London has definitely jumped on the ‘more is more’ bandwagon with their festive decorations this year. I think that means I should too.
Style is not just about what you wear: interior design and home décor navigate through trends just as fashion does. Just as some people may be queuing up outside Topshop to get the latest winter coat, others may be on the edge of their chair, ordering the new season’s curtains online. But when it comes to Christmas, is stylish superior? Or should we all just accept that festive decorations are meant to be gaudy and garish, and when it comes to tinsel, more really is more?
The tradition of decorating the tree, or even adorning the house with all manner of sparkly things in December is a much anticipated event in my family. Indeed it seems like most of the country get excited at the prospect of cracking out the Christmas decs, having to buy new fairy lights (because they inevitably break every year), and admiring the wealth of festive ornaments on sale this time around.
I know people that choose a different colour scheme each Christmas: gold and green last year, purple and silver this time, perhaps a red and white affair in 2016? Of course some individuals see decorating just as they see fashion, trawling through home décor magazines to find the newest way to jazz up the tree, or the latest colour scheme that the celebs are going for. Not only does this entail forking out a fair amount of dosh for new baubles, lights and ornaments each year (let’s face it, these sort of people are not ones to get their Christmas goods from Tesco), but it means discounting and forgetting the mountain of decorations that may have been bought last year, or the year before, or the year before that….
For me, part of the fun about decorating for Christmas, and bringing the battered bauble boxes down from the attic each year, is rediscovering various things we have collected: the peg doll angel I’d made when in playgroup, the straw snowflake I won in a German quiz in secondary school, the ice-skating bauble I carefully chose at the garden centre last year. Each December, we have had a tradition of each getting a new decoration, meaning that every year our decoration box gets fuller and fuller, and every time we open it, we have more and more memories to add. Consequently, our tree is never co-ordinated or colour-schemed; never minimalist or chic – it is a huge multi-coloured amalgamation of various glittery baubles, flickering fairy lights, and prehistoric homemade ‘things’. But it is marvellous this way: our tree is a 3D memory trigger. A reminder of all the Christmases we have shared together, and ultimately, something that makes us happy.
It may not be the most stylish tree in town, or the most matchy-matchy spectacle on the street, but I would much rather have all-out, if a little garish, but incredibly meaningful Christmas decorations, and I think many would agree. If you can’t break style rules once a year, when can you? I think on this occasion, crimes against fashion are completely legal.
Originally published in CUB Magazine, 2014