Christmas Unwrapped: Tips from the experts
John Redmond, creative director of Brown Thomas has been designing the memorable, nostalgia-filled windows for the iconic Grafton Street store for years and we asked him to some tips when it comes to decorating one's home.
John recommends that you invest in a good tree like a classic spruce with a full branch or a pre-lit tree or a simple and modern bare branch style.
"It's important to decide your theme in advance. We spend the year developing our themes for the season to ensure we bring you beautiful collections that are easily transferable to any home. This year our themes include Venetian Winter, an opulent red and gold theme with hand-crafted decorations and Ice Palace, a theme inspired by Dr. Zhivago and the beauty of romantic snow scenes with sparkling icicles and snowflakes.
"Make sure you've got enough tiny white lights - for sophistication, nothing else will do. The LED light is the light of choice as it's more energy efficient and they don't heat up like standard bulbs. You'll also find a wide variety of more decorative lights, including LED berry lights.
"When beginning to dress your tree start with the lights and always work from the top of the tree to evenly lay your decorations.
"Add the ornaments one at a time and by style. Use the diamond format when placing the decoration. A north, south, east, west layout will ensure decorations are evenly distributed. Stop in between each style to check for symmetry.
"At this stage you could get the kids involved, allow them to position some highlight ornaments whether they are some fun shoes or elegant fairies. Then stand back and enjoy!"
If you've been guilty of buying the wrong type of lingerie as a gift, you're far from alone. There's often a disconnect between what the gifter thinks is appropriate and what the giftee would like to receive when it comes to lingerie style, or there's also the cardinal sin of getting something in the wrong size.
Roslyn Ellis, lingerie buyer at Brown Thomas, suggests that you avoid guesswork and do a bit of detective work instead. "If you can, try and have a look in her lingerie drawer and see what shapes she wears," she says. "If she doesn't have any thongs, there's no point buying her a thong. Beautiful good quality lingerie is a treat and you want to treat her to something special that she mightn't necessarily buy for herself but at the same time you want her to be comfortable in what you're giving her."
She also advises paying attention to details.
"You want her to feel that you've really thought about it and thought about who she is as a person; what her lifestyle is like and what her fashion wardrobe is like as well. Just make sure you're not going too far from what she normally wears herself," says Roslyn. That also applies to picking shades of lingerie. According to Roslyn, this season there is plenty of blue around, which is which can be very flattering. Classic blacks, whites, pinks and reds are always popular but you could also consider navy as an alternative to black, as it suits most skin tones.
"Do that little bit of research and even have a look online so that you know when you come into store what you might be looking for," says Roslyn. But even if you don't manage to find out as much as you'd like about her ideal lingerie choices, there are plenty of options open to you that don't involve exact sizing including silk pjs, butter soft chemises and bralets.
"Never be afraid of seeking advice. Lots of people do it and it pays to explore what gifting opportunities are available," says Roslyn.