Creating Your Holiday Décor Style

If you were to look at your holiday decorating boxes, what would you find? Would you find a well-organized box of holiday trimmings categorized by color or theme, or would you find a wide array of eclectic holiday decorations that you’ve collected (or been given) over the years?

If you are like most people, you probably have boxes that are a combination of both.

Holiday decorating is a personal experience. A family heirloom, for instance, can evoke a memory from childhood, while other decorations are part of a collection that you’ve slowly added to over the years.

While those items are full of remembrances that should be treasured, sometimes it’s fun to turn your assorted holiday decorating style into one that is focused and sophisticated.

Three of today’s fun and festive holiday décor types include natural, Scandinavia and whimsical. Let’s explore each style to see if one matches your personality.


The natural holiday decorating style emphasizes simplicity and bringing the outside in. Because evergreens, pine cones and white lights are a few of the key elements used, this style also has the benefit of adding a fresh, woodsy smell to your home. Some ideas:

  • Place fresh evergreen clippings along the mantle and wrap them along your staircase railing. If you want a bit more color, use magnolia leaves on the mantle instead.
  • Use white flowers, such as paperwhites, white hydrangeas, lilies or amaryllis, throughout the home.
  • Create a beautiful centerpiece for a coffee or dining room table with pinecones placed in an urn or basket. Pinecones can also be used in wreaths or garland.
  • Trim your tree with burlap ribbon or use it as a tree skirt.
  • Display fresh evergreen clippings, along with bare branches and a touch of white (from flowers), to make a beautiful centerpiece.
  • Give your bedrooms a festive look by placing small potted evergreens on a bedside table.


Scandinavian holiday décor is similar to the natural style because both are simplistic, but with the Scandi style, less is always more, so it’s important to scale back and allow a few key elements to shine against a mostly white backdrop.

For this holiday decorating style, natural texture is important. Decorate with fresh elements in every room: evergreen boughs, sheaves of wheat, furs, moss, pinecones, bare branches and flowering bulbs. Also, since December is the darkest month of the year in Scandinavia, lights—from the fireplace, candles and twinkle lights—are always used. Some ideas:

  • Craft a simple wreath from wheat with tiny birds adorning it to hang from your front door. In Norway a bundle of grain (called julenek) has become the symbol of Christmas because on Christmas Eve, these are hung on the door to feed the birds on Christmas.
  • Make pointed origami stars and tie them to packages, place them on the top of the tree and hang them in the windows to welcome guests.
  • Whimsy is also part of this holiday décor, so have fun. Create a wall tree from paper garland, hang felt garland from the mantel or place a white Charlie Brown-style tree with minimal decorations on a tabletop.
  • Decorate with food, such as Norwegian pepperkaker (gingerbread) or Finnish pulla (sweet, cardamom-spiced bread).
  • Place miniature burlap-wrapped trees on the nightstand.
  • Use a few sparkly and shiny elements, such as glass and crystal vases, mirrors and anything silver, gold or brass. All of these will reflect light and create a cozier space.


Whimsical holiday décor is all about cheerful and colorful hues. However, instead of sticking with the classic holiday colors—red, green and white—this style beckons you to switch your holiday palette to vibrant jewel colors, including fuchsia pink, chartreuse green, sapphire blue and deep amethyst. Some ideas:

  • Decorate a less-traditional white Christmas tree with gumdrop-colored holiday ornaments.
  • Embellish in unexpected places. Replace decanter tops or create a wreath or garland with brightly-colored Christmas balls.
  • Think Dr. Seuss’ Whoville—decorations of unusual shapes, sizes, colors and angles. Find an unusual tree topper, or fill an urn with spiral lollipops and other candy ornaments.
  • Complement your living room with graphic and brightly-colored throw pillows.
  • Make an amusing paper garland to string along a railing or mantle.
  • Decorate your dining table with rose-tinted glassware and a bright, hot-pink vase.

Find Your Style & Stick with It

Whether your style is vintage or rustic, the best way to successfully carry off any decorating style is to choose one décor and stick with it. Certainly, it may take you a few years to find the perfect pieces to build your holiday stash. That’s okay. Start small—perhaps one or two rooms—and work at expanding the festive look each year.

After the holiday season concludes, pack all of your themed décor together and properly label the boxes before storing them. You may also consider donating your unused decorations for another family to create memories with.


Thank you to our Supporters

Media Partner

Discover more from Best In American Living

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading