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Co-Founder Of Invisible Collection
“Christmas starts when I get my Red Berry Garland from Flowerbx and my favourite scent for the Christmas period is Solis Rex by Cire Trudon, thanks to its notes of orange, eucalyptus and pine – with just a hint of incense.
“So that none of my guests feel left out – especially those who don’t drink alcohol – I keep sparkling tea from Saicho on hand. My favourite is the jasmine flavour. It’s a delicate cold brew that looks and feels like drinking champagne.
“I’m lucky enough to live minutes away from the Ginger Pig in Clapham, where people queue for hours for the best organic turkey or chicken. You can even book Christmas butchery classes – a favourite among my boyfriend’s friends. I get my cheese from MacFarlanes across the road – I really recommend trying the vignotte.
“My Christmas tableware is from Zoë de Givenchy. I love her trompe l’œil décorative plates and colourful placemats. I also print custom Christmas wrapping paper or use fabric cut-offs for wrapping gifts. Velvet works best, especially if you pair it with velvet ribbons. I get all my gifts from ClubRoom, The Invisible Collection’s curation of one-a-kind home accessories.
“This party season, I’ll be using Merit beauty products, which are vegan, organic and packaged in recyclable, reusable or biodegradable packaging. Every year, I choose a particular accessory that makes the night feel extra special; last year it was a Madina Visconti bronze headpiece. This year, I can’t wait to wear the fishnet boots embellished with rhinestones that I tracked down from Chanel. There were only 20 pairs produced, so they feel really special.”
Founder Of Edit58
“The seasons starts with Christmas carols by candlelight at St James in Piccadilly, and I always get into the festive mood with a trip to Fortnum & Mason beforehand to pick up festive treats and maybe a new decoration or two – this year I’ve got my eye on one from artist and designer Jess Wheeler.
“I really look forward to buying our Christmas tree. We get it from Dowdswell Forest, which is the most magical setting. I love the hunt for the perfect height and shape. Decorating the tree is another highlight – I really enjoy getting all the decorations out that we have gathered over the years – from homemade ones by the children to our edit58 papier-mâché festive friends. I love bows and gingham, and this big bow from our rattan vase collaborators, Straw London, is a firm favourite. It goes on our front door for much of autumn and then, come Christmas, it sits at the top of our tree.
“Mince pies from Konditor are the best – no contest. Food plays a very important part in our Christmas. Our family trip to The Fromagerie in Marylebone to stock up on festive cheese is a much-loved tradition. For the past four years we have spent Christmas at our home in Gloucestershire. On Christmas Eve we go to our local pub for lunch. It’s cosy, festive and we are all full of excitement and anticipation. We normally roll out at 5pm and head home to open a Christmas Eve present around the fire – usually PJs and a new book for the children.
“The Boxing Day highlight is the annual duck race in Bibury – it’s so much fun. We follow it with a stomp across the surrounding fields to work up an appetite for Boxing Day lunch – the best meal of the holiday.”
Creative Director At Cabbages & Roses
“Christmas is the perfect excuse to buy some new nightwear. For me, it’s always a Cabbages & Roses nightdress but for my daughter Dolly it’s an If Only If nightie and for Harry it’s Nufferton Pyjamas.
“Decorating the tree always feels so special. My mother has kept every single decoration we ever made as children – as if they are priceless ornaments. Getting the boxes down from the attic and unwrapping them each year is so nostalgic. The soundtrack to Christmas is, rather unbelievably, the Smurf’s Christmas Party Album. I have no idea why, but it’s a family tradition to listen to it while we decorate the tree.
“I really enjoy wrapping presents. I buy wrapping paper throughout the year and store it along with an unhealthy supply of string, ribbons, striped washi tape and cards. For awkward shaped presents, I use scraps of fabric instead of paper – Cabbages & Roses linen is my favourite. I also love putting fairy lights up everywhere – but only the warm white, non-flashing ones. There’s also usually a big bowl of walnuts, complete with the traditional silver nutcrackers, sitting in the middle of the table.
“On Christmas Eve, we go to the midnight service at the church my parents were married in. It doesn’t have electricity, so everything is done by candlelight. You have to walk across a field to get to it and it’s always freezing cold but so beautiful. Finally, dressing up on Christmas Day is always such a joy. This year I’ll be wearing my red stewart tartan Zadie dress, red velvet ballet shoes and a red velvet hair bow.”
Founder Of Coco & Wolf
“Christmas starts with ice skating – we always go every year with friends and family – and the next tradition is choosing the Christmas tree. While we wait for the tree branches to settle at home, we turn the Christmas music on and start to unpack the decorations, which always brings back lots of Christmas memories. Our decorations are a mix of Coco & Wolf designs (all made from surplus fabric) and our family decorations we have collected over the years, finished with our Christmas tree skirt.
“Around October, I start making the Christmas cake, which sounds early but once it’s baked, it needs feeding with apple cider brandy every week until Christmas. Just before Christmas we will decorate it as a family, each owning a special part of the cake – mine is the finishing ribbon. The cake recipe I use is Mary Berry’s – the marzipan we make from scratch, and we use a local cider to feed it. We also make a homemade gingerbread house in December and add a side extension using Biscuiteers. Each family member must decorate a section – I like doing the roof, while my daughter always takes the garden. Sherry is my Christmas tipple, which I always serve in my Granny’s cut glass. Harvey Bristol Cream is my favourite – the taste always makes me feel festive.
“Every year our village does an interactive advent calendar, which calls on 24 of the houses to create a special window or door for each day of advent. This year, we will put a giant star in our doorway and light it up in the evening. It is such a lovely tradition that gets the whole community involved. The last day is always taken care of by the local church on the 25th.
“When I was a child, my presents were always delivered at the foot of my bed in a pillowcase, and it’s a tradition I have continued with my own children. I like having beautiful cosy, festive bedding in the children’s room for the whole of December to make it magical for them. On Christmas Eve, we always have a roast ham dinner from the local butcher with homemade coleslaw, jacket potatoes and cheese from Roger Wilkins, with our own homemade chutney recipe. Then, we always go to our local church to sing Christmas carols and later head to the crib service at Wells Cathedral. All the children dress up as a nativity character or anything they want – last year we had a Batman! It’s all very Love Actually. We always get outside for a good walk on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Christmas Day is always as a family and then Boxing Day is with friends.”
Founder Of Nicola Harding & Co
“We like to visit some of our favourite pubs over the festive period. We always do drinks by the fire at the outdoor bar at my local, The Bull in Charlbury, by the same clever people who are behind The Pelican in Notting Hill. We’ll also plan a family supper at The Royal Oak, Ramsden, a pub I helped create. It has a wonderfully cosy Christmas feel with lots of roaring fires, candles and twinkling lights. The best festive café is Wortons and the best Christmas decorations are made by Tobias & The Angel on White Heart Lane. The local bookshop to our studio – Queen’s Park Bookshop – is also my go-to for Christmas shopping, but I also go to Columbia Road on ‘Christmas Wednesdays’, when you can shop accompanied by carol singers.
“Wreath making is always good fun. I pick bundles of greenery from the garden and some from nearby hedgerows – I especially like the ethereal quality of ‘olds man’s beard’ that dances along the edge of the fields at this time of year. I also like making paperchains with the kids to hang up all over the house. It’s fun using the ends of things you have lying around – newspaper or old wrapping paperwork well. This year we will be using up any off-cuts and samples from our new NiX wallpaper collection.
“It’s now tradition that the kids make dinner on New Year’s Eve. We get together with great friends and put the children into teams, give them a budget and then each team cooks a three-course meal for us all to eat together. It’s brilliant, it takes all day and night, and gives the grown-ups a chance to catch up.”
Founder & Creative Director Of French Bedroom
“We go all out at Christmas. For the past few years, we’ve wrapped our house in a 1m-wide red satin bow, to the point where we’re now known as ‘the red bow house’. It takes about four hours to put up, but it marks the start of the celebrations. A Christmas Eve carol service is another tradition I like to uphold; I went to a religious school, so I find it quite nostalgic.
