Deck the halls with boughs of holly? If you must, but mantelpieces are where it is at this year.

Cheryl had one and so did Mariah Carey . Ivanka Trump decided to go completely wild and did hers with green baubles and ostentatious ribbon.

Of course, hearthside decor is nothing new. Pagans decorated with branches on the winter solstice to remind themselves that spring would come, while Christians used evergreens as a symbol of everlasting life. Perhaps that’s not what Kate Hudson was thinking when she went for blue bows and plastic globes, but you get the snowy drift.

On Saturday, the Duchess of Cornwall appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, beamed in from Clarence House, London, in front of her own decorated fireplace. I know it’s considered posh not to make too much of an effort, but what a mess!

I’m no florist, but many years ago my American friend Susan showed me how to create a Christmas mantelpiece, and I have been making them for friends and family ever since.

And, as I am going to tell Camilla at the first opportunity, it is pretty straightforward to make yours look beautiful — instead of a shipwrecked load of greens chucked up there by a passing tornado.

Note, this is not a definitive guide. It is merely how I make my ‘Jantelpiece’. All you need for an effect that looks as if it cost hundreds (when it cost just £80) are supermarket flowers, a small tree and a little knowhow . . .


THE EQUIPMENT: Oasis trays, Oasis Fix, Oasis floral foam blocks, three florist frogs per single block tray, pin holders or floral tape, a packet of moss pins, a packet of stub wires, scissors and secateurs. All are available from garden centres, florist suppliers and Amazon. Jan said a Christmas mantelpiece can be made for just £80, using supermarket flowers and a small tree

THE GREENERY: A 4ft Christmas tree. I prefer a Nordmann, but any will do. Ask for damaged or misshapen ones, which will be cheaper. You’ll also need a bag of wet sphagnum moss, or two sheets of moss; two bunches of eucalyptus; holly or other greenery to fill; and dried pine cones. Trailing ivy is nice, too.

THE BLOOMS: A bunch of red roses from any old where, or poinsettias to be traditional.

THE BLING: Battery-operated fairy lights and assorted decorations, or go au naturel with dried orange slices.

HOW TO DO IT Before you start, measure your mantelpiece. It will need to have a depth of at least 12.5cm for the trays. Work out how many trays and blocks you need. My 160cm-long mantelpiece needed six single block trays. Put down a groundsheet for any mess. Step 1: Soak the blocks in water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, spread the trays on the mantelpiece. They can have gaps between them. Affix with Oasis Fix and press down on each corner. (Museum putty, White Tack or — at a push — Blu Tack can be used as substitutes.) Stick three frogs onto each tray, […]

Source: Add some magic to your mantelpiece: With this ingenious trick using just one tree and a couple of bouquets of supermarket roses