A trifecta of festive ideas, courtesy of Santa's favourite Scottish elves, but which will you employ as your dress your festive table?
Blimey, is it really only 15 days until Mr. Claus pours his merry yield into stockings everywhere? Yup, before you can say Mariah (S)Carey, it'll be Christmas Eve and you'll be panicking about last minute cadeaux whilst loading your drinks cart with enough spirit to take down the most hardened festive boozer.
Your turmoil uppermost in our thoughts, we reckoned it might be useful to showcase some simple ideas to keep you on track. We've long since opined that festive décor should enhance existing home style rather than smother it, so our 'less is more' mantra is currently extra potent. To provide direction, here are three looks -- Past, Present and Future -- arranged, for your style hungry delectation, using our very own Toronto condo as backdrop.
This palette, inspired by days of olde, features jewel-toned glass, ornate gilt boxes, glittered flower balls and trays of gold pinecones. Our Asian console, dining table and gold twig lamps enhance (rather than compete with) the festive colour we introduced for this project.
Ruby tones, precious gold and glass work well as complements to our dark wood furniture and rich timber floors, while the warmth of red -- mixed with loads of twinkling candles -- creates a classic holiday feel.
It's worth noting that this opulent look develops with layering. Start with a large charger, float a smaller dining plate on top and add a soup bowl, if required. We used gold servers, red plates and glass-wrapped candles to create visual warmth. Think, too, about positioning a tonal, textural runner to bring even more drama. Find decorative flat wares and festive napery at HomeSense and lacquered acrylic chargers in gold at Bouclair.
Precious metals -- we used tall-stemmed crystal (rimmed with gold) to invite a little extravagance. Echo upmarket restaurants by giving diners wine glasses, water tumblers and champagne flutes, taking care, of course, not to overcrowd the table. Find dreamy gold-rimmed champagne and wine vessels at Zara Home.
We specified a mix of gold foil crackers -- some shiny, some frosted -- as well as individual gift 'boites' to provide a little extra surprise. We generally stuff gift boxes (or bags) with fun-sized chocolate bars, perfume samples, alcohol miniatures and our final flourish: lottery tickets. Who knows -- maybe this year you'll end up giving someone an especially 'rich' present. Tip: agree to split winnings before guests sit down. Just sayin'!
In keeping with the current trend for white gloss, grey tones and wood, this option embraces nature and elicits gentle tone-on-tone results. Use driftwood and clear elements, and welcome in nature with shells, wooden stars and naive animal figurines. The holiday department at Hudson's Bay have a fab selection that would more than conjure up this ethereal spirit.
If you've a grey-toned room, a white space or living quarters that boast blond timber furnishings, 'Christmas Present' will work especially well as a style statement. Organic, tonal and natural, use rope, twigs and branches to add texture but avoid bright colours, glitzy decorations and too much plastic. Imagine rummaging in the forest for natural treasures and shop accordingly.
When table dressing, start with placemats and build from there. Marshalls carries a great range, including leaf-shaped mats and round paper 'tree core' place settings. Alternatively, use a rollout raffia table runner as your central feature. As with all dressing, though, ensure centre pieces aren't too high -- you want to be able to see diner guests, not fight for their attention through yard-high branches.
To bring out the animal in you, employ rattan reindeer, twig shapes and squirrel figurines, congregated to add a fun quirky feel. Discover reindeer ornaments at Amazon and Michaels of Canada, and seek out cute squirrel sculptures.
To amplify mood, use candlelight (The Vancouver Candle Company have some of the market's best options) and driftwood: elements such as these will create texture and height. Arrange a series of small lanterns along your dining table or across a hall console -- the selection at Dollarama will avoid breaking the bank. And, while you're at it, hit a decorative bulls-eye by heading into Target: organic items such as their Twig Star ($15) would be a great starting point for a vignette such as this.
Crystalline, frost and white berries, the look is winter chic but with a futuristic twist. Our condo kitchen, as seen here, is predominantly white gloss and soft grey so we used silver detailing as an elegant complement. Glass, clear plastics and silvered ceramics pull the look together, accented, at the same time with faux foliage from HomeSense.
To kick things off, employ a white table or use a white cloth to create a pristine backdrop. Layer on silver place settings, steel-toned cutlery and clear glass for an icy feel but remember to add glittery touches to embolden. Serving boards in white marble would work really well with this kind of look. Try Ikea for cone-shaped wire tree sculptures: everyone's favourite Swedish retailer carry a fabulous festive range so head on in while stocks last.
Augment your silvery look with mercury glass candlesticks, arranged at varying heights, clustered together for maximum impact. Find eye-catching items such as these in Teatro Verde or Urban Barn and top with plain white candles from Canadian Tire. Layer in further detail using faux berries and foliage. We used white branches (safely anchored in pristine vases) to build an arched canopy. And don't think you'll have to spend big: find a mesmerizing range of 'permanent botanicals' in today's market place. The faux flower buyers at HomeSense are, as far as we're concerned, the retail sectors best, collating, as they do, a wicked selection of thoroughly believable options.
In summation, and to whichever of our looks you're drawn, one thing is certain: you just can't fight that holiday feeling. So come on, give yourself over to festive pleasure and start planning.
As we said at the top of today's epistle: just 15 days to go. The countdown begins here...
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: