Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, sometimes the greatest gift can be a moment of calm.
Our homes should be a sanctuary, a retreat. Yet, we still want to be festive.
How do you create a tasteful, tranquil home during the holidays? The answer is embrace a natural style in your ornaments.
Christmas decor made of simple materials, using a subdued colour palette and inspired by nature can help you celebrate the holidays while still creating the peaceful atmosphere that is so needed during the festive season.
The centrepiece of Christmas decor is, of course, the tree.
In this converted barn, the big beautiful evergreen is the focal point. The home's decor is subtle, a little bit rustic, but also refined. This tasteful tree is a perfect fit.
While flocked trees have become very trendy in recent years, the secret to tranquil holiday decor is to embrace nature. The homeowners kept it simple, letting the tree's natural beauty stand out. The traditional green tree is accented by an abundance of white lights that sparkle amongst the lush boughs.
Consider placing your tree in a basket or bucket, or wrapping the base in simple burlap. A fussy tree skirt is unnecessary in this simple decor style.
Trimming the tree is part of the fun of the holidays. Choose simple ornaments in a neutral, natural colour palette to create a calm and casual vibe.
Ornaments made of wood, like these cutouts, are a perfect choice. They show traditional Christmas motifs, from snowflakes to trees, and their unique 3D shape with the silhouettes turned 90 degrees in the cutouts adds visual interest and dimension to your tree.
Consider making your own ornaments. Remember the fun of folding paper and cutting out snowflakes as a child? Draw inspiration from cutouts like these, but use simple white paper instead of wood to create your own snowflakes or other Christmas shapes that you can then hang on your tree.
The Sound of Music was right that
brown paper packages tied up with string are among our favourite things.
When it comes to the gifts under your tree, brown craft paper is the wrapping of choice. Combined with the other natural elements and neutral colour scheme used elsewhere in your decor, these packages take on a simple beauty.
Tie them with string, or choose a ribbon in white, cream or grey. For a bit of extra decoration, tuck sprigs of greenery into the wrapping.
A small burlap sack is another ideal wrapping choice. The holidays shouldn't be too fussy, and this utilitarian material can add a rustic element to your decor.
A fringed top and drawstring knotted with a small wood bead are all you need to add simple style under the tree.
To go with your brown paper packages, select simple gift tags. The shape of these tags adds a bit of decoration to your packages, but their neutral tones continue the calm and peaceful look of your decor. Use twine or ribbon to affix them to gifts.
Don't miss the opportunity to write a special message to the recipient. The most important part of a gift is the feeling behind it, so let your friends and family know how much they mean to you with a little note.
When it comes time to hang the stockings by the chimney with care, keep things simple and elegant with natural fibres and a carefully selected colour scheme.
These stockings are made from wool and embellished with beautiful embroidery around the cuff. The stone-colured stocking is a perfect fit to the neutral palette we've established. But don't be afraid to inject a bit of colour with the bright red stocking. Just like accent colours can brighten up a neutral room, a pop of red can be a festive touch in your overall decor.
Garland is a fixture of holiday decor. Go beyond the swags of evergreen, bunting or multi-coloured lights with this handmade felted wool garland.
The combination of natural-coloured felted wool with the soft golden glow of the lights adds warmth to any living space. Even with the lights off, the soft fuzzy bells exude comfort and coziness.
Garland can be hung on a wall, wrapped around a doorway, laid on a mantel or draped over a dresser. It's a simple way to add a festive touch to any space.
Little decorative vignettes are an easy way to add the holiday spirit throughout your home.
A cluster of candles, some pinecones, little trees, cut glass votive holders are all beautiful accents that can take a space from everyday to holiday. Three simple tips to make this look work for you: Grouping objects has more impact than spreading them out all around a room. Odd numbers look better than even. Use a tray or a dish to corral your objects.
A bowl of pinecones on the coffee table, or a bunch of candles on a tray on the bathroom counter, or a small forest of mini-trees on the dining room sideboard can all add an instant feeling of Christmas.
Christmas crackers originated in the 1800s and are a fixture of many family's celebrations. These reusable crackers capture the essence of the festive season in a much more elegant wrapping.
Made from natural linen, each cracker is embroidered with satin thread and tied either end with a green satin ribbon.
Crackers are perfect to fill with sweets or a small toy, and use as a place maker at the Christmas dinner table. Alternatively they are a special container for a piece of jewelery or trinket to give to someone special.
When the time comes to share a meal with family and friends, you want a table that is as special as the meal and the people who are enjoying it. However, there's no need for fussy decor. Start with a neutral table cloth in white or natural linen. White dishes are timeless and appropriate for any occasion. Beautiful glassware shows that this is a special meal.
Add natural accents like greenery and flowers along the middle of the table, rather than one formal centrepiece. On this table a spray of ivy is laid right on the table cloth while two glass vases hold small bouquets of blush roses. Continue the simple colour scheme established elsewhere in your home. The green of the ivy echoes the green of the Christmas tree, while the red tones of the roses are a traditional colour of the season.
Consider moving beyond traditional floral arrangements. Use evergreen boughs, bare branches, pinecones, or even fruits, like apples, pomegranates or clementines to add a natural--and beautiful--accent to your holiday table.
The holidays are about spending time with family and friends. From the table to the tree, and everything in between, you want to create a welcoming, restful atmosphere for you and your guests to enjoy the season.