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Our Scandinavian (And Easy, Mess-Free) Holiday Living Room Reveal + How I Finally Figured Out My Biggest Styling Problem… And Solved It

Last year we decorated our house in LA per usual – we went all out which took 3 days with 3 people. It’s my job so this is actually “normal”. Then two days before Christmas we came up here for the break. Obviously, I wanted to decorate here a bit with a tree, etc, but we weren’t going to shoot it for the blog (it was too late) so I just kept it easy and threw up some greenery, wood and white ornaments, and fake candles. It took a few hours, max. Lo and behold it ended up being SO pretty for the amount of time it took. Granted I had great stuff to work with, mostly leftover Target and things from years past, but it was so pretty we even kept it up until February (which is questionable for sure). Brian looked at me in earnest and said, “Can you like, just do Christmas like this all the time?”

What? You don’t want to spend 5 hours wrapping fake presents in November? You don’t want 50 feet of real garland that has to be carefully hung everywhere with pine needles riddling our floors for a month? What? You don’t want every single surface dripping with holiday cheer? I love how we’ve always decorated our house for the holidays, but when you are shooting every angle you guess what, you decorate every angle.

And then I realized the biggest styling secret that truly has saved me from myself – LESS SURFACES. This house is easier because there are less surfaces, which is truly the only way to have less stuff, while not having it feel cold. An empty credenza? Well, that’s sad, so you feel like you need to put stuff on it (the ‘you’ here is ‘me’). But if you don’t NEED the credenza and you nix it all together in favor of a pretty piece of art (or bench), then indeed you can’t put stuff on it, thus less stuff. I know that I love stuff, “stuff” is kinda my thing but it also DRIVES ME NUTS, unless it’s perfectly picture-ready styled all the time. So in a way, I was my own worst enemy – creating clutter, to then just have perpetual ‘clutter body’. It’s a true marvel that I didn’t figure this out earlier. Now I know that not all of us are leaning towards a ‘less stuff’ lifestyle, but it’s actually been amazing living up here with so much less and I’ve been mentally so much happier living with less. SO the holidays shouldn’t be any different. Let’s go.

Color Palette

Last year we had just white, green and wood with lots of twinkle lights and it was DREAMY. But this year the kids and Brian both wanted some red. So I wanted to bring it in a subtle and sweet way, and keep it feeling very scandi. So I looked for details like red stitching, red tassels, and small red ornaments and I LOVE how it looks. You can do Christmas however you want, but I think this mostly green/white/wood combo with sweet red moments is what I like IN THIS ROOM (wait til you see the family room – she red).


First of all, it took me a long time to get on the fake tree bandwagon, truly, and I will ALWAYS be excited to go pick out a tree with the kids (and we might get a small one for our front door on the outside in a pot in December) but once you get a good faux tree that you can store in a box with no watering, no drying, no pine needles you realize how much easier it is. And with covid, it makes so much sense to just order online. I always refused to have a fake one in our living room, but since we were headed up here so close to Christmas last year I just ordered one in online beforehand to avoid the hassle. We had two real trees in LA, we didn’t need another. This one I ordered last year after figuring out where it should go to make the room function its best. We thought about putting it on the big window wall and getting a huge one (which is what the previous owners had done) but we would have had to completely rearrange the space which is FINE. But that layout made the space flow so much less (I know because we tried it last year, much to Brian’s horror, after Christmas before we took it down just to make sure it was the best layout for this year). By putting it near the window it blocked off the flow to the kitchen and it removed one of our seating options (plus we had to rotate the rug, etc, we like the face the fireplace, etc, etc). So we put it next to the fireplace where it is now.

Now I will say this – HOLE IN THE MARKET ALERT – SOME faux tree inventor needs to design a tree that is tall and wide, but more flat in the back so it doesn’t force it to stick out into the room as much. Does that make any sense? We wanted tall (9′) but most of the ones that are 10′ are like 5′ wide which would have floated too far into the room and taken up so much space. I wish this tree were wider on the sides, but not on the back (I suppose we could get a bigger one then trim the back. – give it a back buzz cut?). Anyway, so if you are thinking that it’s kinda small you aren’t wrong, but it was $400 and I can’t return it and it’s pretty. Maybe next year I’ll put it up here in the loft where I’m typing and search for one with the exact proportions that I want (which is limiting because I want the balsam scandi style). OMG I’M SO SICK OF TALKING ABOUT THIS TREE.

Re faux-ness – it’s the same with garland. Is it as a pretty as real garland? Nope. Is it close? YES. Once you put it up and add candles and lights, it does the job in such an easy way. It’s an investment upfront but I’ve used that same garland for 3 years (and bought more this year for the railing above). It’s GOOD.


If you are anti faux trees I know what you are likely also super against… FAUX CANDLES. And that’s ok. But I personally love a lot of candlelight, every night in fact and that is simply unsustainable and unsafe with real candles. But I’m picky about my faux candles – I like a warm glow, waxy look, and a flickering flame. Last year I bought a fancy big set that I couldn’t find this year (just found it) so this year I bought this set and they were super splurgy and by Sterno, so I thought they would be amazing, and they are good. But I wish they were bigger and I would have likely not spent so much if I had read the dimensions. They are good, don’t get me wrong, and specifically, I like turning them on and off via a remote (I don’t know how to program it). They are just so easy and look real enough.

The big star is from Target (last year, sorry!) and the stocking holders are 3 years old (and light up but I didn’t have new tiny batteries). These are super similar though. We used two of these garlands and some twinkle lights. It KINDA bugs me that there is such a gap in the middle, but we don’t have 5 people in our family and I couldn’t spread them out evenly with the star. Actually, I could have probably just moved them closer together and put two stockings inside the ‘legs’ of the star. Oh well.


First, please note matching pajamas WITH THE DOGS. Last year I kept aside a lot of the wood/white ornaments and brought them up here, but then I went to CostPlus and they had all these cute scandi wood cut out houses and white paper stars (they fold open) and then I went to a couple of craft stores (last year) and bought all their wood ornaments (that birdie keeps trying to paint and does not understand the concept of just having raw wood). Most of our personalized ornaments (and boy are there a TON) are on the tree in the family room – again stay tuned for that. Lastly in February, last year, I was thrifting and I stumbled upon a big ’25 cent ornament’ bin. I spotted some of these vintage scandi wood ornaments and started digging furiously through the bin to find more, serotonin pumping hard and fast. I think I got 30 total and ran to the cash register as if I were going to get caught, or like there was going to be a run on Christmas ornaments in March???? I screamed to Brian about the score and he was unimpressed, fearful even. And that’s when I realized that I had officially turned into the year-round-Christmas-ornament-shopper that 27-year-old Emily would never have recognized or predicted. I’m ok with it. I LOVE it actually.

Pillows And Throws

You can go full-on with Christmas pillows, but I like mixing in 1-2 with just cozy “winter” pillows. I had these green cable knit pillows from last year (and tie in with the tree) then faux fur pillows that I already had, so I just bought this sweet ‘Merry’ pillow (the ‘fa la la’ one is Target, but from last year). I love that Hearth and Hand throw with the red stitching on the chair– it just feels sweet but keeps it quiet.

The coffee table holds three white paper trees that (going with the paper ornaments on the tree) that I bought last year from Food52, but otherwise it’s styled like it usually is.

The floor pillow by the fireplace is super expensive but it is VERY VERY GOOD, here’s why: Most floor pillows aren’t big enough to really lounge on and this one is HUGE with cushy down fill, and made of a really pretty grey linen. It’s so comfortable and cushy, not too firm or bouncy. It’s made for meditation so it comes with a round pillow that is super heavy and feels like it’s full of beans which I rest my head on almost every day while snuggling here with the pups. Of course, they think it’s a dog bed, but I normally read here in the mornings on the weekends for a couple of hours and it’s just dreamy (and we can wash the cover. We used to have a big cozy alpaca over here, too, but the pups sent a clear message one day 1 of their life in this house that any fur would become a toilet for them.

I love it all with a few regrets – this tree wouldn’t fit in a tree collar, which I prefer (I don’t mind skirts, just love the look of collars). I wish the tree were slightly bigger, but it’s fine. I wish I had evenly placed the stockings (still might) and I wish I had put sparkly twinkly lights on the little potted faux trees on the hearth (and plan on doing so). I’ll put some batteries in the house stocking holders and call it a day. I also wish that our dogs would let us dress them in these matching pajamas more often.

What I love about it is how low maintenance it is, truly. By using faux everything, keeping it mostly neutral, and leaning into textures and sweet details, it feels holiday in such a pretty and dare I say sophisticated way.

In case you’d like to grab some of these decor pieces here’s the ‘Get The Look’:

1. Faux Tree (similar) | 2. Wood Snowflake Ornaments | 3. Wood Star Tree Topper | 4. Cable Knit Tree Skirt (similar) | 5. Wood Snowy Nordic House Ornaments | 6. Wooden Bauble Ornaments | 7. Wood Star Ornament | 8. Faux Candles Set | 9. LED Fairy Lights | 10. Faux Garland | 11. Red Tassel Pillow | 12. Green Cable Knit Pillow | 13. Tall White Nutcracker | 14. Wood Snowy Nordic Houses | 15. Faux Fur Blanket | 16. Faux Fur Pillow | 17. House Stocking Holder (similar)| 18. Red Pom Stocking | 19. Paper Trees | 20. ‘Merry’ Pillow | 21. Red Plaid Throw Blanket | 22. Santa Mug | 23. 2-Piece SedonaPillow Set | 24. 2ft Artificial Tabletop Christmas Glitter Tree (similar)

Now the family room on the other hand… what with our ‘no rules family tree’ has more Christmas action. Coming at you soon.

i figured i should get one shot of me not in my pjs

Would love to have a lively debate about faux greenery and candles in the comments, but you know where I stand – I’m PRO. That and my love of matching family Christmas pajamas (THE DOGS TOO) are truly big plot twist moments in the biopic of my life. 🙂

**Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp


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98 thoughts on “Our Scandinavian (And Easy, Mess-Free) Holiday Living Room Reveal + How I Finally Figured Out My Biggest Styling Problem… And Solved It

  1. Ho ho ho – just sooo beautiful! And calm, cozy, relaxed and still sophisticated. I looooove the wooden pearls garlands on the tree. The mantel decor is on point. In case you need a 5th sock, consider your puppies with a shared one 😉

    1. YES on the dog stocking, came here to suggest the same thing. Santa brings our dogs bananas every year in their stocking. They love it!

      Also 100% team faux greenery. Invest in the good stuff and it will look great. Also allows for earlier/longer decorating opportunities!

      1. bananas? I did NOT know this. yah, maybe i’ll order a 5th (and buy another hanger). …. pups need a stocking!

        1. Pups definitely need a stocking! My dog gets wrapped treats in his stocking every year plus presents under the tree. He loves the wrapping paper almost as much as the presents!

  2. I love it! But how do you not acknowledge the pup wearing PJs? Adorable! Do you mind sharing the source?

  3. This is SO beautiful! Can’t wait for the living room.

    Also I have to add I’m not for the faux greenery…. I just have to say there is something so magical about going to a farm and picking out a real tree. The scent and the excitement are some of my favorite childhood memories. Also, I read some statistic saying that only 10% of Americans use real trees nowadays, so that really makes me feel bad for the tree farmers out there. I really really hope that the farms continue because I do think that it’s a totally different experience getting a real tree. But that’s just my two cents!

    1. yah, we normally have one real tree to have that experience once they open. WE usually go to Apple Hill outside Sacramento because we spend thanksgiving up there and then we go on friday or saturday after thanksgiving. We “pick out” our tree and then basically I just go to LA and pick out a similar version. it is VERY fun. I wish there were more places like that in LA. but yes we have thought about maybe getting a small real one in a pot for the front door? I do love the smell for sure. xx

  4. You talked me into the fake garland and candles last year, and I’m never going back! We still get a real tree and wreaths, but the fake garland was a game changer for me.

    Also, get the dogs a stocking to solve your stocking spread issue on the mantel. We always put a chew toy or a pack of treats in our dog’s stockings on Christmas morning, and our kids love helping them “open it”. Win win for all parties involved.

  5. The fifth stocking could be for the dogs!

    This looks fab. I don’t think the tree is too small. In fact, I like the proportions. It’s big but doesn’t overwhelm the room.

    As for faux trees, I NEVER thought I’d say this but I am now Team Faux Tree. After years of shoving a wide tree into our very small, narrow house, I bought a faux “pencil” tree last year and it’s perfect for the room, no needles on the floor, and doesn’t overwhelm the space. I will always miss going to cut down our Christmas tree with the kids but, hey, the kids are grown and now they can do it in their homes!

    1. I was just going to comment – no stockings for the puppies? Our dog also gets treats from Santa. Anyway, this looks so pretty.

