Comment: Does Christmas need to be chic?

Putting the kids in charge of decorations doesn't always make for the best looking tree...

Putting the kids in charge of decorations doesn't always make for the best looking tree... - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s that time of year again, and everyone’s dragging their Christmas trees out of the loft or splashing out the best part of £50 on a Nordmann fir or Norway spruce.

It’s undeniably a lovely time of year, but something’s been bothering me: I appear to be lacking a little Christmas tree chic. I have young children, and allowed them the pleasure of decorating the tree. This involved them chucking some tinsel at it, treading on our few half-decent baubles and cramming any available space with home made decorations. It looks a shambles, frankly.

My own childhood Christmas memories involve a tree looking much like ours does currently (ie. a mess). I used to visit friends’ houses and envy their colour themes, co-ordinating decorations and all round much better-looking trees. It seems that nothing’s changed. Why do none of my friends - many of whom also have young children - have trees stuffed with wonky paper stars, insane-looking angels and salt dough baubles so heavy they’re causing premature branch wiltage? Home made decorations are delightful of course. You can have too much of a, er, good thing, though.

Then there’s tinsel. Some say it’s chavvy, others are embracing its retro chic (others, like me, seem stuck with it whether we like it or not).

Then there’s the whole front door wreath thing to consider, not to mention the dos and don’ts of external lighting arrangements. So much to think about at a time of year already busting full of decision-making opportunities.

Ultimately, like all home décor decisions, we must do what suits us best. Who cares if ours is the most rubbish looking tree in town, right? It was decorated with love (and a few tears (none of them mine, honest… though looking at it does sort of make me want to weep...)).

We should see this as an opportunity to celebrate our individuality, while taking our Santa hats off to those that go all out on the decoration front for the greater good. The St Albans Living Advent is a fine example of this – do check out the beautifully decorated windows on Cannon Street, Folly Avenue and Ladysmith and Kimberley Roads if you get a chance.

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Also in St Albans, an amazing lightshow is once again being offered up by one Beech Road resident, a spectacle that has been literally stopping traffic for years. The organisers of both are raising money for charity.

It’s what Christmas is all about, right? Giving back, the community, etc. Who cares if you’re not a fan of excessive amounts of lights or OTT tinsel, let’s celebrate our differences and spread some cheer, however rubbish our trees may look.