I don’t know about you but I tend to do the same thing each year with my Christmas decorations. There is something warm, fuzzy and nostalgic about that, particularly as my family grows up. However,  I always seem to go to friends and family and get decoration envy at their display which always seems bigger, better and more sophisticated than my efforts. Don’t get me wrong, I do try to mix it up with a few new flourishes here and there but whilst it might be nice to chuck out most of what you have accumulated over the years, the investment in a whole new scheme that embraces all the latest on-trend fashions, simply isn’t realistic, affordable or aligned with our drive for more ‘green’ eco-credentials.

Therefore, I have scanned through the latest magazine and online trends and drawn on the ideas of our Experience Mid-Sussex venues to come up with a few hints and tips to jazz up your display this festive season.

Quintessential Christmas traditional colours of red and green still remain popular but have been given a bit of a makeover with a more rustic, Nordic and Boho feel this year. Why not create a simple but striking centrepiece on a small wooden tray, glass cake-stand or using log mats or an oval or circular mirror. Simply group different size candles or use a single central candle or alternatively, fill a tall glass vase or bowl with baubles, and surround them with green foliage from your garden or collected on a seasonal walk, such as strands of ivy, yew and holly branches with the stalks tucked under the base of the candle or bowl and just add a few fir cones and colourful red or metallic baubles to finish the look! Black is also the new green this year so maybe invest in a few modern touches mixed with variegated leaves and contorted hazel.

Foliage Recommendations from …

Borde Hill Garden: dark red flower buds of Japanese Skimmia and vibrant purple berries of the Beautyberry(Callicarpa bodinieri Profusion)

Wakehurst:  Silvery Eucalyptus, Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus), Mistletoe (Viscum album) and dried Hydrangea flowers

Window Sill Centrepiece Christmas Decoration at Gravetye Manor
Christmas Tree and Mantlepiece Decorations at South Lodge Hotel'

In the same way you can decorate your fireplace and mantelpiece with greenery and silver or gold baubles and decorations. To add an extra bit of glamour, you can transform dead flower heads, such as hydrangea, poppy seed heads and holly with metallic spray paint and mix them with the greenery and add sprays of pheasant feathers or other long feathers available in craft shops and online. This also works above a mirror by just combining and tying together a few branches and hanging a few baubles.

There’s always room for a few more decorations on the Christmas tree and for young grand-children, nieces and nephews whose Santa list is a minefield or those awkward people to buy for who seem to have everything, it is quite nice to give the gift of a new decoration for the tree each year and means you don’t have to wrack your brains to come up with something new next year!

In the spirit of recycling and to keep the kids busy for the run up to Christmas, why not make some home-made baubles for your tree or use them to jazz up your wreath for the door by adding or making wool pom poms, which are very on-trend at the moment, or use fir cones, ribbon-tied cinnamon sticks, dried citrus fruits or spent light bulbs. The candle-shaped bulbs are ideal, and you can use spray paint and glitter to transform them to pretty decorations or even use nail varnish to personalise your existing baubles with individual names.

Don’t forget your hallway and decorate your stairs by weaving lights and garland decorations between the bannisters and adding a few LED candle lights up the stairs to create a warm welcome for your family and guests when they arrive. Equally, simple strings of white lights look great hung down in your window and you can alternate with clear glass baubles or home-made glass decorations using antique decanter stoppers or lustres hung on ribbons to create a unique vintage vibe.