Over the past 25 years, we have had the pleasure of dressing the trees at some of the finest of London’s hotels, including The Berkeley, The Connaught, and the iconic Claridge’s Christmas foyer. From whopping Noble firs and miniature potted picea, to bespoke birch installations and intricate ‘invisible’ designs — created by suspending delicate clusters of baubles from the ceiling — we can safely say that we’ve created our fair share of fabulous Christmas magic. Following what feels like months of selecting, threading, and wiring baubles, we’ve now spent the last few weeks in stealth-mode, bringing Christmas to our clients overnight in spectacular fashion. As McQueens florist, Karim Duc, commented after our recent installation at the Connaught hotel, ‘the staff and guests were so excited by the transformation; they said they felt like children waking up on Christmas morning!’.
We are gradually coming to the end of our busiest season of the year, but there are still a few more festive trees to decorate. To save you from learning the hard way (as we’ve done over the years), we bring you our top tips for decorating your tree to perfection, straight from
Santa’s elves the festive maestros at McQueens.
‘Wire your baubles! I always have clients asking what our secret is, and this is it. When you wire your decor, as opposed to using ribbon (or worse, the string it comes with), it takes the attention away from the bauble itself. The wire will blend in among the branches, it’s more secure and less likely to fall off. Plus, if you spiral your wire down the branch to secure it, you can pull it off in a second, too. Trust me, you will thank yourself for it in January!’
‘It’s all about the lights. First of all, test your lights before putting them on the tree (there is nothing worse than going to all that effort only to discover they don’t work!). Put your lights on first, then turn them on for a final check before adding your decor. This way you’ll be able to spot if there are any accidental clusters, and you can be sure they’re evenly distributed before moving on. And remember, more is more! I’m a firm believer in a well-dressed Christmas tree.’
‘Something that is really important, but often gets neglected, is remembering to keep the tree supplied with water. Often your tree will have been cut days, or even weeks ago, and just like flowers, water will keep it fresher for longer. Saw off the base of the trunk, place it in the stand with a little water and keep it topped up throughout the season.’
‘When it comes to decor, try not to think about it too much, just go with it. Decorating your Christmas tree should be fun — mine is neon pink and covered in all sorts of stuff! If you do decide to go with a scheme, try complementary colours (such as red and green) or analogous (three to four colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel). It’s an easy way to pull together a bold look.’
‘Remember to space your baubles evenly around the tree! A common mistake that everyone makes is just dressing the tips of the branches. Create depth by placing baubles all the way from inside, next to the trunk, to the end of the branch. Size matters, too. Big baubles typically look better at the bottom, and smaller ones up on top. Having said that, you don’t just need to stick to baubles — for something different, try other materials, such as twigs, feathers, pinecones. We absolutely love using silver-dipped asparagus fern as a unique and delicate Christmas tree decoration.’