Christmas decorations have gone from sets of twee little wooden figures in all the same colour scheme to bold, brassy and downright OTT. And we love them.
Whether you’re someone who gets one new addition every year, has a general theme you stick to, or collects them from around the world, these decorations have become much more than just something to hang on the tree, and are now often great gifts and tokens of memorable places you’ve been to.
In the past few years we’ve seen a move away from the more traditional pieces – although these still, quite rightly, have their place; it’s now anything goes, from avocados to unicorns and everything in between.
We’ve also noted a huge rise in the velvet and beaded type of decorations with a little gold loop to hang them on. These have been around for a while, but as with many other types of decorations, they’ve become bigger, and in our opinion, better.
Glass decorations are also getting larger in size and more over the top, which we love.
Another theme we’ve noticed this year is space, with cute planets and rockets, which is a playful addition to the traditional stars.
But the overall biggest theme has been food; from gin bottles to the recognisable red box of fries from the golden arches, we’ve seen it all.
We’ve tried to make our list as varied as possible, including a range of themes, materials and colours.
We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Accessorize Wishing Tree world decoration: £6, Accessorize
We love the brand’s “Wishing Tree” decoration range: for every one sold 10 per cent of the profits are donated to the Young Women’s Trust, which helps young women gain access to employment. There’s 17 in the collection which includes classics like snowmen to the more nouveau hamsa sign, but what we love most about them is that each has a lovely phrase embroidered on the back such as “good fortune” or “new beginnings”. We absolutely adore this incredibly cute planet decoration, which uses two tones of green embroidery to represent the continents and has white beading around the outside. On the back reads “wish for the world”, which we think couldn’t be more apt for 2019.
Paperchase Cornish pasty tree decoration: £6, Paperchase
A pasty can be festive, right? At Paperchase, evidently anything can be. And we love that. This glass decoration has been given a touch of glitter too for a Christmas makeover. If a pasty isn’t your thing (why not?!), we also love the mini bottle of Nineties favourite Sunny Delight and at the other end of the health scale, there’s even a carton of almond milk.
Shakespeare bust decoration: £45, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
If other literary fans are anything like us, they’ll already have some form of velvet or glitzy Shakespeare decoration, but this one is next level. Taking the shape of a white plaster-cast bust of the main man himself, this decoration is a must for any fan of the bard. It’s pretty large and isn’t particularly light so will need to go on the lower down, larger branches of your tree, or perhaps on a door knob or something else. Considering its hefty price, you wouldn’t want it to fall off the tree and break. It also comes in a black box so it won’t get damaged between Christmases.
Oxfam handmade lobster Christmas decoration: £5.99, Oxfam
Since Phoebe in Friends said Ross was Rachel’s lobster, we’ve been a bit barmy for all things to do with the crustacean – even though she wrongly thought it mated for life. But it’s such a cute sentiment we’re willing to overlook this. Give this to your lobster (as long as they’re a Friends fan and will get the reference) as a cute stocking filler. It’s handmade in India and bought directly from the those who made it, with advanced payments on orders before the products are sold. This aims to increase the income of artisans, while preventing them getting into debt, which allows them to continue their craft.
Oliver Bonas blue planet ceramic Christmas tree decoration: £7, Oliver Bonas
This little ceramic planet with its gorgeous speckled blue colour and gold ring around it (which has been hand painted), is finished off with a strong piece of pale pink faux leather to hang it with, so there’s no chance of it falling off. It’s simple, and looks quite similar to a traditional bauble, but this is modern and, we think, pretty cool. There are other colours and also a rocket available, too.
Sass and Belle wedding car decoration: £12, Trouva
With a huge Christmas tree decoration range from rubber ring-wearing flamingoes to a camper’s backpack, Sass and Belle is pretty much your go-to for every type of fun and cute decoration. We think this glass wedding car – complete with the happy couple riding away from the venue – is a great memento and little gift for anyone recently married or engaged this year.
Natural History Museum green knitted T rex dinosaur: £8, Natural History Museum
Dinosaurs are cool. And there’s no cooler dinosaurs than the ones from the Natural History Museum. Kids will love this roaring dino which has been given the festive look with a little bobble hat and matching red scarf. Who knew this fearsome tyrant could be so lovable? There’s also a triceratops, diplodocus and woolly mammoth if you want a matching set. (Yes, we do!).
Stanfords Christmas Island map bauble: £6.99, Stanfords
What does Christmas mean to the avid traveller? Time off to go on holiday, that’s what. And if they can’t travel, then travel-themed gifts will have to do. We think any adventurer will appreciate the sentiment of this decoration – and even more so if they’ve actually been to Christmas Island, aptly named when Captain William Mynors sailed past it on 25 December 1643. We like the vintage look of the topographical map, and that it’s double-sided.
Daylesford dante felt donkey: £16, Daylesford
One of our favourite organic farms is not all about food and drink, as the brand also has some lovely interiors items too, from candles to tea-towels and Christmas decorations. We love this handmade felt decoration that looks like it has come straight out of the cutest little nativity scene.
Debenhams golden giraffe: £4, Debenhams
Animals were everywhere this year, but we love this all-over glittery giraffe figurine. It’s extremely OTT but the all-out glamour will instantly bring glitz to your tree. Just be sure to keep it wrapped in tissue paper in between Christmases, so everything else doesn’t get covered in glitter too.
Icklebabe snowy starry night mini painting on wood slice: £9.95, Etsy
Ditch the plastic and support an independent brand with this charming little ornament that will last you years. These natural pine wood slices are intricately hand painted with a starry night and woodland landscape, and other designs are available too, such as a hot air balloon flying over blue skies, or a field of flowers. No decoration is the same and you can ask for it to be personalised with wording of your choice. We love how the bark frames the design and how unique this looks on our tree.
The verdict: Christmas tree decorations
For us, there’s nothing better than an inspiring and hopeful thought over the festive period to continue on into the new year, so that’s why the Accessorize Wishing Tree world decoration is our favourite, along with the fact it supports a women’s charity. For something a little outside the box, we think the Oliver Bonas blue planet ceramic Christmas tree decoration is cute and makes a great gift too. Lastly for something really fun that kids will love too, we think the Natural History Museum green knitted T rex dinosaur is ideal.