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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
christmas decorating ideas

If it were socially acceptable, I’d go straight from Halloween to Christmas. WHY? Because there is scientific evidence (somewhere) that proves those who decorate earlier are happier. Last year, I was VERY happy because I decorated in early November (for a shoot but left it), which meant 2 1/2 months of TOTAL JOY. No sarcasm there—it made all of us genuinely happy despite some child confusion and lack of extended advent calendar. This year, to get this to you before you even think about decorating, we took it even further and in early October, decked out the Portland house with the Target Threshold line (and now I’m very sad that isn’t all in my house…YET). The style we went with was a pulled back version of a very traditional Christmas full of classic components but styled in a fresh way. Think lots of green, pops of red, twinkle lights and cozy textiles…but keep reading to learn about all the elements, how to pull them together and some styling tricks that are super easy and high impact. Pump that Christmas playlist on Spotify (it’s okay, I know it’s early but HELLO HAPPINESS), and get ready to feel all merry and bright (FOR THE NEXT SEVEN WEEKS!).

But wait, because we’re all about anticipating needs here, we created this short video with Target for anyone who wants to skip the read and just want to watch “TV” (like my children!) instead. Hit that play button, listen to me throw some decor treasure nuggets at you for two minutes, and then either scroll all the way down for all the shopping details, or dive in deeper because you just must know more about that perfectly sparse tree.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled content…

christmas decorating ideas

Red and Green is the New Red and Green

This was the foundation of our whole look, but not in the way you think. We wanted classic and warm yet updated and simplified, so hold on to your jingle bells, because we’re shaking things up. The red and green palette says “Christmas,” but how we incorporated it was not this explosion of these colors and no surface was dripping with decor. Here’s how to do it:

christmas decorating ideas

Green: This anchor color comes in here in actual greenery, like the tree, garlands, wreaths. You won’t find it really anywhere else here, and that’s okay (well, technically we brought it in in that velvet pillow…more on textiles later…and ribbon, but that’s the gist). We used faux greenery, which every year I’m like man, this is so easy, clean and, in the long run, so affordable and I’m not just saying that because it’s Target product. In fact, while now pinning for Christmas at the mountain house, I’m realizing how much easier it will be year after year to keep garland, wreaths and trees up there and in good shape. It’s a lifestyle choice, like marble versus quartz. Real and faux greenery both have major pros and cons. I love how the faux Target greenery looks in this room and with no mess or watering, and easy storage…

Emily Henderson Target Christmas 2018 Portland13

Red: Repeat after me—”I will not overdo the red, I will not overdo the red.” Listen, red is a powerful color, it draws the eye…that’s what it’s SUPPOSED to do. And while this is the time of year to go for it, for this more refined look, don’t use a ton of different tones of red—use it sparingly, in more graphic shapes and reduce the glam.

HOT TIP: Okay, so the real secret here to get that updated traditional look is to pair those red and green moments with a lot of neutrals—whites, blacks, woods and oatmeals ground everything and feels fresh and sophisticated. The black-and-white art, checkered throw (in the foreground on the sofa), wood credenza and black reindeer let the bolder red elements and the green garland have their moment without feeling heavy or overly ornate. This is not your grandma’s Christmas decor (unless your grandma is a cool grandma, and I hope she is).

christmas decorating ideas

I’m a firm believer in putting trees, no matter how big or how small, basically anywhere you can this time of year (do I need to remind everyone of the Christmas tree-a-palooza from last year in Charlie and Elliot’s rooms? or the fact that I’ve now done two permanent tree murals and I’m not stopping there? I take trees seriously, folks…perhaps I was an arborist in my former life? I’m not joking). This little potted faux tree just so happened to be the perfect little addition to this corner in the living room and provided that punch of green all those neutrals needed. It’d also be really cute in a foyer, a few of them bunched together on a console table basically anywhere, or even as a less over-the-top tree in a kid’s room.

Another great thing about staying more on the classic end with the color palette is that it will never get old. It’s classic for a reason. You can bring out this decor year after year, building onto it (or keeping it more minimal…whatever you like).

christmas decorating ideas

Pare It Back

To make the traditional feel more “updated,” use some restraint and go more minimal in how MUCH you decorate. This is actually more in line with our whole “Updated Classic” trend this year. Yes, you can go traditional, but if you want that more modern traditional look, then it’s about less. Not every surface has to be dripping with lights, mini villages, nativity sets, and fake snow (although I realize that’s like the pot calling the kettle black (or red) because remember this Christmas that was literally dripping with garland?). Pick a few areas to dress with decor and keep them refined and simple. A few suggestions: a mantel (if you have one), a pretty window nook or console table vignette, a staircase and entryway.

In the vignette above, we could have gone with a full wreath, but the half-wreath was a modern twist on a classic. Plus, its oversized scale (it’s HUGE at 45 inches and perfect for a big bay window like this one, but could absolutely also work over a fireplace) shakes things up further by being unexpected.

christmas decorating ideas

Speaking of entryways (and front doors), we went with a classic holly wreath on our front door. While a fresh wreath can be enticing to some, if you’ve never had one, you might not know the annoyance that is gently misting the back of it every few days, only to be greeted with who knows what little friends that have decided to take up residence in the branches. Oh, and don’t get me started on the needle loss…every time you close that door, your Pinterest-worthy fresh wreath is going to get a shakedown and grace your threshold with needles that will turn into brown bodkins, forever stuck in the spaces between your pavers. Again, it’s a lifestyle choice and I’ve done both.

christmas decorating ideas

SO, if you want to go the fresh wreath route, proceed with caution or I should say knowledge…or save yourself a little stress in an already stressful season with a faux version that frankly, is just as festive and good looking. You want something that will continue the design story past the front door (so I went with a red-and-green variety here). It would have felt like a bit of a disconnect if we had gone with something silver and gold tinsel out here. Think of all these design moments as chapters in the same story. Not to say you can’t throw in any twists, but…it all should work together or else you have yourself a messy plotline that no one can follow.

christmas decorating ideas

A fireplace mantel is an easy place to kind of lose control, so I’d suggest, well…let’s just move along to my next point to dive deeper into this:

Avoid the Christmas Chaos

Holiday decorating is one of those things that can either be a little paralyzing (“I have a tree…what else? I guess I’ll put this nutcracker over here…and light a pine candle?”) or a total free for all…in a not-so-cute way. There’s a happy place between a half-hearted string of lights thrown around a window and a tinsel explosion, and it’s about putting in the effort while avoiding chaos. But guess what? It’s super easy if you use the following trick: pick a few iconically Christmas elements and repeat them. This creates a high-impact look that’s actually incredibly easy to execute and more affordable.

christmas decorating ideas

Case in point: garland. I love to use garland in a soft drapey way throughout a room with just a few other decor moments thrown in. All the fireplace needed beyond that and twinkle lights were some stockings (which also speak to the theme of repeating one element a few times—we could have done a mix and match look here, but the trio of buffalo check brings in some neutral colors and graphic pattern to modernize a “traditional” Christmas decor element—and a stocking holder that brought in our punch of red.

Now, if you are wondering where all the first-grade child ornaments made of macaroni are hung, it’s very simple—you burn them. Make it a festive ceremony. Involve your kids!

They have to learn that style and sentimentality don’t always mix. JK. You can easily mix in those pieces and still get the look if they are in the color palette and if not, and you still want this more curated look then dedicate a secondary tree to sentimental ornaments. It’s the equivalent of having a hallway of family photos versus having then spread throughout your house. It’s a personal preference and both are perfect. It’s Christmas time—it’s up to you and it doesn’t matter. We are here to provide tips and styling support but if you want to hang Little Saffron’s brown paper foot-shaped ornament with beads and glitter on your perfectly curated tree, then please do that. It’s your funeral (I’M STILL JOKING—here’s a secret: despite knowing exactly what will look good, I really mostly believe that doing what makes your family as a whole the happiest is all that matters). I love this look, but would I do it with two small kids? Nope. That’s why we shot it up in Portland instead of LA. For us, right now in our life, I want macaroni ornaments, and yet I LOVE this look, too.

christmas decorating ideas

Okay, back to the garland…Bring that same greenery over to the staircase (if you have one) and don’t overthink it. Sometimes simple is the best answer. We added some fairy lights (these have a battery pack…don’t even think about needing plugin lights on garland anymore) and boom. It’s done.

christmas decorating ideas

You can also create special little moments throughout your house as we did here on the dry bar (a dry bar is a wet bar without a sink—like a prep space for drinks or food but nothing WET, only DRY, except ice, although dry ice is also welcome during appropriate holidays). We kept things toned down and pared back by just bringing in one item that screamed CHRISTMAS (the super fun brass deer antler candle holder). We could have gone with red or green taper candles there, but opted for that grayish blue because we already had our green and red happening in the cake platter, napkin and eucalyptus (which echoes the garland in the living room).

christmas decorating ideas

We can’t talk about Christmas moments without the big ol’ moment of the tree, of course. When we were planning this shoot, we knew we wanted something sparse and modern and this unlit 7-foot faux balsam fir tree was just the ticket. It gave us that almost Scandi feel that a noble fir offers (which, by the way, is “the” tree right now). It’s also a super easy way to use restraint and not go nuts on ornaments. Less branches = less need to fill every inch of tree. Oh, and because this tree was unlit (which I’d recommend because lights always seem to find a way to go bad or certain parts just stop working and then you’re stuck with a tree that has strings of non-functioning and supplemental lights), we took extra care to wrap the individual boughs to get that super glowy look without seeing a ton of cords.

Speaking of lights…

christmas decorating ideas

Lights

Look, you can never have too many fairy lights. That soft sparkle is fun day and night, BUT for the sake of a polished holiday look, choose your moments. Here, we tackled the mantel, tree, staircase and the sweet console vignette from earlier. We could have thrown some in the fireplace, strung some around the window, heck even wrapped furniture in it, but…wait, what was that I said about never having too many fairy lights? As has been the case for this whole post…pick your moment. Holiday glow is one thing, but looking like your house is on fire from the outside should never be the goal if you’re after something polished and sophisticated.

Let’s talk one second about the temperature of those lights. We went with the 90ct LED Dewdrop Lights by Phillips in a “warm white.” When LED twinkle lights first came out, they tended to be VERY blue and cold…almost icy. Maybe that was the intention, but things have changed. For our warm and inviting Christmas look, I knew I wanted to go the warmer route.

christmas decorating ideas

Ornaments

Okay, back to talking about this pretty tree. What’s a Christmas tree without ornaments, right? I find that there are two mindsets when it comes to tree baubles: change them out every year and create a “look”, or use the same collection (maybe passed down to you) that you grow year after year (including glittered craft pinecones and macaroni wreaths).  For anyone who is looking for some fresh ideas or starting from scratch, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pick a color palette and stick to it. We already had the green of our green and red palette, so it was all about adding in a few red moments rounded out with our neutrals.
  • Vary your shapes and sizes. It’s easy to buy one of those giant 100-ct. canisters of all round ornaments, but if you want something that feels more special and thought out, it’s best to bring in a variety of shapes. Some big round, some small round, some teardrops, etc. I’m particularly fond of the below top-shaped wood ornaments. I might need to get those for my tree at home this year (plus, I don’t have to worry about glass shattering or little fingers getting hurt).
  • Have fun with materials and finishes. Like with anything in design, it’s all about the mix. Sure, we could have done something edgy and SUPER modern by using all the same ornament in a matte finish, but that’s not what we were going for. To create an updated traditional vibe, we brought in both polished and matte round red ornaments, glittery black mini globes, some disco ball-like ones with facets to catch the light, and then, for our “updated” elements, there are ornaments wrapped in natural seagrass, snowy white yarn, and, my favorite, the blonde wood with leather strap.
christmas decorating ideas christmas decorating ideas

Wrapper’s Delight (i.e. Check Something Off Your To-Do List That Will Also Add to Your Decor)

Pssst…want to know a stylist’s trick that also saves you hours during Christmas crunch time? Wrap a handful of presents early in your color palette and use them throughout your home in styled out vignettes to spread that holiday cheer while checking things off your list. This also ties back to my earlier point about picking an element and repeating it over and over again. Using packages of all different shapes and sizes in that pretty paper and ribbons (more on that in a sec) is high impact but also so, so simple.

christmas decorating ideas

Okay, let’s talk paper and ribbon. If you’re already putting thought into your decor, don’t stop before you get to how you’re wrapping those presents that are going under the tree. To echo our mostly-neutral-with-pops-of-classic-green-and-red look we’ve got going on, we created a base with brown craft paper and solid black and white. Then we mixed in one graphic pattern—the stripe—to bring in that bit of modern edge without feeling like a totally new element. We then repeated that stripe in the ribbon and peppered in some white, red and green ribbon to tie it all together.

christmas decorating ideas

Holiday Textiles

Look how happy I am, sitting amongst a pile of plush, cozy textiles and “the Christmas pillow.” Sure, I may have over-applied my spray tan lotion on JUST my legs but I’m still happy!!! This is a thing (not the spray tan, the pillows) and it’s something I’m VERY into, but these are more updated and simple options that allow you to bring in the traditional holiday cheer without it feeling too kitsch or heavy. Keep things mostly neutral, but vary your textures (some fuzzy, some knit, some plaid, some velvet). I also like to swap out some of our summer textiles for more cozy and warm options like these faux fur and knit blankets. They say “winter” without just saying “holiday” so you are good ’til summer.

christmas decorating ideas

We LOVE a grid-print around here, and this red and white version feels just seasonal enough (plus it’s SO soft and cozy with a sherpa-ish lining on one side). If you don’t want that chair, you are a monster, or maybe just someone with too many chairs already. It’s my new favorite affordable chair (which I mentioned in my fall styling post—check it out here—as being my new favorite chair), wrapped in that blanket, drinking hot cocoa from that mug, having a quiet moment while you watch your children play nicely, using all their manners and inside voices while eating a plateful of kale chips gratefully and happily? That’s what happens when you buy this chair and live this life. It’s so easy!

christmas decorating ideas

There she is, the Christmas pillow. Every house in America needs one, of course. And while I love the holiday pillow, so it doesn’t stick out like an ugly Christmas sweater at a black-tie dinner, we kept it in a wintery cream color to feel subtle and blend in with the rest of the nubby textiles (but again, if you want a loud Christmas pillow GO FOR IT, we are giving tips for this look so you have some guidance but I really love all creative expression with Christmas pillows.)

christmas decorating ideas

I was ready to do this. I had been dreaming about a proper refined traditional holiday look. I love how this turned out so much that I almost bought this house myself, holiday decor intact. By keeping the traditional more minimal and refined, you can get this look and start even earlier and earlier.

If you like it, head to Target and snag your holiday decor (before the whole EHD staff grabs it all) to enjoy as long as socially acceptable. 🙂

christmas decorating ideas

1. Green Taper Candlesticks (set of 2) | 2. Black Candlestick Holder Trio | 3. Cedar Pinecones Artificial Garland | 4. Plaid Stocking | 5. JOY Stocking Holder | 6. Stringed Dew Drop Lights | 7. Black Ornaments (set of 4) | 8. Wooden Spindle Ornaments (set of 4) | 9. 7′ Artificial Tree | 10. Christmas Tree Skirt | 11. 50 pc Red/White/Silver Ornaments | 12. Floor Lamp | 13. Side Table | 14. Wingback Chair | 15. Fireplace Log Holder | 16. Gold Task Table Lamp | 17. Red Plaid Throw Blanket | 18. Dark Green Velvet Exposed Zipper Throw Pillow | 19. Wreath Gold Wire with Red Berry Pine | 20. Sofa | 21. Plaid Throw Pillow | 22. Faux Fur Pillow | 23. Seasons Greetings Pillow | 24. Cable Knit Lumbar Pillow | 25. Cable Knit Throw Blanket | 26. Seated Reindeer with Scarf | 27. Reindeer with Collar | 28. White Vase | 29. Gold Metal Tripod Lamp | 30. Red Wooden Tree | 31. Large White Wooden Tree | 32. Small White Wooden Tree | 33. Toile Velvet Oversize Lumbar Throw Pillow | 34. Red Hand Quilted Velvet | 35. Black Faux Fur Throw Blanket with Buffalo Check on Reverse | 36. Cream Faux Fur Throw Blanket | 37. Wood and  Gold Serving Tray | 38. Blue Taper Candles | 39. Multiple Candle Holder Reindeer | 40. Holiday Icon Plates (set of 4) | 41. Eucalyptus Garland | 42. Glass Wine Goblet | 43. Red Glass Cake Stand | 44. Candy Cane Stripe Napkins | 45. Pie Server | 46. Serving Fork | 47. Rose Hip Wreath | 48. Square Tapered Planter | 49. Red Satin Ribbon | 50. B & W Striped Ribbon | 51. Green Satin Ribbon | 52. Kraft Postal Wrapping | 53. Melamine Plaid Serving Tray (set of 2) | 54. Natural Wood Chair (set of 2) | 55. Black Fabric Ribbon | 56. B & W Twine | 57. White Satin Ribbon | 58. 2′ Faux Pine Tree in Basket Small | 59. Red and Wood Tray

I love trying out new trends throughout the entire year, you know I do, but there is just something so nostalgic and warm about this classic traditional Christmas that makes me feel like, well, like I want to be a better person. I’m not just saying that flippantly. The second the holiday decor comes out I think ‘What can we do for others?”, which is also shaming as that should be something we feel more throughout the year. It’s a larger conversation but stay tuned for some fun holiday service projects. Because the holiday retail rush is for me in competition with my holiday service rush.

Don’t you all wish you could conjure the feeling of Christmas all year round (including that feeling of service).

So are you more traditional (like this) or more modern? Do you think that red and green are the new red and green????

  1. Love the rug! Where can I find it?

  2. This is all lovely if you celebrate Christmas…Please remember…not everyone celebrates Christmas…It would be great to see some decorating ideas for other religious winter holidays or winter decorating with no particular holiday incorporated…

    1. Hiya. Thanks for your feedback. this shoot is certainly a ‘christmas’ shoot, but if you remove the tree, JOY sign, stockings and just keep the greenery, lights, candles and textiles then you’ve got a ‘winter’ look for sure. But hey, if enough people ask for a particular holiday/religious shoot I’d love to style it out and shoot it (although i’m sure someone would be offended somewhere).

      1. I would love to see some kwanzaa decorations and some Winter solstice ones as well. The other holidays definitely don’t get as much attention – maybe a guest post?

        1. I’d love to see some non-cheesy Hanukkah decor! And maybe a guest poster/collaboration with someone who celebrates the holiday could help it be authentic?

      2. Absolutely do other holidays! As I was reading the intro about “7 weeks of joy”, I kept scratching my head wondering about FALL decorations, whether orange, brown and yellow, or cranberry, blackberry, all the berries (my version).

        Decorating for solstice would be a wonderful piece, and one you probably wouldn’t have too much competition on. I’ve seen some of the traditions coming back, but nothing on decor related to it.

        As the US population diversifies (as seen at the polls last week), it absolutely makes sense not to adhere to the old US = Christian line of thought. Updated traditional style is great, but there are many other traditions to draw on. Personally, I’d love to pop in a few kwanza elements with my other seasonal decorations, but don’t really know how to do that without it looking ham-handed.

    2. Em, your work and visions are Brilliant. Period. I adore you ( your personality thru writing & your design). I dont think ive ever not loved one of your pieces. Keep working from your heart- it truly makes me & thousands of others Happy & Inspired.

      PS- cant please everyone, I mean where would the fun be then? 😉

      1. Where is the fun in pushing people out, proclaiming that your tradition is the only one that counts? “You can’t please everyone” if people insist that nothing besides their tradition should be seen.

        1. Doing a Christmas shoot is not offensive, but saying that “every family in America” needs a Christmas pillow is offensive. Every family in America is not required to be Christian (yet?).

          1. I believe that was a joke

  3. I told my husband 2 days ago that I felt NOTHING about Christmas being next month. Then we flew home to Minneapolis which was covered in an inch of snow and I thought…well, feels too soon but man it’s pretty and cozy and then I saw this post and read every word and opened up 24 browsers to Target decor and suddenly I feel like playing a little Sinatra Christmas and digging out the boxes from the attic….

    1. I listened to christmas carols last night while I cooked my soup and was SO HAPPY. I think we are pulling out ‘winter decor’ this weekend then going full christmas the weekend after thanksgiving. xx

  4. I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR SKIRT (it is the cutest).

    1. ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Awesome post Emily!!

  6. Would love to know where the desk is from!

    1. It’s vintage from The Good Mod, but the new buyers bought it 🙂

      1. So the house has sold! Did I miss that announcement?

  7. Is your striped skirt from Target too? So cute!

    1. It’s not. It’s three years old, but I forget where I got it!

  8. This is so great! I was not feeling it this season… mostly thinking about all the time and ‘stuff’ it takes to decorate. But THIS feels like you’ve given me the okay to be minimal and still have it be lovely! I’m so excited to strategically go through the Christmas stuff I already have and put out a small portion of my favorites… and call it good. But also buy that red grid throw blanket!! My goals of making a Christmas quilt will go into the ‘next year’ category once again. Someday… 🙂

  9. Love it! But, love your skirt even more!! Will you share outfit details?

    1. Shirt and shoes from Target and skirt is 3 years old. I THINK its from MAJE.

  10. I laughed about 10 times. *And* I want all the stuff. Well done! Did I miss info about that huge wreath in window???

    1. The wreath if from Target, too! Any/all holiday is from Target.

      1. I saw your post at lunch today and upon seeing those pics of the giant wreath, IMMEDIATELY jumped over to Target to get it. I think I got the last one in America. Before this purchase I hadn’t bought any new Christmas decor in a decade. It’s so perfect for our house. Thank you!

  11. Wonderful post! This time of year makes me so happy!

  12. I love this! Now I am even more egar to decorate for Christmas. We start the day after Thanksgiving layering in some elements and put up the tree the first full week of December. That way we can enjoy the fun of decorating for Christmas for several weeks!

  13. Love it! How many strands of lights did you use on the tree?

    1. My question too!

  14. That tree is exactly what I have been looking for and I like that you used the smaller lights to decorate it. Did you just use one strand of the lights recommended in the post?

    1. Yes! Please more details about how to put lights on the tree!!

  15. Love black and white on anything so I want every single thing in this room!

  16. This is such a beautiful, timeless look! (Also, I was thinking ohhh girl got excited about that spray tan, and then you called yourself on it, and that’s exactly what I love about reading this blog. You always keep it real and humbling! haha! 🙂 )

    1. hahahaahhha. yah. it was too much 🙂 but yah, you gotta call it out 🙂

  17. That rug!!! Please share.

  18. My question is how you lit the tree using the post’s recommended lights as they don’t allow you to connect strands together like traditional mini lights used on trees. I love the look of this much better but wanted to know if you had any tips or do you just have to suffer multiple plugs and/or battery packs to get the look?

