Decorate your house the traditional way this Christmas

If your Christmas decorations are looking a little tired, your fairy lights have given up the ghost and you don’t want to fork out a fortune for ‘designer’ ornaments, take heart.

Siân Hammerton-Fraser, Visitor Experience Manager of Chiltern Open Air Museum , has some great ideas for decorating your home the old-fashioned way drawn from our rich heritage. Your house will be the talk of the street because of its old-worldly charm and you’ll have loads of fun decorating with the children, not to mention saving money and time browsing for the latest deco trends.

(For more inspiration, don’t miss the traditional Christmas family events at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Amersham Museum and Roald Dahl Museum during November and December – see the two-for-one offer further down)

Christmas Paper Chains Shutterstock restrictionsTop traditional decorating tips:

Go Green
Instead of glaring tinsel and bright lights, adorn the mantelpiece, windowsills, balustrades and doorframes with a mixture of greenery such as holly, ivy, laurel and mistletoe for a charming, natural, old-style look.

Christmas Bake-off
Invite a few other mums and their offspring over for a bake-off and produce batches of gingerbread men, stars, angels and reindeers using gingerbread, cookie or flour-and-salt dough and cookie cutters to hang on the Christmas tree. Make a hole in the top of each decoration before popping them in the oven.
(Remember to make enough dough to allow for snacking)

Outdoor Ornaments
Get everyone into their coats and wellies and brace the chill to collect buckets full of pinecones and acorns.
When you get home, have a craft session, spraying your finds with gold or silver paint. Once they’re dry – tie bright colored narrow ribbons to them and either attach them to each other to make a string for hanging around the house or attach them to the tree one by one.
Bunch the acorns together – to make an attractive table decoration.

Paper Chains and Snowflakes
Victorian families spent hours around the fireplace cutting up and stringing paper to make snowflakes and paper chains in the run-up to Christmas.
Christmas BiscuitsGet out paper and scissors and introduce this activity as an excellent alternative to screen time. (If you really don’t know how to make paper chains or snowflakes – Google it – shame on you!)

Use different coloured sheets of paper or cut old cartoons or newspapers into strips for some unusual chains. Use white snowflakes against a black or coloured backdrop for an effective contrast when wrapping gifts or making your own Christmas cards.

Cotton Snow
Stretch pieces of cotton batting or balls to create artificial snow. Spread the “cotton snow” onto the ends of the Christmas tree branches.

Popcorn Garlands

This old-fashioned tree decoration has been around for ages and is an easy and cheap way to add a bit of flair to your tree. You need microwave popcorn, a needle and thread. Microwave the popcorn, transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. Once cooled, thread a needle with about 36 inches of white or colored thread (double up to ensure thread is strong) and tie a knot at the end.
For a bit of a difference, alternate the popcorn with nuts and fruits.

Two-for-one offer: If you’re looking for more inspiration, take advantage of a two-for-one offer at three local museums offering traditional Christmas events during November and December.

Quote: Families Christmas at the entrance.

The Chiltern Open Air Museum is hosting a traditional Chilterns Christmas weekend on Saturday the 30th of November and Sunday the 1st of December from 11-4pm.
Find out how the Tudors celebrated Christmas at the Amersham Museum and take part in group workshops to make your own decorations, advent calendars and gifts at the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden.