It wouldn’t be the holidays without twinkly outdoor lights, garland and candy canes. But the ones you’ve had in boxes since Y2K? They could use a little refresh. That said, the holidays are hard enough—most of us don’t have the time or energy to scroll Pinterest inspo, then source all of those finds on top of everything on our to-do list. Luckily, we’ve done all of the pinning and sourcing for you, from unique Christmas decorating ideas (like DIYing a kitschy-coool wreath) to more traditional designs, including staircase garland. Here, find 35 ways to bring new light to your beloved (but well-worn) decorating staples.
35 Christmas Decorating Ideas We Bet You Haven't Thought Of
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.
1. Use Candles To Elegantly Light Up The Stairs
Most native New Yorkers will agree that the term ‘Christmas spirit’ was likely coined by someone walking through West Village during the holidays. Everything about these decked-out brownstones simply screams sophistication—and there’s a trick to replicating these magical exteriors: candles. Add seven or more to each step of your front porch and light them up at night to bring some NYC charm to your neighborhood. (Just remember to blow them out before bed—or use LEDs.)
2.layer Red And Green With Lots Of Neutrals
Fact: Christmas would not be complete without some red and green. Yet, we can’t help but loathe how these bold, festive hues stick out like a sore thumb. But, not to worry—Emily Henderson, DIY-guru and design blogger, has us covered: “The real secret [to getting] that updated traditional look is to pair those red and green moments with a lot of neutrals—whites, blacks, woods and oatmeals ground everything and feel fresh and sophisticated.”
3. Stage A Winter Wonderland With Mixed Metals
Otherwise, if you’re nixing the red and green palette entirely, there’s only one logical alternative: Devise a winter wonderland (but for adults). And the best way to create a whimsical, icy look is by mixing silver, gold, brass and patina metals. Replicate the mantel inspo above with some jingle bell garland, brass stocking holders, hammered metal candle holders, frosted bottle brush trees, textured stockings and, of course, Anthropologies’s famous mirror.
4. Go Gatsby-style With Art Deco Ornaments
Obsessed with all things art-deco and Great Gatsby inspired? Us too. Give your tree the entire 1920s treatment by adorning it with vintage-inspired ornaments. Think: jewel tones, brass finishes, statement-making shapes and vintage accents that say, “old Hollywood Regency glamour.”
Shop the Look: Joanna Buchanan Ornaments ($88)
5. Make A Statement With A Brass Bell Wall
Hang a set of brass bells in a row—or individually as here-and-there ornaments—to make a statement. Not only will an antique gold finish add some warmth to the space, but it’ll bring some refined polish that feels naturally festive.
Shop the Look: Pottery Barn Brass Bells Wall Art ($99)
6. Stay Minimal With Simple Wooden Statues
This one goes out to our holiday minimalists. Under-deck the halls this year with some mango wooden statues that are understated yet festive.
Shop the Look: Wooden Reindeer Decoration ($30); Large Wooden Snowman ($40)
7. String Twinkle Lights In Unexpected Places
Claire Baker, Anthropologie stylist, says, “It wouldn't be the holidays without a bit (OK, a lot) of glimmer to light the way.” And we couldn’t agree more. Baker suggests adding “twinkle lights to unexpected places” such as “threaded through the wood stack, intertwined with the garland and wrapped around your home’s structural elements.”
Shop the Look: Rose Gold Vine Garland LED ($138); Garden Light Galaxy Bulbs ($68); Wool Snowflake Garland ($24)
8. Create A Kitschy Wreath
Lately, we’ve been obsessing over the Avant Basic decor trend, and we’ve finally found a kitschy DIY to give us our retro-fix. While the ornaments include festive red and green, the metallic garland and pastel Christmas village add just enough nostalgia to remind us of childhood memories. Here’s an easy way to DIY the look.
9. Hang Scandi Stars From Beams, Windows And Cabinets
A simple Scandi statement for people who believe less is more: Hang some modern little stars from wooden beams, windows and cabinet hardware for an inconspicuous pop of decor.
Shop the Look: Nordic Star Christmas Decoration ($16)
10. Sprinkle Christmas Cards Into Hanging Garland
Running out of counter space for those never-ending holiday cards? Here’s a simple solution: clip the left-over cards to your garland. It’ll add something extra to your decor and ensure no one is offended at this year’s holiday party.
11. Blend Scent And Style With Cinnamon Stick Candle Holders
Call yourself a candle lover? Then you need a cinnamon stick candle holder. Not only will a cinnamon stick holder make a great centerpiece, but it’ll smell as good as it looks. Plus, it’s super easy to DIY (full tutorial here), and there are tons of heavenly scented options to choose from.
12. Try A Tinsel Tree In Smaller Spaces
No room for a flocked tree in your tiny apartment? No problem. Save yourself some space, time and money by faking a Christmas tree with a well-placed tinsel silhouette.
Shop the Look: Wall Hanging Christmas Tree ($80)
13. Cozify The Mantle With Chunky Stockings
Chunky sweaters and Christmas go hand-in-hand, so why shouldn’t your stockings? Add a few ultra-cozy knits to your mantle to amp up the snuggle factor in your living room.
