Decorating the House at Christmas

Christmas is my most favourite time of year. Absolutely no question. I love the build up when carols start on Classic FM and mince pies start sneaking into the house (they don’t last long).

Then there’s the moment when I get out the Delia Christmas cookbook and realise I need to crack on and bake my Christmas cake, but before all of that – the first thing that tells me that Christmas is truly on it’s way - I book my annual wreath making course. Once I have a wreath on my door, it feels like Christmas can actually begin.

As some of you will know I tend to try a different workshop local to me each year, as I find it fascinating how everyone has a slightly different approach. This year I went to a workshop run by Cissy Bullock at Wild Stems.

I discovered Cissy via a mutual friend on Instagram and was just blown away by her floral displays. Cissy’s ethos is all about using British flowers as much as possible and foraging from surrounding hedgerows and forests, which gives everything she creates a wild, untamed beauty but with a contemporary edge. When I saw she had a workshop creating Christmas wreaths I had to sign up.

The first difference is that instead of the usual moss and ring base I’d used before, here we were given a willow circle as our base. The process of adding the moss to this is exactly the same as with a metal ring, but then Cissy wanted us to add our plants and shape the wreath as we went around the ring. This is the element I found the hardest as my brain simply doesn’t work that way. I am definitely someone who flower arranges layer by layer. I will start with a basic structure of two or three plants and then add and add and add until I am happy. And of course as ever half way through there is the point where I think, ‘Oh this is rubbish, what on earth am I doing’ which continues till I finish, and look at it and think ‘Actually, I love this!’ Ha!

The foliage and flowers Cissy had brought for us to use were amazing – as soon as I saw the tiny pink berries, the silvers and the succulents I knew the direction I was going to take.  At the very end I was 99% happy with it but thought something was missing. ‘More dead branches!’ Cissy advised and she was absolutely right. We began adding them in and then it finally looked complete. And in fact I received SO many compliments on it as it hung on my door this Christmas. I’m still keen to go back and try another session with Cissy to see if I can break my brain cycle of flower decorating. And if you have always wondered about making your own but still haven’t, do it! It’s the most amazing and therapeutic few hours of creativity and everyone always leaves with something beautiful and completely individual.