Let’s get one thing straight here; at GAFF HQ we spend 99 per cent of our time hunched over our laptops, running around like headless chickens and generally chasing our tails from Instagram post to pop-up to make sure our little site is the best it can be. It’s not glam, but it is a whole lot if fun. These first few months of GAFF have been incredible (thanks to you guys) and so when the Independent called asking us to deck the halls, get all dressed up and dish on creating the perfect GAFF-approved Christmas we squealed. Loudly. Honestly, it has been the cherry on top of a really amazing first year of GAFF. Let’s just say between the mince pies and our amazing pal and very talented photographer Caolan snapping happy over two days, creating this spread was an absolute pleasure and a privilege. Michael Buble, Bing Crosby, and Ariane Grande (don’t judge us – Santa Tell Me is a TUNE) provided the soundtrack, FYI. We wrapped and arranged and really thought long and hard about the simple, achievable and affordable things that would make GAFF readers’ lives easier this Christmas. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re all about.
So, without further ado, here are our 9 Alternative Ways To Style Your GAFF This Christmas. You can see the original Indo article here. Check out the gallery for all of the inspo. Happy GAFF-mas!
1 Go alternative
If you don’t have the space, or the budget, for a traditional tree, think outside the box. We used a wooden cross decorated with lights. Other suggestions include arranging fairy lights or Christmas cards on a wall in the shape of a Christmas tree. Dunnes Stores is selling a space-saving half Christmas tree, where the back is flat and can be placed against the wall.
2. Light up
Fairy lights are not just for the tree, or for Christmas for that matter. String the delicate twinkly strands from bookcases, mirrors, along your dining table as part of the place setting, in coloured glass vases, and by the front door on potted plants. The battery-operated variety is widely available now – they tend to be more delicate and mean you aren’t tied to where plugs are located. Look for the variety with copper wires which can be bent into various shapes.
3 Forage for decorations
Appassionata Flowers is our go-to for professional arrangements, but any walk this year will have you spoilt for choice when it comes to branches, pine cones and other foliage that can be incorporated into place settings, dressed in vases, or used for the wreath. Plus it adds that delicious whiff of Christmas. All very budget-friendly, and the colours – green and brown – will go with any interior palette. Use twine to tie it all together.
4 Keep it natural
Go for natural fabrics, avoid the traditional overdone look in favour of cute paper decorations (see Danish store Tiger for ideas) with a garnish of natural foliage. Use novelty cutlery. A mirror placed down on the table with fairy lights on top makes a lovely light feature.
5 Bring in the hostess trolley
The hostess trolley is back and it brings instant character to a room. It can be used to stack anything from drinks to books or music systems for the rest of the year. It’s easy to decorate – just scatter a few baubles – and is a good way of delegating at least one task from the main host as guests can help themselves to drinks rather than having to have their glasses refilled. Any kind of table that you can set up with drinks and appetizers will fill the same role.
6 Don’t wrap, box it
If you’re in a rush, buy small cardboard boxes in which to present your gifts, rather than going through the hassle of wrapping. Any children on your list will consider this a gift in itself.
7 Dress your door
Set the tone with a gorgeous wreath. Buy a base and make your own with ivy, twigs, moss and cones – it’ll look and smell good. Use twine, which looks great, to hang your wreath on the front door by wrapping it around the wreath, pulling it over the top of door, and taping it down inside. Themed Christmas doormats are another nice, festive touch.
8 Engage the senses
Nothing is as evocative or creates an atmosphere like scent. Pile pine cones high in a pretty bowl and set on your hall table to greet guests. Invest in a fragranced three-wick candle with significant burning hours – light and enjoy.
9 Have fun
Scatter a collection of whimsical, cute decorations around the house and as part of your table decorations, or look for funny cards for your guests. Don’t feel you have to follow a look or colour scheme slavishly – have fun with it, be tongue in cheek. Use what you like and work with what you have.