Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas in Melbourne - crafty decorating ideas and a bit of window shopping

Japanese homewares store Zakkaya in Fitzroy showcases a very 'kawaii' Christmas

Somehow it has apparently become December! Where does the time go?

I spent the last week or so researching and photographing some of the best Christmassy decorating and wrapping ideas around town... I hope it might help condense some of your holiday season 'to do' lists, or at the very least inspire a few creative ideas for your tree / table / presents this year :) I'm sure I'll spot many more fun bits and pieces between now and the big day... I'll keep ya posted!

52 Johnston st
, Fitzroy
9419 1882

Zakkaya has a beautiful selection of timber toys, ceramic homewares and kooky Japanese accessories, as well as some gorgeous and distinctly Japanese Christmas decorations and stocking-fillers... It's so worth a browse - you won't find these pieces anywhere else in Melbourne.

top - Zakkaya's tiny wooden 'balance game' toys make perfect stocking-fillers. bottom - super-cute printed sticky tape for gift-wrapping.

Gorgeous decorating garlands from Zakkaya

More Christmas gorgeousness from Zakkaya

111 Bridport Street, Albert Park
ph. 9696 2477

Specklefarm specialises in grosgrain ribbon of all different styles, and also sells a small but gorgeous range of stationary and paper wrapping etc. You can buy the ribbon by the metre, and they also wholesale if you have a business.

How about wrapping your presents in cheap brown paper or recycled magazine/newspaper pages, then dressing up the parcels with any one of these fancy ribbons? The ribbon is sure to be stashed away for re-use - which makes this a very eco-friendly wrapping option.

A stunning selection of grosgrain ribbons starting at around $3.00 a metre .

More ribbons and gift tags from Specklefarm

Cote Provence
290 Rathdowne st, Carlton North

9347 6656

For more classic Christmas styling, check out Cote Provence in North Carlton... beautiful French linens with cream / red detailing make for traditional festive decoration with a European feel. They also have some gorgeous rustic Christmas wreathes that you can either hang as is or embellish... I couldn't resist and bought the largest one they had last week! Beautiful stuff and may I say extremely friendly, helpful staff! (unlike similar stores you might encounter on the other side of the river!).

You can't go wrong with french linen in beige / red / white.

I loved this table display and centrepiece at Cote Provence! It's an antique spindle holder I think? Here it's holding reels of silk thread... but of course could be used to display any kind of decorations and/or cards - a unique alternative to the traditional Christmas tree.

slightly shorter spinder-holder st Cote Provence

Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre
Cnr. Victoria St and Burnley St

8416 5000

I know many people (my boyfriend, mainly) who won't go near Ikea on a weekend, let alone in the lead-up to Christmas. Trouble is, you won't find better value Christmas decorations or wrapping anywhere else in Melbourne. Seriously. The range and the prices are quite unbelievable. The trick for a semi-enjoyable visit to Ikea during the festive season is to follow my fail-safe tips -

1) Ikea is open until 9.00pm on Thursday and Friday night. Avoid the crowds and go after work.

2) Almost all the Christmas gear is right at the end near the registers. (Except the candles, candlesticks and plants, which are still very close by, just before the 'marketplace' area). With this in mind, DON'T walk through the entire store - take a sharp right at the lifts in the entrance area, and walk in to the store through the checkouts. Don't worry everyone does it. The friendly Ikea information lady even recommends it.

3) - bring CASH - the queues are always shorter for the 'cash only' registers

4) Buy a blue bag at the checkout - come on, they're only $1.00. Don't be trying one of those crazy juggling acts so many people seem to attempt as they're leaving the store... you'll break something :)

Good luck!

See how much Christmas stuff they've got at Ikea!? Aggh. Love the oversized heart-shaped baubles in either silver or gold - $9.95 for a 2-pack. (they're as big as a grapefruit!)

Baubles in every possible colour, every possible style. Top - 48-pack of blue baubles for only $7.95! bottom 59-pack of gold baubles - $12.95. Yes this is CHEAPER THAN GIFT TAGS! Why not tie a bauble on each present instead of a tag, and write the recipients name with permanent marker, gold or silver pen or white-out pen?

Wrapping wrapping wrapping... I bought the gorgeous hearts / stripes pack in blues / reds including all ribbon and rosettes for I think $12.95? They also have a great selection of gift-wrap ribbons.

Christmas wreath - $25.00. Tiny mini succulents for only $1.75 each! Too cute! Imagine clusters of these in tiny pots strewn up and down your Christmas table as a centrepiece? Or one with each guests' name tied on, to mark their place at the table? (They can take it home after!).

Top - gorgeous metallic candlesticks in various heights / designs - sorry I seem to have misplaced my notes on these but from memory they were all around the $10.00 mark. Ikea also has the absolute best selection of candles at the best prices. Bottom - packs of column candles in varying heights, only $9.95.

202 Gertrude st

9417 1117

Spotted these absolutely tiny little glass bottles in Industria for only $1.00 each (actually they also have even smaller ones at 75c). Of course my mind started racing with ideas... filling them with water and popping in a single flower stem in each one - or for a longer-lasting display how about tiny succulent stems instead? (either from Ikea, your garden or your neglected nature strip - shhhhh!) Wrap some fine wire around the neck of each tiny bottle and hang each one on your Christmas tree, on a clothes line across the room, or wired securely to your wreath on the front door. Otherwise cluster them on your dining table for unique floral display... endless possibilities...!

I bought 20 of these... have a few crafty plans in mind... will let you know how I go!

Tiny glass bottles from Industria


  1. Thanks for the fabulous ideas Lucy - can't decide whether my workmates will be getting little succulents or tiny Industria vases for Christmas - but I'm sure either will delight!

    Merry Christmas.. xx

  2. Hey Melinda,
    Thanks so much for your comment!

    Yes those succulents are too cute... and you really can't kill them, even if you try :) They're so easy to look after.

    Good Luck with your shopping and happy christmas! :)

    Lucy x

  3. gosh you're fantastic!
    thank you so much for posting all of those images. my fingers are itching to start.

    i got out the christmas tree yesterday, full of vim and vigour - ready to decorate like a demon.

    i whipped out the lights and lashed them to the tree. those things are a nightmare to unravel - but i finally had it.

    flick of the switch and it was illuminated for all of, oh - 2 seconds? then they died!

    curse you Christmas lights!!!

  4. I have to say, even though Specklefarm's store is gorgeous and it is worth checking out just to see it, a lot of their stock is available online at for a fraction of the price.

    Barama in Cheltenham, which is a bit of a drive depending on where you are, also stocks an impressive range of grosgrain ribbon that rivals Specklefarm's. And huge rolls of wrap, as they are a wholesaler. Worth a look!

  5. oh how I wish I lived in Melbourne. You guys know how lucky you are right??
    By the way, the spinkle holder thing is a bottle drying rack. You slide the bottle onto the rods and the water drains out. Its like an old fashioned bottle sterlizer.
    Have a lovely Christmas!

  6. Oh so sorry it is taking me a while to respond to comments these days!

    Projectivist - aaahhh the dreaded fairy lights! Always a mission to unravel and make them work every year :) But they look so pretty!

    Nicole - Oh oh I didn't know about ribbonsgalore! What a find... must bookmark. As for Barama... another good Melbourne find that I wasn't aware of! Thanks so much for the tips!

    Marisa Louis - OH bottle drying rack.. of course.. I should know these things... Must amend my captions :) Yeah, shopping in Melbourne is pretty good.. but Sydney is great too! Love Surry Hills for wandering.... did you see my Surry Hills shopping guide? I was in heaven :)

    Thanks so much for your comments!

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