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READ THIS POST BEFORE You Buy Any Gifts (Or Start Decorating For Christmas:))

Since a lot of us are prepping for Thanksgiving, we thought we’d write an easy post that’s here to help once the leftovers are securely in the refrigerator. If you use Black Friday weekend to buy all of your holiday gifts but still need some suggestions on what those gifts should be, just below are all of the gift guides we’ve posted so far. Easy peasy. We truly work so hard on them and the recommendations are wholeheartedly endorsed.

HOWEVER, we also wanted to give you a little Christmas decorating inspo since we know that decorating will be starting big time this weekend. This way you can get inspired and even more prepared. So check out the gift guides first and then head to all of the inspiration we’ve pulled together!

Emily’s Guide | Brian’s Guide

Emily really wanted to hone in on gifts that most anyone would LOVE to receive. Most are her tried and trues but she added in a good amount that’s new and exciting:)

Brian’s Guide is definitely giving you a ton of great ideas that are perfect for the cool dad/modern casual man in your life. I actually got these sweatpants for my dad from Brian’s gift guide last year and he asked for a link to get more. THE BIGGEST WIN! Basically, trust Brian’s recs.

Boomer Mom Guide

Suz (Emily’s MIL for those who don’t know) did it again with a list of amazing gift ideas for the Boomer gal in your life. She and her friends all contributed so don’t go for the standard gift again this year. Get her something that’s exciting for her!

Kid’s Gift Guide | Gen Z/Teen Gift Guide

Emily really took the time to talk with her kids and go through all of their favorite toys over the years. The last thing we all want are toys that are headed for a landfill in under a year. This will hopefully help avoid that possibility. She also goes over what she’s planning to buy them this year too! I think that’s always fun to see.

Since Em’s kids aren’t teens yet and there is a lack of them in our lives in general, we took to Instagram and asked you what they wanted. The answers were awesome, funny, and SO helpful. If you have a teen in your life please go check out this very thorough and comprehensive gift guide.

Ok, enough with gifts and onto decorating!

Color Palette Ideas

While there is the traditional color palette, we believe you can do whatever you want! It’s your Christmas, decorate how you see fit:)

Classic Reds

It makes the most sense to start with a classic palette and move our way to the least (?) traditional. Red is kinda THE Christmas color and Em has used it in a few different ways.

Last year she went red and green but in a sweet vintage style. The tone and patterns you use for your colors are very important. For the farmhouse, Em used vintage soft red quilts and forest green on knitted pillows and plaid fabric-wrapped presents. The colors weren’t light but they weren’t highly bold and saturated. Then in 2018, Emily decorated the Portland project for Christmas but went “luxe refined traditional”. The reds looked ruby, the greens were dark and in nice materials, and black was a major accent color. Both spaces are red and green but due to color tone (and home style), they look and feel different.

Red was also a big player in the Mountain House family room and LA living room years back. But in these spaces, Emily used dark blue as a third accent color (very EHD of her:)). It made sense given the room’s already established decor.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: our scandinavian (and easy, mess-free) holiday living room reveal

But sometimes red can be used as more of an accent color rather than the star of the show like in the Mountain house’s living room a few years ago. Cream and light wood tones were the main characters and it was a Scandinavian dream:)

Baby Blues

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: our living room holiday reveal

Ok, maybe red really isn’t your thing. That’s ok! Are cool tones more of your style? Lean into blues, rose golds, and whites. So pretty and very wintery!

Very Berry

Maybe you still want warm tones but it’s just that traditional red that isn’t your style. Try a berry! This was my last apartment and I loved using that deep juicy color. Plus I added some navy and gold to match the decor of the space. Such a fun year!

Ochre And Green Gathering

Arlyn leaned much more into the ochre, gold, and green vibe. So chic and unexpected while still having a classic feel.

Soft Blush And Cream

This is where things get crazy! Blushes and mauves?! It may not be traditional but it is BEAUTIFUL. I love this soft, warm vibe. The key here is to use a lot of textiles to make it feel real cozy.

FUN Metallics

And this is where things get really fun. Why not have have much sparkle as possible?! Use hot pinks with bright whites or softer pinks with silver or truly go for the gold! That tree Orlando has was INCREDIBLE. I saw a similar one at Downtown Modernism this year and almost thought about snagging it because it was so awesome in person.

Stockings

Mantel Mania (But Simple)

Nothing too crazy here in terms of inspo but what I love is that all of these are fairly simple to achieve yet they make a statement. I love Arlyn’s mismatched stockings all on one side with mismatched stocking holders. Brady is the master at simple and chic and that is exactly what that extra-long garland over the fireplace is. Pair it with two neutral, matching stockings and you are set. Then finally on the far right, Ginny separated her stockings making the wood chip garland the center of attention.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how sara created her first traditional but youthful christmas (with all target)

Sara however, used her long mantel to create more of an elaborate scene! She mixed faux garland, bottle brush trees, house figurines with matching stocking holders, and a little Christmas car. Oh, and she also went for a slightly mismatched stocking look. It’s so cute and adds so much ambiance to the whole room!

No Mantel, No Problem

But not all of us have a mantel so you might need to improvise. No problem! Do you have a shelf? See how cute both of these photos are? Both living rooms had fireplaces but they didn’t have mantels. Using neighboring shelves is a great alternative. Or any shelves will do!

But maybe you don’t have any shelves. Also not a problem. Hang them from a console, a dresser, or even a bedframe if you live in a studio or just like the look:)

photo by tessa neustadt for ehd | from: 12 days of instagram with target

This hack is really great if you don’t have a mantel. Just wrap some presents (make sure they are weighted) then stack them high enough to throw some stocking holders and stockings on. DONE!

Vignettes

Now what Christmas home would be complete without a little vignette or two (or at least a little extra razzle dazzle)??

Happy Entry

If you have an entry bench and or cabinet, it’s nice to add a little holiday cheer to the first thing you and your guests see when they walk into the door. Pillows, some garland (ideally fabric or faux since they make less of a mess), or some sweet pictures from old Christmases. Holiday figurines are always a good idea as well.

Festive Surfaces

See? Whether the figurines are snowmen, bottle brush trees, little houses, or reindeer, just pair them in groups of two or three in different sizes, and add some garland (real or fake it doesn’t matter here!).

Greenery Accents

A little greenery will go a long way. I love real cedar that you can get from places like Trader Joe’s. It’s delicate enough to put on shelves or even picture frames for some Christmas visual drama:)

House Party

But the real MVP of Christmas vignettes are little houses. You don’t have to create a whole little village but a few scattered around in little duos or trios (especially if they light up) will add the sweetest Christmas feeling to your home. Take these two examples above as proof and feel free to copy them:)

Hope this was fun and helpful! See you Friday for our annual Black Friday Sale round-up post and then a VERY special reveal on Saturday:)

Love you, mean it.

Opening Photo Credit: Photo by Kaitlin Green

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Natali
3 months ago

Emily,

You know what YouTube video would do very well – you showing us your storage unit and how you keep/organize all of the furniture, accessories, and seasonal items you have collected over the years. If this already exists, please someone send me the link. I need to see this. I am always so impressed when I see an item that’s been used in a recent shot that I know is 10+ years old. It makes me so happy to see items reused and to show that you don’t need to constantly buy new things to have a beautiful home.

VU
3 months ago
Reply to  Natali

There was a post about the second house next to the farmhouse: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/emily-hendersons-new-prop-room

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Natali

Beautifully said, Natali.🙏

Kristi
3 months ago

I am actually shocked by my “this, this, this…” reaction to the soft blue and blush. Honestly, all the extra stuff during the holidays overwhelms me a bit–feels like chaos to me. I think these soft colors are soothing with all the extra decorating knick knacks. Whatever the reason….its nice.

Stacia
3 months ago
Reply to  Kristi

I also struggle with not loving lots of “extra” around the house during the holidays. I do a lot of editing/swapping out of just a few things here and there in some of my home’s rooms. I’m not a minimalist, but I like a soft look in my personal space/home. I went with soft green, off-white, and added some dark green accents (mostly natural elements) for my winter decor these past few years. I might try the blush or pale blue next year though.

VU
3 months ago

If anyone is looking for dripless tapers, I can vouch for the ones from Colonial Candle. This is a “handipt” candle after burning for two hours: not one drip (next to an unused one for reference). I have also used their “classic” candle: same result, no drips. Their tapers are under “dinner candles” on their website. I’ve never tried their scented candles.

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Sarah
3 months ago

May I know what Emily is wearing in the opening photo?

VU
3 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

It’s the Alessandra Ruffled Floral Midi Dress from Ulla Johnson from a while ago. Worn in this post: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/northern-california-cool-places-to-visit

Deborah
3 months ago

Nice round up showing beautiful Christmas past decor! 🙂
Good reminders for new ideas to use! I have been picking up a few blush items because I was captivated by 2 sparkling blush bottle brush trees I found at my local Fred Meyer which have inspired me for this Christmas to mix in with my favorites that will complement the blush and gold. Seeing the blush Christmas photo is great inspiration, thank you!

3 months ago

Thank you for this comprehensive and inspiring post! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, your gift guides have certainly come in handy for those last-minute preparations. I appreciate the thought and effort put into curating lists that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.
The Christmas decorating inspo is a delightful addition. Your breakdown of color palettes provides a refreshing perspective, giving readers the freedom to embrace their personal style. I particularly loved the idea of “Soft Blush and Cream” – truly a beautiful and cozy alternative.