At Home

Essential Christmas Step 1: Get Ready

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Prepare for guests

It’s never too late to start thinking about preparing your home for when guests arrive at Christmas. In our house, we have friends and family calling in and staying throughout the season, so I find the more I can check off my list early, the more relaxed I feel!

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Give your entryway some love – it’s the first thing your guests will see when they arrive. Invest in a new doormat, and clear clutter and old shoes away from the door. Anything you need to keep on hand can be neatly stored in baskets.

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

A quick reshuffle of the furniture in your indoor and outdoor living areas is always a good idea! At Christmas, I always try to encourage conversation among guests by turning chairs to face each other. Stools are so handy at this time of year for extra seating, as a drink rest, or to put a lamp on beside the guest bed!

essential christmas. decorating, tara dennis

Refresh your guest bathroom with a new soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and some fresh hand towels. Little details will make everyone feel more at home!

Get into the festive spirit with decorations!

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

Decorating for Christmas is easier and more relaxed by choosing a theme and sticking to it. I keep a lot of my classic decorations the same each year, and simply invest in a few special pieces to change up the look.

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

This year, I’m big on anything handmade, with a woodland theme. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a local Danish expat, Mette and her friend, Lys, who have kindly handmade some gorgeous decorations for the store. Mixed with classic silver, mercury glass and pewter, these decorations bring an elegant, but fun look to the house for the whole season.

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

Add sparkle with fairy lights and candles! Clear fairy lights can be used throughout the house, not just on the tree. Battery-powered seed lights look fabulous in a centrepiece on the table, in a vase or under a dome on the hall table. Mixed with the light from your favourite scented candle – it doesn’t get much for festive than that!

Gift Shopping

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Every year, I declare that I’ll start the Christmas shopping early, but inevitably, time seems to get away. If you’re like me and have very few precious minutes to spare, why not try doing some gift shopping online? We’ve just introduced Afterpay to my online store to help you shop on your terms, and best of all, we can deliver it straight to you, or you can click and collect in store!

Wrap you gifts

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

I’ll take any help I can get with my gift wrapping, which is why my store in Wahroonga is stocked full of beautiful gift wrap and ribbons, so you can have your purchases wrapped by our friendly staff in store before you leave. This will save you so much time in the days before Christmas, so you can spend the time relaxing with family and friends instead.

Have treats on hand

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

While Christmas baking is something I love, I must confess that I don’t always have the time. I keep a stock of yummy treats on hand for when friends and family drop by, or for something sweet after dinner. It’s not Christmas in my house without Panforte, and my favourite is fig and walnut. A slice of this with a glass of sherry is just perfect!

essential christmas, decorating, tara dennis

Wrapped chocolates and nougat make great gifts, too! I always keep a few on hand for ‘just in case’ presents when an unexpected guest comes to visit, or when you’re invited to a dinner and need something to take.

You can find everything for your entertaining, decorating and gifting needs at our Wahroonga store and online. Don’t forget our champagne shopping night on 30 November from 6-9pm. Hope to see you there!

Tara Dennis

Tara Dennis is one of television’s most recognised faces and has been presenting decorating, style and craft segments continuously for over fifteen years.

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