Yes we’re famous for minimalism, understatement and the simple life in the Nordic countries – but Christmas is a time when some colour and ‘fireworks’ are perfectly in order. Even in our white-walled homes do we like a display of excess, a little bit over-the-top decorations. Luckily, currently based in London we’re spoilt for choce when it comes to traditional English chinzy splendour. Here we pick our favourite Nordic-style season looks.
Our favourite display this Christmas are the wreaths outside the Ivy Brasserie in London’s Kensington, featured in the image above. The wreaths, hanging in a row on the windows, are kept in two-tone colours white and blue-ish shades. Lots and lots of baubles – the picture doesn’t quite do them justice, but the overall effect as you step back from the restaurant and look at them, is good taste, luxury…and so Christmassy!
Scandinavia, and Denmark in particular, does Hygge best, but London is where we want to be in the Month of December. The England capital starts the celebrations in mid-November with celebrities called in to switch on the street lights. Nowhere creates a Christmas vibe quite like London with stunning arrangements across the main shopping streets.
How easy it is to rush through the streets as we head to work or the next party and missing what is really going on around us but London’s Christmas light show really creates a magical atmosphere that makes us look up at our surroundings. Bond Street, of course, being home to flagship stores of some of the world’s most prestigious stores such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes, always puts on a fantastic light show.
Cartier in Bond Street wraps is store in a red ribbon which makes it look like an enormous present left in the street, which may seem quite mad to the Scandi sense of low-key, but in a month of giving and some might say commercialism, it looks and feels rather cosy. You don’t have to be able to afford diamonds or buy into materialism to appreciate the creativity behind it and the sheer happy vibe.
Loing the above “snow” lights in the trees lining one of west London’s main shopping streets. They light up the leaves in the dark making it worth while ditching the car or public transport just to walk along and take in the view.
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There will be those who say it is all in the name of commercialisation, getting people to spend money, and not least that it’s wasteful in terms of carbon footprints. Indeed, there is an argument for that. Here, we are mainly picking decor pieces that fit with the Scandinavian aesthetic and that, it has to be said, favours understatement rather than frivolity.
Our Christmas trees tend to show more fir than decorations – overloaded trees, flashy with multi coloured baubles and hanging candy and so on are frowned upon. Although a new generation is more influenced by what they see in the USA and elsewhere and are influencing tastes here, Scandinavians remain stubbornly traditionalists when it comes to Christmas.
Here, above, is a gorgeous outdoor tree display, also in a west London shopping street – it could have been lit up with gold or blue, red and white lights, but it’s a demure bluish tint on the lights wrapping round the tree – perfect Scandi style.