Christina Strutt, founder of beautiful brand Cabbages & Roses, shares her tips for cosy festivity.

Christina Strutt is the founder of Cabbages & Roses, a clothing and fabric brand beloved worldwide for its delicate florals and for the sheer romance of everything it creates. She is also the author of a clutch of achingly beautiful interiors books, some of which detail her life and work within the walls of Brook Cottage, her solid stone 15th-century home set amid the rolling Somerset hills. To enter it is to walk into a cossetting world of comfort and joy: of firesides, dressers and enveloping, sustaining beauty.

Christina knows how to augment each and every season, and her delight at ushering in a new one and glorying in it is palpable. She is particularly brilliant at Christmas and here she shares six of her top festive tips.

A Green Christmas

Having tried for 40 years to recreate the magical Christmases my darling mother made for me and my three sisters, I had to admit defeat. I invented my own version, hoping that my now grown-up children will be as hypnotized as we were.

The ingredients for a Brook Cottage Christmas come from outside; we gather as much moss and ivy and as many firtree branches and pinecones as we possibly can. Pictures, shelves and tables are adorned with ivy, and the kitchen table is decorated with moss and firtree branches, while clementines and pomegranates add colour and generosity. Using natural decorations seems so much better than mountains of plastic and glitter.

White Fairy Lights

We find the fattest greenest Christmas tree possible and decorate it with pinecones, dried slices of lemons and oranges tied with string. White fairy lights feature heavily at Christmas time; as well as the tree, they decorate the crib, fireplaces, the pavilion and the front door, all intertwined with twigs and yet more ivy.

Candles and Firelight

Use them everywhere: bathrooms, kitchen, sitting room – just everywhere. Scented candles are my biggest treat and indulgence, with Christmassy wintery scents. Ralph Lauren makes the best. Daytime log fires are the ultimate treat and give the whole house a cosy glow. Make sure the logs are tinder dry as this has much less effect on global warming.

Carols From Kings

Nothing makes for a good Christmas atmosphere as Carols sung by Kings College. So gentle, so holy so uplifting and calming.


Your own, other peoples’. Christmas isn’t Christmas without little ones, their eyes full of wonder and excitement.

Beyond Christmas

Make it a season, not just one day. Winter will be with us for a long time, so once the tree is taken down, the house can still be decorated with winter decorations: moss, ivy in vases with a smattering of old man’s beard, roaring log fires and fairy lights everywhere.

By Nancy Alsop
November 2020


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Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.