The festive period is a traditional time for indulgence – too much food, too much booze, too much spending.
Pandora Maxton’s festive excess is Christmas trees: She has one in virtually every room of the house.
Pandora is a self-confessed Christmas addict.
But as a stylist and Instagram influencer, she has the perfect excuse to feed her fix with twinkling trees and extravagant festive décor.
‘The first went up at the beginning of November,’ she laughs. ‘And I’m not finished yet – there’s still a tinsel tree to go up.
‘I am forever moving them from room to room to find the perfect setting because Christmas trees create such a wonderful, festive atmosphere.’
Mother-of-three Pandora is famed for her festive feed on Instagram, where she has 134,000 followers checking out her style. And which tree style does she like best? ‘I can’t decide – that’s why I have so many!’
Here, she gives us the lowdown on her favourites.
Tree of Christmas Present: The Hydrangea
‘This year it’s all about the hydrangea,’ says Pandora, who lives just outside York with husband James, daughter Ellen and sons Cameron and Finley.
Her hydrangea tree has pride of place in the dining room, where the family will eat their Christmas feast. And the tablescape is colour-coded in mauve to match the tree.
She says: ‘It’s one of my favourite looks this year. I mixed the hydrangeas with simple white doves, glass baubles, stars and hessian. Less is more with this one… which is very unusual for me.
‘The hydrangeas are so pretty. If you pick them from the garden before the frosts set in, they dry beautifully and will retain their loveliness. And you can reuse them next year.
‘The deep mauves are so dramatic. This is such a sophisticated look and very on-trend right now.’
Tree of Christmas Past: Red Gingham
The red gingham tree is a nod to Pandora’s childhood – and her beloved late mother, Susie.
‘It has been 20 years since mum died and every year I keep up the tradition of decorating the tree in red and gingham because that was her thing and how we had it when I was a kid,’ says Pandora.
‘She loved a real tree, never fake. I also make her delicious recipe of home-made Baileys-style drink and we bake a Christmas cake using all her retro decorations, which I have kept.
‘That’s a tradition of hers that is being passed on to my own family now, which is really wholesome, and her tree is a heart-warming way for us all to remember her.’
Christmas Future: Ellen’s Tinsel Tree
Pandora’s daughter Ellen, 11, wanted a change from her mum’s sophisticated style, so she requested her own tree for her bedroom this year and has dressed it with fun-coloured tinsel.
‘Ellen calls my trees “bowtique” and prefers more colour, so I got her a little white tree which she covered in pink tinsel and coloured lights,’ says Pandora. ‘It looks lovely. And she has persuaded me to have a full-on tinsel retro tree downstairs which we are planning to get up before Christmas, if we can find room.
‘I’d always avoided tinsel as it’s not my style and not sustainable. But as Ellen pointed out, we will be using it every year from now on. I think I have some stiff competition on the Christmas styling front!’
Living room: The White Scandi Tree
Next to the roaring log fire in the living room is Pandora’s Scandi tree.
‘It’s very rustic, covered in white wooden ornaments, glass baubles, pompoms, white hessian and lights. I love it because it is natural and simplistic, like snow in the forest. It’s about bringing the outdoors in.
‘And I love making my mantelscape over the fire – I use soaked oasis and fill it with foliage from the garden, such as sprayed branches, holly, ivy, eucalyptus, pine cones. Then I inject some colour with ribbons and bows.’
Garden: The patio tree
Pandora learned during lockdown how valuable it is to make good use of her outdoor space.
‘We created our own Glastonbury over the summer and we plan to fully utilise the garden over Christmas, too, to keep any guests safe who pop over for a drink.
‘We put a tree on the patio next to our Moda Furnishings outdoor sofas. I used little pots of white, purple and pink heather, which I stuffed straight on to the tree in their pots. They just dried out and look fabulous.
‘I added loads of clusters of fairy lights which give lots of tiny but intense lights. They look magical when you look out into the garden from the house. It’s now a great spot for sipping hot mulled wine under the stars. And we won’t be put off by the cold weather as we’re fully equipped with patio heaters and fire pits.
The Conservatory: The dried flower tree
Another of Pandora’s faves is this rustic tree crammed with dried flowers.
‘It looks fabulous twinkling in the conservatory. It’s full of big hessian bows and pompoms, with ribbons draped on it and strings of ball lights from Cable & Cotton.
‘I bought loads of snowberries which dried out on the branches of the tree, some bright pink pussy willow, and some dried oranges, which smell great – just slice them up and put them in the oven on a low heat to dry out. I love it so laden with decs that you can’t see any branches.’
For Pandora’s best Christmas buys, check her Amazon link on Instagram @pandora.maxton
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