I’m teaming up with John Lewis for today’s post but as you know, I only work with companies I really love and think you will too! You already know I’m a fan of their wares so it should come as no surprise, I was thrilled to collaborate with them to offer a few tips today…
I know a lot of people will baulk at the very mention of the word but well, it’s time to face facts: Christmas is less than 6 weeks away!! While I’m still a couple weeks away from actual decorating, the preparations have been going in my head and my home probably since around October – I know that sounds a little crazy but things always get really busy really quickly at this time of year for everyone and so being at least a little ahead of the game is always a worthwhile endeavour to keep stress levels at bay.
So today, I’m going to take you through some of the preparations that I make to get my home all ready for Christmas!
Step One: Clean and Clear Out
Before I do much of anything, I like to give my home a good clean and de-clutter. I know people talk about ‘Spring Cleaning’ all the time but I find just before the chaos of Christmas begins, it’s a good time to do a deep clean just get everything in tip top condition so that your usual cleaning routine will suffice until Christmas Day.
It’s also a time when I start ridding myself of things (in the words of William Morris) I no longer find beautiful or useful, so this year, my big de-cluttering task was cleaning out my linen cupboard. I got rid of 2 huge bin bags of old bedding and towels (donated to the breeder where we got Quito – she uses them for the puppies!) and another huge bag full of cushions I no longer used (donated to charity).
This allowed me to know exactly what bedding we had for overnight guests and organise the cupboard much better as I’d made a lot more room available. I have to admit, it felt REALLY good.
I also cleared our ‘junk drawer’ in the kitchen – ya know that one drawer that is the catch-all for every little rubber band, old battery and the set of keys that no one knows what they unlock? Ours was so stuffed you couldn’t even shut the drawer properly so it was definitely time to clear it out and organise it all a little better.
Tackling one single area at a time makes things a little easier and will keep you focused – for me, the next area is the paperwork in the office! Wish me luck.
Step Two: Assess any big-ticket items you may need
The second thing I do is consider whether there are any larger items that I actually want to replace. This is the number one season for people buying things like sofas and dining sets and for good reason – when you know you’re going to have a houseful of guests, you want your home to look it’s best and because there are always sales on these sorts of items in the run up to the season, it’s always good to take advantage of great prices.
For me, the one thing in my living room that had been niggling at me for a while was our light fixture. The chandelier had been there for 5 years and it had been with me for about 5 years before that in two of my previous homes. I felt like it really no longer worked since the room’s mini-makeover this summer. So, thanks to the lovely peeps at John Lewis, we finally got around to replacing it with this beautiful 8 arm ceiling light which I’d spied in a catalogue I’d received around their Boutique Collection. (It’s such a gorgeous collection, seriously, they’ve outdone themselves on this one!).
I love it’s soft brass finish and how it has a bit of a nod to mid-century design while still looking rather contemporary. It’s such a great addition and really finishes the room off nicely.
We also have the light on a dimmer so once the Christmas tree is in place with all it’s lights, we can turn it to the lowest setting and it will create a really lovely warm glow throughout the room.
Step Three: Plan your decor around what you already have
Once the house is tidy and cleared and any big ticket items have been purchased, I start to make a plan for my Christmas colour theme. Now, I certainly don’t buy everything new each year – that would be insane and expensive and we simply don’t have the storage space for a huge variety of Christmas decorations so I always consider what I already have and create a little list of a few new things that might freshen up my existing collection.
If I want to include a new colour theme, I use my base collection (which is predominately black/white/gold and greenery which I use in rotation pretty much every year) and then buy a few sets of inexpensive baubles and ribbon in my selected colour. It’s usually enough to just add a pop of colour and freshen up the look.
I also take into consideration current colour themes in my rooms. There’s no point trying to create a traditional red and green theme for instance in my dark blue dining room because it simply won’t work. So consider more non-traditional colour themes to work with your existing room colours – it’ll make decorating so much easier and will enhance your room rather than fight with it.
This year, I’ll be sticking to the colours I used last year – gold and white – but perhaps add a little bit of leopard print to keep things interesting which I used as an accent a few years ago. So with that theme in mind, I chose a few new ‘fancy’ glass baubles from John Lewis’ extensive collection to supplement the boxes of inexpensive ones I already have. I find just a few slightly higher-end Christmas decorations will make ALL your décor look a little more expensive.
I also chose a few pretty gold tipped feathers which just worked perfectly with my gold and white theme.
Finally, I chose a few new berry picks and holly leaves which I love to add to my table settings, tucked into napkins or added to wreaths and garlands which you saw on the table styling I did for AO last week.
Step Four: Plan your Christmas entertaining requirements around what you already have
We often play host for Christmas and that means lots of people eating and drinking in our home. So I not only think about what I already have and may need for decor, but also for entertaining. I have a small collection of mix and match gold and white china that I’ve built up over the last few years but I knew I needed some more side plates. I chose these beautiful striped dishes from John Lewis which will marry beautifully with the 2 sets I already have – one with tiny gold dots and one with a gold damask pattern.
I also fell in love with these hand-blown cocktail glasses with their stunning amber bases. They will look perfect for a few new cocktails I intend to try for the holidays and also look great on my bar cart! Speaking of my bar cart, I also picked up this beautiful gold hotel-style ice bucket – I figured I could also use it without the cover to chill champagne on the big day!
And finally, I just had to get these sophisticated gold taper candle holders. They are a bit of a splurge but I think they’ll look amazing on my Christmas dining table.
Obviously things like dishes, glasses and candlesticks can be used year-round but it all feels just a little extra special around Christmastime so this is the time of year I tend to add to my collection.
Step Five: Introduce the cosy factor
Preparing for Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the cosy factor so why not consider making your own candles? Not only do they bring a warm glow to a room, they also make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers. They are also super simple to make and can be made well ahead of time – check out my tutorial for making your own soy wax candles here.
And finally, I love using faux fur and hides to add warmth and texture to any room. Make sure you have a few throws at the end of the bed and available for your guests as the chilly nights set in.
So that’s the run down on how I prepare for Christmas! Check out my Pinterest board on preparing for Christmas for more inspiration and diy’s to get yourself ready! What are you doing this time of year to prepare for the holiday season?
Disclaimer: This post was in collaboration with John Lewis and I received items free in exchange for my post. As you know, I only work with companies I really love and think you will too! Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy.