Festive Family Christmas With Balsam Hill

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that last year we went for a faux Christmas tree for the first time. And much to my surprise, we all loved it.

I was not expecting to be such a convert to be honest, though I definitely did miss the smell of the real thing, but that was the only downside - I may buy some off-cuts to decorate the bannister this year to make up for it and have the best of both worlds.

I loved that our beautiful faux tree didn't drop any pine needles - lets face it, even the so called non-drop varieties still drop. I loved that it looked perfect until it was time to take it down, that it didn't lean precariously to one side - or fall over for that matter, and the kids loved that it went up earlier and not at the last minute. The jury is still out on that one for me, but I was happy that the kids were happy!

Oh, and did I mention it was pre-lit? That's a total game changer actually, as in the past an even spread of fairy lights was completely unachievable for me with my very limited patience for things like that. I'll paint a room for days, but if fairy lights aren't immediately perfect, I'm out.

This year I've teamed up with Balsam Hill again this year for their Festive Family Christmas campaign to showcase some more of their fab products.

I had planned to go much more pared back with my decorating theme this year - well for this test round anyway, but alas, the pink and gold was calling me and I was powerless to resist! I seem to have ended up with a fairy wonderland theme, with a bit of black and white stripe and matt gold thrown in for balance. Honestly, when I thought about going really pared back, I realised my kids would be really disappointed, and what really matters at Christmas is them. So pared back can wait.

Besides, the pink and gold theme ties in beautifully with the freshly painted front door (and its new brass hardware), and I absolutely love the way the beautiful wreath looks on it. I added some faux glitter berries to it which really pop with the door, but I love that this wreath is beautifully simple on its own, or can be jazzed up in any number of ways too - with ribbon, fresh eucalyptus or even faux or fresh flowers.

The theme this year is fun family traditions, and whilst I didn't think we had any to share, I've realised that we actually do have a few. Perhaps I'm more of a traditionalist than I thought...

A relatively new family tradition is a trip to the flower market the Sunday before Christmas to stock up on crazy amounts of eucalyptus, and if I can find any, ornamental baby pineapples and pink proteas. These are my all time favourite things to have in the house, at any time of year, but Christmas is the one time I don't feel too guilty buying them as the latter two are super pricey!

It's not a given that there will be any of the latter two, but I'm sure I'll find something else lovely to pop on the sideboard and dining table if not. And eucalyptus actually goes a long way in making up for the lack of pine scent too.

My mother will be here this year for the flower market trip which is lovely for many reasons - not least an extra pair of hands to carry the loot back home!

Another tradition is home made mince pies - though I don't use a traditional recipe (I use Nigella's one from her brilliant Christmas book in case you're wondering), and does it count as a tradition that I traditionally make them really last minute? Let's say yes!

My husband and Edie (our 14 year old) usually take a trip into town to look at the Christmas windows at Selfridges on Christmas Eve, but now that Baxter is seven I don't think that's going to cut it as he'll want to go too. Maybe he and I can start a new tradition of making christmas biscuits together at home instead. Or maybe we'll all go - my favourite shopping destination at Christmas time is definitely the Selfridges - particularly the food hall.

I also do a Christmas Cocktail each year which I need to start planning to share here on my blog, and I always make a giant Pavlova too. In fact I think this year that the kids definitely need to get involved with that.

One tradition that we don't have, and that I'd really like to introduce this year is a yearly Christmas family photo. We have precious little photos of us all together at any point in the year, so starting this year we're going to get dressed up (when I say 'dressed up' I'm not talking Black Tie, I'm talking less scruffy and not paint splattered!) and attempt a family portrait. And what better place to do that, than in front of the Christmas tree? Or perhaps on the doorstep in front of the newly pink door with the beautiful wreath. If we manage to get just one photograph with all of us looking at the camera that we're all happy with, it will be nothing short of a Christmas miracle. So here's hoping!

So having realised that we have traditions after all, I'd love to hear about yours in the comments too!

Featured Products:

7' LED Clear Silverado Slim
Mongolian Faux Fur Tree Skirt 72"
Ombre - Bauble Set
Etched - Bauble Set
Ivory Magnolia Picks
Snowflake Tree Topper
Frosted Pinecone Wreath

This post is collaboration with Balsam Hill.

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.