How the Beckhams’ Christmas decorators can transform your home
PUBLISHED: 14:57 24 November 2020
The Christmas Decorators
The Christmas Decorators, Hertfordshire festive specialists creating winter wonderlands
Christmas comes once a year but imagine if your job involved it being Christmas every day. That’s the case for Karen Weetman, director of the Hertfordshire branch of a company that designs and installs festive lights and decorations. The Christmas Decorators provide a bespoke service to makeover homes, businesses, and even shopping centres and whole streets, as well as creating winter wonderland weddings and Christmas parties. Clients include A-list celebrities, prestigious hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as the owners of some of the best-dressed homes in Hertfordshire.
Describing the work as ‘removing the headache of Christmas decorating from you, so you can enjoy the Christmas season’, the company handles the process from start to finish – designing, installing and maintaining the display. And if you think packing your Christmas decorations away in January is a hassle, spare a thought for these guys after the event.
You might imagine someone involved with Christmas every day wears an elf costume or flashing musical antlers as she cheerfully sings carols in July - before going home to walk the reindeer, eat turkey and make another batch of mince pies. But it’s all very classy, calm and professional. And it’s big business. The Christmas Decorators largest commercial clients are hotels and they work with high-income residents who want to impress visitors with beautiful displays. These include sports stars and household names working in the television, music and film industries, as well as wealthy business people.
This year’s business has of course been affected by the pandemic, with a reduction in leisure outlets being able to go ahead as usual. But there’s been a keen interest from residents with people enquiring in August, which Karen notes is unusually early and reflects a need for people to be cheered up.
‘People’s homes will be the most important this year and we are focusing our energy on building up our residential clients; to bring some cheer after what has been a very difficult year for everyone.’
Bow-wrapped buildings, elegant lights along the roof, garlands around the doors and bannisters, impressive candle clusters, seasonal vase arrangements, Nutcrackers soldiers standing on guard in the entrance lobby, festive fireplaces, wonderful windows, and a forest of real trees lining the driveway can all be yours... for a fee. The company even manufactures those cute log cabins you see at festive food fairs and markets. The possibilities are almost unlimited, as long as your budget allows. Hotels can spend anything up to £1m on Christmas cheer, and prestigious brands include Raddison, Hilton and International. They also work with local councils on outdoor displays in towns, such as giant lit-up stars or huge glowing snowflakes and LED archways that make the Christmas shopping experience special. This year, Karen’s doing the decorations at St Albans shopping centre, Christopher Place, and has provided large-scale decorations for pharmaceutical company GSK in Stevenage.
One of her Hertfordshire highlights was the 26 trees in St Albans city centre that were fitted with two-chip lights, enabling them to be switched from white to multi-coloured and back again. ‘We installed them in their colours and then went back two weeks later and changed the whole street to white. The response on social media was very positive with people being very split between their preference. We changed back from white to colour after another two weeks.’
Back in 2007, David and Victoria Beckham hired The Christmas Decorators to glam up their Sawbridgeworth mansion transforming it into a winter wonderland at an undisclosed cost. ‘Beckingham Palace’ was kitted out with thousands of sparkling lights, people-sized toy soldiers and giant lollipops, while ‘Lapland’ was installed in the garden of their multi-million-pound home. A real reindeer pulled a sleigh of lavish gifts for the lucky sons of the footballer and pop singer, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, who were then aged eight, five and two.
From her Hertfordshire office, Karen’s services extend to cover South Bedfordshire and the capital too. London-based brand clients include Harrods, the Ritz, The Shard, Royal Opera House and the Palladium. She takes calls all year round and says it’s never too early to start planning, especially as an installation can take up to eight weeks. She and her team spend 335 days planning and have just 30 days for decorating. Doesn’t she get sick of Christmas? Luckily she loves it, describing herself as ‘having the Christmas spirit all year round’.
Nationally, The Christmas Decorators have more than 50 offices and handle all aspects of decking your halls (and anywhere else for that matter). They’ll even store everything for you after. The company says it is equally skilled at installing an 8ft Christmas tree for a street corner pub, as it is at manufacturing a 100ft Christmas tree for a shopping centre.
But it can get a lot quirkier than trees. Real penguins were the choice of one Premiere League footballer, who also helicoptered singer Charlotte Church into his garden to entertain guests at his star-studded Christmas bash.
So if your plastic tree, wonky baubles, telly guide, turkey and tub of Quality Street suddenly feels a bit lacklustre, start saving for next year. Because once the decorations come down, Karen starts her intensive planning all over again.
Sounds exhausting, eh? I need a lie down on the sofa with Love Actually, a snowball and some chocolates. Purple hazel caramel, anyone?
Tips for decorating the home – 2020 style
Didn’t hire a professional? Never mind, here are the top decor trends this Christmas
Green: In keeping with our increasing drive to be sustainable, home décor trends for Christmas include recycled materials. Wrapping presents in fabric (or try a combination of brown paper and fabric), not only looks lovely it can be re-used. Cloth gift bags are another great eco-product and check out the beautful reusable linen furoshiki wraps - all set to help the planet. Searches for an ‘eco-friendly Christmas’ were up 150 per cent lately. Inexpensive, yet lovingly created homemade items, and repurposing decorations from previous years, is predicted to be a feature of this Christmas too, as budgets tighten. So don’t worry if you can’t afford real penguins after all.
Nostalgia: Grandma’s hand-me-down tree decorations, embracing vintage and loving ceramic are all hot this year. And consider bringing back the paperchain – old-skool 1980s style with a modern twist of fabric, magazine pages or other colourful fun paper.
Match it: Matching your festive decorations to your existing decor is big and white, mid-century black and grey or navy are bang on trend. And we’re also hankering for something rustic when it comes to Christmas - searches for farmhouse ideas have increased 900 per cent, over the past five year according to Google Trends.
Baking: We loved home-baking in lockdown and The Great British Bake Off continues to see huge audiences. Pinterest searches for festive baking have increased five-fold this year. A gingerbread house makes a fab decoration which can be munched on too (just start at the back...)
Stay put: Spending Christmas in Blighty, is unsurprisingly, on the cards for most of us. Pinterest’s 2020 holiday report shows seven in 10 people are planning more intimate gatherings and staying put. And at the time of writing things were still uncertain about who we can even have over for Christmas. All the more reason to make the most of our homes and have fun creating a festive setting with those in our households.