Essex Queen of Christmas: Tree and decoration trends for 2021

gingerbread Christmas decorations

Poplar Nurseries, Colchester, is getting ready for Christmas. - Credit: Poplar Nurseries

Alison Hughes of Poplar Nurseries near Colchester in Essex tells us her top Christmas tree and festive décor tips for Christmas 2021...

Christmas is coming and it’s never too early to start thinking about how to decorate your home for the festive season.

Alison Hughes, seasonal manager at Poplar Nurseries (just outside Colchester on the Coggeshall Road in Marks Tey), has been planning for Christmas since January and is expecting Christmas 2021 to be their biggest yet. 

Pink Christmas baubles

Poplar Nurseries' Alison Hughes says pink decorations are on trend this year. - Credit: Poplar Nurseries

Alison explains: ‘I had an idea of a theme around gingerbread houses and candy canes, and then all the trade shows were full of exactly that theme. Now we have a beautiful display to our Christmas shop with large candy canes and people seem to love it.’

Of course, the centrepiece of the seasonal celebrations in homes across Essex will be the Christmas tree.

There is always the choice between real and artificial trees, but there is no doubt a real tree brings a natural charm and a fragrance that perfectly captures the spirit of the festive season.

Poplar’s trees are all locally grown by members of the BCTGA (British Christmas Tree Growers Association) in accordance with their Environmental Code of Practice and are guaranteed fresh. 

Christmas decorations and baubles

Many families add a bauble to their collection each year, says Alison. - Credit: Poplar Nurseries

Most Read

A top seller is always the Nordman Fir, as this variety is slow to drop needles and is famous for its classic, symmetrical shape and dense branches.

Poplar Nurseries also stocks traditional Norway Spruce trees that are dark green with a conical shape and a strong fragrance. 

Alison has been at Poplar Nurseries for 11 years and she has seen the Christmas shop experience grow substantially during that time.

It was a difficult Christmas for everyone last year, but Alison has already seen signs that this Christmas could be bigger than ever. 

Christmas candy cane decorations and a decorated Christmas tree.

Candy canes are a classic Christmas theme. - Credit: Poplar Nurseries

Alison says: ‘Poplar Nurseries has become a destination experience for families looking to enjoy some festive cheer as they pick out their Christmas tree and their festive decorations.

'With more than 6,800sq ft of space dedicated to the Christmas shop, there is plenty of room for the hundreds of customers who will visit Poplar Nurseries each day in the build up to Christmas. 

‘There are some gorgeous new trends for Christmas 2021. Pink is proving to be an incredibly poplar colour for decorations this season, and people seem to be really enjoying our Christmas floral pieces, including decorative stems, roses and poinsettias.

'More alternative decorations are big hits too, with unusually themed decorations tied in to people’s loves in life, such as coffee or prosecco, dinosaurs, or even plants, fruits and vegetables. 

‘As well as these new trends, people will often continue their own Christmas traditions, with a special festive decoration that they buy every year.

'It might be a treasured bauble for the tree, a piece from our model Christmas village that they slowly build as a display at home or an extra addition to their outdoor festive lights. For so many people, these items are a treasured part of the Christmas tradition.’

Lots of festive floral arrangements.

Festive florals are big this year. - Credit: Poplar Nurseries

How to care for your Christmas tree
When you get your Christmas tree home, it is best to keep it outside until you are ready for it in the house.

To help the tree retain its needles, cut off 2 to 3 inches from the base and place it into a stand or container that retains water.

Keep the water levels topped up and try to position your tree away from radiators. 

Christmas trees in a garden nursery

Poplar Nurseries Colchester offers a Christmas tree delivery service. - Credit: Poplar Nurseries

Poplar Nurseries also stocks a range of potted live Christmas trees in different varieties, which you can keep year on year. Again, keep these outside for as long as possible and keep them well-watered when you bring them indoors.   

If your vehicle is not large enough to transport your tree, Poplar Nurseries offers a delivery service.

For more information and advice on Christmas tree care, visit    

Like what you read? Why not subscribe to Essex Life