The interior designer recommends christmas low-maintenance menus, pourable presents and a mix of coloured candles
For wrapping presents, i always buy red and green ribbon from peter jones’s haberdashery department.
I use the widest satin ribbon it sells; The wider the ribbon the easier it is to tie the bows. I even use it on small presents, but only go around them once.
The best tree is a norwegian spruce.
The scent of fir transports me straight to the magic of christmas rather than the looming deadline. otherwise, ralph lauren’s ‘holiday’ candle is the perfect imitation of that smell.
Jute Diamond Christmas Decoration, £3 from The Conran Shop.
If you don’t have space for a christmas tree inside…
Consider putting one in the garden – that’s what i am going to do this year. It will be right outside the window, lit and decorated, like the tree in trafalgar square.
‘Gliter Zig Zag Bauble’, £16 , and ‘Snowman Christmas Tree Decoration’, £12, both from The Conran Shop
When you buy mistletoe, get at least three bunches and tie them together with a large red satin ribbon.
A scrawny bunch doesn’t send out the right message.
If you are entertaining a large number of people…
Ensure you enjoy the party, too, if you are to remain at all genial throughout the 12 days. Have some delicious and low-maintenance menus up your sleeve. Large shepherd’s pies, good claret, bowls of clementines and mini mince pies make for the perfect christmas eve dinner.
Paper napkins are totally fine, paper plates are not.
What you save on washing-up, you will lose on the upholstery as food slides off flimsy plates.
Do serve magnums or, better still, double magnums.
They are so much more celebratory than a bottle and in practical terms you will get much further round the room before having to retreat to the kitchen.
Keep a few ecumenical presents around for the unexpected guest or the last-minute invitation to dinner or lunch.
Edible or pourable is a good rule of thumb – a delicious bottle of olive oil, truffle oil or a large pot of really good honey. I am so grateful to receive something like this rather than a strange pair of socks.
My table is lined with marianna kennedy candlesticks.
Resin candlesticks, by Marianna Kennedy, 22.5 x 12.5cm diameter, £120 each, from Rita Konig.
White candles are a total no-go unless it is an emergency.
I like black untapered dinner candles and the conran shop has candles in masses of terrific colours that i like to mix up: olive greens with greys and even a dirty rose pink.
Dinner Candle (cool grey), £3 from The Conran Shop.