Christmas. A time of family, friends and fairy lights, Christmas decorations, dressing the tree and drinking mulled wine. Amongst all of this, we cannot ignore the importance of another tradition: decoration!
Decorating for Christmas has always been an important aspect of the festive period, and there are a number of must-have staples which can be found in houses throughout the world.
Whether you pick a particular colour scheme – gold and silver, red and green and red and gold are all popular choices for the season – or simply pack as much colour, light and glitter into the space as possible, there is no right or wrong way to decorate for Christmas!
There are, however, some common elements which help to set the festive tone, and get the party started in style!
Decorating the Christmas Tree!
The distinctive Christmas tree has been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years, dating right back to when Pagan’s celebrated the winter solstice; the branch was a symbol and a reminder of the spring to come during the bleak midwinter months.
There is an argument between the cities of Tallin in Estonia, and Riga in Latvia as to whom had the first tree as we now know it, but the most likely origin is somewhere in Northern Europe.
Now they are a familiar festive sight, adorned with light bulbs, tinsel, Christmas tree ornaments, and usually a star or religious symbol on top, depending on the location.
Personalise your tree with handmade ornaments, or perhaps collect them from your travels. This adds a history to the decoration which your will remember warmly every year.
Hanging Christmas Wreaths
This circular shape is a recognisable symbol for eternity, and everlasting life. Wreaths are often decorated at Christmas with holly berries.
Thought to have first been hung in Ancient Rome, and were adopted for Christmas and used as a symbol of Christ, showing his everlasting life.
Modern wreaths often add extra touches, such as cinnamon sticks for the Christmassy smell, festive greenery, and pine cones.
Nativity scenes are a common feature of many homes, and usually depict a key scene from the event, such as the Wise Men following the star, or the birth of the baby Jesus.
St Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first Nativity scene back in 1223, and they have become a staple of Christmas decorating ever since.
Maltese houses also often contain cribs with small figurines, or ‘pasturi’, and large figures of the baby Jesus are our in balconies and windows, and illuminated at night.
Hand knitted Christmas stockings
Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Pere Noel, St Nicholas, Sinterklaas…whatever name you know him by, this deliverer of gifts is a central point of Christmas.
In houses with chimneys, the fireplace is often made a focus of Christmas decorations.
Get into the spirit by hanging colourful knitted stockings on the wall, either designed to match your tree and other decorations, or giving an eclectic Christmas feel with as much colour and sparkle as possible!
Outdoor Christmas decorations
If you have access to outside space, carry on the decorating! Icicle lights look festive hung in trees, or go all out with light displays attached to the exterior of the house.
Father Christmas and his sleigh, reindeer, depictions of the Nativity, or messages of celebration are all popular choices.
The Famous Mistletoe
Christmas is the only time of year when it acceptable to bring plants, trees and shrubbery into your home, and decorate it with shiny things.
Take full advantage of this by including mistletoe in your decorations to add an element of romance to the celebrations.
A plant which grows on willow, oak and apple trees, mistletoe was originally used by ancient Druids to ward off evil spirits, and bring good luck to the household.
Its association with love comes from a Norse myth in which Frigg, goddess of love, declared it a symbol of love and vowed to plant a kiss on all those who passed beneath it.
By the eighteenth century it had been incorporated into Christmas decorations, and the kissing tradition appears to have spread from servants in England, before spreading to the middle class.
Usually placed in areas where people meet, such as arches and doorways, add a Christmas romance to your festive period this year!
Candles In Every Room
Add a warm glow to any room this Christmas period with festive candle displays.
Advent Candles are able to be used from December 1st, to count down the days until Christmas.
First recorded in the Middle Ages, candles were said to represent the star of Bethlehem, and they have also been used to symbolise a warm welcome to Mary and Joseph for the birth of Jesus.
They also add a cosy feel to any space, and add Christmas cheer!