Trees & Baubles: My First Faux Christmas

For a few years now, I've muttered about getting a faux Christmas tree, whilst begrudgingly sweeping up dropped needles from the supposedly drop-free, wilted, real Christmas tree, yet I've never quite taken the plunge. I've had real trees all my life, for every single Christmas, for as long as I remember. I love the smell of real trees too, and I think I'd developed a case of real tree vs faux tree snobbery.

Last year I was offered a faux tree, but turned it down as it was too close to the big day and we'd already dragged a real one home, but this year when Balsam Hill asked if I'd like to take part in a Christmas Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance.

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - close up of faux christmas tree with gold and silver glitter baubles and pale pink organza


If nothing else, I'd get some serious mum-points from my children, who always wish we'd get a tree much earlier than we normally do. And I was right. The looks on their faces when I told them that the four massive boxes in the hallway contained a Christmas tree and a load of decorations, and that we were going to put the tree up AND decorate it last weekend, were priceless.

I chose one of the bigger trees. Of course. It's a seven and half foot Vermont White Spruce with Candlelight LED's. It's massive. When I first took it out of it's two huge boxes, I admit I had a bit of a strop (at myself, for not finding out how wide the bottom of the tree would be in advance). Then I got over it, because it's absolutely beautiful. It's everything I always wanted a real tree to be, and they never were. So much to love...

1. It's pre-lit! The lights are evenly and perfectly placed all over the tree. Something I could never quite manage with tangled strings of fairy lights on a real tree.

2. It assembles so quickly it's ridiculous, and you don't even have to connect any wiring together from the different parts. It does it automatically like MAGIC.

3. It's on a stable stand. No more Christmas tree on the lean (or completely falling over, which has happened to us on more than one occasion!),

4. It's so convincingly real, that I actually keep forgetting that it's not. It's not going to wilt, it's not going to drop pines, it's going to stay looking just the way I want it to.

5. It's a pleasure to decorate because you can so easily manipulate it. There are even gloves included in the kit to stop it spiking your hands (which I discovered AFTER I'd done quite a lot of cursing under my breath whilst shaping it).

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - wide shot of faux christmas tree with gold glitter baubles, pink organza wrap and pale pink peonies and fairy lights in bay window of victorian home
To decorate the tree I chose the Silver and Gold Glass Bauble Set. I actually needed two sets of 35 for this large tree. This is a bit of a departure for me, because I've done kitsch for the last few years, but you know I like a change. This year I have stuck with the Silver and Gold (which happily, are more gold than silver!), and been very restrained and only added some pink organza, a gold star topper, and some last minute faux peonies that I already had.

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - close up of gold glitter christmas tree decorations and baubles with pale pink organza ribbon and pale pink peonies and fairy lights

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - montage of gold glitter tree bauble decorations on faux tree

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - close up of pale pink faux peony on faux realistic christmas tree and fairy lights

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - medium close up of side of tree with gold glitter baubles and pink organza ribbon and pale pink peonies and fairy lights
So yes, you'd be right in thinking that this year my theme is half Christmas Tree, half Wedding Cake, and I love it! If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed that I've been banging on recently about needing more calm in my life, which is another reason I've stuck with a more pared back look than usual with the limited colour palette. Still a load of sparkle though, as this is about as pared back as I'm likely to get! Even though it's huge, it doesn't feel completely overwhelming or too busy in the room, and I might not even complain about my husband and kids insisting the tree stays up until New Years Day.

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - close up of gifts wrapped in gold and silver paper

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - tight shot of christmas tree with gold decorations and fairy lights and gold present with black ribbon

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - medium shot of wicker butlers tray with modern white metal lamp, vase of eycalyptus and cloche with fairy lights

I've also got the sixty inch Lodge Faux Fur Tree Skirt (in Stone) to cover the base, awaiting presents. It's unbelievably soft, and the kids can't believe that such a thing even exists. Ha!

