These Christmas Decorating Ideas Will Inspire You to Bring the Beauty of the Season Home
Everyone loves decorating for Christmas. Grab your garland and get ready for wreaths, because here, the editors of Southern Living share some of their favorite new ideas for Christmas decorating. These decorating ideas for your mantel, front door, mailbox, Christmas tree, and more will surely fill you with Christmas cheer. We show you how to give a twist on tradition with handmade willow-branch wreaths that you can use inside or out. We show you how to welcome your guests in memorable southern style, how to go festive with place card holders as you welcome your guests to a beautiful holiday meal, and how to give your dining table a vivid focal point. However lavish or simple your Christmas decorating may be, these ideas will help you bring the beauty of the holiday to every corner of your home.
Give Old Favorites New Life
Look for ways to maximize what you already have. It isn’t necessary to buy all-new decor. You can reuse elements—like ribbons, ornaments, bells, or potted plants—year after year to mingle with your new seasonal finds.
Make Your Own Sparkly Topper
Christmas is a time for fun and festivity – don’t let your tree get too caught up in serious tradition! For homemakers looking to try something a little more glamorous, this sparkly Christmas decoration is the perfect way to add drama to your treetop. To make your own tree topper, bundle together a group of curly silver sticks from your local craft store, and wire the creation to the top of your tree. Decorate the rest of your tree with bright, equally glitzy colors like hot pink and gold. This is a perfect Christmas tree for a younger home. Bonus? The sparkly topper is a great New Years Eve decoration, too!
Lean on What Lasts
Let ribbons, not cut flowers, be your big Christmas splurge. They’re reusable, unfussy, and an easy way to add color to greenery in passthrough spaces like the entry.
Accent a Collection
Bring Christmas to every corner of your home. Look for out-of-the-way display areas, such as the top of a chest, to add sparkle and shine. Whether your vignette stays up year-round—like this collection of mercury glass—or is seasonal, keep the fluffing simple so it doesn't compete with the collection. Just cut appropriate lengths of greenery, like fresh magnolia, boxwood, pine, fir, winterberry, and American cranberry bush berries to fit vessels. Add them to about half of the vases as to not overpower the beauty of your collection. Echo the elements of green and red by threading holly berries across your furniture, and hanging a wreath from a strategically-located point on the wall.
Twice as Nice
Drape greenery and berries on lights; keep them away from bulbs for safety.
Draw Them In
Whether guests arrive through the front or back door, make every entry inviting. A perch for removing boots can be a place to gather packages. Mudroom cubbies can display small collections, favorite ornaments, and family heirlooms.
Make a Poinsettia Tree
To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they're about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it's complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.
Glitz and Glimmer
Put your tree lights on a dimmer to ensure a lovely glow and pair with meaningful family ornaments for a tree that's all your own.
Pile On the Plaid
Plaid is not just for school uniforms and collared shirts. Use plaid as a theme for your Christmas decorations for a classic, old-school take on holiday cheer. To avoid overloading on one pattern, don’t be afraid to mix and match plaids of varying sizes and scales. Start with a transparent plaid garland, and decorate with metallic, solid-colored ornaments. The easiest and most budget-friendly way to incorporate plaid into your Christmas is by using the gifts under your tree as decorations themselves. Choose 2-3 plaid patterned rolls of giftwrap, and 1-2 solid patterns in complimentary colors. Mix and match ribbons on each gift for a layered presentation of presents.
Set a Holiday Scene In Your Outdoor Room
Do not limit your decorations to the inside of your house or your front porch; take advantage of the South’s mild winters. Bring decorative Christmas cheer all the way out to your backyard. This warm and cozy backyard retreat is beautifully decorated for the Christmas season, and serves as a perfect place to cozy up with a blanket on a brisk winter night. A beautiful Christmas tree takes center stage, spun in classic red garland and gold lights. The mantle is adorned with fresh, aromatic greenery. A simple evergreen wreath above the fireplace completes the stunning scene. Stock your outdoor bar, and light a blazing fire for a cozy outdoor gathering.
Elegant and Easy Embellishments
Tie pinecones and berries with a velvet bow in a contrasting tone.
Suspend the Tree Topper
Add an unexpected detail to a monochromatic Christmas tree by hanging your tree topper from the ceiling. First, choose a shape that plays off your Christmas ornaments, as this round paper lantern mirrors the round ornaments on the tree. Attach a ceiling hook right above your tree’s tallest point. Float the lantern by hanging it from a bow attached to the hook. For added impact, attach cascading ribbon or garland from the bottom of your hanging tree topper. This modern Christmas tree decoration idea makes a big impact without appearing over-decorated or tired, and will stand out among the rest in creativity and originality.
Celebrate Family in Meaningful Ways
Display seasonal family treasures front and center. Here, needlepoint stockings, family keepsakes, are displayed along the mantel.
Cheer Up Your Entry Way
Pressed for time but want a big show to greet guests and carolers on your holiday front porch? Fit a 7-gallon magnolia into a decorative planter, and fill in around the edges with spray-painted magnolia branches and sprigs of seeded eucalyptus – we chose red, but gold or silver stuns as well. After the holidays, plant the magnolia in the garden for a year-round token of holiday cheer. Designed to come together quickly and with limited hands-on prep, this Christmas look is easy to tailor for various preferences. Change the plants or colors to suit your taste – Poinsettias are always a good substitute.
Pull Up a Chair
No fireplace? No worries. Hang a stocking from every seat at the table. Use pretty ribbons and double-sided, industrial strength tape to keep the stockings hung behind dining chairs with care.
Beautiful presents can double as festive decorations.
A white brick Colonial is a stately canvas for holiday decorating. The wreaths, swags, garlands, and gate decoration took a color cue from the home’s green-black shutters and bright copper lanterns.
For a mix of traditional and modern, use mercury glass teardrop vases to hold bright holly berries, available from florists and garden shops. Leaning on warm orange and red hues, we added some mandarins and pomegranates for texture, color, and fragrance. Kept in fresh water, the berries should last up to three weeks.
Get Festive With Place Card Holders
When it comes to Christmas decoration, a good rule of thumb is that more is better. While there are obvious limitations to this saying, we firmly believe that when you get the chance to incorporate a unique holiday detail into your Christmas décor, you should. Instead of displaying dining room name cards on simple card holders, make them festive! Pictured above, the holiday hostess enlisted her childhood collection of Steinbach nutcrackers to hold gold-scripted place cards that match the holiday dinner menu cards. Use a gold paint pen for metallic penmanship, and adorn the top with a gold foil holly sprig.
Make an Entrance
Make your entrance inviting for all. Dress the back staircase with a garland of pinecones, greenery, and ribbons of alpine blue.
Create an Evergreen Centerpiece
Bring the Christmas forest inside your house with this rustic, homey Christmas arrangement. Use a footed silver serving tray to display a sumptuous centerpiece with vintage ornaments and clippings from the garden. Start with Southern classics: boxwood, pine, and magnolia. Next add large ball ornaments, followed by crocosmia pods, pinecones, and abelia whose flowers have dropped, leaving a showy flourish of pink sepals on the tips of branches. Finish with delicate sprigs of evergreens, dried shelf mushrooms attached to florist picks. Wire a few small, round ornaments of natural colors with in metallic and glossy finishes for a subtle touch of glamour.
Top Your Mantel with Winter Blooms
Maintaining a quality collection of fluted vases, julep cups, and chalices makes it easy to display (and replace) choice blooms throughout the season. Update your mantel with winter blooms. The foliage base will take you well past New Year's; and the flowers will last five days. To create this look, begin with a base of silver artificial garland. Then tuck in layers of two kinds of fresh eucalyptus (silver dollar and seeded), as well as dusty miller placed in water tubes. Add silver brunia, white ranunculus, star of Bethlehem, 'Sahara' roses, eucalyptus pods, succulents, and snowberries to vases and along the mantel.
Pump Up What's There
Boost the existing bones of your interior decor with seasonal decor. Nestle your existing vases into mantel garland, for example.
For a hint of holiday flair with a literary touch, put spare paperbacks to work by stacking them into a Christmas tree. It's a wonderfully whimsical touch to a mantle or bookshelf.
Create a Warm Welcome
Our favorite way to light up any season is a brilliant array of paper luminaries. Line them up along your front walkway, along your driveway, or scatter them on your porch for a bright, twinkling Christmas display that’s so simple and affordable to pull off. You can buy premade luminaries in bulk online, or make your own using white paper bags, pebbles, and battery-powered LED candle lights. After gathering your supplies, place a handful of pebbles in the bottom of your paper bag so it is less likely to blow away or fall over. Using your fingers, clear a place for the LED light (turned on) to rest. Wait until its dark out, and you have a glowing luminary to light up your drive.
Choose a Gift Wrapping Style
The bigger your Southern family, the harder it is for you to find and purchase personalized gifts for everyone. If you don’t have a spectacular gift – or even if you do! – the best way to make your gift more exciting is by spending a little more time on the packaging. These creative Christmas wrapping ideas are perfect for any gift. Choose a theme – traditional, natural, vintage, glitzy, coastal, or rustic – you can’t go wrong. Purchase small trinkets for decorative touch, like the wooden reindeer, glittery initial, cotton clipping, or bell and ornament pictured above. By layering paper, ribbon, and tags, you can create a picture-perfect package.
Say "Thanks for Coming"
Surprise your Christmas party guests with a thoughtful take-home gift that they can keep with them for years to come. These oh-so-Southern magnolia tree saplings from Florida-based Seeds of Life are an ecofriendly way to say “thanks so much for coming” to your guests. The trees are packaged in natural jute, and come with care instructions so that your gift will last way past the holiday season. Magnolia trees are a year-round Southern symbol that become even more treasured during the holiday season. Tie on personalized gift tags to each tree for a handmade finishing touch.
Seeds of Life: $44 each, from seedsoflife.com
Cool Jewel Tones
Pussy willow adds some height to a simple arrangement of pine branches with cones, displayed in an antique blue pickle jar. (Find these online or at thrift stores.) A turquoise ribbon complements the colored jar and the decorative Christmas trees. The limes accentuate the green tones from the branches and connect them to the base, a large pewter tray that offers a bit of shimmer without the shine of silver.
Let the Tree Tell Your Story
Adorn your tree with meaningful ornaments, like these which were collected during the family’s travels. Finish your design with cascading blue and red velvet ribbons.
Entertain with Bold Red Accents
Muted colors with printed seasonal menus and gold ribbons pair wonderfully with pops of Christmas reds.