Decorating the home for Christmas is something to look forward to and here some Hertfordshire-based creatives reveal what Christmas means to them and give tips on how to achieve a festive oasis in every home.

Alison Anderson, interior designer, Letchworth.

What Christmas means to you?

“Christmas is a magical time that brings family and friends together, which is the highlight for me. As the years go by, these moments become even more precious, especially as the kids are growing up so quickly. Now they're teenagers, the magic of believing in Father Christmas has faded, but their love for Christmas remains strong (although I suspect it's mainly fuelled by their love of presents!)”

Where will you’ll be spending Christmas this year?

“We divide our time between my family in Surrey and my husband's family, who are closer to us, in St Albans. Each year, we alternate spending Christmas Day with one side of the family and Boxing Day with the other. It's inevitable we'll spend a few hours stuck on the M25 at some point!”

When you start decorating your home for the festive season?

“To the great annoyance of my kids, I have developed a bit of a reputation for being a late decorator. If they had their way the decs would be up in November! I like to take my time, put on the Christmas tunes, and have a glass of mulled wine to get me in the mood. I usually get round to it in mid-December.”

Favourite colours and decorations you use every year because of their sentimental meaning?

“My most sentimental decorations are the ones that the kids made when they were little. They are a little on the wonky side and I must admit that I do tuck them more towards the back of the tree these days. But I'll never get rid of them. They have a home-made feel and are a reminder of the past.”

Great British Life: Sustainability is a top priority for Alison Anderson who wraps gifts in recyclable brown paper CREDIT Getty ImagesSustainability is a top priority for Alison Anderson who wraps gifts in recyclable brown paper CREDIT Getty Images

Your thoughts on being more sustainable at Christmas?

“Sustainability is a top priority for me, especially at Christmas. I wrap all our presents in recyclable brown paper and finish off with paper ribbons. There isn't a speck of glitter in sight. A brilliant gift-buying idea was introduced by my mother-in-law, Pauline, a few years ago. She suggested a maximum spend of £10 per gift among the family’s presents for each other, with the idea to buy something from a second-hand or charity shop. This requires a little bit of creativity and adds an element of excitement as you hunt for the perfect item. China, vases, and ceramic bowls are always well-received choices.”

My tips for styling your home this Christmas…

“Fill mantelpieces, table settings and windowsills with branches, foliage, and other natural materials. Consider holly, ivy, yew, and eucalyptus. For a budget-friendly approach, gather what you can from your own garden and then supplement with foliage from a local market, if needed. Add twinkling lights and flickering candles for a magical display.

“Choose elegant paper decorations instead of plastic ones, as they offer a more stylish touch. Not only are they available in a wide range of muted colours, but they can also be easily recycled whenever you feel like switching things up.

“Choose a colour scheme and use these colours consistently throughout your decorations.”

alisonandersoninteriors.co.uk

Suzanne Howell, interior designer, Sawbridgeworth.

What Christmas means to you?

“Christmas is a time when I value the simple pleasures of spending quality time with my family and friends, where the focus is on relaxation and being together. Also, being a time where I am able to reflect on the year that’s been and make plans for the year ahead.”

Where you’ll be spending Christmas this year?

“I'll be with my family at my sister's beautiful home in south east Essex. They live in a picturesque old vicarage with cosy open fires, surrounded by beautiful gardens which sets an amazing scene for a traditional Christmas day. It will be a day filled with lively conversation, laughter and the exchanging of gifts with the highlight of the day being undoubtedly the traditional Christmas dinner that I'm eagerly looking forward to!”

When you start decorating your home for the festive season?

“I always decorate my home on December 1, much to my daughter’s disappointment as she always wants to decorate the house in November, or possibly earlier!”

Great British Life: Gold has a remarkable ability to infuse warmth and elegance into any space says Suzanne Howell CREDIT Suzanne HowellGold has a remarkable ability to infuse warmth and elegance into any space says Suzanne Howell CREDIT Suzanne Howell

Favourite colours and decorations you use every year because of their sentimental meaning?

“I have a range of Christmas decorations, but what truly resonates with me is the colour gold. Gold has a remarkable ability to infuse warmth and elegance into any space. The decorations that hold sentimental meaning for me are the ones my children made when they were little.”

Your thoughts on being more sustainable at Christmas?

“Consider giving gifts that are durable and have a longer lifespan. Supporting local businesses can also be more sustainable and use energy efficient LED lights for your Christmas decorations. Choosing sustainable or reusable decorations made from natural or recycled materials is key and after Christmas, consider donating items you no longer need, such as old decorations or unwanted gifts.”

My tips for styling your home this Christmas…

“Start by selecting a theme or colour palette for your Christmas decor. Whether it's traditional red and green, rustic, minimalist, or something entirely unique. Having a cohesive theme will give your decorations a sophisticated look.

“Handmade wreaths or garlands can be a fun and meaningful addition to your home. You can involve your family in these creative projects to make it a memorable part of your Christmas tradition.

“Incorporate soft throws, plush pillows and the use of candles to make your space feel warm and inviting.”

suzannehowell.co.uk

Tola Laseinde of Detola and Geek, lampshade designer/maker, Letchworth.

 

What Christmas means to you?

“For non-Christians like me, as I’m a Muslim, celebrating Christmas often represents a time of togetherness, spreading joy, and showing appreciation for family and friends.

“It’s a season of goodwill and an opportunity to participate in a cultural celebration that transcends religious boundaries, emphasising the values of love, generosity, and unity.”

Where you’ll be spending Christmas this year?

“I celebrate Christmas with my friends, and it’s usually quite spontaneous. It’s a ‘tag, you’re it’ kind of arrangement, where we embrace the holiday spirit and come together to enjoy each other’s company, exchange gifts, and have a great time without much prior planning. It’s all about the joy of being together!”

When you start decorating your home for the festive season?

“I used to go all out with decorations when my son was younger, but now he's flown the nest, my holiday decor enthusiasm has taken a vacation too!”

Great British Life: Festive African Christmas bauble lamp shade Ajodun CREDIT Detola and GeekFestive African Christmas bauble lamp shade Ajodun CREDIT Detola and Geek

My tips for styling your home this Christmas…

“To style your home using colourful African-inspired lampshades, candle holders, cushions, and Christmas tree hoop ornaments, you can follow these steps:

“African inspired lampshades above the Christmas dining table or table lamps on top of the table will help create warm and ambient lighting.

“Use some colourful items in your table setting for Christmas dinner. The candle holders can be used as centrepieces. Add some votive candles/tea lights for a warm and inviting atmosphere. My wipeable coasters are fabulous for festive drinks.

“Hang Christmas tree hoop ornaments on your tree or anywhere you want to add a playful and cultural touch to your decor.

“By incorporating our unique and colourful African-inspired items into your Christmas decor, you can create a festive, culturally rich, and visually captivating holiday atmosphere in your home.”

detolaandgeek.com