Episode 03 - Christmas mini-series Show Notes & Advice

Christmas mini-series episode 3 Design eye-catching Christmas tree decorations

episode description

O Christmas tree. O, Christmas tree! In this episode, Sarah and Arthur share their best tips for decorating a traditional spruce Christmas tree. They also give some great tips for decorating other areas of the home with festive sparkle. 


In this episode, discover... 

  • Sarah’s top tips for a decadent Christmas display
  • Arthur’s tried and tested decorating advice for small spaces
  • Inspiring themes for your Christmas tree
  • How to make your foraged finds last longer 


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Mini-series episode 3 advice sheet

Sarah’s best-ever allium Christmas tree 

Looks like a celebratory chandelier - picked direct from the garden 

  • Sarah shares that one of her favourite Christmas tree ‘themes’ focuses solely on dried alliums
  • Try collecting stems throughout summer instead of deadheading and discarding them
  • It’s nice to mix whooper varieties ‘Schubertii’ and ‘Spider’ with middle-sized ‘Cristophii’, and the smaller ‘Purple sensation’ and ‘Purple rain’ – different sizes create a big statement and three-dimensionality
  • Sarah dips the flowers in silver paint and dries them on newspaper overnight
  • Make sure the Christmas tree is already covered with twinkly lights, stand back, and throw the allium heads at the tree for an abstract look and maximum


Arthur’s ‘alternative’ Christmas tree

  • If you’re working with a smaller space, Arthur recommends collecting silver birch branches or twisted willow. A great way to make use of the height of the ceiling and takes up less floor space
  • Adorn with fairy lights and your favourite decorations. As the branches are spread out big decorations tend to float better

Bring the outside inside – A decoration theme inspired by the garden

  • This year, Sarah’s chosen a garden theme that takes inspiration from foraged finds, fruits, and vegetables 
  • The ‘seed packet’ Christmas decorations from the Sarah Raven Christmas range are a great touch!
  • Gently baked orange slices look gorgeous with glitter 
  • Continue this theme by adding dried pea pods and opium poppy seed heads, which look like old-fashioned bauble chains
  • Sarah adds her favourite ‘mini greenhouse’ to the room, which completes the look

Arthur’s top tips for decorating the fireplace at Christmas 

  • Mirrors are a great starting point to transform your space into a cosy Christmas grotto
  • If you’re using a heavy mirror against the wall, make sure it is firmly attached – often, you can stuff branches behind to make a big statement
  • Arthur adds copper fairy lights that look like spun sugar – he suggests keeping these up into January and February as the warm light is a definite mood-booster
  • Whatever you choose to dangle in front of the mirror will benefit from reflection, doubling the impact, so this is a great decorating tip for those who are working with smaller spaces
  • Add lustre baubles – gorgeous and glistening – which will look fabulous in insolation

How to incorporate colour 

  • Chains of Chinese lantern going into strawflower look excellent on the fireplace, around the mirror, or on the Christmas tree
  • Threaded pomegranates can look beautiful, but if you’re looking for an equivalent readily available in Great Britain, strawflower, Chinese lanterns, and shoo-fly (Nicandra physalodes) seedheads can have a similar effect
  • To make these treasures last – make sure you varnish – Sarah achieves this by using cheap hairspray from the supermarket, although you can visit an art supply store too


Shop the podcast

Allium schubertii 'Magic'
Allium schubertii 'Magic'
Allium cristophii
Allium cristophii
Allium jesdianum 'Purple Rain'
Allium jesdianum 'Purple Rain'
Chinese Lantern Branches
Chinese Lantern Branches