Ah, the holidays. Michael Bublé on the radio, snow gently falling (or not?), and the tossing of every style principle out the window in favour of blow-up nylon snowmen and acrylic door ornaments telling us ‘Ho ho home is where the heart is!’ Yes, it’s a sad reality. Bad holiday decorating happens to good houses.
Many homeowners feel powerless to protect their spaces from the dreaded Christmas season affliction: tackiness. Some, fearful of being compared to the Grinch by their ever-joyful neighbours Robert and Cathy, succumb to peer pressure and give in to tinsel and artificial rainbow garlands featuring plastic penguins on skis. Others, unwilling to compromise the look and feel of their carefully curated interiors, avoid holiday decorating entirely and send out a few e-cards to make up for it. Not to sound like Bob and Cath, but that’s pretty Grinchy.
Fortunately, there’s another way. The biggest mistake well intentioned holiday homemakers make is failing to recognize that their holiday decor choices should be an extension of their existing decor theme. Traditional home? Go for an impressive natural tree with glass bobbles and bells in a colour that coordinates with your home accents. Modern condo? Industrial, geometric decorations with a non-traditional tree and LED lights. Rustic lodge feel? Pared down garlands, burlap ribbon, and Canadiana-inspired ornaments will do the trick.
We recently had the opportunity to execute the latter at an Ottawa area golf club, and the result was a touch of holiday warmth that felt organic in the space and added to the existing cozy vibe of the environment. Here’s how we did it:
1. All white fairy lights on a traditional tree
There’s just something so cozy and romantic about all white fairy lights. The golf club is host to holiday parties and winter weddings, so although we wanted a rustic feel, we needed to include a pop of pretty. Make sure the lights emit a warm glow - blueish LEDs are not the right look here.
2. Rustic spin on a Christmas staple
A Christmas tree isn’t a Christmas tree without a garland of some sort, but sparkly beads or flashy ribbon on these trees would have been like a diamond necklace with a flannel onesie. We opted for simple burlap with just a hint of sparkle. Available at your local big box craft store.
3. Mixed bobbles to add fill negative space and add eclectic charm
We shopped for white and gold Christmas bobbles at a few different local retailers to create a look that was mismatched but cohesive. Sticking to one or two colours in varying sizes and textures gives a relaxed, whimsical charm.
4. Ornaments inspired by the great outdoors
We stuck to ornaments that reminded us of ski holidays and winter sleigh rides: Pine cones, critters, snowflakes, and raw materials like wood and wicker. A few sparkly standards to catch the twinkling light made the cut as well.
5. Bottom’s up!
Special attention was paid to the bottom of the tree. We added a skirt, a sparkly reindeer to stand guard, subtle details like scattered pine cones and cinnamon sticks, and of course a handful of pretty presents!