  6. Every year, my kids open little things for their advent calendar and on the 24th, it’s always a set of pajamas – usually funny bottoms with a clever T-shirt to match. One year, I wrote on the card “Sweet Dreams” and it became a family thing. Whenever one of them is wearing their pjs throughout the year, they always look at me and say “Mom, I’m wearing my Sweet Dreams”. I should add, they are 15 and 18. Today, I am wrapping everything, so it’s ready for my college age daughter to take back to her dorm with her after Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for this post, been having a tough time. This helps.

    1. that’s so sweet that you are wrapping everything for her already. and yes to family pajamas, we didn’t do it growing up but it is VERY VERY fun. xx

  7. I work at a boarding school, and we celebrate everything! Even though the students leave in early December, there are trees all around, including a HUGE faux tree outside on a fairly narrow walkway. The tree is really big, but they get away with it because they arrange the boughs in the back (especially on the bottom) so that they come out to the side instead of sticking straight out to the back wall. Does that make sense? With the faux trees (at least some), it seems like there is a lot of leeway in how they are styled and fluffed. It works well in the application I’ve seen, and it’s much better than the faux trees you can buy that really are almost 2-D. Maybe it would be good for other families, too. Even though we have a live tree, I took this idea and ran with it the past few years, trimming the back of my tree to be fairly shallow and flat to better fit in the area I have.

    1. I always spin my real tree a bit to pick the best side to be on show, push it as far back as I want it, then trim the bits that are pressed up the wall. That gives me greenery to use elsewhere.

  8. Everything is so thoughtful and beautiful! Also, IKEA has very pretty and inexpensive scandi decor if anyone’s still looking…

  9. You are missing a stocking (or two) for the dogs. HGTV magazine (Dec. 2020 issue) says that even though your dogs won’t care, your kids will notice that your furry family members are being left out, and it will seem unfair to them. Maybe this HGTV tip can help provide the justification you seemed to be looking for to add another stocking to the mantle :).

  10. Oooooh!!!
    K, the matching PJs, for the scruffies too?!? To die for! Melt my heart!

    The coffee table looks waaaay better in the mountain house… it just belongs.
    That floor cushion is fabulously huge!

    The whole vibe is fun, spirited, yet calming. I like it, a LOT!

    Buy, ya know the best part? You all look so healthy!
    Skin, hair (especially your hair, Emily!) and all 6 of you just fit together like a beautiful charm bracelet.

    One thing that’s missing = two more stockings, for Oscar and Buttercup!
    Come on, they need their own! (BTW, sweet to see the kitties remembered on the tree, too).

    A real heart warming share. Thank you. Love it! xx

  11. As for the faux tree size dilemma, you could do what my family always did and only set up 5/8″ of the tree! We just didn’t put on the back 3 branches and shoved the back of the tree tight to the window! So it was just a semi-circle tree, haha!

    1. I was about to say the same thing! Or you can just smoosh those back branches up or to the side!

  12. This paragraph is amazing lol
    I’m quietly cackling in self recognition at my desk.
    “I spotted some of these vintage scandi wood ornaments and started digging furiously through the bin to find more, serotonin pumping hard and fast. I think I got 30 total and ran to the cash register as if I were going to get caught, or like there was going to be a run on Christmas ornaments in March???? I screamed to Brian about the score and he was unimpressed, fearful even. And that’s when I realized that I had officially turned into the year-round-Christmas-ornament-shopper that 27-year-old Emily would never have recognized or predicted. I’m ok with it. “

    1. I know, it has me cackling!! I can totally picture the running to the register. Very funny, and charming. 🙂

  13. The story about the ’25 cent ornament bin’ had me laughing! BTW I am not thinking that the tree looks kind of small; I’m actually thinking it looks perfect. A bigger tree would take over the room. And a tree with the flat back to fit against the wall is going to look weird from every angle except straight on.

  14. Not sure if it’s only in Europe but in the 2020 winter collection Ikea actually has a ‘half’ tree! It is probably too small for American standards but it exists and it’s awfully cute 🙂

  15. This looks great Emily! I’d rather see a wreath over the fireplace versus the star, but I think it looks awesome otherwise! You could always add the 5th stocking fir the dogs. 🙂 I like the way it is though:)

  16. I really don’t want to be that person, but it makes me nervous seeing the soot stains up the chimney. Is that safe? You worked so hard on redoing the fireplace, and it looks beautiful. I hate to see it being stained now. I hate even more that it might not be safe. I hope so much that I’m wrong.

