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Here at House & Garden, we sadly cannot provide the excitement of a possible sighting of Father Christmas, but this issue and its accompanying new supplement, Christmas Unwrapped, is packed with ideas for decorations, presents and wintry escapades. I am going to do my best to make at least one of Caroline Barty’s edible present ideas (from page 140) – the pistachio and artichoke pâté sounds particularly good. I also rather like Ruth Sleightholme’s idea of sprinkling the table with ‘sprig stars’ (from page 61), while Gabby Deeming’s twinkly, Christmas-filled rooms, between pages 116 and 121, give lots of inspiration. Note that her tree is layered with branches of eucalyptus and other foliage, making it look softer and fuller and providing a pretty variation in tone. On pages 15 to 18, Viola Lanari has come up with some clever ideas for personalised presents, providing thoughtful solutions for the most tricky of recipients. But if abundant decorations and plentiful presents are not your thing, consider escaping to Swedish Lapland (page 150) – it sounds magical. If I didn’t have two tiny children, I’d certainly consider it. Perhaps most enticing of all in this December issue are the rooms created by decorator Robert Kime, which feature from page 122 – particularly his sitting room at Upper Farm with its crackling fire. Robert is truly a master of creating rooms that feel naturally beautiful, layered and at ease with themselves. To mark the publication of a book on his decorating work, from which these pictures are taken, Robert’s friend and fellow dealer and aesthete, Christopher Gibbs, considers what it is that makes these interiors ‘dance and smile’. For anybody interested in English decoration, this book needs a place on your Christmas wish list.
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