To say I think Christmas is just the best thing to happen to the human race would not be an exaggeration. (And I’m talking purely from a secular perspective. The merriment, the decorations, the food, the movies, the gathering of loved ones from near and far.) So when my husband and I rented this 1887 two-story greystone in January of last year (which we’ve since completely made over), my mind started to race with ideas of how I’d be decorating for the holidays.
Well the time of year has finally come, and I’m so excited to welcome you into our home for the holidays. I’ve always had a fresh tree and hung stockings, but this is the first time I’ve had a fireplace mantel and a stair banister to adorn with garland. And the high ceilings allowed us to get a much larger tree than we’ve ever had before: a ten-footer! We even had to rent a larger car just so we could get it home.
I realize decorating can seem intimidating, but I find that turning on your favorite Christmas movie (mine is The Family Stone), pouring a cup of [spiked] cider, and putting on your favorite plaid pajamas makes it a fun experience for anyone. Have a friend come over and help, or set a date with your significant other.
Here are a few tips to consider when you do.
1. When it comes to greenery – keep it fresh and drape it everywhere.
I picked up all of our fresh greenery—garland, wreaths, mini trees, our giant 10′ tree in the living room—from the local Home Depot. I spray it with water once or twice a day to keep it from drying out (doesn’t take more than a few minutes). Every time I do, the house fills with the scent of evergreen and it’s pretty wonderful.
For me, no surface is safe from being adorned in winter greens and twinkle lights. Aside from the obvious mantels and banisters, you can place it over doorways, on mirrors or dressers, and across your dining table—get creative!
2. Consider adding ribbon around your tree.
I started doing this last year and fell in love with the look. You typically need 10 to 20 yards of 2″ or 3″ ribbon (depending on large your tree is). It really just gives it that finished look.
3. Collect ornaments with meaning.
For me the thing I love the most about the holidays is the sense of nostalgia, so I especially love including ornaments we’ve picked up over the years, whether we got them on trips, or to commemorate special places and events. We also have pieces handed down from older generations and of course the homemade childhood items we pieced together with glitter and Scotch tape.
4. Hang stockings, even if you don’t have a fireplace.
No mantel is no excuse. You can hang a stocking from anywhere. This is my first year having a mantel, and I’ve had this traditional needlepoint stocking since I was four. Last year, I had them hanging off my TV stand, but you can also put them on your headboard or nightstand, or even hanging from a doorknob.
In this room: Tree, wreaths, greens, Home Depot; Sofa, Rose sofa by The Everygirl for Interior Define; Velvet chairs, Caitlin chairs by The Everygirl for Interior Define; Coffee Table, Candelabra Mirror, Anthropologie; TV console, MegMade.
5. Your holiday tablescape doesn’t have to be elaborate.
Entertaining or setting the table for the holidays doesn’t require a full set of holiday china complete with soup tureen the way your grandmother or mom used to do. I simply added festive plaid napkins and some greenery with twinkle lights down the center of the table and voila–the room is ready for Christmas Eve dinner.
5. Lighting is everything.
Much like greenery, I say consider adding twinkle lights and candlelight everywhere. It creates such a cozy feeling in the room. I draped these old school frosted white string lights above our bed and placed a holiday scented candle on each of our bedside tables. Feels like we’re going to sleep in a winter wonderland every night.
6. Change out your textiles.
An easy change to make for the holidays is changing out accessories like pillows and throws to reflect the season. Think velvet, wool, flannel, and chunky knits, and store the lighter fabrics until warm temperatures return. Bonus points for including plaid or holiday scenes.
Photos by Aimee Mazzenga
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