    1. I literally have NO idea what it could be? its a gas fireplace, with faux logs and its only on one side. So weird. I didn’t even notice it until a reader pointed it out. and I think its getting worse …

      1. Gas! Phew. That fireplace is amazing and having grown up with one I know how dirty and hard they can be to keep up. So glad you just get to flip a switch! I’m actually relieved for you (over-invested much???:)

        Pro faux greenery and candles for others but not for me YET. My favorite part of helping my mom decorate is putting up her faux garland that stays up until March and just feels so cozy. I have a small apartment and small kids so use very little of the real stuff but when I have a bigger house, it will be super to use the faux. Real tree all the way though for our main tree and faux for extras.

        Beautiful job. Wonderful and calming to read. Just what I needed this chilly busy day. Thank you!

      2. This could be an air leak around the flue inside the chimney. You could also be creating carbon monoxide to enter into your home. Should have someone look into it.

        1. I think the metal part at the top is coming lose on the left side (where the black marks are). but yah, going to have someone look at it just in case. right now we have it on like 8-10 hours a day since we are home all day (and its just so lovely)

  17. I’ll be the 50th person to suggest a puppy stocking!! Our pets always get treats from Santa 🙂 And I have that Hearth & Hand striped pillow on my couch this season too – love the pop of holiday color!

  18. What a delightful post! I read it twice and jotted down notes just thinking about how I can decorate my own house. Love the mix of real and faux, expensive and bargain bin, matching holiday pajamas, and my favorite quote, “I screamed to Brian about the score and he was unimpressed, fearful even …”, LOL!

  19. I’m going to echo everyone else on this: you need a stocking or two for the pups! Also, if you want the tree to be taller without extra width, you can place the tree on a wooden box/crate and then use fabric as a tree skirt draped over the box. It even adds room for big gift boxes.

  20. What is the source for this rug? I have been wanting a Moroccan rug in my high traffic living room with kids and dog but the white ones just don’t work. We have a small white one in the playroom and it now varied shades of rainbow and dirt.

      1. sbe, this sofa is still made; it’s by a high-end but not exorbitant company. I am sorry, but for the life of me I can’t remember who it was. Some other designer is sure to know. You could try the CB2 Quattro for a similar look. Search terms to try to find one are “soft cube sofa” or “modular flange (or french seam) sectional”

  21. Thank you for doing a Christmas post early! One question — do you have any other suggestions for faux garland? The Target one is sold out.

    1. I think that Terrain and ‘king of christmas’ both have good options. i think we are doing a post about it soon, stay tuned 🙂

  22. Please share suggestions for tree skirts or collars for pencil trees. I can find skirts for mini trees and full size tress, but need something 24-28″ wide.

    1. Annie, my daughter just ordered a 24” skirt from Amazon for her pencil tree and it’s perfect.

  23. This is so awesome – beautiful but practical with kids. My favorite is the faux greenery and candles…because who wants to risk a fire and all that cleanup with little kids! And my other favorite (because its my biggest pet peeve about bloggers at Christmastime!) there are no fake wrapped presents!!! Who would do that to kids?! Make them stare at wrapped presents all season long, especially if they are fake! Seems so impractical (and terribly wasteful too of boxes and paper). So I love, love, love your choices this year!! Perfect for your family and beautiful and inspiring for all of us too!

    1. ha. thank you. i appreciate that. I was VERY tempted to wrap presents but I just can’t handle the waste of time and the waste of packaging anymore. if I had presents early then great, but empty boxes? nope. I appreciate you saying that 🙂

    2. Meh, my mom (not a blogger, this was way pre-blogs) used to fill in the bottom of our tree with some empty ones around the real ones (we had plenty of presents; she just liked the look of a giant gift pile), and we knew from inspecting the pile, as child are wont to in the run up to Christmas, which ones had tags and something in them and which ones were just decorative. It didn’t bother us in the least, because it was just part of how my mom did it. We didn’t expect the lights and wreaths to be for us either, you know?

  24. I love decorating with pumpkins and real greenery during the holidays because I don’t live in a place where I could store it all for the other ten months out of the year!

