Think Outside the Tree for Holiday Décor This Year

Santa, Schmanta. This year, rock the holidays your own way—no stress, no pricey decorations, and no red-and-green color schemes in sight
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Photography by Eleanor Williamson | Styling by Stacey Weiss, Kate Meyers & Fernanda Kirk

There’s more than one way to trim a tree. Consider us your holiday decoration managers. The following article is loaded with ideas—modern, minimalist and all photographed at the home of our editor, Kate Meyers, who spent a year scouring Pinterest for inspiration.

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Peruse them, and retain the wisdom herein. But first, a few rules to live by: Embrace imperfection (no tree needs to be totally symmetrical). Be resourceful (tap into flea markets, antique shops and even that shoebox full of old cards in your attic). Think cheap— Target, HomeGoods and craft stores are fabulous sources for fun items. Channel your inner MacGyver (No garland? Make your own!). Cop a little attitude—who says the holidays can’t be dressed in pink and orange? And finally, do not panic. You don’t need a Ph.D. in holiday décor to make your house look spectacular.

Beyond Red & Green

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To create this simple but vibrant holiday tableau, we followed one rule: Think pink. We looped two matching pink scarves along the cement mantel by Colorado craftsman Taylus Schley.

Holiday bling pairs with an abstract pink painting by Boulder-based Sarah Kinn and a Grace Weaver drawing. We topped the Room & Board chair with a radiant pink-and-orange throw and a homemade pillow. The pink flowers at left are paper and add color all year long.


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These graduated strings of fuchsia tinsel, picked up at a craft store and arranged on the wall in the shape of a holiday tree, salute time-honored themes but with a modern twist. “We wanted color and a sense of lightness, without being too traditional,” says stylist Stacey Weiss, who added a small magenta bottlebrush tree to the vintage Ikea bar cart. The photo on the left is by Tasmanian artist Micheila Petersfield.

TIP: “Even though we created this tree out of tinsel, you could really use anything— rope, string lights, greeting cards or branches,” Weiss says. In other words: Go beyond the forest— and don’t forget to have fun.

Picture This

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The tree was created out of Polaroids from recent trips, attached to the wall with washi tape. (Remember: Washi tape is your decorating friend.) The photos, here surrounded by a fun string of pom-poms from World Market and topped by a hand-cut ornament, could also be favorite family shots from the previous year, images of Fido, recipe cards, kids’ drawings—use your imagination.

“This tree isn’t perfect, but that asymmetry—the fact that it was hung by hand—is what makes it so charming,” Weiss says.

Sweet Dreams

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You can never have too many holiday sweets. In this ode to Hanukkah, the bite-sized Star of David cookies (find cookie cutters in a variety of sizes on amazon. com) “are the epitome of combining traditions,” Weiss says.

Before baking, use a wooden skewer to poke a hole in each cookie; once they’re baked, run a festive ribbon through and tack to the wall with adhesive putty. Top off with extra touches (like the cookies in the bowl below, sitting next to a menorah and a string of inexpensive craft-store pom-poms).

Wrap Star

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Who says you have to put all your gifts under the tree? This year, create a tree out of your gifts.

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Get the kids to hand-stamp craft paper, use saved paper (like this Japanese museum map or the pretty calendar page of roses and violins), and add vintage ornaments, holiday cards and travel postcards (we even included an old “la la la” card from Anthropologie).

A string of twinkle lights, a vintage deer (in front) and a simple pom-pom star on top complete the look.

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TIP: The key to doing your own gift tree, Weiss says, is to pick a color and stick with it (in this case, pink and natural, with a bit of orange thrown in). Then pick a pattern—any pattern. We used stripes, dots, florals, leaves—and one package wrapped in silver foil for some added bling. 

Scatter Joy!

Holiday Serendipity

Like small, poignant scenes in an unforgettable film, unexpected, festive moments around your house will make it feel like the holidays:

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1. A simple table setting, complete with a small bouquet of flowers, a couple of bottlebrush trees and a bowlful of lemons.

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2. Bottlebrush trees (we’ve never met one we didn’t like) sitting atop birch perches, with a book-page-house ornament behind.

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3. Pine boughs from the yard dressing up a wire deer head.

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4. An adorable VW Beetle toy adorned with a little Xmas tree and framed by an inexpensive tinsel branch.

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5. A collection of inexpensive vintage candlesticks from Etsy in different heights, all filled with candles of your color choice.

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6. Greens (not necessarily pine boughs) lining a window and providing a lovely backdrop for the matte white Roger Reutimann sculpture, plus loosely piled lights for a warming touch.

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7. A rabbit head wearing a faux, square-shaped wreath.

TIP: “No matter how big your place or how much time you want to spend on decorating, having the little touches around the house make it feel like a holiday,” Weiss says. 

Categories: Interiors