Christmas decorations at The White House – in Reading

Move over Washington, you ain’t seen nothing ’til you’ve had a peek at the Christmas decorations at The White House in Reading … ho, ho, oh, no … ’tis the season when stylists have steam coming out of their ears. This year we are creaking open the advent door to reveal Christmas decorating in our house …

Step-by-step operation: Christmas Jumper

How to customise an old woollen into an interiors designer Christmas Jumper!:

Step 1: Make a pattern of holly leaf design with end of wallpaper roll; Step 2: pin pattern to (Romo) fabric and cut out; Step 3: Sew fabric onto old jumper with thread; Step 4: Make and attach pompoms as berries and add a ribbon bow. Sorted.

Christmas jumper

Front door welcome

Super large fir cones tied with red and white ribbons to an antler doorbell – alternative wreath idea …

Deck the halls – Christmas past and present

Designers Guild/Buckingham Palace silk cushions, Christmas hall
Styled by Charis White, Photography: Sandra Lane for BBC Homes and Antiques – damask silk cushion and embroidered seat cushion, Buckingham Palace fabrics for Designers Guild

Homemade Christmas

You can get the ‘home made’ look on the high street, but if you have the time, there is something very rewarding about making your own decorations and presents.

Bake orange slices in the oven for garlands, tree decorating and wreaths
Orange Pomanders with cloves makes a lovely welcoming Christmassy fragrance in the hall.
Homemade (by Angus aged 6) papier mache Christmas pud – usually holds chocolate gold coins and left over terrible cracker jokes. All wisely looked over by my Highland great grandmother.

Homemade Christmas presents

Download this free Christmas stocking knitting pattern I styled for Erika Knight/John Lewis, Photography: Yuki Sugiura, Christmas 2016. For another chance to read about Erika’s fab new collection of patterns for John Lewis, please read here.

XXL Festive stocking pattern by Erika Knight/John Lewis, photography: Yuki Sugiura, styling: Charis White

Vintage flower pot with bun moss, a candle and tartan ribbon

Evergreens for decorating lighting

I leave it until nearer the 24th before cutting evergreens from the garden. Holly lasts longer but ivy wilts quite quickly when brought indoors.

A lucky ‘find’of a fallen Scotch pine branch decorates the wall lantern

Outdoor tree

The Bodleian Library in Oxford shows us how to do it – for the beauty of scale and simplicity.

Fairy on top of the of the tree

Introducing the fairy who graces the top of our tree each year. I can’t help feeling that her name might be Gladys – not sure why. Gladys certainly doesn’t look like a pink be-tutu-ed ‘sugar plum fairy’ who has just walked off the set of The Nutcracker. Gladys’ hair is blue-rinsed (well lilac actually) and she is sensibly attired in a no-nonsense dress made from a 1930s tablecloth.


Oh Tannenbaum …

Christmas is a time when stylists go into overdrive – it’s a time that we adore but for us, Christmas is more often than not, produced for clients on the hottest days of the year in June or July. Fires are lit and trees are cut to order from tree farms in the Home Counties (sometimes the bright green young shoots are tricky to decorate as they are too soft and the wrong colour!). I am staggered to hear that some of my styling colleagues have decorated up to 34 Christmas trees in one year! My maximum pre-Christmas has probably been 7 or 8 before it comes to the time when I do my own.

Tripwires in place, for any clandestine present rustling … it has been known …

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Ever hopeful!
Childrens bed, Photograph, Sandra Lane
Styled by Charis White, Photography: Sandra Lane for BBC Homes & Antiques magazine

Christmas tablescape


(Birch wood tealight holders, felt snowflake tablemats, Santa Claus paper napkins, scrabble letters for place names, white linen tablecloth – worth the ironing!)

Christmas table setting, Charis White.

The Red Shoes

These miniature red ballet shoes are from Freed in Saint Martin’s Lane in London. Sometimes I hang them from the tree, or just have them as decoration on a side table. It is always a treat to see some live ballet at Christmas. If you are quick, you might just be lucky enough to get some tickets for Matthew Bourne’s new production of The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells.

Styling and photo: Charis White

I would love to hear how you like to decorate each year. Are you a traditionalist who has family decorations going back decades or are you a New Year, new decorating theme sort of person?

Charis’ Christmas decorating board on Pinterest

For more Christmas styling inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest board:

I hope you have a really lovely Christmas and don’t forget, my blog is the best stocking filler ever. It is totally free and is the present that just keeps on giving! If you have enjoyed this post and would like to receive emails for future posts, then please share with your friends and press the big blue button at the beginning or end of this. With many thanks, Charis x

6 thoughts on “Christmas decorations at The White House – in Reading

  1. What lovely ideas! So beautifully done too. Took me right back to a time when making cards and decorations were all part of the Festive season. I remember all those lovely December mornings (a tad on the stressful side!) when the boys sat down to make godparents cards and presents – hours of chaos, mess and fun (days of cleaning clothes, floors and walls)! But such fun. I still put up some of the Christmas decorations they made. The Christmas tree always went up around the 15th – Trystan’s birthday and that really was when Christmas started for us. Loving the Christmas jumper idea!


    1. Thank you Jo for your lovely description of your very busy and bustling household of Christmas’ past. There is something very special about taking out each year Christmas decorations made by your children.


  2. Christmas seems a long way away still, but only have 7 days teaching left and your lovely ideas reminded me of what’s important will be spending time decorating with my daughter very soon. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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