The artist and interior design guru reveals what he's got planned for his own festive décor.
This Christmas will be the first Christmas we’re at home, not up in Edinburgh and the Highlands with my partner Duncan’s family, or down in Hampshire with mine. As is the situation with most people, plans are still very much up in the air. We are not sure whether we will be able to host family, but either way (and although we will miss the magic of winter in Scotland), it will be wonderful to spend the full festive season at the Cotswolds cottage we began renting in the summer of 2019.
Last year we threw a Christmas party at home in early December for new and old friends. Although proper parties will more than likely be off schedule this winter, we’ll decorate in the same manner: with abandon. We’ll fill the house with greenery (holly, ivy, eucalyptus and rosemary from the garden) and antique bowls of clove-studded oranges. I want the house to be filled with naturally festive fragrance (no sickly scented candles); I love the sharp, fresh pine forest scent of foliage mixed with the warm, heady aroma of winter spices.
I’ve been collecting giant Victorian witch balls over the past couple of years, we will suspend these with colourful ribbons over the table in our dining room. These are enormous baubles, essentially, and were originally used as fishing floats. (Although they were also hung in cottage windows in the 17th and 18th centuries to ward off evil spirits and witches). Genuine antique witch balls have a beautiful, mottled patina that reflects candlelight beautifully. Speaking of candles, I bulk buy colourful dinner candles from Pentreath & Hall in Bloomsbury. Top tip: buy about three times as many as you think you’ll need, although you’ll still run out. My Christmas playlist, meanwhile, is a heady mix of English Medieval and Renaissance tunes, the odd Celtic ditty and a few 1980s pop bangers.