We all have our ancient boxes of tired but traditional festive decorations waiting under the stairs, in the loft, or at the back of the cupboard, gathering dust until it’s time to hang them up once more. But just the simplest of tweaks or additions can bring old decorations back to life and up to date, and give you a fun activity for a rainy winter afternoon, too (as if December weren’t already busy enough!)

So put on your Christmas CD, put a log on the fire and read on for our Christmas home-made décor tips…

I always seem to end up with several rogue pinecones amongst my decorations. They’re so easy to find, free to those near woods and very cheap indeed to those who aren’t. But with just a couple of tweaks, pinecones can really bring a bit of cosy country glamour to your home.

Start with some tree decorations. Gingham red and white ribbon go well with almost any décor, working well with both chic and warm looks. Cut about 25-30cm off, and tie firmly in a bow. Take some cheap natural garden rope or string, wrap round and in between the spokes on the pinecone (as you might a Christmas tree), then loop up and tie around the bow, leaving a loop above the bow to hang from the branch. No glue, no fuss, and a lovely country decoration for hardly any expense. If your décor is more “high-end” than rustic, you can use satin gold, silver or even white ribbon to match your scheme. Make sure to tie it all tightly though, so no pinecones end up going rogue!

Tea lights and glass candles are always a winter staple, giving off warm light and lovely scent. But as chic as their logos on the side of the glass may be, you can make them even more festive. For the country look, take your garden string and tie cinnamon sticks all the way around the candles – so you have a wooden “fort” feel to the candle. Or for a more playful, child-like theme, how about tying candy canes (facing out) around the glass instead, so you have a playful vase effect in red and white – and a treat at the end of the season. Ribbon can be used instead of string, of course, though make sure it’s all tied tight!

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FUN & FRUGAL DECORATIONS TO MAKE AT HOME

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Cones and Candy for home-made Christmas Decorations

I love warm cosy colours at Christmas. When it comes to lights, for me, the more lights the merrier – although I always prefer warmer softer yellow/orange glows than the new bright white lights currently so popular. If your Christmas tree is in a corner, zigzag the lights in front and to the sides, rather than wrap it all the way round, as you’ll see far more of the lights (and the wall won’t miss them!) Yellow lights give a softer, more magic glow than the harsh white, or blue lights, if you’re going for a more authentic old-fashioned look.

And don’t throw those broken baubles away! When the top comes off and they can no longer be hung, use old baubles of different colours in vases, then gather twigs, spray with gold or silver paint, and use them to stack, surround and hold the glass twigs in place. Or fill a glass jar or large vase with both pinecones and brightly coloured baubles. Red and gold, or even black/silver and white if you’re being chic and minimalist. Tie a ribbon around the top for extra festiveness.

Forgot your wreath this year? Make a silver, gold, or even red and green shiny one by cutting a ring out of cardboard, then buying a pound shop bag of self-sticking gift rosettes and filling up the cardboard with them. Any colour will do (though we prefer the gold ones for this) And even tiny fingers are safe, can’t go wrong, and will cover the whole thing, eventually. Any you have left over you can use for the presents!

And for the ultimate in country Christmas chic, ditch that festive table runner and add a bit of Norwegian woods to your Christmas dinner by using a leafy garland, instead of a runner. If you don’t baulk at artificial plants, pretty artificial olive garlands can be picked up for just around £10 online, and have the right level of warm greens and browns, without over-doing the foliage. Add your tea-lights or candle-holders, dotted along amongst the foliage, and you have a wonderful, cosy, festive table décor that costs very little, but you can use again and again.

Wishing you a warm and wonderful Festive Season from Living in Chiswick!

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