Why glam rocks this Christmas

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Forget discreet decorations, it's all about tinsel and sparkles. Best of all, it's easy to bring maximalism into our homes – without breaking the bank, says Kate Watson-Smyth

It's back and it's brighter than ever. This year you can put away those tasteful fir cones and hand-painted wooden baubles. There'll be no more trails of glass beads winding delicately round the tree. It's 2010 and it's time for tinsel.

Oh yes. Those glittering trails of gaudy metallic ribbon are where it's at for the decorations this year – along with glitzy reindeer and glittering foil paper chains. Maybe it's because of the economic gloom out there. But ever since the C word (that's crunch not Christmas) began floating round the airwaves, sales of tinsel have been on the up.

B&Q, one of the country's largest retailers of decorations says sales of tinsel have doubled over the last three years and Tesco said sales were up 20 per cent. In 2007, B&Q sold 510,000 packs of tinsel, rising to 900,000 packs the following year and 1.1 million last year. The store has increased stock to meet the expected demand this year.

"It's the ghost of Christmas past," said a spokeswoman from B&Q. It may have been tacky once, "but it's back with a vengeance now".

For years, designers, florists and "design experts" have shuddered at the mention of tinsel, preferring to extol the virtues of a tasteful white and silver theme, or the classic red and gold. It was all about real trees, handpainted wooden decorations and glass baubles, with tinsel banished to the children's bedrooms. But no more.

Yvonne Williams, seasonal assistant buyer at B&Q, described tinsel as the "ultimate frugal decoration", pointing out that it had always sold well during economic downturns. And Wendy Clarkson, the creative director of Christmas TimeUK, says the company has half a million metres of tinsel and is expecting to shift it all.

"Decorations that wouldn't have looked out of place 20 years ago are flying off the shelves as people rush to deck their halls without decreasing their bank balance."

Tinsel is believed to date back to the 1600s when it was made from strands of real silver, but this gave way to artifical replacements as it tarnished over time. Even if you don't want to choose tinsel, the signs are that brighter colours and retro designs are back in this year.

Paper decorations, with their kitsch shapes and low prices, are also big business. Look out for paper chains, bells and snowmen.

Jeremy Aves, owner of Deliver Me A Christmas Tree, says that the traditional reds and golds of the British Christmas are fading away.

"Purple and silver are [now] very strong themes and there's lots of bright green around too. The other trend is that instead of requesting lots of warm white lights, people want bright white to really stand out."

They also want glitter. ChristmasTimeUK and Paperchase report strong sales of gold and silver foil decorations and glittering reindeer and baubles to hang on the tree. "Retro is the way to go, with multicoloured disco balls and foil garlands," says Clarkson. "Sales of these have gone through the roof this year as customers are feeling the pinch."

The London stores have also taken this to heart. In a nod to the 1970s, Selfridges has a window display of giant fuzzy felt characters, and if you really want to see an explosion of tinsel then Harvey Nicks is the place to go. Janet Wardley, head of visual display, said: "We used lots of tinsel in this year's displays as we wanted to create a happy scheme. We wanted our windows to be fun and tinsel represents this. It's a real feel-good product – you can't help but be uplifted by the sight of its sparkly lengths and it brings out the child in all of us."

Clare Harris, the founder of Talking Tables, said: "Stuffy taste is over. This year is all about having fun at the table. Bejewelled purple crackers and red and white woodland animal motifs have been flying out of the store, as well as ice fountains, which are mini-indoor fireworks for popping in Christmas pudding, and tins of mini-sparklers. This year it's Christmas for the maximalists."

At John Lewis, Lisa Rutherford, buyer for seasonal events, said: "Sales of our most stylised and modern decorations [including ultra-tasteful baubles but not tinsel] are up. Our customers want a very stylish, fuss-free look this year."



Make your own

Wendy Clarkson, creative designer of ChristmasTimeUK, reports that sales of ribbon are high. "In recent years people have bought wooden decorations but this year they are being more thrifty and the best way to do that is to make your own decorations. "You can buy nearly two metres of gold spangle ribbon for £3.49 and make your own bows to tie on the tree and elsewhere. We have also been selling lots of 25m rolls of double-face satin ribbon for less than £10."And of course it's easy to set the children to making paper chains to festoon the house. Or collecting pine cones from the park and spraying them with glitter paint.For more ideas onmaking decorations visit makingyourown.co.uk or activityvillage.co.uk



Useful contacts

www.christmastimeuk.com; 01427 667270

www.delivermeachristmastree.com; 01732 522471,

www.talkingtables.co.uk; 020 7627 6767

B&Q www.diy.com; 0845 8500175

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes