To me, Christmas is like my grandma wrapping me in a warm blanket, full of comfort and love. It’s when the warm, nostalgic glow of holidays past meets good company and memories yet-to-be-made. It’s where our favourite shared traditions live on for another year and evolve with our family.
For example, one of my family’s favourite shared traditions happens Christmas morning. I still remember waiting patiently as a child for my Dad to light the fire and then call my brother and me downstairs. We would open up stockings (always with an orange in the toe), while the wife-saver casserole warmed in the oven. We spent the rest of the day around a puzzle, sledding down a nearby toboggan hill, and enjoying each other’s company without a care in the world. It felt special and pressure-free and meaningful.
Do you have any holiday traditions you love, too?
Home, of course, plays a large role in helping foster connection and happy feelings, and I love intentionally using design to help create an ambiance rich with cosiness and memories. And you know what? You can do the same. Decorating for meaningful holidays at home is easier than you think.
Here are 7 tips you can implement in your home right away to beautiful effect…
7 Tips for Simple Yet Meaningful Holiday Decorating
If you’re like me, you believe in living a simple, uncluttered life. This less-is-more approach means using items I already have around the house rather than buying the newest themed decorations each year. The result is low-maintenance, high-impact decor that will help family and friends feel belonging, comfort, and simplicity. I know from experience!
Tip 1. Add Fresh Greenery Throughout Your Home
Fresh greenery is one of the most underutilised decorating techniques and appeals to many of our senses all at once: our sense of sight, smell, and touch. Greenery has also been shown to inspire feelings of calm, health, and restoration. So not only will your home look and smell amazing, you will feel great, too!
Another advantage? Fresh greens usually last for all of December, and you don’t have to store them for the other 11 months of the year either. Here are some ideas:
- My favourite decorative greens include cedar, pine, and eucalyptus (ahhh, I can smell them already…)
- Assemble sprigs or boughs in vases and place them on the bathroom counters or a table in the foyer.
- Drape greenery across the fireplace mantel along with your stockings, some ribbon, and a few twinkle lights.
- Tie some ribbon with greenery and pine cones to hang from windows or mirrors throughout the house.
Tip 2. Use Strings of White Twinkle Lights
Imagine how joyfully cosy you will feel walking through a twinkling front door and into a home scented with cedar and pine. You head to the kitchen, heat up a mug of freshly pressed apple cider, stir it with a cinnamon stick, and curl up on the sofa with your favourite throw blanket. What could be better?
The simple elegance of white twinkle lights, both indoors and out, is all part of bringing these feelings to life. They add sparkle and warmth to your space, making it feel like a magical winter wonderland. If you want a more playful look, hang a string of festive, colorful lights instead. It’s all about what makes you happy.
Extra Tip: Set timers on your lights and have them turn on just before you come home in the evening!
Tip 3. Fill Your Home with Holiday Scents
In my home, the holidays smell like pine, cinnamon, and orange. Although some of these scents are introduced into the space with greenery (see Tip 1), I also like to add a little extra festivity. My diffuser, which I use year-round, is perfect for switching out essential oil blends for the season. I also love to light scented candles that bring a warm atmosphere into my home, such as those with notes of amber, cinnamon, warm vanilla, and other mulled spices.
Extra Tip: Holiday scents aren’t just for your living spaces. You could add sprigs of pine, candles, and diffusers to other rooms in your home, such as a bathroom, bedroom, or guest room.
Tip 4. Meaningful Table Settings & Centrepieces
A couple years ago, I went with two friends to our local florist, and we created a centrepiece arrangement for each of our homes. This was such a fun way to celebrate the holidays with a shared experience, and I received the bonus of a gorgeous, now-meaningful centrepiece for my holiday table. Check with your local florist for a fun opportunity like this and grab a friend or family member!
Around the table, I also like to have place cards for each person because it gives a sense of belonging… and avoids that awkward moment of everyone trying to figure out where to sit. Table decor is also the perfect place to incorporate all of the above tips in one place. Add foliage (or winter fruits like pomegranate, candied orange slices, pinecones, or holly), decorative candles, and a string of twinkling lights. Beautiful and enchanting!
Tip 5. Use Simple Wrapping Paper
As I’ve mentioned before, I like to use what I have at home to decorate, and wrapping gifts is no exception. During the year, I save brown bags for wrapping paper and then use red twine and a few sprigs of greenery for a natural look under my tree. It’s simple and stunning. You could also use simple or decorative hand towels in the same way — and the “wrapping” becomes part of the gift!
Tip 6. Adorn the Tree… without Overcrowding Your Storage
Do you decorate with a live tree or artificial? I’m team artificial, and my tree is one of the few holiday decorations I choose to keep in storage, along with one box of decorations. I chose a good quality, pre-lit tree that will hopefully last me many years. (Longevity plays a role in a simplified lifestyle.)
For ornaments, I suggest keeping it simple as well. My ornaments are white, cream, and silver, and those always stay the same. I like this option, because it limits my need for storage, and I don’t have to change up my colour theme every year.
If you do like to change colours or themes each year, you can simply switch out your toss pillows. You can also use a throw blanket as a tree skirt to tie in any new colours, but it’s not essential. With a neutral tree, anything goes!
Tip 7. Set a Mood with Music
Don’t forget the 5th sense we haven’t addressed yet: sound. Help your guests get in the holiday spirit with your favourite seasonal music. My kids know it’s the holiday season when they hear Sarah McLauchlan’s Wintersong album playing throughout the house. Although they may roll their eyes at it now, this album takes me back to so many wonderful holiday memories with my kids. (And yes, I still own the CD, even though I have nothing to play it with!)
Extra Tip: Take the Pressure Off
Last but not least, I want you to know that these tips and ideas are optional. Doing more with less is a great way to create special spaces for connecting with your favourite people, BUT you can still have a happy and meaningful holiday without them. So in case you need to hear it from someone, there’s no pressure. Do what you can, spend time with those you love, and that’s enough.
After all, the holidays are about more than what you give, how extravagant your home looks, or how well you prepare a meal. It’s about being present, spending time together, and showing others how much you love and appreciate them. That’s what makes this time of year so special, don’t you think?
Maker Spotlight: Nose Kiss Candles
I love the idea of using Nose Kiss Candles as a place card at your holiday table and as a beautiful takeaway gift. They can be personalized on the tin or you can simply add a ribbon and name tag to the box. My personal favourites are the cinnamon & nutmeg or Douglas Fir scents for the holidays. Mmmm…