Sep 2020

2020 Safe Santa Experience Checklist

COVID-19 has changed the way we do a lot of things in 2020. This “new normal” includes the need for our clients to adapt their approach to Christmas.
The Chas Clarkson Team has been working hard to help modify the customer experience in 2020, while still maintaining joyful and memorable moments.
The good news is, our CEO Tim Clarkson has a direct line to Santa in the North Pole!
The 2 have been discussing how we can help to keep both Santa and customers safe this Christmas. This, in addition to our development work with clients and photography
suppliers, has resulted in the launch of a number of Chas Clarkson COVID-aware product solutions.
Our team has also compiled a Check List of action points to consider when planning your all-important 2020 Christmas campaign. As always, we recommend that you consult with
your relevant health department for the latest advice on safety measures as the situation changes.
After everything that we have been through, Christmas 2020 will need to be the most joyous yet – and Chas Clarkson is here to help.
Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas!



Jul 2020

The Inaugural Chas Clarkson 2019 Year Book

This year is the first year we decided to put together The Chas Clarkson Year Book to share our experiences and achievements, celebrate our projects and teams, and show how much fun we have doing it. Maybe you'll recognise someone you have worked with in the past or a face you can put to a name.

We truly enjoy bringing the joy of Christmas to the community. Click the image below to see what we got up to in 2019.





Jun 2020

Christmas Checklist - Councils

Christmas is about more than just decorations and a tree. It’s about creating an engaging experience for the community and visitors that generates emotional reactions and long-lasting memories with family and friends.

More than any other year, Christmas 2020 will see the community coming together at outdoor cultural & community events and uniting in a safe & joyful environment.

We've created a checklist of things to consider when planning your all-important Christmas campaign. Click here to view and download.


May 2020

Design Awards Success in 2019

2019 was another successful year for Chas Clarkson, culminating in the addition of two silvers in the Sydney Design Awards in the Pop-ups, Displays, Exhibit and Set Design category for both the Iconic Darling Harbour Giant Harlequin Bauble (Property NSW) and 'A Summer of Wonderment' (QIC Centres in Canberra, Eastland and Robina). We are very proud of all the members of our team who work incredibly hard to make our clients creative dreams come to fruition, leading up to and including the Christmas Season. 2020 is going to be no different even though Covid-19 is making its presence felt but we continue to work on our clients creative wishes within budget constraints. Why not ask us what we can do for you too?  Stay safe and well everyone! 


Apr 2020

Public Space Projects on Show

Creating and delivering experiences that drive community engagement is more relevant now than it ever has been. Having an impact can be an even bigger challenge, view the case studies of public space projects that have brought Joy to our clients communities. Click here to review.



Jul 2019

Chas receives two Sydney Design Award Nominations in 2019

We are very pleased to announce that we have been nominated for two Sydney Design Awards in the Pop-ups, Displays, Exhibit & Set Design category, this year:

  • Darling Harbour Giant Harlequin Bauble (Property NSW)
  • A Summer Christmas of Wonderment (QIC Centres in Canberra, Eastland and Robina)

In previous years, Chas Clarkson has received the following Sydney Design Awards:

  • 2018 Westfield Christmas Suite (Scentre Group)
  • 2016 Quintessentially QVB Swarovski Crystal Tree (Ipoh)
  • 2015 Macquarie Centre, An Enchanted Journey (AMP Capital)

This is a huge acknowledgement of all the hard work we put into our projects for our customers. We have a dedicated team (also known as Santa’s elves) who are getting ready for this year’s Christmas season. Why not contact us and see what we can do with your wishes for a festive Christmas.

If you would like to vote for us please click here


Jan 2019

Family Business Australia Entrepreneurship Award

We are pleased to announce that our CEO, Tim Clarkson​, won a 2018 Family Business Australia​ Award for Entrepreneurship at this year's National Awards in Alice Springs. 

A day designed to recognise the invaluable contribution family business make to the Australian economy, community and culture. It is truly a wonderful achievement and recognises all the work by our professional & talented team at Chas Clarkson Christmas & Illumination​.



Jul 2018

Clicks and Mortar: Which trends are changing Christmas in 2018?

Over 125 years at Chas Clarkson, we’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the way shopping centres present Christmas. We now design, produce and install Christmas decorations for approximately 60% of Australia’s largest shopping destinations and are witness to all of the major trends affecting the sector on a day-to-day basis.

Technology is sometimes described as the ‘electricity of the 21st century’ and at Chas Clarkson, we feel the current of it running right through the Christmas season. Advancements in technology drawn from the digital age are now seen in the illumination that is integrated into shopping centre displays. These advancements provide a means of interaction with visitors, which in turn impact how in-centre experiences are shared and related to the wider world.

As the digital landscape in centres becomes more pronounced, the need for organic décor to incorporate that form is becoming more apparent at Christmas time. While the digital space is key to producing the message of the retail season, it is essential to combine this seamlessly with organic and immersive 3D spatial design in order to produce a stronger customer experience and clear message.

As greater pressure is exerted on bricks-and-mortar retail from the likes of e-commerce and the ease of online shopping, the focus on customer experience is at the forefront of shopping centre group strategy. The opportunity to decorate and transform spaces by creating immersive experiences during festive seasons is becoming more critical to business.

Throughout the year and the apparent retail seasons, we now know that there must be unique experiences waiting for customers in-store to encourage visitation. The aim is to create an experience that is awe-inspiring for customers to share with their social networks.

Our mantra is still about making Christmas magical, but also about thinking ‘outside the tree’. Times have changed, and digital integration is now more prevalent in retail than ever before. The advent of new technology is pushing Christmas beyond where it has ever dared to fly before.

We find the best outcomes occur when the Christmas experience communicates a precise point-of-difference for the brand or elevates the customer to the next level of immersion – when people literally lose themselves in the moment.

One of the immersive activations that we are currently developing is a combined application of modern technology and organic execution. The resulting experience will be dynamic through technology, yet the technology will still be subtle enough to evoke an emotional response of wonder and amazement from the customer.

In terms of pure, traditional Christmas fare, Santa experiences are still essential for shopping centres. But Santa has shifted from being a department store affair (where they were hidden away next to shelves of Christmas decorations), to becoming a main focus in the Centre Court or as an Entertainment and Leisure Precinct activation.

Christmas trees have also now gone to the next level. Customers can now ‘message’ the tree, walk through the tree, take selfies with the tree, and be in complete awe of the tree and the statement it stands for. Christmas is a traditional time of year and customers crave that bold, organic reminder of this tradition, as well as the opportunity to engage and share it with others through social channels.

For example, the interactive, personal message tree for the City of Sydney was an unprecedented success. And the iconic QVB Swarovski tree continues to wow shoppers and draw crowds from all over Australia with its timeless and elegant design, coming alive through the integration of modern lighting technology.

These days, shopping centres that are focused on modern trends and customer engagement know that social sharing of positively impactful in-centre experiences is priceless PR. Creating moments that can be shared on social media is an essential part of the marketing mix.

Written by Tim Clarkson

This article initially appeared in Shopping Centre News  June 2018


Jun 2018


Larger than life and abundant, Chas Clarkson’s timeless and nostalgic Christmas package will offer a brilliant landscape full of joy, tradition, intrigue and surprise that will be unmistakeably Christmas. Around every corner there will be another delightful moment, another adornment story, another hallmark to the exhilaration of Christmas for the young at heart, indeed for all those that revel in Christmas.
Every day, every week brings another reason to arrive at Westfield.
For gift planning and packaging, for celebration or for pure entertainment.


Project Brief

In 2017, Scentre Group wanted to significantly jump shift its approach to Christmas, ensuring that they created the best experience for their customers across every brand touchpoint.
Christmas is the ‘super bowl of retail’, resulting in the highest proportion of retail sales and traffic in the year. They saw a big opportunity for the decorations to influence their customer’s experience, putting on an impressive “show” each day over the 8-week Christmas activation period.

Through market research Scentre group decided to re-set Christmas in the Westfield properties to focus on two (2) simple pillars: Make it Easy, Make it Festive. They saw decorations as a key driver of ‘festiveness’ and Chas Clarkson as a key partner in helping them to transform and create an exclusive, best in market decorations program for all Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand.

