Christmas 2017: Style tips on how to deck up Christmas tree the best

Updated: 17 December, 2017 12:28 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

Of trimmings, ornaments, bows, fairy lights and streamers, Christmas trees have their own story to tell. Here's how to deck up yours, the best

The air is already filled with the heady aroma of Christmas cheer. Shops are brimming with festive décor, the streets are wearing extra lights, and if you listen closely, you'll catch the notes of carols too. Even the weather, with its night-time nip in the air, seems to be ready for the season. We went around town to scout for the best trees, that are up already in all their splendour. From brand new ornaments to family heirlooms, a lot goes into the perfect Christmas tree. We collected precious tips on how to make our Christmas trees look full of Holiday cheer.

Christmas tree

For Fernandes and his family, there's not much planning that goes behind putting up the Christmas tree. "We are almost on auto-pilot, as we have been doing this for years," he says. "We usually take the decorations out of storage and assemble it early, so that the festive spirit is there at home all through the month. Our tree goes up by December 8, my late fathers' birthday," says Fernandes.

Christmas tree

This year the theme is more vintage classic with handmade wreaths. "We'll also put up a few angels my mother bought when I was in school. Some of them have also been gifted by friends. They remind me of simpler times and the hardships my mother went through to bring me up and also of the love and affection of friends and family, whose ornaments I have up. Each ornament on the tree has a story to tell," he adds. Fernandes walks down to Hill Road, Bandra where numerous stores are set up during this period. "Besides, I have picked up ornaments while travelling around the world. Some I've made from scratch with acorns and twigs that I found in various places," he adds.

Christmas tree

Putting up a Christmas tree marks the official beginning of the season. "Thoughts of how to do up the tree run through the mind all year round and I look for ideas and pick up anything that's Christmas-related on all my travels. Things finally begin to shape up in November and both my children are involved in putting up and decorating. By December 10, our tree is up. It is usually placed on a coffee table close to a window in the drawing room. Since it is not practical to have a really large tree, ours is a cosy, medium-sized one," says Sikka, who has used Indian jhumkas and lanterns with western baubles and bells and have intertwined golden tinsel with strings of white mogra flowers. Their first born was nine months old when they celebrated his first Christmas and that year, the family had used shimmery, red thermocol strawberries to decorate the tree. "While my husband and I were setting up the tree, he crawled around happily amidst all the decorations and at one point, we saw him take a nice bite out of one of the strawberries. That strawberry with his teeth marks goes on our tree every year, irrespective of the colour or theme — it will always be our most treasured decoration."

Christmas tree

For the Manchandas, there's nothing like the sight of a tree with presents piled under it. "That makes a Christmas morning. Like the nativity scene and the cake and sweets, Christmas wouldn't be complete without a tree," says Manchanda who has been making handmade decorations for their family tree for a few years now. "I start thinking and planning the theme around September and begin making the decorations in November. This year the theme is paper quilling, and the tree goes up a week before Christmas," she adds. The whole family gets involved in the process. "I try hard not to be the decorating dictator. Since I make the decorations, I usually have an idea about how I want it to look. But fun lies when everyone is drawn in."

Since each year, the tree has its own theme, they don't use old decorations. "But, our nativity scene is made of ceramic figures made by my mother and that's a family heirloom." Besides this, she gets the rest of her supplies from Hill Road, from its many stores that stock great products to pick up last minute things like ribbons
etc. "Nothing that I buy is used as is though. It all gets modified and personalised in some ways," she adds.

In an effort to bring in the Christmas spirit, and spread the joy to passersby, the Damian family tradition of window dressing their store started 35 years ago. And, they never repeat a theme. "The concept is planned months in advance and gets fine-tuned in due course. The team sets it up from scratch in less than two days and the family ensures that the curtains are rolled up for public viewing on December 1. Nowadays, people from all faiths celebrate Christmas and decorate their homes. When we see the joy in the faces of onlookers, it makes it all worthwhile," says Periera.

While the décor items come from Singapore, the tree itself is from Italy. And, the same gold star goes on top of the tree every year. "This year the theme is sledge boys, choir girls, Santa's car manger and Christmas room. It's our little way of spreading the spirit and making Christmas more meaningful to everyone," says Pereira.

Fernandes' style sheet

>> Lights should go on first. That lends a nice inner glow to the tree, while hiding the wires 
>> Balance decorations and ornaments with the larger ones at the bottom, and smaller ones at 
the top
>> Decorate with one kind of ornament at a time for better visual balance
>> Keep pets and water away from the tree 
>> Fix the base of the tree or else it could topple over 
>> More is less. The phrase 'over dressed like a Christmas tree' is there for a reason!

The Sikka's style sheet 
>> It is good to decide a theme in advance, that helps you know exactly what you've set out to accomplish
>>The tinsel should go on after you have put up the lights
>> Keep rotating the tree when decorating, so that you're not left with one side looking sparse and empty
>> The star goes up last

Manchanda's style sheet 
>> Big decorations overwhelm a small tree and small decorations can be lost on a big tree. Balance well
>> A theme makes the tree look pulled together, and add variety. It can be a colour or a kind of decoration. 
>> Don't do it all at once. Take a pause before going on to the next step, to know if you're doing it right

The Damian style sheet
>> Start with the base of the tree and work your way up
>> Pre-decide the colour scheme of ornaments as that's important in terms of the entire look
>> Once your tree is assembled, arrange the lights in a sequence and make sure you have the perfect star for the top of the tree, for the wow factor
>> Ensure ornaments are evenly distributed around the tree; that's crucial for both the look and weight
>> Don't forget to have a blast while you are at it

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First Published: 17 December, 2017 12:15 IST

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