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VM choice: John Lewis Christmas displays

Department stores will have planned their current Christmas displays more than a year ago, meaning that VM staff have just installed work that has been a long time in the making. Here we look at John Lewis.

Christmas decorations designed for domestic use can look very tacky in-store and strewn across windows, but with a little thought their use can be inexpensive and effective. The key to success is to keep it simple and to be bold. For example, confining classic hanging paper balls to one uniform type and colour across the store looks so much better than a messy mix. While the sizes may be the same, a cloud of white paper snowflakes for example, a restrained range of sizes in the same colour, say, or a selection of red paper balls in two sizes, would look equally great.

The collection may provide inspiration for commissioning a paper artists’ work, say by creating paper wreathes based on the paper arch above the snowy church and cottages here that seem to have escaped from ‘The Snowman.’

John Lewis offers a huge array of Christmas stockings, which in themselves form a lovely seasonal display. Why not give every mannequin a matching one for an instant seasonal fashion window?

Best of all, just visible at the far end of the wall fixture, are giant stockings, each with at least the volume of the pillowcase that I laid hopefully on the bedpost as a child. These might lend themselves for VM use in a small closed-back window where an array of accessories might spill out and surround the stocking.

Similarly, this tree composed of layers of green felt interspersed with blue, red and yellow balls, and the odd silver bell, topped with a yellow felt star, might be inspiration for a scaled up version.

Employing dried fruit, seen here in muted-colour, would convey a perfectly sympathetic seasonal look for delicatessens and restaurants, where classic Christmas decorations can contribute too much clutter to an already-busy interior.

That is not to say that restaurant and bar retailers should miss out on the mistletoe. This fuzzly felt version, with white-painted jingling bells, suspended above the entrance should be perfectly presentable next year too.

While retailer’s trees both outside and in-store should be colour-coordinated and tasteful - their purpose is to celebrate Christmas but not to detract from the merchandise - the purpose of a domestic Christmas tree is to be a celebration of personalityand family, and to be part of annual ritual. Colour-coordinating this is therefore something of a sad solution, and instead the ritual of ‘dressing the tree’ should be to create a beautiful riot of colourful Christmas tree decorations.