Design Challenge

When Scentre Group approached Chas Clarkson with this new brief in May 2017, with a deliverable to roll out and execute a new creative, industrial design, manufacture, and delivery by end October 2017 to fourteen (14) of their major Westfield Shopping Centres across Australia and New Zealand. From a timing perspective Chas Clarkson had never rolled out an execution of this scale before and posed several challenges across every aspect of the execution – From creative approval, working through creative specifications, engineering, right down to the retention of numerous off shore manufacturing facilities for months at a time to deliver on the colossal production. Working with the Scentre Group teams in the Centres and at their head office to deliver this amazing activation in so many properties proved an extremely positive experience and whilst challenging at times, final execution delivered on what everybody involved had hoped for, and a resounding success for the client.

The Team

Tim Clarkson - Managing Director
David Ward - Creative & Technical Director
Jason Sole - NSW Account Director
Densan Obst - Project Manager
Gerard Ryan - Production Director
Karl Grassl - Design Studio Manager
Andreas Zehntner - Creative Strategist
Jialing Mew - Designer
Andy Bartlett - Designer
Lucas Hemingway - Industrial Designer
Mikayla Austin - Junior Designer



May 2018



     In 2018, Chas Clarkson Christmas & Illumination celebrates 125 years in business. A family owned and operated business, Chas Clarkson originated in England in 1893 and was brought to Australia by Charles ‘Chas’ Clarkson in 1900.  125 years on, Chas Clarkson continues to champion the family values of bravery and innovation in its work for clients including; Westfield, GPT, Lend Lease, City of Sydney and QIC. Managing Director Tim Clarkson, who has worked in the family business for 28 years, said the company is proud to celebrate this major milestone. 

“We celebrate 125 years amidst a busy moment of growth and development, with a recent expansion from Australia into New Zealand and with global aspirations in the future. We work at a time when the retail bricks and mortar landscape is under constant pressure from online shopping and all things digital. This sector represents a highly competitive climate, one in which the creation of original and enticing customer experiences is of great importance,” Clarkson said.                                                                                                               

“Chas Clarkson prides itself on the consistent delivery of creative concepts and with 125 years of experience under our belt, we aim to create environments that are truly aspirational and immersive. Our core purpose is to create magical and memorable experiences. We are not resting on our laurels, rather we take every opportunity to ‘think outside the tree".

“Since launching our Christmas Concepts Division in 1991 we have installed over 10,000 projects Australia-wide, from spectacular Hotel Lobby trees through to breathtaking Retail Group Shopping Centre executions and branded interactive displays. Chas Clarkson literally delivers Christmas to Australia on a grand scale, decorating over 60% of the country’s largest shopping destinations. Our corporate clients are diverse, however, what they all have in common is that they trust us to ensure their Christmas environments are the very best they can be.

“It’s a wonderful industry to work in, knowing that our team delivers Christmas joy to millions of people all around Australia,” Clarkson said.




Oct 2017


Chas Clarkson are proud to support The Beauty Bank, which is a Sutherland Shire based charity. Every month they make approximately 200-250 bags containing Life's Little Luxuries for women, men and young people who have left a place of domestic violence or are otherwise in need. The bags contain essential toiletry and sanitary items, along with gift and pamper products. Each bag goes out with a handmade tag signed by the person who put it together. The bags are then distributed via social/case workers and community groups.Chas are donating ornaments that can be attached to the Christmas bags that they will be distributing this year.


Jun 2017

All that shimmers is not gold...

Copper continues to be a big trend in not only interior design but Christmas.
Whether traditional or contemporary, Copper can work well across either and partners so well with numerous colours,
Give us a call to find out more about Copper for 2017!


Oct 2016

The Significance of Traditional Christmas colours

The traditional red and green colors of Christmas have a long and rich history rooted in both paganism and Christianity. To celebrate Saturn, the god of agriculture, Romans set aside the days from December 17 to December 25 as special holidays. Exchanging greenery such as holly and ivy was a way to wish one another long life, peace and good luck. Early Christians chose to stamp this tradition with a more spiritual emphasis. They renamed it Christmas as a mass for Christ, and red became the sacred color associated with His sacrificial life and death. Gold is symbolic of the one of the gifts brought by the magi to the Christ child and of the star that led them from the East.