  25. I love everything you have done here, but I most especially love Brian’s long hair!!! He looks good Emily! Such a warm and cozy home. The matching pajamas really bring it home! Where did you get that gorgeous rug in there? I want one for my bedroom!!!

    1. its from Room and Board! We’ll link it up. its awesome. and Brian was NOT happy with the photos of his hair. I love it long, too. no haircut since January 🙂

  26. I love your tree! Coming from someone who has 25+ foot ceiling, I like to keep it real. One year we got a huge tree with our $10 forest service permit. We looked like Clark Griswald driving that thing home. It took the whole family of six to hold it so my husband could secure it with fishing line. We couldn’t even get lights to the top! Never again😂

  27. When you move to Oregon, you will have *many* christmas tree farm options, our favorite is Quail Creek Ranch 🙂 Styling looks great and love the vintage ornament find – definitely going to look for those now when I’m in thrift stores!

      1. don’t know! i didn’t notice it until you guys pointed it out. I think the metal plate is loose on the left and some heat/fumes are getting out? its gas so i’m not sure. getting it looked at 🙂

  28. I apologize in advance, because I’m going to be that person: it’s not LESS surfaces, it’s FEWER surfaces. LESS stuff is fine, because “stuff” isn’t countable, whereas the number of surfaces in your home is. Totally grates on my ear, and I can only imagine I’m not the only one.

    But your home looks lovely, and doggie pjs are the perfect icing on this particular cake.

    1. Yes – I didn’t want to do it, but thank you. This was drilled into me by my mother and when I hear less and fewer used incorrectly (especially when it is the main thesis of the blog post), it just hurts. Very easy to look up:
      Fewer means “not as many.” We use fewer with countable nouns like cookies. … Less means “not as much.” We use less with uncountable nouns like milk.

      On a different note, I thought I was done with my Christmas decor shopping and now I think I need to go back for all the tiny wooden house ornaments at World Market. Very pretty decorating inspiration today! Thank you!

      1. HAHAHAHA. I honestly didn’t know this but I bet my MIL was dying to write it herself. So to recap: I need fewer surfaces and less things to worry about? is that correct? what a BS english degree I got 🙂

        1. Well, actually, you’d use “fewer” with both, since both are quantifiable. “Stuff” isn’t quantifiable, so that would necessitate “less.” As in, “I have fewer things to worry about and less stuff to do, which vacations are good for. But when I get back, I’ll have so much to do and less time to think about any of it. I need fewer working days and more vacation!” 🙂

          Your home and family are always beautiful.

  29. Fake candles on a timer is a game changer! I put them inside a frosted glass or metallic jar and you can hardly tell. We have a fake tree and real garland, but I think the opposite would be fun too.

  30. Love the family pic in your matching jammies!! ♥️
    Faux tree and garland for me every year!! I add in real greens from the tree lot (free from Lowe’s) and it’s perfect. I do love some good smelly candles as well as the flickering flame ones from Sharper Image with a timer. Favorite time in the evening is when all the timed candles and micro lights come on 🥰

  31. I love your decorations – they’re beautiful.
    But in all seriousness I came here to say that if you need a 5th stocking the dogs would probs LOVE to share one!

  32. Faux everything! Are you even real? (just kidding). Be careful with slowly and subtly replacing organic beauty with “faux” (plastic-based) items. One day our children may not even recognize something natural let alone have respect for it or see the value and the beauty of it. Their concept of what is beautiful gets hijacked when not exposed to natural. “Convenience” is sometimes over-rated and we might not learn the high price we pay until it is too late. Plastic house plants don’t improve the air quality in a room like growing living plants do. BTW, the decorating itself is lovely and your sense of style is phenomenal but can you imagine the scent of real pine throughout the house. And yes, the real deal is messier and subject to decay but so much more authentic. Have we lost the magic of touch, authenticity and connection somewhere along the way? The trajectory that we are currently on seems to indicate that and I for one, am concerned especially when I notice that our style mavens fall in line with the “program.”

    1. I get that. I do. I wish I knew more about tree farms and how sustainable they are because chopping down a tree or two (plus endless more for garland) every year doesn’t feel that sustainable either (maybe it is, i don’t know!). Ultimately my goal is to use the hell out of whatever I buy for as long as I can, years and years and decades even. That to me is the definition of sustainability – to not have to replace something for decades. There is a carbon impact on every single thing we do – even getting the tree home, watering it, disposing of it, etc – not judging ANY of that, but point is its all about recognition, longevity and appreciation. I don’t want my kids to choose faux over real, but I do want them to be part of a home that creates a larger conversation about practicality and longevity. But I may change my mind someday, truly 🙂 Listen, I like to start early and only faux trees are around in november. xx

      1. Many years ago I only bought live trees that I would plant after the holidays. Then a friend pointed out that I often buy cut flowers and that tree farms, like flower farms, grow their trees just for the purpose of cutting. When you cut your own, they require that you leave a certain amount of trunk so that the tree will regrow. Hopefully they do that at all the tree farms. I like a “perfect” tree and admire the faux trees because they are so pretty but I wouldn’t feel okay buying all that plastic. We should all be trying to consume less plastic, especially with the new information coming out about the plastic recycling hoax.

  33. Ha! We have the same PJ’s so comfy. Here’s an idea for the 5h stocking – a shared stocking for the pups! Tip – don’t fill it until the day of because they will sniff it out and tear it apart if it’s there while no one is watching. I mean…I would too.

    Love how you went simple and Nordic style, it is gorgeous!

  34. Truely so so beautiful. I was always team “real tree” and then I inherited a fake tree with lights already on it and it was amazing! After that tree ran its course, we got a real tree…with 2 kids and a dog and IT WAS A HUUUUGEMESS! So we went back to a fake tree and I really regret it. I’ve been really trying to be more environmentally friendly and I really failed on this and I am so sad. I learned that Cutting down a real tree with a permit from the Forrest service is better than a fake tree with all the plastic. Check out @dailyflourish she is a native landscaper in sacramento and did a whole series on this.

    1. oh interesting. I will absolutely read that. thank you for sharing! I know that while we have young kids its easy to choose practicality. Maybe i’ll shift from that later 🙂

  35. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Where is the nutcracker from by fireplace? I’m looking for tall one (taller than West Elm one noted). Please tell me it’s not vintage. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I got it from Moskatels (the flower market) downtown LA. It’s a year round christmas store more for industry so Im not sure its online. xx

  36. I am ok with either faux or real, but here’s the thing. I live in Portland OR with giant fir trees all around my house. At least once before Christmas there is a wind storm that brings down a few small branches that I clip back and put on my mantel. My garland literally shows up on my back doorstep.

  37. Flat back trees are real.
    I was gifted one from a friend who didn’t need it anymore. Works great in small apartments. What I’d like is a pencil tree or one made for corners (which is where I want to use it).
    I also went simple this year. Just garlands, cones and twinkle lights along with blue and white ginger jars on the mantle, faux wreath with big red bow on door and a few tiny touches elsewhere. Just enough to make me happy.
    Looking forward to the family room reveal.

  38. Here is how you get to five stockings: you give the dogs one. That’s what we did in my two kiddo family growing up. Plus, little kids love to be the ones to present the dog with the treats in their stocking. Also, when I read “I screamed to Brian about my score” I full on cackled and splashed my coffee. A+
    (And psst, it’s “fewer surfaces”)

  39. I’ve always had a faux tree until two years ago when I finally got a real tree because I was curious why people felt so strongly about them. But while it wasn’t not nice, the hassle (the watering, the sweeping, the disposal) definitely didn’t seem worth it so went back to our faux tree last year. I did enjoy the (faint) pine scent so last year I sprayed the faux tree with a Williams-Sonoma pine room spray I received as a present and now I like the faux tree even more! 🙂

    Can’t wait for you to close Emily!

  40. Could you possibly tell me what fireplace insert you used? I’ve been searching the blog and I don’t think it was mentioned before – it looks fantastic!

  41. I just spotted a very familiar house in my Holiday 2020 Lulu and Georgia catalog! Did you already post about this? I was like “Yeah that’s Emily’s house” instantly. 😂

  42. I live in Japan and you can buy half trees (because … space…) which would totally solve your problem. The only issue is that they tend to be about 4′ tall – again, because… space…. so this would totally not solve your problem. But there HAS to be more makers of half trees which are generous in width and height out there?!

  43. Everything you’ve done is so beautiful and perfect for your living room! I love the simple and cozy scandi style and especially the minimal red accents you added. Garnet Hill has a sweet and beautifully made hats and mittens advent calendar that has this look and it is actually a sale of the day item today. I have the multicolored one and it looks great draped across my mantle.

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