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 to four 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 fuller 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). 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 Frasier Fir tree. The scrappier the better. We sip complimentary warmed apple juice in compostable 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 . (You can see my Minimal Happy Christmas board here.) I bought a set of shatter-resistant balls from Target after another one of those post-Christmas clearance events, after our first years as parents. I kept the glittery red, burnt orange, and glittery yellow balls from the set, then spray painted the remainder a deep muted purple, a pale blue to match the star, a muted shrimp pink, and a glossy coral, using multiple brands (Rustoleum and Montana) in multiple sheens (satin and glossy). We wrap the tree in tiny frosted globe lights and skip the tree shirt for an exposed metal tree stand. Over the years, we’ve made a simple paper chain garland from printer paper and collected cute boxes, both homemade, gifted, and store-bought, like these from Sugar Paper, to use year after year. Don’t be fooled, most are empty, but they add a nice pop of color and pattern.
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 (See dining room reveal here). 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. On the mantel sits our annual gingerbread house, a fun kid-friendly activity for December. At this stage in life, we go for the pre-assembled house from Target.
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 for me.
Note: living garland takes some maintenance, but it smells so good. 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. Let it be. Come January, we’ll recycle the tree and garland through the city of Minneapolis.
❤️❤️❤️❤️ any chance you remember where you found your tree stand? Thanks! ?
We bought it at a tree farm in Minnesota and can’t find the exact one anywhere! Schoolhouse sells something similar. I’m always looking for our exact one! About that time to go on my hunt again.
Can you tell me where your cute black and white striped shirt is from? Love your style and your decor! ?
Thank you! I got it from Target last year from the Merona line.
Love your style. Can you share about the exterior of your home? Is it cement board or wood? Just lovely looking!
We have LP Smartside. You can buy it unpainted or painted! It also comes in smooth or textured like wood. We went with smooth. Let me know if any other questions come up!
Melissa Thank you for the info on your wood siding. Very helpful. By the way, every Christmas I wait to put up my fresh garland (December 23rd) on the inside with my old fashion Bubble lights wrapped around it. My daughter Sarah helps me so its just a few hours. This way its fresh when the whole family comes home for Christmas and it stays fresh for just that week. I have also seen similar Christmas tree stands on Schoolhouse Electric Company and ebay as well. Thanks for sharing pictures of your home with us:)
I love everything about this. Giiiirrrl, you are so talented.
You are truly amazing. This is like my ultimate dream Christmas 🙂
I run a big evergreen fundraiser every year at my job, and this year our supplier told me something interesting – if we don’t have at least 3 really good freezes before he cuts the greens, they dry out a lot faster (even if they are hanging outside rather than inside). He is in northern Michigan where you wouldn’t think that would be a problem, but he told me with the way the weather has been changing, he has seen winter (and those important freezes) come later and later each year. I’ve stopped putting live garland inside the house until the week before Christmas, so it’s still nice and fresh for family parties. I’m sticking to other natural materials for indoor wreaths, and just adding some fresh greens periodically.
we don’t have a stair railing in our 1958 house and every year I see your garland I miss not having a railing. It looks lovely as usual.
One year I made a super large live wreath with a hoolahoop as the base and hung it on our white brick fireplace – I really liked the oversize skinny feel it had, but because of the heat of the fire it also dried up quickly.
You are my minimalist Christmas guru. Love every last detail and all the cute faces in this post!!!!
LOVE this! I pulled out all our usual Christmas decorations this year and just couldn’t do it. Minimalist it is, and it feels so much better. Thanks for yet another inspiring post Melissa!
Where oh where did you get your adorable boots from?
I love your Christmas aesthetic! You actually inspired me this year — I went out and bought a (small) garland from Trader Joe’s and wrapped it around the handrail of the stairs leading up to our house 🙂 Maybe next year I will step it up with some lights and such 🙂 xo
How do you keep your garland fresh indoors? Do you keep it up indoors from thanksgiving to Christmas? Love your home. I’m in Mpls., too waiting for the snow!
I’ve used your outdoor decor as inspiration for my own twin cities home but was stumped on how to secure the garland. The picture hooks sounds like the perfect solution for our old front porch too!
Awww yay! Picture hooks are great because the disappear in the off season and cause very little damage.
I love this! Where did you get your tree stand?
I’m on a hunt to find it online. I bought it at the tree farm last year. It’s a bowl stand. I’ve found other bowl stands, but they’re not exactly the same and cost twice as much. I’ll report back!
Ok good to know. Thanks!
How about your cute little red metal Christmas tree stand? Is that an antique?
Love it all! It has such a cozy ‘feel’ to it!
Love it! Beautiful, beautiful! I love the idea of decorating for winter, too – then you don’t tire of everything come Jan — even Feb. Big garland fans over here, too. xo
Love your minimalist decorations! We adopt a similar approach to decorating for the holidays except our space is the opposite of “minimalist”. 😉 Thom finally convinced me that we need to get a real tree (I am weirdly attached to our fake one) so I think we’re doing that soon. Oh, and I had my garland for three days before it started dying. WAAAAMP WAMP.
MELISSA THIS IS SO CUTE. i LOVE those felt trees omg omg.
i just tried hanging a garland for the first time the other day. it was a disaster and a half. go check it out on IG stories if it’s still up lol.
Thanks lady! ❤️ Just wrote to you on instie too. Your stories are my favorite! Garland on shelves is so hard. Try hanging over a door opening or draping it down on something it can show off it’s drapey ways. You’ve totally got this. I see your beautiffffullll style!
I love the rug, where is it from?
The rug is from All Modern but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s aging way too fast for the price.
Love this. Where is the buffalo print from?
Thank you! The print is from this Etsy artist. Back story, I tried to buy it from them at a larger size, but they weren’t able to sell me that so I recreated something similar for myself. (I’m a former graphic designer.)