Colour-scheme or none? Orderly or unpredictable? Decorated by the kids, or do it yourself? Bookends authors answer the controversial questions at Christmas.
Chrissie Manby, author of The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club
For various reasons, last Christmas was very low-key for me, so I’m thinking this year I’ll go all out and stick the tree up on December 1st. I’m normally a tastefully coordinated baubles and Diptyque Oranger candle sort of person but 2017 has been the kind of year that calls for tinsel and an inflatable Rudolph with a light-up nose to lift the endless Brexit-tastic gloom. I may even get some Christmas-themed loo roll.
Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room
We always buy a real tree and my daughter Olivia, now 12, decorates it with Christmas trinkets from our time in Singapore as well as baubles that we’ve bought since. I also dig out some relics from my childhood. I’m not a huge fan of tinsel on the tree, but every year I’m over-ruled by Mike and Olivia. In terms of decorating the rest of the house, we go for the minimalist approach – paper pompoms dangling from ceilings here and there.
Jill Mansell, author of This Could Change Everything
We have masses of tree decorations going back years, and they all have their own special memories. We can remember where we bought each one and the tree wouldn’t be the same if any of them was missing. (There are a few extremely precious homemade ones too.) We do love putting up and decorating the tree, with Christmas music playing in the background. Not so keen on laboriously taking it all back down again in January!
Stef Penney, author of Under a Pole Star
I’ve been collecting tree decorations most of my life, and particularly try to buy one every time I go on holiday, so I pull them out, and each decoration has a memory attached to it. I also give tree decorations to the young people of my acquaintance, so they can never forget me, no matter how hard they try.
Barbara Bourland, author of I’ll Eat When I’m Dead
Last year we got a tree and I threw one single lacy red bra over it to make us feel like we were lifties partying at Vail. It felt very festive and natural and outdoorsy! And the tree smelled very good. But then throwing away the tree proved really complicated, thanks to multiple snowmageddons etc. This year nothing, as we’re traveling.
Helen Wallen, author of Baby Boom!
These days I just let the kids do it. Even though I twitch a bit while they do… (And then I wait until they’re in bed and go round and replace the baubles and tinsel so they are arranged past the bottom two foot of the tree.) The cats have normally completely destroyed it by Christmas Eve again anyway. But hey – partially eaten, glittery and a bit wonky is fine with me. That’s what Christmas is all about right!