Tree envy has officially begun. Peering into neighbour’s windows, going green with desire at the local restaurant’s festive offering, jealousy pounding when glimpsing the latest ‘trendy’ tree... sound familiar? Getting competitive over Christmas trees has long been a national pastime but it is made somewhat more complex as bizarre coloured trees enter the equation. Disregard green (if you’re one for the so-called ‘trends’); black, pink or blue Christmas trees are the preference this season.
Last week, a furore broke out among Christmas purists when Christian Dior designer John Galliano unveiled his first Christmas tree for the luxury Art Deco hotel Claridges. To celebrate the "terribly" fashionable tree, celebrity guests were invited to an opening night. The tree, positioned in the grandeur of the Claridges hotel foyer, was surrounded by mannequins clad in vintage Dior archive dresses. The fashion pack and design mafia, including Daisy Lowe and Henry Holland sipped Belvedere Christmas Martinis and oohed and ah'd at Galliano's "Christmas tree" - an icy blue papier mache and polystyrene creation which features a snow leopard, blue parrots and dragon flies. It takes quite some imagination to link Galliano's minimalist tree to the retro Christmas that we know and love. Instead of tinsel, there are sparkling crystals and instead of baubles, exotic orchids adorn the branches. Galliano describes his festive design as "icy frozen snow scenes mixed with a tropical twist".
Like Galliano, many are veering away from the traditional green pine tree as we become more adventurous in our decorating tastes. In recent years, we've observed, with some astonishment on my part, a rise in pink trees, white trees and upside down Christmas trees. This year, it appears, is the year of the black tree. Tesco has announced that their black Christmas trees are outselling the green versions by 10 per cent. Sold for £25 and standing 6" tall, the black trees come with LED lights already attached and are the ultimate modern take on the Swedish ritual. The supermarket giant expects to have sold nearly 300,000 artificial trees by Christmas tree – with their black versions being the most sought after.
Competition among Christmas tree vendors gets more aggressive every year with ploys and new fads created to attract customers. This year, B&Q are selling a tree with its back half sliced off; an ingenious tactic for people with bijou flats. Less is certainly more with this genius design which allows shoppers to enjoy a tall Christmas tree without utilizing precious floor space. It looks bushy and full from the front but has been sliced down the middle and has no back. "In modern small houses, saving space is crucial, and as a result compact products are much in demand," Elaine Walter, Christmas buyer at B&Q says. "These half Christmas trees are being introduced to help create that same warm festive look, using half the space and decorated in half the time."
Last year, Coleen Rooney hired an interior decorator to design Christmas trees in several colour combinations for her Cheshire mansion. If you want to make a style statement, the market is flooded with coloured artificial trees. This year, head to Paperchase or Selfridges if you're hunting for a fuschia pink Christmas tree, Tesco for a paler version, Argos for an arctic silver one or Next for a copper coloured pre-lit tree. Forget dreaming of a white Christmas - this year, it's rainbows all round.