This year was a bit harder to get in the holiday spirit in November. Maybe I went too big for Halloween and didn’t feel like transforming my house again, LOL, or maybe it’s the state of the world. As content creators, we feel pressure to do it earlier so that we can publish in time for our work to get any eyeballs and interest (if you do it late, people are over it or there is too much noise to notice). So my general philosophy is to do it in November, shoot it, and then leave for our annual week in Sacramento for Thanksgiving (so we are not actually experiencing it, thus not getting sick of it early) while we edit and turn around all the photography and videos, ready to publish right after Thanksgiving, i.e. TODAY. Listen, I truly love Christmas and all it took was a little Mariah Carey, some twinkle lights, and a glass of rose to remind me that this is the absolute best part of my job. It’s styling. It’s photography with my fun team. It’s not heavy construction nor influencing just for social media. It’s getting to use my creative muscle to inspire, give ideas, and spread a little bit of fun/love on the internet in my own home. Decorating for the holidays with my kids, shooting it all, and showing it to you all is a gosh darn TREAT and I feel soooo thankful and grateful. And this year I really loved what we did. So, LET’S GO.
The Overall Vibe – Scandi, Playful, Glowy, And Super Festive
I’m committed to not doing anything too chic or sophisticated/neutral while the kids are still little (maybe ever). This is for them and they LOVE color. At the mountain house, where we typically spend Christmas we had one Scandi tree and one family tree, but here we have one (and yes, I shipped up all of my family ornaments, OF COURSE). So this year I really feel like I figured out how to bring in a lot of color and festivity while still stretching my creativity and working with the color palette of the room. As you can see it’s a bit Scandi (driven by that Schoolhouse Blanket and stockings that I’m obsessed with), still playful (a lot of color, especially the red on the tree) with some more stylized moments adding in dark mauves, aubergines, teals and blues.
Our More Full Holiday Mantel
Green Garland | Wooden Garland (similar) | Lights | Pre-Lit Trees | Nutcracker | Candles | Dress (used because no longer available) UMMM….This photo is giving me Mid-90’s Martha vibes, BTW, in a VERY questionable way.
We left all of our more Scandi decor at the mountain house (where our property manager decorates for our Airbnb guests) so I started over on a few things and was able to reimagine it all. While I still want to paint the mantel a dark color (coming at you in February) I LOVE how these stockings pop off and add more life there (it was a bit cold last year). And we went big with this garland on the mantel (last year was WAYY too sparse) which I ordered from Accidental Farmgirl (IG marketing really knows me) and while it’s splurgy, I know I’ll use it for years plus it supports a small business. It’s SOOOOO full and looks pretty darn realistic. I added in these larger lights from Terrain (which plug-in, LOVE), added these little pre-lit trees, my Scandi nutcrackers, and pretty candlesticks (from Schoolhouse).
The mirror is from Crate and Barrel and we ordered it for the kitchen remodel last year, but I’m loving it up here, especially with that wreath on it (which is old from Target, and still great). But it needed some color so I threw up some dark red velvet ornaments, and wide velvet ribbon (which is hard to find, but I found a hack – see below).
The Tree – I FINALLY FOUND MY DREAM TREE!!!
Y’all, let me be clear – if I didn’t have to decorate early (before trees are even available) I would for sure go cut down a tree in Oregon. WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE TREES FOR PETES SAKE. We are likely going to do this as well, for a small tree on our front porch for the experience, btw. But since that isn’t my reality and any real tree would die really early, I am so happy to say that I finally found THE BEST FAUX TREE EVER. Brian hates the trendy sparse tree, which I get. But our full perfectly triangular tree last year was not my favorite. So I ordered this one (paid full price, FYI) and it’s perfect for our home, has enough branches to hold all of our ornaments and garland and has the perfect glowy light (not too cold). We decorated it with all our family memory ornaments, some linen balls I bought last year, and I love that red wooden bead garland that I bought from Target. And yes, I’m still using the fabric instead of traditional wrapping paper for gifts so I went and bought a bunch of pretty velvets, linen, flannel plaids, and faux taffetas that I’ll use year after year, in addition to craft paper (which is cheap and recyclable).
It makes me so happy every time I look over here (that window doesn’t hurt). Last year I bought these plug-in pre-lit alpine trees, and this year I partnered early on some decor from Terrain (the wreath, garland, and clip-on candles – all so good). Then I just added more ribbon/fabric in a loose drape, and put some of my velvet pillows over there. It’s so jewel-toney and yet still feels unabashedly Christmas (IMHO). I also love how the wreath hangs on the gallery rod chain (Pepe & Carols). I haven’t done the front door or outside yet, but this entry feels really good this year.
I almost didn’t really do anything over here, but then I found these stacking candles from Schoolhouse (which are splurgy so I kinda don’t want to ever light them LOL) and I had bought this vase from one of my favorite ceramic artists ever (B. Zippy, from Spartan Home) and with a leftover garland it came to life. At first, I left the oil portrait of my dead pioneer lady up there, but she seemed VERY somber, so I switched her out for these beautiful collages by local artist Marilyn Joyce and I might leave them here. The colors work so well and I think having them together gives them more power/impact.
My Favorite Vignette – The Velvet Chair
Well, it’s hard to choose, but I THINK my favorite moment is this corner (but maybe the entry!!). The color palette was inspired by that bottle brush tree mounted on wood. When I pitched a blue/green Christmas to Brian he was very confused (he likes super traditional) but I knew I could make it still feel traditional while helping it feel cohesive with the actual design of the room. The garland is actually two sparse garlands (what I had on the mantel last year) combined, and for the “ribbon” I actually cut 6″ strips of pretty fabric yardage to get the length and width that I wanted (velvet or wide ribbon in general is crazy expensive). I LOVE how it looks. The playful pillow (West Elm), and the colors make me sooo happy.
Over here we ran out of faux garland so headed to Trader Joe’s and bought this pretty cedar number. I love the almost symmetry of the two window styling – it makes me SOOO happy. Yes, I cheated and brought the same green holiday tree pillow over here, mixed with my velvet pillows.
Our Santa Frames
I’m very behind on these, but I LOVE bringing them out every year. I wish that they sold frames right after you get the photos taken because I always lose them, but this tradition (shout out to Suzanne for the inspiration) is one of my favorites. We bought the German smoker decor at the Silverton holiday market two years ago (Hot Tip: the incense is VERY strong so be careful if you actually want to light them) and I bought the trees from a craft fair, they are made by Rudi Summers (I couldn’t find her IG or website but if anyone knows let me know!). Schoolhouse has newer/similar versions of the smokers (could be a fun thing to collect every year, a la the village).
Village Houses (similar)
Speaking of village, I’ve had these porcelain houses for years from Target, with little tea lights in them and they really do the job of glowy + festive in a quiet way.
Last year I could NOT nail the wreath style in the kitchen and ended up using red burlap (farmhouse, sure, but didn’t feel like me). And this year I am so happy with how they turned out. I actually found this silk taffeta fabric yardage from Mill End Store, with this blue pattern as the “stripe”. It was expensive, $32/yard, but I was able to get all the strips of the stripes out of it (and then some) and I LOVE IT. I know it’s not traditional “Christmas,” but once we put the velvet ribbons up there, with the ornaments and lights, it totally felt like Christmas. We used command strips and fishing line, FYI, and these are my favorite copper fairy lights with a warm glow that we use everywhere.
Check out this short little tour if you want to see it in action (it’s on IG stories as well, of course).
A big thanks to my kids for helping with the tree, the neighborhood kids for their enthusiasm (our schools are on strike so way more kids around than usual during work hours, which is fun), and Gretchen for helping me dial it in. All photos by the wonderful Kaitlin Green. Everything is linked under the photos in case you are decorating this weekend. Happy Holidays and for those who celebrate Christmas like we do, I hope this gives you some good inspiration to keep it fresh and fun, while still super festive for the whole family. xx
*Styled by Emily Henderson (me!)
**Photos by Kaitlin Green