Getting Ready For Christmas: Preparation Is Key!
By Linda Parker
By Linda Parker
With Halloween and Bonfire night all done, leaves swept up and pumpkins gone, it’s time to get ready for Christmas … hooray! So we’re mid- November and there’s just time to get the house in order before getting the decorations out and planning Xmas menus and table decorations. So, here are some of our favourite seasonal ideas for 2019 … These gorgeous Mistletoe Berries roller blinds above are from 247 Blinds and can be delivered within seven days – why not give the kitchen an Xmas treat!
Sunday November 24th is Stir Up Sunday, which is the day to make your Christmas pudding, five weeks before Christmas. I know there are some delicious ones already on the shop shelves for Christmas (as ever, Waitrose & Partners are excelling themselves with their variations, see the range here and yes, I admit to buying some mini versions in the last week or so, just to try them out, honestly! Will this year’s mini-stollen fingers be as good as last year’s though – in the interest of research I will let you know next month … Anyway, back to Stir Up Sunday. If you’re mixing it up this week, try Good Housekeeping’s recipe here. I also like the sound of Jamie Oliver’s Nan’s Christmas Pudding, recipe here. Get yourself kitted out with a nifty seasonal tea-towel, this beauty shown here is available from one of my favourite mail order destinations, Annabel James
A small pause for thought whilst cracking on with Christmas plans … if your larder doesn’t look like this at the moment, try and find a few pre-season hours to streamline and re-organise in time for the festivities. Check through the pull-outs and shelves, stock up on often-used ingredients, herbs and spices, and generally give the kitchen a spruce up. One useful task is to wash and polish all the glasses ahead of Xmas cocktail time, it’s a pain to be doing that just before guests arrive. We’re very impressed with this sleek storage space in the Modern Shaker kitchen by Brayer Design.
If it’s your turn to host Christmas lunch this year, get the seating arrangements sorted out well ahead of time. Open plan spaces with dining table and breakfast bar or island can often combine the two when there are lots of extra guests. When features like bench seating can’t be shifted, it can be worth considering extra bar or kitchen stools to provide a few extra spaces. Here are some of our faves from Cult Furniture, but there are lots of other designs out there, hurry and order to get them in time for Xmas! From left, Delta Hairpin in Blossom Pink, Heather Barstool with Back Rest and Victoria Metal Stool in Elm. We rather like the idea of a mix-and-match look too!
The Xmas table setting is well worth planning ahead of time … it’s nice to have something in place such as a faux garland running the length of the table, but it mustn’t take up too much space! The idea of suspended garlands and decorations is lovely, but depends on the state of the ceiling and if it will withstand pins and hooks. So we’re playing safe with table-top ideas here. Greenery, individual mini decorations in front of each guest, a cracker each and sprigs of greenery tied with a ribbon around the napkins are all easy to do and won’t cost a fortune. All these lovely ideas, including the new design Home for Christmas mats are from the seasonal range by Sophie Allport
Are you looking forward to the annual struggle-with-the-Christmas tree? It’s always the getting it straight, disguising the bucket or stand, draping something around the pot if it’s lived outside all year, etc. So I spotted the Rattan Christmas Tree Ring from Cox & Cox, which is 27cm high, so will hide most standard metal tripod-style faux tree stands. They also have a jute version and a finer cane version as well. Sorted! Take a peek at the Red Tree Train too, a train on a track to run around the tree …who could resist!
Christmas Extras: If you are taking stock of the kitchen and want to spruce things up a little for this year’s festivities, check equipment and lighting. Yes, a new pendant is a big splurge before Christmas but an under-lit kitchen is a pain to work in. Every kitchen needs a decent casserole dish at this time of year to cater for extra numbers, and of course, a festive pair of oven gloves draped over the oven rail adds a seasonal look! From left; Cast-iron casserole from ProCook, and if you visit the website, check out that special offer set of five pieces, including a square griddle, which would come in extremely useful at this time of year! Centre, Arona Single Light Pendant in antique pewter finish and a glass diffuser from Dar Lighting, perfect for adding light above a dining table, breakfast bar or island. It comes with 100cm cable, so can be installed at exactly the right height for your layout. Left; you don’t have to splash the cash too much to perk up the kitchen, these Bertha Red Double Oven Gloves from Ragged Rose feature white seasonal stars.
And finally … it’s not just about the kitchen at Christmas, there are the bedrooms to consider too. Christmas bedlinen has been appearing everywhere for the last few years, often in cosy brushed cotton finishes, which are very welcoming and warming. The Portfolio Home Reindeers Duvet Cover & Pillowcase set from Dunelm has a plaid print on the reverse and comes in double and single sets. Just the thing for the guest room.
Next time… more very last minute Xmas ideas!