Shop the Look: Astrid Stocking ($48)
14. Diy Balloon Garland
ICYMI: balloon garlands are the hottest holiday decorating trend of 2021. They’re the artfully arranged, hanging balloon embellishments that have been taking over Pinterest and Instagram feeds alike. Click here for everything you need to know about this movement (plus DIY instructions).
Shop the Look: PARTYPAX Balloon Garland Kit ($20)
15. Place A Wreath On The Kitchen Backsplash
Finally, somewhere to put that extra wreath—without it looking forced or awkward. Hang it from your kitchen backsplash with a Command hook, and you’re good to go
16. Swap In Flannel Bedding
Looking to bring some holiday spirit into the bedroom? We suggest you invest in a set of ultra-soft, plaid flannel bedding. It’s our favorite way to crank up the Christmas coziness (and you won’t have to put this one in storage after December 25).
Shop the Look: Boll & Branch Modern Flannel Duvet Set (From $358)
17. Stay Sophisticated With All-white Decor
So far, we’ve covered traditional red and green and modern metallic looks. But if you want to create a more sophisticated aesthetic, there’s only one way to go: All-white Christmas. Forget the bells and whistles (literally), and create a luxurious look by selecting white and cream wreaths, garland candles, trinkets and lights.
Shop the Look: Handcrafted Botanical Garland ($330)
18. Go Glam With Gold-dipped Feather Trees
At last, a holiday DIY that doesn’t look, uh, homemade. Not to mention that it’s surprisingly easy to pull this one off at home. All you need is some Styrofoam, feathers, glitter and a glue gun to get an elegant piece of tabletop decor (DIY it here).
20. Fill The Hearth With Ornament Lanterns
A fun and festive alternative to boring firewood or candelabras. Fill your hearth with some of these paper lanterns to bring some color and spirit to your fireplace.
Shop the Look: Ornament Party Lanterns ($6)
21. Turn A Console Into A Christmas Village
Forget the garland, tinsel and jingle bells, because we’re taking this year’s Christmas decorations to the next level. How? By transforming our entryway consoles into a full-blown Christmas village. Trust us; it’ll put a smile on your face every time you walk in the front door.
Shop the Look: Bethany Lowe Christmas Village ($85)
22. Put A Gingerbread House On Display
Why let all of those hours spent building gingerbread houses go to waste? You can even challenge your kids to a competition—may the best gingerbread house be displayed.
23. Build A Balloon Tree
If you’re getting sick and tired of seeing the same trees—year after year—it might be time to switch things up. We recommend starting with a balloon tree and incorporating more eccentric decorations (i.e., grateful dead garland or Parisian tabletop Christmas tents). Just be sure to watch the DIY video thoroughly before you get started.
24. Go Boho With A Pampas Grass Tree
If the balloon tree feels overkill, you can meet halfway between boho and traditional decor with these pampas grass trees. You may get some sideeye from your judgy aunt when she comes for dinner, but hey, your look doesn’t have to be for everyone.
Shop the Look: Dried Pampas Grass Christmas Tree ($59)
25. Hang Multiple Mini Wreaths In The Window
Something festive that the neighbors can enjoy as well. Just be sure to vary the heights and sizes of each wreath to create depth and draw visual interest.
Shop the Look: 12 Pack of Mini Christmas Wreaths ($13)
26. Create A Candy Cane Pathway
Light up the pathway for your guests with these LED candy canes to make them feel like they’re walkin’ in a winter wonderland.
Shop the Look: Christmas Candy Cane Pathway Marker Lights ($29)
27. Hang A Shelf Tree
Another alternative Christmas tree (because 2021 is all about individuality). You can create this one by hanging a triangle-shaped shelf and wrapping it in some garland. Don’t forget to add some candles to the shelves for an extra vibe.
29. Opt For A Neutral Color Palette
For some, keeping things quaint, cozy and peaceful is what Christmas is all about. Create a neutral base of soft, creamy shades to exude tranquility and be sure to bring in some natural red and green accents to liven things up a bit.
30. Create An Ornament Wreath
Trying to find something to do with all of those extra ornaments? Then, this is the DIY to save the day. We love the rose-gold wreath look but feel free to add your own spin on the style.
31. Repurpose Extra Ornaments In Bowls
Similarly, if you don’t have enough excess ornaments to DIY an entire wreath, you can place them in a kitchen bowl for easy decor.
32. Fashion A Candle-wreath As A Centerpiece
We’ve covered wreaths and candles, so why not combine the two? Not only will it make a fabulous centerpiece for your Christmas table, but it’s also super-easy to make at home (although we’re not sure that placing a wreath under some candles qualifies as ‘DIY’). Or, save yourself the trouble and shop one of our faves below. Just make sure the flame is far from the foliage.
Shop the Look: Faux Deer Antler & Pinecone Candle Ring ($148)
33. Adorn The Mantle With Playful Mini Trees
By now, you’ve probably noticed that retro decor is back (and with a vengeance). Hop on the trend by adding in some bold and bright bottle brush trees to your mantel or Christmas village.
Shop the Look: Assorted Frosted Spring-Themed Bottle Brush Trees ($24)