  19. The rug is great! Where is it from?

  20. Awesome awesome and so gorgeous! I love that it’s holiday festive but not grandmotherly.

    Please also let us know about that super cute outfit!

  21. I cracked up at “I have a tree…what else? I guess I’ll put this nutcracker over here…and light a pine candle?” The more minimal look is definitely my jam… you have inspired me to change out one or two more Christmassy yet subtle pillow covers in place of my current leafy favorites, and to add a mini pine tree in the entryway. I have only one dissension and that is the see through Christmas tree – I just can’t get on board with that!

  22. So beautiful!! Love this! Quick question- where is the rug from? It’s perfect!

  23. Where’s the rug from? What a great neutral choice!

  24. So pretty! We live in a log cabin in Nashville, and it’s kind of Christmas heaven! I usually don’t like to decorate in November, but this year the mood is setting in early! Two years ago, I let the kids convince me to get a tree that was really too big for our house. It bulged out of its corner in a way that really bugged me, so once a day or so I tried to scoot it back into the corner. Well, after about a week of my mistreatment…2:00 am…we hear a big crash! The tree fell over and lots of our sweet, little, old delicate ornaments broke. All cuz I was mean to the tree. Annnyyyway, it means we’re low on ornaments, and Target looks like the right spot to replenish. 🙂

  25. How did you hang the giant wreath in the window? I have a huge window above my kitchen sink and would love to mimic this!

    1. we used fishing line and command strips 🙂

      1. Any chance you can give any more detailed info on this? I bought this wreath after reading this post and I’m having such a hard time hanging it! It seems that no command hooks are strong enough to support the weight of this wreath.

  26. really beautiful and sooo festive! and thx for your thoughts on faux versus real greenery. I always do real…will be picking up some target garland this year #noregrets! alas i think i’ve gotten my kids hooked on the real tree thing otherwise I’d be going faux there too.

  27. I really like the concept, I really like how it looks in this space – except for one big thing: I don’t ever think ‘sparse’ and ‘Christmas tree’ should occur in the same sentence!

    It’s possible I’m just too traditional, but to me a Christmas tree should be dense and bushy and ideally a real fir/spruce. There just seems to be something a little sad about one where you can see through all the branches.

    I really like all the garland though!

    1. Yep, that was going to be my comment. This tree is very Charlie Brownish. Wah wah, sad trombone.

    2. Agree. I love all but the tree which looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree my parents had the first year they were married because it was all they could afford. I agree with faux greenery inside but have to say that here in Seattle, my real wreath by the door lasts without any upkeep or needle drop for well over a month and the smell of fresh greenery at the door is so inviting! I get that in warmer places this would not be the case.

    3. I’m obsessed with this tree!! I want it so bad!

  28. I’ve always said that Christmas was the one time of year when it was socially acceptable to be tacky. 🙂 This is nice, but so very, very tasteful. Not a bad thing, but other than the giant JOY stocking holder and the tree I could look at these pics and not even think Christmas at all.

    1. I agree with you. Who wants to be tasteful or refined at Christmas!? To me, it’s the one time of year when I like using lots of red, candles, glitter, and other things I normally eschew 🙂

      1. to each its own. this style is more minimal, for sure. xx

  29. You are my hero! Love this post and have been looking forward to it. You also look ultra chic in that outfit and I want that skirt.

  30. I totally agree with you about the PURE JOY! I cannot wait to start decorating for Christmas, because it warms my heart and makes me happy! My most wonderful time of the year!

    Loving the looks – I’ll continue checking them out. (And I’m definitely a REDCard-owning Target-link clicker.)

