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

Daniela Potter, Daniela Potter Interiors, Canterbury.

Working with homeowners and businesses across Kent, Daniela, designs and produces beautiful interiors to suit all budgets.

What does Christmas mean to you?

“The thought of Christmas can bring a sense of nostalgia, a sense of creativity, a sense of goodness, a better meal, a time spent with friends, a time of sharing presents, a time to pose and rest. A time that can be overwhelming with the pressure to spend, spend. As years have gone by Christmas is becoming a lot simpler, a less complicated meal, do we really need turkey? Do we really need the presents? This Christmas means an empty chair, the first without our gran as we sadly lost her in early January.

“This Christmas we need each other. It is about joy, hope and peace, and about simple meaningful things, because Christmas is about the birth of God’s Son Jesus. It’s about how he came to give us love, hope and joy. This message doesn’t change from year-to-year.

“This year my passion is to celebrate my creative friends and their businesses, collaborating as a community. They include Lauren's Flowers and Fragrances for table decorations which can be seen in the photos. Her principles maintain the use of eco-friendly products and sourcing flowers locally in Kent, where possible. Her passion is for the client experience to be more than just buying flowers and she certainly made my vision a reality.”

Great British Life: Interior designer, Daniela Potter, will be spending Christmas with her husband and two daughters CREDIT Jo Court PhotographyInterior designer, Daniela Potter, will be spending Christmas with her husband and two daughters CREDIT Jo Court Photography

Where you’ll be spending Christmas this year?

“We will be spending it at home and I’m looking forward to rest and spending quality time with my husband, Joshua, and girls, 11-year-old Faith, and Jasmine, who’s ten, as well as our close friends. It can be a sad time as we have families abroad and it is not always affordable to fly and see them as often as we like. But we are thankful to be surrounded by our lovely community, our church and treasure each moment with people that we love that are here with us.”

When do you start decorating your home for Christmas?

“If it was down to our girls, it would be November, but we normally start December 1. I mean, when we say we, it is in fact our girls, that is their domain now, and they love to set the tree and every year it is looking more beautiful. I am super proud of them. I love giving my girls wings to fly and be creative, I am for them and love to see how they grow and develop in their own creativity.”

Favourite colours/decorations and their sentimental meaning?

“I love neutral colours. Years and years ago we used to have a miss-matched variety of decorations, last year we purchased our neutral-based scheme champagne, copper and gold. And each year we keep adding unique pieces found in marketplaces, or items with sentimental values from our gran. The girls’ characterful pieces like dried oranges, pine cones, small twigs connected by string become a lovely garland.”

Your thoughts on being more sustainable at Christmas?

“Think about and look at the materials gifts are made from and keep sustainability in mind, ensure wood and paper are made from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

“Get creative with your gift-wrap and decorations. We usually stencil our Christmas cards, but we send less and less cards each year. We wrap presents in vintage wallpaper or old newspaper and re-use ribbons from chocolate boxes.

“We got creative in making beetroot chutney and prefer to give this to our neighbours and friends instead of cards. It has become a bit of tradition now; our neighbours are looking forward to our chutney every year! It’s perfect for turkey but also as a snack with a selection of biscuits and cheeses.

“Rethink your Christmas gifts… which relates to a sweet story about our girls.

“Last year my husband kept seeing gifts appearing under our Christmas tree. A variation in sizes and wrapped in newspaper, I thought that was genius. When we came to open our presents, we found items wrapped like my favourite book, some of my jewellery and pretty dresses, my husband got socks and some of his tools wrapped up nicely. It was such a beautiful gesture and it really stayed with me, because their thought counted more than ever!”

Great British Life: Daniela Potter's passion this Christmas is to celebrate her creative friends and their businesses CREDIT Jo Court PhotographyDaniela Potter's passion this Christmas is to celebrate her creative friends and their businesses CREDIT Jo Court Photography

My tips for styling your home this Christmas…

“Curating a Christmas tree colour scheme can feel a bit overwhelming and also expensive.

1, Buy quality neutral-coloured ornaments that can be used every year as the filler pieces. You can also spray paint ornaments to match your new theme for a few pounds.

2, Once the base ornaments are in place it’s time to layer in your character pieces. Use pieces with sentimental value. We will add our gran’s gold miniature collection from her dolls house in her remembrance.

3, Our tradition is to add in tree-eatable ginger biscuits and bonbons. This year we are purchasing our ginger treats from Alena Stewart. She is an exquisite artist and the most creative woman I know. Creating handmade, hand-painted personalised gingerbread table place settings, I love her creations, it’s purely artwork and I am blessed to have met her.”

Heidi Lawley, HeiDesigns, Marden

Great British Life: Magical welcome with festive garlands created by HeiDesigns CREDIT HeiDesignsMagical welcome with festive garlands created by HeiDesigns CREDIT HeiDesigns

As one of the leading Christmas decorators in the south east, it’s a key time for bringing the magical spirit of Christmas to homes and businesses in Kent, London and surrounding counties.

Having worked as a florist since she was 17, the business as it is now, grew from the changes that came from the Covid 19 pandemic. It allowed time to focus on the future, work on the creative vision for the company and building a team.

With festive planning in full swing, Heidi said: “This year it all started in July! It seems to start earlier and earlier.

“In terms of trends/key looks, classic red and gold are still a beloved colour scheme of a lot of our clients, but we have seen an upward trend for some non-traditional colour schemes such as pinks and champagnes and pale 'Tiffany Blue'.

“We are really enjoying creating colour theming that compliment people's decor and businesses' individual character and branding.”

Great British Life: Make a festive fireplace the focal point CREDIT HeiDesignsMake a festive fireplace the focal point CREDIT HeiDesigns

In terms of unusual requests, Heidi said: “This year we have a really exciting one which I can't reveal too much about, but we are currently making lots of clouds for their concept.”

All you can imagine is available; fresh and faux wreaths in all sizes, as well as further welcoming installations which certainly add a festive feel to kerb appeal. With the Christmas tree the focal point of any home, HeiDesigns can provide either fresh and faux trees, each lavishly decorated with ornate glass baubles, luxury ribbons, fabulous florals and other sparkling decorations. It’s the same stylish approach to fireplaces with garlands to compliment a client’s Christmas theme and also stair garlands and swags which offer a festive welcome.

On a personal note, Heidi aims to decorate her own home at the start of November. “I try and make the most of it as we are all usually out and not home much to see it in the run up to Christmas. That said, it has been known to be December 23rd! Lots of my tree decorations are sentimental as they are gifts or keepsakes from holidays. It is more about the collection of memories, rather than a specific colour theme.”

And what does Christmas mean to her? “The making of magical memories, spending time with family and friends…all the people you love. And mince pies!”

Despite a busy time, Heidi admits she will “always love Christmas!”