Let’s face it. Christmas morning is messy. Wrapping paper strews the scene, mugs of hot chocolate are stashed about. Honestly, by 10 a.m. I usually look around my living room and wonder how the tornado hit so fast, and how my lovely decorations could suddenly look so … junky.
That’s why this year I’m taking a pared-down approach, and so can you. Here are a few of my favorite designer tips and tricks for a fuss-free holiday.
1. Just add foliage. One of the most beautiful things I ever saw during the holidays was at a restaurant I used to frequent in Venice Beach. Its walls were all white, and up near the molding, fresh green garlands, peppered with tiny white lights, were swagged across the room. There were no ornaments, no ribbons, but there was something really magical about it (and it worked so beautifully that they actually kept it like that all year round).
2. Add faux fur. Call me crazy, but if Christmas morning meant lounging on a deck wrapped up in something furry, I’d pretty much be in heaven. You can keep the presents, stockings and even the twinkly lights (though I am rather partial to them). Faux fur instantly winterizes any decor. Isn’t that what decorating for the holidays is all about?
3. Think Nordic. If you’re planning to pare down this year, you can find no better source of inspiration than our Northern European buddies who embrace a crisp, clean aesthetic. A living tree adorned with a strand of lights and nothing else is exquisite, timeless and elegant.
4. Color-match. Don’t worry. Choosing to have a more minimal holiday doesn’t mean you have to put your home in a Scandinavian bubble. Sure, white-on-white with fresh green branches is like drinking a cup of pure Nordic bliss, but if you’re a fan of color, consider matching your holiday decor to the room (perhaps with a little pop of contrast).
5. Get crafty. If you can round up five sticks (six if you want to make a Star of David), some raffia twine to fasten them with and a string of holiday lights, you can achieve holiday cheer.
When January comes around and you’re so sick of holiday decor that you can hardly stand it, you can pack up the lights and literally throw the star out the window. Just try not to hit your neighbor.
6. Tape it up. As long as we’re doing some seriously easy crafting, why not spend 10 more minutes to put up a tree? Thanks to the wonder that is washi tape, you don’t have to borrow your brother’s truck to go pick up a pine.
For you washi rookies out there: No, it won’t pull the paint off your wall.
7. Don’t abandon ship. Whether your normal decor consists of floral pillows or geometric sculptures, there’s no need to run around swapping out every piece for something with a red and green bow on it.
8. Chill out on the table. It’s 2016, and that means we’re now free to adorn our tables as we please without fear of being ostracized by the Junior League, or whatever. Consider these liberating trends that might have shocked and appalled your grandma (but not mine — she was pretty chill):
- Putting plates on the table without a tablecloth or even a place mat.
- Stealing some leaves and branches from your yard, laying them out with some candles and calling it a centerpiece.
- Adding fancy gold flatware (or cut crystal, or dainty napkin rings) to an otherwise casual table.
9. Join the tiny-tree movement. My mother has five (yes, five) tiny trees in her house. Now, to be fair, she also has one large tree in the living room and another on the front patio, but my point is this: You don’t have to go big or go home. Small is cute — and it totally works, whether you have one, five or 20.
10. Stock the bar. Nine times out of 10, your guests won’t care if you have a blinged-out Santa on your lawn if they have a glass of champagne in their hand — just sayin’. If you want to get a little extra fancy, follow the lead of designer and stylist Maureen Stevens and pick up a set of green glasses to put everyone in the holiday spirit (pun totally intended).
But the best thing about this final tip? You’re already prepared for New Year’s Eve!