By Abigail Ahern,retailer, designer, blogger and best-selling author, abigailahern.com
What is your signature style at Christmas?
My festive decorating style is pretty simple. It’s all about adding rich colours, glittering lights and plenty of sparkle. I overdose on fairylights and scatter tealight candles everywhere. I also love to decorate with mossy branches, ferns, foliage, mistletoe, berries and wreaths. It’s all very natural and woodsy.
What would your recommendations be for creating a signature style?
Keep it simple and find a colour palette you love. Whether you’re going with winter whites and greenery, or want to embrace kitsch fun with purple and silver tinsel, the trick is to be consistent and rein in the colour palette. That way you can mix and match with abandon, but it’ll still all look pulled together!
How can the Nutcracker inspire festive decor, and why do you think this is such a popular theme that keeps coming around?
The Nutcracker is a timeless inspiration because it combines all the best qualities of Christmas; it’s magical, joyful, adventurous and of course includes a whole menagerie of animals – my favourite decorating accessory at any time of the year!
What would be your dream Christmas?
My dream Christmas is very simple – relaxing with good food, long walks with the dogs and spending time with family. I tend to veer away from parties and pubs, I much prefer PJs, fires and candlelight. We have a few family traditions I treasure, such as all meeting up for a stroll in one of the Royal Parks on Christmas Day. Then coming back to cocktails and champagne on the terrace (if it’s warm enough), Christmas dinner and then hovering around the outdoor fire pit sipping warmed cocktails. Perfect.
What do you most look forward to at Christmas time?
It’s been an absolutely manic few months in the business, so all I want for Christmas is some time off! A log fire slowly burning in the grate and a good book – simple simple things.
Which is your favourite Christmas decoration?
My sister Gem oversees all of our faux botanicals and makes the most stunning wreaths – I love mine so much I actually keep it above the fireplace all year round! The best thing about fauxs is that they can be reused year after year. Mine gets upgraded with copper string lights for Christmas, but it’s not going anywhere come January.
What is your Christmas soundtrack?
I prefer something jazzy to most Christmas tunes if I’m honest. I’m famous in the office for being a bit of a Christmas music-phobe, and I stick with my favourite French radio FIP for most of the season. Although I can’t stand hearing Christmas jingles as early as October or November I have been known to steal Christmas playlists for the big day! A bit of Eartha Kitt and the lovely Carols from King’s help to set the tone.
What is your favourite memory from Christmas time?
My favourite Christmas memories will always be the excitement, anticipation and thrill of Christmases when we were kids. The very best ones were when my grandfather was alive. After a late Christmas lunch he would start a bit of a fight with all the leftover Christmas cracker paper. It would start off quite slow and lighthearted, but would always inevitably lapse into a full on food fight, with him wrapping mince pie grenades in tissue paper and flinging them across the room. I loved it, and it still makes me laugh thinking about it! Silly, chaotic and fun – isn’t that what Christmas should be?
What advice would you give for styling your home at Christmas?
Don’t forget scents! They’re so intoxicating and evocative. In keeping with my “winter forest” theme I’m using our We Took To The Woods scented candles this year. They summon up the magic of tramping through a damp pine forest on Boxing Day! I also like to dot fragrant bunches of fresh pine, thyme and rosemary about the place to make sure the whole pad smells incredible.
What inspires you during the festive period?
How festive London looks for the season is constantly inspiring! It conjures up a truly magical Dickensian Christmas, and nowhere more so than the food markets. I adore visiting Borough market in the week leading up to Christmas, and queuing outside Neal’s Yard and Monmouth. The market food shopping is my absolute most favourite thing to do – it feels so festive and abundant.