The atmosphere of Christmas brings with it a beneficial air of happiness. That's probably why each of us tries to recreate Christmas atmosphere in our homes as well. Entering an unadorned house during the Christmas period, without a light, or a branch or even just a candle makes me think of Sgrooge, the evil character of A Christmas Carol, the fairy tale by Dickens, don't you think?

Yet, it's also understandable that some people don't like the classic Christmas decorations with the tree and colored balls. In certain homes that during the year are extremely minimal and elegant with their empty and monochrome spaces, they can't stand the arrival of a blazing American Christmas. How to do it? Is it possible to combine the desire for Christmas with this minimalist aesthetic or at most with a genuine desire for originality? I love Christmas, for me Christmas is a holiday full of wonderful memories, related to my childhood, and I have already talked about it in the past in another post, my family has beautiful traditions coming from the mixed cultures of our families. At the same time, however, given the nature of my work, I always look for a harmony between the house as we conceived it and the whiff of Christmas that comes through the door for one month a year.

I often start from the idea that nature is never out of place in any home and that even winter nature, with its cold and dormant colors, has that romantic air that I love. For this reason I often choose to bring into the house what the forest offers us in this season to resort as little as possible to artificial decorations. In order to do this, I often get ahead of the game as early as November, the month of pruning. When I meet teams of gardeners at work, I collect branches of various types and sizes. I'm particularly interested in the branches having beautiful shapes, because I have to consider that in all likelihood they will lose most of their leaves. Sometimes I have been able to keep beautiful branches with golden yellow leaves for months at a time, and other times the shape of the branches is so beautiful that it will make my atmosphere magical without the need for leaves. A dear friend of mine who is an expert in floral compositions has advised me a procedure for preserving greenery for longer. It is necessary to dilute glycerine in water in the proportion of 500ml per 2 liters of water (you can buy it in a pharmacy) and to soak our branches for a few days in the dark so that they absorb the solution well. I don't always do this, sometimes I don't have the patience and sometimes my branches are too big to do this operation, but you can try, because the result is really good!

How do I use cut branches?

There are lots of ways to set pruned greenery around the house; you can simply put them in large vases, baskets or metal buckets and place them in different areas of the house. You can leave them natural or spray them with a can of gold paint. You can entangle thin strands of lights between the branches, preferably warm light and white only. One year at Christmas, we picked up a huge Hazel branch and and suspended it from the ceiling with strands of fishing slime right above our long dining table. That time, I chose to remove all the leaves and instead wove Hops flowers to the branches. You can find it in the country, it abounds in ditches and creates the effect of a snowfall or frost. Finally, I illuminated everything with pinpoint lights on copper wires, invisible to the naked eye. I then used the same hops to make the centerpiece for Christmas Day. Sometimes I have also used the branches to decorate and give a feral look to my daughters' beds. I have tied them to the four corners of the bed and depending on the season, the girls have decorated them with lights or colored leaves, flowers, small stuffed animals and clip-on birds. The clip-on birds (you can find them at Christmas in our stores) are a beautiful solution to decorate an unusual Christmas tree. If in fact you do not like the classic Christmas balls, you could opt for this solution and place on your tree many birds of different shapes and sizes. Speaking of trees, I give you another fun idea.... One year I decided to set a forest in the house and I bought 7 trees with roots of various sizes that I placed all around the table where we would set our Christmas lunch. The scent of fir was intense and it felt like eating in a forest. I didn't add any decorations, just very small lights and warm white. At the end of the Christmas season, I planted the trees in the backyard.

If you have a fireplace, keep some nice branches to decorate it and add autumn flowers, lights, and why not, if you like, big golden balls. Try to give a slightly disheveled effect to your composition and don't match the color of the flowers