“I keep the Christmas cooking simple and cheat wherever I can. The home delivery from Cook food fills almost all of my freezer – their Christmas deserts are so good. With the school nativity play, carol concerts, parties and work events, I don’t have time to make homemade mince pies, bread sauce, red cabbage or Christmas cake. I do make chutney though – I love the smell. I top the jar lids with fabric from our beds designs and tie them with pretty ribbons. Now the children are a little older, the real candles are back on our Christmas tree again. I also hang an over-sized bunch of mistletoe from our hallway chandelier. When our daughter was little, we bought a life-size reindeer, which still graces the hallway each year.
“At the start of the festive season, it’s become tradition to buy the children a bedroom bundle, so they have a new duvet set, cushion and faux fur throw to snuggle up in. These snuggly throws get dragged from the sofa to the car to bed – and they’ve even been known to make it to the pub for Sunday roasts! As spring approaches, they migrate to the garden dens and tents. Each spring I also save pretty glass bottles and hang them over apple blossoms on the apple trees in our garden. The blossoms turn to small apples which then grow into the bottles. I remove the apple-filled bottles in the summer and fill them with brandy, so come Christmas, we have apple brandy, and they make great gifts too.
“I make a big fuss of our grandfather clock at Christmas. It’s a family heirloom that I really cherish. I use laurel leaves, trailing ivy and small leylandii fern branches from the garden to create a garland and then dot red amaryllis flowers amongst the foliage. I add in rolled and scrolled sheet music as a finishing touch.”
Co-Founder Of Albion Nord
“You can make your table sing with a selection of antique brass vessels and candlesticks – the different shapes and sizes create a wonderful visual effect, especially when filled with flowers and lit candles. The warmth of the brass and the light reflects beautifully.
“The best festive lunch in town is just a stone's throw from our house. We go at every given opportunity – be it for Friday night dinner with friends or for a special celebration. In our opinion – and I don't think we're alone – the Camberwell Arms does the best pub food in London. There’s a wonderful private room upstairs which is the perfect place to host a festive meal. The food is best described as modern British with Mediterranean influences.
“This year’s carol service is also in Camberwell, and it’s an alternative take on what you would expect from the more traditional services. Organoke at St Luke’s Church is quite possibly the highlight of my festive season. Picture, if you will, a night of karaoke – but to Christmas hymns. There’s a band, there’s dancing and the atmosphere is so uplifting.
“Scent is a big part of Christmas for me – fir trees, crackling fires, cold air, Christmas cake, mulled wine. However, this year it’s all about Aesop’s oil burner with a combination of Ruzu and Karst. The scents are actually perfumes, but they can be mixed with a carrier oil in their brass oil burner to create the most delicious and beautiful scents.”
Co-Founder Of Albion Nord
“My favourite Christmas decoration is the oversized, gingham bow from Straw London. It’s wonderfully over the top, without being overtly Christmassy – it’s feminine, doesn’t take itself too seriously and I would be tempted to leave it up all year round if I could.
“Drinks wouldn’t taste the same if we didn’t sere them in these champagne coups from the Vintage List. The delicately etched star detail adds a festive touch, without relegating them to the ‘Christmas box’ for the rest of the year. They’re made from hand-blown, lead-free crystal and they’re dishwasher safe.
“This year’s carol service will be the TP Caring Spaces Carol Concert at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea. TP Caring Spaces is an incredible charity set up by interior designers Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock – their mission is to design calm and comforting spaces to help a diverse group of people in need. Not only is this an incredibly worthy cause, but the service itself is always beautiful – a joyful and magical evening that has become somewhat of a Christmas tradition.
“The scent of Christmas is Santa Maria Novella’s Terracotta Pomegranate – everything from Santa Maria Novella is on my wish list, but these are a particular favourite. The terracotta pots are shapred in the form of a pomegranate fruit and soaked in Santa Maria Novella Melograno perfume – which then slowly releases into the air. It offers just the right amount of scent to evoke a festive feeling, without being overpowering or synthetic.”