After posting the fireplace reveal, I’ve gotten a couple of emails and comments with the same question—how will you decorate for Christmas? With plenty of green garland, vintage red, buffalo print, and not much else. As you well know by now, I’m a minimalist by nature. The best thing about garland and real trees—they disappear (get recycled) after the holidays. This is coming from the girl who toted a fake tree to 3 states purchased from Target at 75% off in college. Every apartment we rented had to have room for that human-sized box. Sorry Kev.
My Christmas decor inspiration comes from my sister-in-law and her wife. A couple years ago, we went over to their apartment for brunch. Their decorations were stunning yet simple. “We decorate for winter,” they said. I now do the same with a touch of vintage red. Just before Thanksgiving, we pick up three 25ft fresh cedar/pine garlands from Costco. It’s enough for the front of the house, stairs, the faux mantel, and the back porch. The weight of the garland is thin, which I love, but you could easily piece two strands together for a more full look.
I wrap the garland in globe lights, which also adds extra stability. We use large picture hooks installed on the front of the house for hanging year after year. I place a couple wintery birch branches by the front door just because. They were thrifted last year, but I’ve seen them at Home Depot this year. Usually Old Man Winter handles the rest of the outdoor decor here in Minnesota (snow). But he’s yet to really show up, so half my decorations are missing. I’ll update images once he arrives. (Update: He came!) For the indoor staircase, I steal a couple pipe cleaners from Hallie’s craft box to attach the garland. It hangs beautifully all on its own.
Just after Thanksgiving, we head to the tree farm to find and cut down a skinny tall-ish tree. We sip complimentary warmed apple juice in styrofoam cups while they shake, clean, and mount the tree to the car. Hal thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. Me too.
The tree is the one area where I let in a little more color. The color palette for the balls was inspired by this pin from Schoolhouse Electric a couple years back. (You can see my Minimal Happy Christmas board here.) I bought a set of unbreakable plastic balls from Target at another one of those after-Christmas clearance events. I kept the red, burnt orange, and yellow balls, then spray painted the remainder an aubergine purple, ocean mist blue, shrimp pink, and glossy coral. We wrap the tree in tiny frosted globe lights and skip the tree shirt for an exposed metal tree stand. I add texture with the present wrapping. I’m slowly collecting pretty, reusable boxes. Sugar Paper (also at Target) has some great boxes this year.
The Faux Mantel
The Faux Mantel, which sits in the dining room, is back for what looks like forever since we skipped adding a mantel to the fireplace. It got a bit of a makeover this year with a more permanent cabinet solution and a fresh coat of wallpaper (full dining room reveal coming soon). I’m in love with this Nethercote wallpaper. It turns the best shade of festive this time of year. We’re hanging the stockings down the stairs, away from the mantel, to keep those cabinet doors accessible to all the toys. Outside the glass caddy for catching Christmas cards, the faux mantel is just fun eye candy with a hit of garland. Tip: thrifting is your best bet to finding proper vintage red decor.
Storage and Care
If you’re tallying up storage, we have two plastic boxes worth of decorations to be stored away. (Actually, we have three, but I have a whole box-worth of stuff that needs donating.) I want to keep Christmas light and fun in all the ways—from storage to presents. Less is happier.
But there’s a downside coming. Living garland takes some maintenance. It falls on the ground when you look at it and eventually dies. Sweeping and ongoing spraying with water is required. Last year I managed to keep it semi-alive for a solid month. This year, however, our garland is already dry, especially that wreath above the fireplace. It must be the heat from the fireplace. I could use some major maintenance help and tips. Maybe a living wreath above a hot fireplace is just not wise? Send tips! Come January, we’ll recycle the tree and garland through the city.
Happy minimal cozy Christmas!