The Madcap Cottage Designers Share Merry And Meaningful Christmas Tree Trimming Ideas

Whimsy and wonder usher in a magical season at the High Point, North Carolina, home of John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon.

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When John Loecke (left) and Jason Oliver Nixon (right) decorate for the holidays, they become instant storytellers. The duo behind the home-decor brand Madcap Cottage, which embodies their penchant for prints and patterns, hones their 10-plus years of interior design experience to create a memory-making season from beginning to end. These two are known for injecting whimsy and fun into every aspect of home design, and Christmas is no exception. A Madcap Cottage Christmas is full of vivid color, festive party decor, and surprising patterns. "It's all about the unexpected," explains Nixon.

"Our cottage speaks to everyone. It evokes a spirit of adventure and brings that back home." To allow each Christmas tree in your house to look as splendid as the next, Loecke says, "Make it feel special and tell a story." Here, they invite us into their home and share four of their brightest ideas for trimming the tree.

John Loecke (left) and Jason Oliver Nixon (right) of Madcap Cottage
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon; Styling: Kendra Surface

1. Branch Out with Materials

Madcap Cottage Design Small Blue Christmas Tree
Weenie, the pair’s rescue dog, admires the holiday finery. Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon; Styling: Kendra Surface

A combination of baby blues and creamy whites makes a grand entrance in this high-traffic area. "It ties into the look of the space while creating a happy focal point," says Nixon. Keeping things simple, he and Loecke purchased paper honeycomb balls from a party-goods store and sequin garlands from a fabric shop to outfit the tree. The base, a Versailles Planter from Frontgate, carries an element from the garden into the foyer. The banister, adorned with cascading paper balls, draws the eye upward. The cheery cerulean palette and silver accents carry right over into New Year's celebrations.

2. Use Meaningful Mementos

Madcap Cottage Design Flocked Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon; Styling: Kendra Surface

The designers opted for a flocked tree in the living room. "It feels like it was just picked from the forest," enthuses Nixon. He and Loecke reserve this one to showcase ornaments from their travel adventures—from England to Florida to Morocco—and it's the only one with decorations that stay the same from year to year. "This is how most people's Christmas trees are—filled with memories and special meaning," says Nixon. To make a busy look seem less chaotic, incorporate consistent elements from top to bottom, like the layers of glass balls and candle ornaments hung on this one.

3. Experiment with Color

Madcap Cottage Design Pink Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon; Styling: Kendra Surface

A playful getup with colorful punches complements the dining room's existing garden-inspired palette without feeling forced. "If you entertain, you'll be using this room, so bring a tree into it," says Loecke. Vivid 1960s beaded balls and star-shaped sputnik ornaments, culled from his parents' collection, are layered with strands of blue-and-white lights. A vintage planter serves as the base, while the angel topper (another of Loecke's treasured hand-me-downs) is a gentle reminder of Christmases past.

4. Put a Tree in Every Space

Madcap Cottage Design Tabletop Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon; Styling: Kendra Surface

Even small spaces can deliver big holiday cheer. It's as easy as adding a few pops of color on a mini display. Buck the traditional red-and-green scheme for a pink-and-orange grosgrain-ribbon topper. "These colors are arresting, feel magical, and elevate the experience," says Nixon. Hand-painted balls (purchased by Loecke during a trip to India) and vintage Martha Stewart ornaments add a delightful twist to this Charlie Brown-inspired creation. "Who wouldn't love seeing a penguin or a turtle on a tree?" asks Nixon.

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