How stylists decorate their Christmas trees

We step inside the homes of two creative Kiwi mums to talk tree styles

Vanessa's Christmas tree

Vanessa Nouwens: “I’m a big lover of Christmas (my friends call me Mrs Christmas) and I try to keep things interesting with a new theme every year. This year’s sorbet and metallic theme is definitely new, and the colours aren’t what you would normally associate with Christmas. This year I teamed sea-foam green and acid yellow with gold and a touch of red. To me this colour combo is a mix of summer and Christmas wrapped in one.

It isn’t Christmas in our household without a few crafty projects on the go. My two girls loved the idea of making confetti baubles, which contain squares of coloured tissue paper. The clear baubles will allow me to update the colour of the confetti next year. I made some geometric diamond decorations out of cardboard using a template off Pinterest.

Wire basket with christmas presents

Being a true Virgo and perfectionist I like to co-ordinate my ribbons and wrapping. This year the girls painted some white drawing paper from The $2 Shop with leftover paint testpots in stripes and spots. These were teamed with gold foil wrap and plain-coloured wrapping paper. The ribbon was bought from $2 shops or emporiums.

On Christmas Day a lot of families spend the day visiting other family members, so I decided to make it easy and put each family’s presents in a basket – so easy to carry and a place to put the presents you receive.”

Emily's Christmas tree

Emily Somerville-Ryan: “I love the divine smell a real tree brings, but having it looking and staying fresh for long enough isn’t realistic in our household. My three eager children insist on putting up our tree in the first week of December so they can enjoy it for longer.

Unfortunately a real tree doesn’t last the distance and ends up looking pretty sad by the second week, and by the time we get home from the Christmas break it’s in a bad state. So this year I finally succumbed to getting an artificial tree and was delighted with how real and lovely it looked. The decorations stayed up on the first attempt at hanging them without flopping off and there is always a branch in the right place for that much-needed splash of colour. I found we decorated the tree in half the time.

This year I invested in some beautiful life-like white foxgloves and pink and red peonies, which give the tree an even fresher appeal and a lovely summery, New Zealand Christmas feel. The flowers dictated the colour scheme of red, pink and white and I concocted a whimsical garden theme with mistletoe, toadstools, snowflakes and forest creatures.

Carrying the colour scheme into the wrapping anchors the tree. I’ve used a variety of shapes and sizes, including boxes, paper buckets with tissue, gift bags, oversized ribbons and fun gift tags and cards. Tying knots of ribbon in similar colours on the tree also helps to bring the scheme together. This year I couldn’t resist finishing off the look with a fun snow-drop-inspired rug.”

Words by: Vanessa Nouwens and Emily Somerville-Ryan
Photography by: Melanie Jenkins

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