Forget egg hunts and bonnets; if you’re not busily preparing your Easter tree, you’re about to find yourself well and truly behind the curve.
Don’t believe me? Take a cursory look at social media and you’ll be in no doubt that Easter trees are now as de rigueur as Christmas trees. These delicate constructions, which are more Spring fruit tree in appearance than Christmas fir, see twig-like branches adorned with eggs, flowers and bunny-shaped baubles.
John Lewis have reported a 65 per cent surge in sales of Easter Trees compared to last year as we all jump on the trend for Easter decorations first embraced by Instagram-savvy millennials. Turbocharged in that miserable first Easter lockdown of 2020, when we needed any excuse for a spot of brightness, it’s one that’s growing exponentially.
Floral designer Nikki Tibbles shares advice on decorating our homes for Easter. She is delighted to see people bringing nature indoors
As a floral designer, I couldn’t be more delighted to see people bringing nature into their homes and making use of all the glorious flowers and foliage coming into bud.
But I also shudder at the quantity of tatty plastic chicks, rabbits and lambs, not to mention garish feathers and fronds, that are about to flood my social media.
So I definitely have a few provisos. First of all, forget any sense of reproducing Christmas.
Some of the overblown trees I’ve spotted, heaving with plastic eggs and lurid ribbons, look for all the world just like Christmas trees bar the tinsel and fairy.
Easter should be more pared back. After all, with days getting warmer and sunnier, we don’t need tons of glitzy baubles and swathes of fairy lights to cheer us up. And we don’t need to invest in manufactured decorations either, particularly given we’ve already got more than enough plastic polluting our environment. The wonderful thing about Easter is that the countryside is brimming with flowers and foliage. Why not make use of it?
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a magnolia, apple or birch tree, a large branch in a vase makes a spectacular tree. Florists will also sell suitable branches. What you are looking for is a reasonably thick branch without leaves or with just a few blossoms. It needs to be tall and strong enough to take the weight of decorations.
As a rule of thumb, the vase should make up a third of the display, with the branch taking up the other two-thirds.
She says that when it comes to decorations ‘less is more.’ Nikki advises wrapping jasmine around the branches of a bough of fresh flowers
If you are having a floor-standing decoration, you can go all out. An entire bough leaning against a wall or window would look spectacular.
For something even more stunning, you could buy a small, live tree and plant it in a container, nestled in a little bed of tulips. It will last for a few weeks in your home, then you can plant it in your garden.
When it comes to decorations, less is more. If you simply want a striking centrepiece for Easter lunch and don’t need it to last more than 24 hours, why not dress your bough with fresh flowers? You could wrap jasmine around the branches and drink in that beautiful scent. Or tie daffodils to your bough with pretty ribbon.
Eggs in every shape, size and material may be flooding the shops. But nothing could be more simple or traditional than investing in a box of a dozen eggs (preferably white) and painting them yourself. It’s a tradition going back thousands of years to the early Christians. I remember painting them as a child and I bet most of us are the same.
Nikki suggests that a tree laden with ‘malachite marble – effect eggs would be gorgeous.’ She also says to decorate a tree with paper rabbits and chickens
They are inexpensive, versatile and a wonderful way to get the whole family involved.
You can use hard-boiled eggs — or for a longer-lasting decoration, hollow your eggs out. Just remember they will be very fragile.
I use watercolour or acrylic paints, mixing them myself. I think subtle pastel colours are prettiest. You can go to town with elaborate decorations, but simply painting your eggs in 50 different shades of green will look elegant.
Use a paint chart or be inspired by Farrow & Ball colours as you move from apple green, through soft mizzle to mossy green and deep olive. Or go for blue graduating from soft grey to navy.
You might want to try marbling your eggs, using the same technique as you would to decorate a cake, by gently running a fork over the wet paint.
A tree laden with malachite marble – effect eggs would be gorgeous.
If you really want rabbits or chicks, go for paper ones you can draw and cut out yourself – hopefully with help from your children.
And please – at all costs – steer clear of feathers. They look great on birds but terrible on tables.