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!
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.