Welcome family and friends to your home during the holiday season with a cheerful mixture of store-bought and hand-crafted items.

Set a festive shelf or mantelpiece with a few elegantly wrapped gifts, a garland of star cookies and a cute twig tree, spray painted white and set in a can transformed with a casing of red and white twine.  Add in a cranberry-based cocktail with a cinnamon quill swizzle stick and you’re ready to party. Gift tags, ribbons, gift wrappings and butcher’s twine are from Très Devin.

Transform an aluminium can with a clever casing of red and white striped butcher’s twine. Fill it with sand or small pebbles to make a solid base in which to stand your Christmas twig tree. Fill the top of the can with a string of artificial berries.

Decorations that are good enough to eat. Make star cookies using the recipe overleaf and insert two holes in each biscuit before baking. String with twine for a garland or table decoration that continues the red and white theme in a delicious way.

To make the basic cookie dough for the stars  beat 250g butter with ¾ cup caster sugar until mixture is creamy.  Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 egg yolk and 2¼ cups plain flour and mix until well combined. Place dough in plastic wrap, refrigerate until firm. Roll dough out and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake in a 180°C oven for 5-8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Dried cranberries make great sprinkles for the table and candles always add a welcoming glow. To make the star tree, cut out two stars each of six dimensions from cookie dough and bake according to instructions. Stick silver cachoux to the star points with melted chocolate and layer together. For a festive cocktail combine  30ml cranberry juice, 15ml butterscotch schnapps and 15ml vodka in a cocktail shaker with ice, mix well. Cut a pomegranate in half and insert a skewer through the middle. Secure the place card to the skewer with a miniature wooden clothes.

For more tips and tricks on creating an oh-so-merry christmas setting, pick up a copy of our November issue, available for order and online now!