An Alternative Christmas Dinner

15th December 2015

By Collette Black

I know Christmas is a time for celebrating tradition, but my family’s tradition is to be, well, untraditional. Growing up we never really had turkey, we usually had whatever mine and my sister’s favourite meal was at the time. One year we even went for a big homemade lasagne. Our teachers may have thought that we had been fobbed off with a microwave meal, but it was delicious and we absolutely loved it! Over the years we’ve started experimenting a bit, with each of us making a course based on our year, and so my Yorkshire born and bred, meat and two veg Grandad has sampled (and on the most part enjoyed) everything from clootie (an amazing Scottish sweet dumpling) to civiche (a Peruvian pickled fish dish).

Anyway, it got me thinking, why stop with the food? I’ve seen so many really cool ideas for place settings, wrapping paper and Christmas decs, that I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you:

Mix It Up

Mismatching has been pretty trendy for some time now, as you can see from wandering around any of London’s café lined streets, but I’ve never really seen mismatching tableware before. Mixing up gold, silvers and greys gives an understated festive feel that maintains a quirky cool style.


Lovely Linens 

Our showrooms are filled with the most lovely linen tablecloths, almost too nice to do the washing up, and so I thought why not make Christmas the time for celebrating the humble tea towel?! I love the idea of teaming one with a few festive sprigs, maybe a cinnamon stick or two, and wrapping it all up with some course string… so Christmassy without being tacky! I also saw the idea of using a branch as a place name in a magazine a few weeks ago. I thought it looked really cute and was a great way to use up those bottom branches that had to be lobbed off to fit your tree in the pot.


Style maestros Remodelista shared my brainwave, suggesting using beautiful tea towels to serve bread at your Thanksgiving meal. Such a lovely rustic idea that would work well with bread, mince pies or even crackers for the biggest Christmas day essential… the cheese board.


Tree Trends

We all have a tendency to over do it at Christmas and I don’t just mean with the food and booze, our trees tend to take a tinsel hit as well. Soon a branch without a bauble is a branch wasted and, although I love my tree filled with somewhat questionable homemade decorations from mine and my sisters nursery days, there is a stage when it can stop being cute and ends up just a bit of a mess. Our tree at Cotes Mill this year is simply decorated with beautifully delicate pink silk ribbons. The look is so pretty yet understated, a great alternative for those looking to avoid going OTT.



There are lots of alternative trees out there, from bare Scandi trees to wicker tipis to my personal favourite, the Christmas cactus, but a really popular one this year is the Christmas ladder. Done right, it can look super stylish and quirky in all the right ways.


Light Up

Recently I’ve become a huge fan of candles, they’re a little bit more subtle than fairy lights and give a real homely feel. The big scented ones are amazing, but can be pretty pricey. Instead, I bought a huge bag of tea lights for a couple of quid. They may be cheap but they are so versatile and can look really special when mixed with antique stands or vintage glass jars. My favourite idea that I’ve seen this year is floating tea lights in a glass with a holly sprig. It looks great and is so easy to make at home.


And To Wrap It Up…

I have to confess, I’m a last minute wrapper. More often than not my presents are wrapped in an old newspaper, tinfoil or any paper-esk material I can get my hands on. This year I bought a big roll of lovely brown paper and am planning on getting some sprigs to recreate this simple yet beautiful gift wrap.


And for the kids, I can’t wait to experiment with drawing on some fun designs. With just a black marker and a set of googly eyes there’s something hiding inside their pressie…genius!


For lots more ideas about alternative decorations check out our ‘A Quirky Christmas With deVOL’ Pinterest Board.


Images sourced from,,,,, and

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St. John's Square 020 3879 7900

Tysoe Street 020 3837 5900


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New York  +1 212 210 6269

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