For anyone who works in retail, e-commerce, PR & Marketing or Advertising, we’re all a little susceptible to a growing condition that can really affect our festive cheer. We’re calling it tinsel-fatigue and it’s why we’re seeing a real trend towards a moving away from the classic Christmas set up come December.


That’s why when we were approached by Amara Living to put our own spin on Christmas entertaining we know we wanted to do something a little bit different…

Welcome to the 70s


First up, we had to think of a concept. Throughout this year we’ve came to our first design epiphany. After years of going back and forth between us deciding between a classic or contemporary look, we’ve both completely fell in love with a 1970s retro vibe.

Think vintage furniture catalogues, bright and bold colour-ways – mixed in with dark and interesting textures. All the while with a complete botanical overload. We can’t get enough of the plants you see.

So in the end, after sourcing a lot of inspiration we settled for two main inspiration points for our festive look.


We love the murky yet opulent look of the party house from the movie Boogie Nights, with Heather Graham’s Rollergirl and Julianne Moore’s Amber Waves giving us the retro glamorous vibes we were after. Sprinkle this all with some kitsch nostalgia of the West German-export Boney M’s iconic blue and white music video looks and we ended up with something completely removed from a traditional Christmas.


In our flat, we’re actually not completely equipped for a sit down dinner and we have a motto that ‘life is too short for bad canapés’ so we wanted to embrace a bit of a casual help-yourself kind of vibe. That way – as well as not being stuck in the kitchen – we can be the hosts with the… mosts? Christmas is about getting together with friends and family and we don’t necessarily want to be glued to the hob.

With our canapés in the oven, we could spend time making the place look more festive. Luckily the good people at Amara Living have a bounty of Christmas decorations to suit almost any style with their A by Amara collection and wonderful array of designer brands.

Here’s what we chose and some tips on how to put a new spin on a yuletide shindig.


Ballsing it up

Come December, baubles are our favourite spherical object. Our first, learned and most natural reaction when we unbox these beauties is to place them on the tree – but there’s more to these decorations than their little strings.

A really simple but effective way to create impact with baubles is to place these in bowls and vases. Stack them as high as you can in something clear – we opted for the Serve Bonbon jar from LSA International without the lid – and mixed and matched between different colours and finishes. We ventured into something a little darker with these Deco Baubles and this bumper set of baubles so they could be placed in gaps around our scheme.


Then, to add the disco flair to our seventies-inspired party, we opted for these Disco Ball decorations for the table – but again they would look just at home on a tree!

Setting the table

Now, although we didn’t opt for a traditional sit-down-dinner with our canapés, we still had to make sure we have the correct flatware to present them in a truly beautiful way. Enter the Quartz collection by A by Amara. We started with these stunning shimmery porcelain bowls and used the matching dinner plates and side plates around the table.


The speckled effect of the design really gave us a luxe Christmas feel! Couple these with the Broadway Cutlery set in Shiny Black and you’re on to a winner – and FYI those forks would be perfect for pasta… These all rested on the textural Metallic Acid placemats which are actually cowhide, but we couldn’t help but think they looked a little snow-y in this fabulous silver finish.

However, no table would be complete without the bubbles to accompany the food. We instantly fell in love with these Ripple Champagne Saucers from Ferm Living and knew we had to use them for that dose of borrowed nostalgia. After all, who doesn’t love a coupe!

The cherry on top

No, we’re not talking about the maraschino cherries on the top of our Snowball cocktails – it’s time to move on to those all important touches. We wanted to get a bit literal with our references – just to avoid any shadow of a doubt on our theme. Let’s start with the iconic design from Bella Freud and her 1970s cushion. We’re still a little bit obsessed with these and we were sure we wanted to include it where we could.


Next up is the Peace Mirror from Seletti – could it get more retro? We love the colour pop from this piece and it worked really well with the blue fairy lights on the table. That’s the great thing about Amara – their edit of brands and products is second to none and while we’re well aware that this is a sponsored post – believe us when we say we’re being genuine about that!


However, no real Christmas set-up is complete without the tree, so we took a bit of a contemporary spin on this with the Metal Christmas Tree Ornament from A by Amara. Available in two sizes, we opted for the larger version to add some traditional shapes to our vignette. It comes with a tray at the bottom of the tree, which was a perfect place to stack some more baubles.

Candles are always welcome on the Christmas table and as we were serving out food in canape format, we thought that votives would be a great way to include tealights without singeing anyone’s fingers or hands. We chose some Frogmore Votives from A by Amara for the table. Simple touches that will make an impact!


Crowning glory

It’s those little added touches which we love. Those whimsical additions that put a smile on your face and get conversation flowing. Like the fluffy Tibetan sheepskin rug by Bloomingville or our beloved vintage bust which got a festive makeover with this Seletti gold crown. The Midas touch to our Christmas scheme.



And voilà – our table was complete and we could finally touch the food (once we’d photographed it). We’re such advocates of this style of entertaining – it’s engaging, fun and you can really make your guests feel welcome, while keeping them fed and watered.

So – our top tip for Christmas entertaining? Find your own style – don’t be afraid to go for the cliches but also don’t shy away from creating your own traditions! The most important thing is to buy things that you love. Christmas is the one time of year when you can go completely all out in your own home (and it’s also a good way of trying things out you a new look you might want to keep all year round).

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Will you be going contemporary or keeping it traditional this year? Let us know in the comments below – and of course – Merry Christmas when it comes!

Bring on the Mariah,
David & Mark x

This post is a collaboration with Amara Living. For more information on working with us, head here.

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