Whether you love or loathe putting up the tree, the decorations are the pièce de résistance of the whole performance. They’ve become a huge deal over the years, with collections ranging from Scandinavian-inspired simple wooden pieces to all-singing sparkly trinkets.
Once you get some colour, texture and a touch of shine dangling from your tree’s tips, it will make hauling it back from the shops or lugging it down from the loft all the more worth it.
Here’s our pick of the best decorations to bring your tree to life. This lot – some individual, others sets – are some of the stand-out pieces we’ve seen this year. We’ve picked some for their visual impact, others for their sense of fun and a few that make wonderful early Christmas presents.
1. Paperchase Sprout Decorations: £10 for 3, Paperchase
Who would have thought a vegetable so divisive would become so popular as to adorn crackers, cards, napkins and even tree decorations? Well, it’s happened and we think it’s great. You either love or hate Brussels sprouts to eat, but either way, these will look good hanging from your tree from their candy-stripped loops, especially with felt antlers and silly faces embroidered on too. They come in a box of three and are about 6.5cm in diameter.
2. Wedgewood Nativity Decoration: £25, Amara
Nativity scenes have taken a back seat in recent years, but this pretty porcelain bauble depicts the traditional Christmas story with cream figures on Wedgewood’s signature blue. Coming in a gift box and hung with a white ribbon, it makes a great present and is a timeless decoration the recipient will hang for years to come.
3. Anthropologie Snowflake Ornament Set: £30 for nine, Anthropologie
Every snowflake is different and Anthropologie gives a sense of that with this set of intricate decorations. The natural pale wood gives these a pared-back Scandinavian feel and each is hung by twisted white and gold threads. There are three different designs and they come as a pack of nine.
4. Betsy Benn Bespoke Baby’s First Christmas Wooden Tag Decoration: £18.95, Not On The High Street
Mark a child’s first Christmas with this engraved wooden piece. In the shape of a gift tag, it’s designed to look like a letter from Father Christmas. Santa welcomes them to the world then invites them to write their own missives. The official-looking header and signature will get little imaginations going when they are old enough to read it themselves. It also has a 2016 stamp to mark the date and hangs on a cheery red polka-dot ribbon. About the size of an iPhone, this is a decoration for bigger trees.
5. Cody Foster & Co Felt Flamingo Decoration: £30 for 2, Amara
Exotic animals we don’t traditionally associate with Christmas seem to be a trend in the decoration world this year. We’re talking peacocks, flamingos, camels and all manner of other beasts. This set of two felt birds from festive ornament specialists Cody Foster & Co will make a fun addition to your tree. One is pinker in tone while the other has an orangey hue. Both have golden loops to hang from the tree, and a smattering of sequins on the wings. These aren’t cheap but they make a memorable pair.
6. The Snowman Bauble: £15, John Lewis
The Snowman is the epitome of modern classic when it comes to celebrating Christmas – both the original version and the sequel featuring the ever-so-cute Snowdog. This snow globe-style bauble houses little figures of the characters on the inside and the glass is adorned with snowflakes. The LED lights make it an extra-special feature. At 20cm diameter, this is a statement piece.
7. Pom Pom Christmas Decorations Multi- Coloured: £15 for six, The Conran Shop
Sometimes it’s refreshing to step away from traditional Christmas hues and go for happy-feeling brights. This set of six pom poms from the Conran shop are one of the easiest ways to jazz up your tree and delight in gloriously clashing colours. Just don’t let any resident cats get their claws into them.
8. Accessorize Fairtrade Felt Penguin: £6, Accessorize
The North Pole is one of the main associations of Christmas, and is home to plenty of penguins, cute or otherwise. This felt one certainly is, and we like the meta twist – even penguins aren’t immune to the lure of the selfie, it seems, from a glance at his pink jumper. This one gets bonus points for being Fairtrade, too.
9. Fortnum & Mason Hamper: £15, Fortnum & Mason
The quintessentially British department store has half a floor dedicated to its Christmas decorations, with everything from embroidered penguins to china teacups on sale to hang on the tree. Fortnums is perhaps best known for its luxurious hampers and if you can’t afford the three or four-figure price tag they command, you can get one in decoration form. The mini wicker basket has the coveted F&M printed on the lid and actually opens, so you could fill it with chocolate goodies. It fastens with a leather tie and hangs by the branded cream ribbon.
10. Owl and Otter Copper Hand painted Christmas Baubles: £14.50 for 5, Etsy
We love these solid beech baubles that are painted with this season’s coveted tone: copper. Handmade in Owl and Otter’s Brighton studio, the metallic hue is contrasted with white and then each bauble is given a gloss of clear varnish to protect it and give it a shine. They’re 5cm diameter and come in sets of five, 10, 15 and 20.
11. Emma Bridgewater Personalised Joy Star Tiny Mug Decoration: From £12.95, Emma Bridgewater
You don’t need to be a fan of Emma Bridgewater’s ceramics to appreciate these mini versions. Our favourite is the little 5.5cm-tall mug decorated in festive red and green, but there are other jug and cup shapes in some of the brand’s signature patterns, all of which you can get personalised. These come in a box and make a lovely present. Note that delivery can take two weeks for the personalised versions.
The Verdict: Christmas decorations
The Wedgewood nativity scene is a real classic when it comes to baubles and its size ensures it is a prominent one on any tree and it makes a lovely gift for Christmas tree decoration fanatics. For something cheaper, and a little more fun, the Brussels sprouts are sweet and tick all the boxes for a Secret Santa gift, whether someone loves them or hates them.
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