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Perfect settings from Paula Pryke

 

Edible tree decorations and delicious little gifts to greet each guests as they sit down to lunch are guaranteed to charm.

christmas-star-biscuits-27196Star-shaped biscuits 
These edible tree decorations are guaranteed to charm your guests at Christmas. They'd also be a good way of keeping the children amused in the school holidays as they can decorate them with icing, sugar strands and silver balls.


ch161-walnut-shortbread1-22023Shortbread Stars 
This shortbread is the real thing, and something that can't be bought, however much you pay for it. Using fine semolina gives it a lovely crunchy texture. 



festive-sugar-plum-25922Festive Sugar Plums 
These are great to serve with coffee and drinks after dinner, and are so simple - they're literally made in moments.



mini-christmas-cakes-27197Mini Christmas Cakes 
These make delicious little gifts, or serve as a place setting for each guest. To make the stars for the cakes, we used the medium- and large-sized cutters from the FMM set of three available from Squires Kitchen. 



The tradition of giving gifts on Christmas Day began in Victorian times. Before that, presents were exchanged on Saint Nicholas’ Day (6 December, New Year’s Day, or Twelfth Night. Originally most presents were hand-made – and adding an individual decorative touch to gift-wrapping has always made giving feel much more personal and meaningful.

Pale leaves and pink ribbon

paula pryke - pale leaves and pink ribbonSkeletonised leaves come in a variety of colours and shapes. Here, natural leaves are used to embellish a silver-wrapped present by placing them on top of the gift, then adding an overlay of delicate silver wire, which gives an extra sparkly effect. Finish with a beautiful, big, bright pink tulle bow.

Silver pouches and bright bows

paula pryke - silver pouches and bright bowsSilver paper bags are a quick and easy way to wrap awkwardly shaped objects. To create a bow, make three loops out of a length of ribbon and scrunch and hold the middle with your thumb and first finger. Pinch a 6 in (15cm) piece of ribbon in the centre so that it’s half its original width, loop around the centre of the bow and knot at the back. (You may need someone to help you do this). Attach the bow to the top of the bag.

Silver cord and fir cones

paula pryke - silver cord and fir cones 2Shiny foil is the underlay for this gift, which has been partly covered with see through gauze and tied with silver cord. Finish with a group of three silver-sprayed fir cones. To attach them to the cord, wrap a length of wire around the bottom of each cone, then twist one end of the wire over the other and bind to the cord. Trim the ends of the wire to neaten.

Cut-out colour

Easy to make yet impressive, this simple cut-out effect wrapping paper looks especially good in a mixture of colours. 

Paula Pryke cutout boxes Start by making template stencils of a star on a Christmas tree in various sizes of thin card. Wrap the present in bright, plain paper. Take a sheet of white paper- or in a contrasting colour – and cut it to fit neatly around the parcel, overlapping by 2 in (5cm) on the back and with enough length to come up on each end to reach just over half the height of the parcel. Fold the paper in half, and then in half again. If you are using thin paper, you can probably fold it once more, but bear in mind that it will be more difficult to cut through the layers. Trace the motifs on the centre of the folded paper and use a scalpel to cut through all the layers. Open out and flatten all the creases (you can also use an iron on a low setting). Then wrap the present in the stencilled paper. The same principle applies when making the “band”wrapping.

For more ideas for decorating your home by Paula Pryke:

Find out about Paula's Christmas workshops
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