  31. I would love to see a post about incorporating hand me down/sentimental Christmas decorations with things available now

  32. Love, love, love this!! The beautiful pictures have inspired me. Thank you!

  33. Love this! Where is the stripe paper from??? I need this!
    Thanks!

  34. So festive! Please share the featured rug information. It instantly caught my eye (and other readers, too).

  35. Loved everything About this look. Thank you!!

  36. Emily, I just wanted to remark on something, if I may: when speaking, your voice drops off at the end of sentences, which is natural. But in the video, there were several times where your voice dropped off to such a degree that your speech was almost inaudible. Keep that energy high 🙂

  37. I purchased the smaller version of the Christmas tree with my fingers crossed. I’ve been looking for a “not too dense but not Charlie Brown” tree for a couple years now. This one looks like it might be perfect! Very nice photos in this post.

  38. Hi! It’s beautiful! I am wondering if you trimmed out some of the stems on the Christmas tree? The one in the link is a lot fuller. Also, if you did trim, please let me know if you have tips on the best way to do it. Thank you!

    1. Nope! didn’t trim any. its more sparse, naturally (except faux). xx

      1. Thank you! I just ordered the tree! Any tips on how you hung the lights would be great too. I have always had a prelit tree but the lights finally died on me last year.

  39. Can you please share details on the rug? It’s beautiful!

  40. Emily,
    This is gorgeous! I love every single inch of this renovation and, even more so, how it looks with the Christmas decorations! Your inspirational blogs always make a hard day of work less difficult. It inspires me to decorate my own home. Thank you for that!

  41. Is there a source for the coffee table??

  42. Your skirt matches the decor! And the wrapping paper! 🙂 <3 🙂 <3 🙂

  43. Love this! Thanks for doing an updated traditional look for those of us with tons of red and green holiday decorations but would like to update our holiday look!

  44. That’s it, we’re putting up the tree this weekend. Hurrary for fake Christmas trees!

  45. How Many lights did you use on the tree? I am Wanting to purchase the tree and the lights. Thank you

  46. What lights did you wrap the tree in? And how many packs? Any tips for lighting a tree like that?

    1. Yes please tell us Emily!!

  47. THANK YOU for using the word ‘Christmas’. There are so many disparaging comments about this, but why I ask, is everyone so bent out of shape about her family celebrating Christmas?? And yes, we should still use the accurate words to describe things. Not the catch-all ‘holiday’ to make a few feel more comfortable. Yes, there are other traditions and other faiths, and people who reject organized religion, so move on. This post was not in your wheel-house. Does this make it alright to leave snarky comments? To Emily and your family, hoping you have a merry Christmas when it rolls around! Take care.

    1. Who’s leaving snarky comments? No one is commenting that no one should celebrate Christmas, but there are very loud and powerful voices saying that no other holidays should be celebrated in our country, whether because other religions have been outlawed or because of violence against believers. A post that celebrates one religion only, and in a traditional way, could easily be read as supporting MAGA and the fallacy that our country was “great” when many more people were held back, through laws and violence.
      Merry Christmas to you, and happy other holidays as well.

  48. Hi! Could you share what lights you used on the little 2′ tree on the desk? Thank you!

  49. Love the Christmas look but I just kept noticing the blue fabric shades. Gorgeous!

  50. What a homely, elegant and tasteful Christmas decoration. This kind of pleasantly feels clear all over the house. It’s a very, very good post for those of us who don’t have time to think about such preparations. It’s nice of you to offer us these great ideas. This article also inspired me about the Christmas presents.
    I would like to share with you a niche website that I saw while looking.

    https://turkishtowelstore.com/

    Have a nice holiday…

  51. Did you re-upholster the living room chair in gray? Or has it sold out? Can only find beige on the Target website.

  52. I love the overall look but the jury’s still out on the tree.

  53. How did you string so many lights on this tree! I’m about to pull my hair out wrapping my tree in these wired dew drop lights! I love them and love the look you created! Just wondering why it’s taking me so long and causing so much frustration. haha! Did you have an army? I think I need reinforcements. Any tips!? How many strands did you ultimately use?

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