The only downside of a faux tree, is that we don't have that wonderful Christmas tree scent. And no, I'm not into the idea of an artificial tree scent, but I think once I've got a bucket load of eucalyptus throughout the house and my favourite scented candles burning, I'll soon forget about that. Besides, what it lacks in scent, it more than makes up for in looks.

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - medium shot of christmas tree with gold glitter baubles and fairy lights with gold and silver wrapped presents.

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop - wide shot of faux christmas tree in bay window with gold glitter baubles, pink organza ribbon and pale pink peonies with gold and silver wrapped gifts in bay window of victorian home, and wicker butlers tray with eucalyptus, modern white lamp and fairy lights under cloche

So there you have it: my first faux Christmas is off to a flying start, and I'm a total convert! I'm off to start decorating other bits of the house now that the countdown to the big day is well and truly on.

Please do go and hop over to the lovely Melanie Lissack Interiors in the morning to see what tree she's chosen and how she's decorated this year. The hop goes through to the 7th, with all these blogs below...

French For Pineapple Blog - Trees & Baubles Balsam Hill Christmas Blog Hop

This post is in collaboration with Balsam Hill.

UK Home Blog Hop:
How To Add Relaxed Glamour To Your Christmas Table

This year I'm getting into the Christmas spirit a little (a lot) earlier than I normally would. Last year we left our tree buying til the weekend before Christmas because various events meant we didn't have a chance to get it earlier, and the kids were a bit disappointed. So this year, we've gone earlier than ever before, and we bought our tree last weekend. The kids, needless to say, are pretty damn pleased that signs that Christmas will soon be here are showing!

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table


If  you're new to French For Pineapple, WELCOME, and thanks hopping by! You've may have come my way via the very wonderful Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot for this bit of Christmas blogger fun. Thanks Carole! And huge thanks of course to our most fabulous host Kimberly, from Swoon Worthy for organising all us wayward bloggers (well, okay, I shouldn't speak for everyone here, so, me, thanks for organising me!).

If we haven't met before, I'm Bianca Hall, and French For Pineapple is where I document my never-ending redecorating efforts in our North London home, alongside my interior obsessions and finds. Of which there are many.

Today I'd like to share, not the tree, but my formula for creating a relaxed glam Christmas table, for the time-pressed or slightly impatient! If you fall into either of these categories, or both, (like me!), but still hanker after a bit of glam over the festive season, then I hope this will help.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

This is not so much a visual step by step guide (okay, not at all, I didn't feel that was necessary), but an explanation of how I put my table together to achieve the finished look, complete with an 'ingredients' list.

I don't go overboard with the Christmas decorations in our house, although I possibly would if I had more time on my hands. I often think about decorating the stair bannister, but rarely end up getting around to it. We'll see if it happens this year - there's certainly an awful lot of inspiration popping up on a daily basis in my Instagram feed.

Our kids get free reign decorating the tree (well, almost - no tinsel, and no red allowed!), so it's always an eclectic mix of collected ornaments, including some the kids have made over the years, and it's guaranteed to look slightly bonkers. But I like it that way, because for us, Christmas is really for the kids. Is it blog or Instagram worthy? Nope, it's far from it, and yes, I am that shallow that you won't be seeing it here any time soon.

I admit, I'm always a little torn, because part of me would love a perfect glamorous colour coordinated tree, but it's just not going to happen any time soon, and I don't have the heart to tell the kids they can't decorate it. What kind of a monster would that make me?! If you haven't already, make sure you also pop over to The Pink House, where the lovely Emily addresses this issue in more detail. There's a link at the bottom of this post.

To make up for the fact that I get very little say over the look of the tree, I've granted myself full creative control over decorating the dining room and dining table! That's definitely my domain, and no one is allowed to complain about me being bossy or controlling, even though I most definitely am. They're also not allowed to mention the fact that there's no room for food on the table. Duh, that's what the sideboard is for! I try to keep that relatively clear.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table




I love to go to the Columbia Road Flower Market (close to where I live in North London), on the last Sunday before Christmas (bit of a problem this year because Christmas IS on a Sunday!), and buy huge amounts of Eucalyptus to be the base of my table centrepiece, along with some showstoppers to make the table really special.

