Dressing up the Christmas home
Shopfront: You can overindulge when you're decorating your home for Christmas without turning it into tack central. Eoin Lyons has a few timely suggestions
Style and Christmas . . . they don't have to be mutually exclusive. Overall, the best approach may be to stick with same taste principle or style that works in your home for rest of year but bump it up a notch or two.
As for tradition, it's a must. But enjoy it, don't let it dictate. It's possible to ease off colours associated with Christmas - red and green - and still be festive. Try greens, silvers and purples (a theme picked up with gusto by Brown Thomas).
Another way to go is to keep the reds but tone them down with natural decorations (see those from Habitat pictured here).
Whatever way you do it, this is a time for over indulgence, so go with it for the home. That doesn't mean spending a lot of money. Look at the decorations you already have: which have seen one-too-many auld lang synes?
Few of us have the self-control to stick to such sensible advice or the inclination to rush out and buy all-new, oh so tasteful baubles and all the other paraphernalia.
Most people tend to hoard decorations and some of the tackiest can be the best - plus, they hold memories of past Christmases.
So keep them and use them. Children love tinsel and glitter and there's nothing worse than a perfectly put together but soulless Christmas home - a home that looks like you have bought everything in one go is boring.
In a practical sense, have two distinct Christmassy focuses to a room. The tree could obviously be one, but pay just as much attention to the mantelpiece. Clear off bits and pieces that sit there for the rest of the year and make a Christmas tableaux.
Sounds a bit pretentious and a lot more trouble than it's worth but be creative and use anything at all (although not dry straw or other fire hazard materials): bits of silver, lights, foliage, baubles (look at the groupings here for ideas).
Throw it all on casually but with a bit of symmetry. Include something tall such as a candlestick.
It's easy enough to talk about the remarkable wreath or unusual fairy lights, but finding these things, particularly when present shopping is competing for your time (and cash) can be difficult.
There isn't any one place where you can pick up everything you might need in one go, so pick a few places and just go there.
Don't divert, there's too much else going on to get bogged down and, anyway, this isn't life or death stuff.
A few suggestions: Muji for red polka dot crackers and cool fairy lights; Habitat for non-glitzy decorations made from wood, glass and paper; Brown Thomas for sparkle (much of what they have is surprisingly inexpensive this year); Avoca for festive wine glasses (although most of their decorations seem to be almost sold out).