What flower is the most popular around Christmas time with your clients, and what is your personal favourite?

The Queen Amaryllis is always a popular favourite. Grand and colourful, there’s also a lovely anticipation in waiting for the bulbs to bloom that reflects the anticipation of waiting for Christmas day to arrive.

What tips can you give our readers about Christmas decorations?

A running element throughout your home will hold everything together – maybe it’s a type of ribbon or floral element or focal colour. Also a wreath on your front door sets a lovely welcoming tone for what’s inside.

Thank you.

Interview by: Bailey Atkinson
Image courtesy: Gemma Hayden Blest