*The content in this post was written in-line with the Covid-19 restrictions at the time. Please follow the current Government guidelines relating to lockdown, social distancing and all relevant matters.*

Christmas lights and trees have already started to appear in homes and gardens across the region.

As we prepare for a festive season like no other, it makes sense that the halls have already been decked and the Christmas playlists have already had a spin. Festive cheer is exactly what we’re all in the mood for right now.

Trending trees

This year our Christmas traditions will mean more to us than ever. Knowing that using our familiar decorations again and again will not only be a comfort but will reduce our impact on the environment.

There is likely to be a higher demand than ever before for a real Christmas tree – even if just for an excuse to get out of the house to go and pick one. But this year there are options to rent Christmas trees or try a pot grown living tree that can be replanted after the festive season.

Alternatives to real trees have improved immeasurably over the years, to the point where it can be hard to tell the difference. 

Perhaps that has inadvertently influenced another trend, which is to have a tree that doesn’t look much like a tree at all. Wooden Christmas trees are more or less the shape of a proper pine, but very much in a contemporary style. Or how about the ultimate festive Zoom backdrop of a magical string light tree or this hanging tree – both of which are perfect if you’re short of space.

Baubles and other bits

A simple bauble might never go out of fashion, but if you want your tree to stand out it will need to be something special.

A very traditional style that is everywhere this year are candle-effect tree lights. Resembling small white candles all over your tree, they’re a clear nod to the Christingle – which can be complemented by dried orange slices on ribbons. This would be a great Christmas craft that can be enjoyed as a family on a wintery afternoon.

Talking of homemade, you can bake your own hanging decorations, which will always go down a treat.

As far as baubles go, the coolest look right now are clear glass globes – filled with white twigs, snowflakes, or even tiny silver ornaments. And if you’re on the hunt for vintage decorations, you can always rely on Absolutely Nice Vintage, based in Carlisle, who have tracked down a range of festive baubles. 

Crackers and table centrepieces

A cracker is just a loo roll, a snap, and a terrible joke, right? Over recent years there has been a growing love for reusable wooden crackers. We love the look of these specially-turned crackers, but most of them are custom-made. You can however get these extra large ones from Handmade Gifts In Wood – but it’s up to you to provide the joke and the paper hat.

There are few better ways to spruce up your table decorations than with some pine tree branches, pine cones and berries, scattered around a central focus. We like the look of these rustic-style rope cones from The Range, but you might also find inspiration having a festive forage on your next walk in the woods. 

Modern take on the advent calendar

Calendars have come a long way of late; from a simple chocolate behind cardboard doors, we are now at the stage where children find a LEGO model every day, Disney figurines, or even a daily magic trick. 

Adults have it even better, with a beer or a mini bottle of gin behind every door, a different cheese each day, make up accessories, savoury snacks, jewellery – almost anything you can think of.

Our pick would be this cheerful calendar from Happy Socks, available from Next. Although if you’re looking for a project this could be a brilliant opportunity to create your own personal advent calendar for your nearest and dearest. All you need is 24 containers and a bit of imagination.

Traditional twinkle

Keeping with traditional themes, a nativity scene or wooden models of the three wise men have never really been out of fashion – but with plenty of time on their hands, we’re sure that all the amateur craftspeople will be keen to see what they can conjure up.

Even though they’re not to everyone’s liking, the traditional nutcracker soldiers are everywhere in the homeware stores this year – perhaps they’ll start to grow on us.

An indisputably awesome and understated look are mason jar candles, candles in tilly-style lamps, or candles in Nordic lanterns – basically, any type of candle will add a bit of festive twinkle to your home this year.

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