Throughout the years, green, the color that represents life, nature, peace, eternity and the hope of the future, has been important, especially to families trying to survive the harsh conditions that winter brings. Whether this has meant decorating a house with palm branches in Egypt, bringing in an evergreen Christmas tree in Germany or stringing green garlands across a fireplace mantle in Vermont, this color is a reminder that the earth may appear asleep, but spring and reawakening are just a few short months away.

While red is an important symbol of Christ's birth and death, it also reminds the world to celebrate His selfless love and sacrifice. Holly berries, the red robes of church bishops, and red apples on the pine trees of medieval miracle plays were the forerunners of Rudolph's red nose, and Santa's familiar crimson suit. In Mexico, the beloved red poinsettia is a common Christmas decoration that reminds families of the star that hovered over Bethlehem so long ago.
Although trends are slowly changing, red, green and gold remain the most universally accepted colors of Christmas.
Pairing gold with black is one of the sophisticated new Christmas decorating choices for 2016. This look is sophisticated and elegant. 
Recent trends see Champagne and Silver remaining strong and Copper experiencing a big revival in popularity.

Whatever your Christmas colour palette, you will find everything you need to successfully execute it from Chas Clarkson.


Oct 2016



In traditional lore, Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder(Donner) and Blixem (Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.

The 1823 poem by Clement C. Moore, commonly known as "Twas’ the Night Before Christmas", is largely credited for the contemporary Christmas lore that includes the eight flying reindeer and their names....

 The relevant segment of the poem reads:
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
"On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!

on last count, we stock over 30 different reindeer decorations, from the statuesque LED Waterloo Deer to elegant fiberglass reindeer, animated deer , table top size deer and deer ornaments.


Oct 2016


Santa's Elves

Modern children's folklore of Santa Claus typically includes diminutive elves at Christmas; green-clad elves with pointy ears and hats as Santa's assistants.
Santa employs thousands of elves around the world. There are elves who wrap, elves that track the weather, and elves who pack the sleigh. There are mailroom elves, food elves, decorating elves — even singing elves. There are so many elves we can’t begin to explain them all.... But there are a few elves we feel you need to know about...after all, Santa is not the only person who is working hard for a Merry Christmas!

These six elves have the most important jobs for Santa.
• Alabaster Snowball is in charge of the Naughty & Nice list that informs Santa whether children have been behaving.
• Bushy Evergreen invented the toy-making machine that Santa uses, and Bushy is in charge of all the toys.
• Pepper Minstix ensures that Santa's workshop stays hidden, and Shinny Upatree co-founded the secret village where the workshop is hidden.
• Sugarplum Mary is the assistant to Mrs. Claus, and she helps create treats and sweets.
• Wunorse Openslae designed Santa's sleigh, and he looks after the reindeer.



Oct 2016



 * Glitter particles reflect light at different angles, causing the surface to sparkle or shimmer.

* Since prehistoric times, glitter has been made and used as decoration, from many different materials including stones such as malachite, galena, mica, glass and even insects!

* The first production of modern plastic glitter is credited to the American machinist Henry Ruschmann, who found a way to cut plastic or mylar sheets into glitter in 1934


Oct 2016



Disguising presents with decorative sheets of paper is, like so many other things, an accident of history. But where did the wrapping tradition come from?
The short answer is that wrapping, as a practice, has been around for ages—literally, ages. The Japanese furoshiki, the reusable wrapping cloth still in use today, is a pretty faithful rendition of the version that's been around since the Edo period. In the west, using paper as a covering for gifts has been a longstanding, if largely luxury-oriented, practice: Upper-class Victorians regularly used elaborately decorated paper—along with ribbons and lace—to conceal gifts.

In 1917, however, in the United States, all that changed. Decorative paper became democratized. A pair of brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City, Missouri, were having an exceptionally good holiday season—so good, in fact, that they ran out of their standard inventory of tissue paper. Not wanting to be hampered by their success, but needing a replacement for the sold-out paper, they found among their supplies a stack of “fancy French paper”—paper meant not for display, but for lining envelopes. Figuring, “hey, why not,” they put that paper in a showcase, setting its price at $0.10 a sheet. And the paper sold out—“instantly,” So, during the holiday season of 1918, the brothers tried the same trick, offering lining paper as gift wrap. And, again, the sheets were a sell-out hit.