Masters of Christmas

The Royal Exchange welcomed four highly regarded specialists for an evening of demonstrations and workshops

18 December, 2015

The Royal Exchange was full of festive cheer at the inaugural Christmas Masterclass evening. A beautiful Christmas tree decked with duck-egg-blue Tiffany boxes marked the entrance, while a striking red carpet provided a suitably VIP entrance. Once inside, visitors were treated to a range of Christmas favourites, including mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine.

For this extra-special event, just over a week away from the big day itself, The Royal Exchange organised seasonal workshops and demonstrations from four different specialists – each one occupying a space in the corners of the magnificent courtyard. London-based calligraphy school Paul Antonio Scribe teamed up with Smythson to offer a bespoke gift-tag-writing service. Across the way, the crowds gathered around a table bursting with festive greenery and pinecones for a hands-on wreath-decorating class led by the capital’s acclaimed floristry shop and school, Jamie Aston.

Continuing with the DIY theme was author and designer Jane Means, who has provided expert gift-wrapping services for the likes of Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and even HM The Queen. Fresh from a guest appearance on Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas, Jane was on hand to teach visitors the art of beautiful wrapping. In her superb demonstration, she tackled popular but notoriously tricky-to-wrap gifts such as wine and confectionary tins, offering handy insider tips and clever tricks for a professional finish.

Finally, interior stylist Sophie Robinson showcased her flair for design with a Christmas table-decorating demonstration. Her beautiful spread featured sophisticated tea lights and winter florals in green and white, with ethereal silver decorations from retailer Georg Jensen. With all the chaos that the festive season can bring, Sophie advised that the key to a winning spread on Christmas Day is simplicity.

As the evening drew to a close, visitors left with their gifts and homemade mementos – as well as some newly acquired knowledge to make this Christmas a suitably stylish affair.