First of two parts
Thinking of buying Christmas décor? These practical decorating tips from two of the country’s leading designers could give you fresh ideas on how to repurpose old décor and complement new pieces.
Bag designer and founder of SoFA (School of Fashion & the Arts) Amina Aranaz-Alunan has always been fond of decorating the three-bedroom home she shares with husband Rafa, and children Lucas, Helena and Diego.
“I’m motivated more so because Christmas is a big thing for my family, especially for the kids,” she says. “As soon as Halloween is over, I start bringing out Christmas decorations and work on a theme.”
Their nine-year-old faux pine Christmas tree is usually up in the Alunan home by the first week of November.
Alunan comes up with vignettes incorporating, say, red Christmas balls with round accent pieces set in vases, makeshift platters and bowls.
“I usually add a few arrangements, including a manger, in the run-up to Christmas,” says Alunan. “But you don’t have to totally remove all of your everyday decorations to make room for holiday décor. You can incorporate some for a more seamless look.”
“My mom was also fond of decorating during Christmas,” she says. “But she would rather buy and put all the pieces together. When we were big enough, my two brothers and I were allowed to do the decorating. That was how I started.”
Apart from incorporating Christmas décor with everyday objects and turning them into vignettes, Alunan decides on a theme and color scheme early on.
This year, for instance, she opted for a “traditional but sophisticated” Christmas by using old and a few new Christmas trimmings in deep red and bright gold.
Not only is the arrangement modern, it also gives visitors an idea of Alunan’s eye for fashion with dangling pieces like miniature stilettos, tuxedos and gowns.
“I should also hang cute little bags on my tree, but I can’t find any,” she says. “Limiting your décor to a certain theme and color scheme allows you to achieve a more streamlined and cohesive look.”
Even if you’re using an old tree adorned with recycled pieces, the total effect looks fresh if you opt for different themes and colors schemes. Once you decide on a look and color scheme, it would also help guide you on what items to buy before you add to existing decorations, Alunan adds.
Her practice of incorporating everyday objects with Christmas trimmings extends to her choice of throw pillowcases.
“By using pillowcases with bolder colors or more Christmas-y prints, you instantly change the look and feel of a room without resorting to anything too drastic and costly,” she says.
Following a certain color scheme is good, says Alunan, but it’s also important to have a certain aesthetic in mind before you begin decorating. Don’t shop for holiday décor based solely on what catches your eye.
“You would see it immediately when you visit someone else’s home,” she says. “Those who plan ahead come up with arrangements that make sense.”
They also advise friends to never readily dispose of Christmas decorations unless they’re really broken or, in Alunan’s word, “unfixable.”
Given the number of beautiful and affordable choices out there, Alunan is unsure if she would go to the extent of repainting or repairing faded and slightly damaged pieces.
“That would be a bit too time-consuming,” she says with a chuckle.
With a little time and imagination, one can come up with fresh takes combining new items with cherished pieces from Christmases past.