Personal touch guaranteed to put your guests at ease and to make for a memorable Christmas dinner
Christmas comes but once a year, so why miss the opportunity for some festive home styling?
First you’ll want a tree. Real or fake, you can buy both kinds in Hong Kong these days – stores such as Ikea, and some Wellcome supermarkets, now carry them, but if you’ve missed the pre-order cut-off date, try www.xmastreeonline.hk for trees sourced from environmentally responsible farms in the United States, or browse the Mong Kok flower market.
Trimming the tree is a family tradition in most households, and Lane Crawford offers a touch of luxe with its selection of handcrafted decorative ornaments and baubles by Shishi AS from Estonia, and Oberfränkische from Germany. As the store’s stylists point out, a beautifully decorated tree also becomes the perfect base “for all your wonderful gift boxes”.
For festive styling with a distinctly Hong Kong flavour, the sultry red colour of G.O.D.’s Double Happiness dinnerware collection – a best-seller for celebratory occasions – is ideal. Each piece features modernised Chinese characters carved out of ceramic in abstract form. Other seasonal offerings from G.O.D. include a set of six wineglass markers inspired by Hong Kong’s neon light street scenes – a fun way to liven up the party mood – and strings of battery-operated mini lantern decorative lights to softly illuminate a room or garden.
G.O.D.’s Black Magic jar candle, with its heavenly gingerbread scent, can fill the home with Christmas aromas of baking nutmeg and cinnamon – even if you don’t have an oven.
TREE brings eco-chic to Christmas with decorations in natural, recycled materials, reworked by craftsmen and artisans around Southeast Asia. The range includes cute, rustic reindeer made from papier mâché, banana tree chips and twigs, and miniature moose hanging ornaments handmade from canvas flour bags.
String up colourful flying Santas, made from recycled tin, and cluster seasonally scented candles, such as spiced orange, from Sniff, TREE's popular range of eco-soy candles.
And for the main event itself – your Christmas dinner – Diane Nittke of Ellermann, a leading flower boutique and event atelier in Hong Kong, would splurge on beautiful table dressings.
“Use more than just one kind of china to avoid looking like a restaurant or hotel,” she says. “I love using vintage pieces and mixing them with more contemporary finds.” If serving Chinese cuisine, tasteful tableware might include beautiful, silver plated lattice enamel chopsticks, or dainty and elegant Lattice Espresso cup and saucer sets, which bring a blessing of wealth with its Chinese coin motif, both from Shanghai Tang.
A table setting is not complete without flowers, Nittke adds. “They make the perfect centrepiece as they say you are not trying too hard. The key is to make it look effortless – as if you just picked these flowers from your backyard – so you can never go wrong with seasonal flowers arranged in a way that is not too constructed.”
Using name cards for guests “feels thoughtful and more inviting”, she says. Beauty is in the details, she adds – so polish your glasses, light candles for ambience, and provide good napkins that will last the distance of the dinner.
Last of all, have fun, Nittke advises. “You want your guests to be comfortable and enjoy themselves so don’t overthink it. If you make it personal and relaxed, you will have a great, successful evening.”