I keep it super simple, because I'm extremely impatient, and I have no floristry skills at all. But I like it to be dramatic and glamorous, while keeping it relaxed and inviting too, so over the years I've developed my own little formula, which looks so impressive, and magical, but couldn't be easier to create.

Are you ready? Good!

Here's what you'll need:

Tablecloth (optional)
One extra large, or several smaller bunches of Eucalyptus
3 plus (depending on size) stems of 'secondary' flowers or foliage (see below)
6 baby pineapples (or other showstopper flowers / fruit)
Copper wire fairy lights (2 strands is ideal)
Candles (at least three, but I've used up to seven!)
Candle holders (or small teacups and blue tack)
Your favourite plates and cutlery
Your very best champagne glasses and tumblers
Linen napkins (obvs.)
Eucalyptus sprigs (tips cut from your bunches)
1 Large Glass of Baileys, Amarula Cream or Champagne (not really optional)

Pop on your tablecloth if you intend to use one, and let's go...

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table
First you need to start with your base. I always use eucalyptus because it lies nice and flat, and has the most beautiful herbal aroma, which also always remind me of home (Sydney, via New Zealand!). Lay two large pieces down so that they're top and tailing each other, but overlapping slightly to cover the ends, and 'pointing' to either end of the table. Decide at this point how far down each end of the table you want to go with your centrepiece and overlap accordingly. If you have a really long table, you can of course use more than two pieces at this stage. Now keep layering with the rest of the Eucalyptus, until you're satisfied with the look and form.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

Start sipping your large glass of Baileys, Amarula Cream or Champagne, and continue...

Next add your secondary foliage or flowers of choice. I've gone for some gorgeous blue and green Hydrangeas here, but I've also used King Protea in the past, which look absolutely sunning, or you could also work some large fern fronds in, or even smallish cheese plant leaves or palm fronds. I go for a messy unstructured look rather than manicured and perfect, which is not only much easier to achieve, but it's quick and keeps it casual. The trick is to keep hiding the stems as much as possible under other foliage. You want good messy, not ugly messy, think Brigitte Bardot bed hair, not dragged through the hedge backwards crazy lady, okay?

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table


At  this point I like to add my copper wire, battery powered fairy lights. These are absolutely priceless and add instant magic! I have two strands which is the perfect amount for our table. Hide the battery packs under some foliage, but remember where you hid them for easy access.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table


Next I add my 'showstoppers', which for me are baby decorative pineapples. Simply the prettiest things ever as far as I'm concerned. I mentioned King Protea before which are also total showstoppers. Basically this is where I add a bit of colour. Use whatever tickles your fancy, and works with your colour scheme if you have one.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

To  finish the centrepiece off I used some beautiful tapered candles in assorted muted colours, in some small teacups from a vintage set that my Father-In-Law gave me, secured with a big blob of blu-tack (remember, never leave burning candles unattended!). Nestle these in wherever you please amongst the foliage.

And voila! One showstopper of a relaxed yet glamorous centrepiece!

Now set your table however you please. I love my Black Willow plates (we're very casual so I don't go for side plates or anything formal, besides, there's never any space!) and have teamed them up with gold cutlery and the palest of pink, loosely folded linen napkins topped with a sprig of Eucalyptus.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table



And of course my favourite Champagne saucers and some dark heavy tumblers too. I like the contrast of delicate and chunky here, which again keeps things laid-back.

So there you have it! My easy yet impressive Christmas table. I'm excited to recreate this for the real thing in a few weeks time.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table
Now please do yourself a favour, and hop on over to Lust Living to see what Christmas goodness Olivia has to offer, and don't forget to keep following the hop because it continues all week!

Here's a full list of participating blogs. I'll be adding the links daily as they go live...

Monday 5th December

Tuesday 6th December

Wednesday 7th December
French for Pineapple (that's me!)



Friday 9th December