I was thinking about the different ways of celebrating Christmas, and came to the realisation that there are two spectrums to consider. These spectrums can be plotted on a graph, and everyone’s Christmas sits somewhere on this graph. So, I thought I’d create a mood board for each one and let everyone decide where their Christmas falls. Let’s get started!
Spectrum #1: traditional vs modern
Picture an old country manor decked out for Christmas. A cosy fireplace, a big fir tree, plenty of candles, and garlands made from fir and holly and dried orange. This is the mood of a traditional Christmas.
For music, think of the classics such as Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis – anything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
For colours, think warm reds and golds. Nothing too bright – it’s all about the natural colours.
For food, think traditional roasts, Christmas pudding, mince pies, and for drinks, think brandy and mulled wine.
Of course, it’s important to note that a “traditional Christmas” will vary from place to place, so I should add the caveat that here “traditional” means “traditional within your culture”. However, if something didn’t exist until 50 years ago, then I’m sorry, but it doesn’t count as “traditional”.
Picture a swanky, modern apartment in the city. A plastic tree – perhaps it’s frosted, perhaps it isn’t even green. Lots of crisp white fairy lights, sparkle, and glamour. Think of the displays outside some of the London bars made from hundreds of coloured baubles. This is the mood of a modern Christmas.
For music, think Mariah Carey and Wham! (Perhaps not so modern any more, but still modern in the grand scheme of things…)
For colours, think white and silver alongside multicoloured metallics or pastels.
For food, think light canapés, smoked salmon, and profiteroles, and for drinks, think Champagne, Prosecco, or a Christmas cocktail.
Again, what is modern and glitzy will vary from place to place – but the key thing is that there’s a hint of glamour in the air, and that the emphasis is on trendy rather than traditional.
Spectrum #2: religious vs commercial
This is pretty much what it says on the tin. A religious Christmas focuses primarily on the sacred aspects of the holiday. For music, anything religious counts – typically lots of hymns and carols, perhaps a bit of Messiah or Christmas Oratorio – but a Taylor Swift’s rendition of “silent night” also applies.
In terms of colours, think everything dark – candlelit churches in the bleak midwinter. There’s something almost gloomy about a religious Christmas – and yet there’s a certain comfort to it as well.
This is again, pretty much what it says on the tin. A commercial Christmas favours Santa and his elves over Jesus as a central figure, and focuses primarily on the commercial elements of the holiday. Without sounding too stereotypical, this is what many of us in the UK imagine an American Christmas to be. Completely OTT on decorations, presents, and general consumerism. For music, anything secular falls under the “commercial” category.
In terms of colours, think bright and light – in-your-face neon lights as the shops stay open well past the 4pm sunset, combined with a glow-up Santa waving at you from the entrance and the latest cover of Santa Baby playing from inside. There’s something gloriously festive about this form of Home Alone 2-style of excessive decorating.
So there you have it, the 2 spectrums you can fall on! Observe the graph below:
Each classic Christmas movie falls somewhere on this graph:
(Disclaimer: I haven’t actually seen “Homeless for the Holidays”, but I needed something for the top right hand corner of this thing. To be honest, I don’t think there are many great modern & religious films – although do drop any recommendations in the comments!)
Every person falls somewhere on the graph also. Here’s where I land:
In fact, last year I even wrote a whole blog post dedicated to achieving this very specific look.
Where do you fall?? Let me know in the comments!