My favorite style of holiday and Christmas decorating
is a mix of Swedish, Nordic, Scandinavian, Northern
European, Belgian and French, probably because
I grew up surrounded by Swedes, and our family
home during the holidays sparkled with many of
the Christmas decorations you will see below.
While Americans tend to deck their halls with
'more is more' visions dancing in their heads,
Swedish style conservatively leans toward
the spare end of the spectrum with liberal
doses of beautiful snowy white.
Swedish Christmas decor
often reflects these 5 characteristics:
No jarring multi-colored light strings
or dark wood stained anything.
Feathery soft and whispered, please.
A simple fresh green garland hung by a ribbon
is more fitting than a heavily bedazzled and flocked wreath.
Clutter can be overstimulating,
and places for the eye to rest
A quiet sigh is a more likely response
than a wide-eyed WOW.
Natural elements reflect a frugality
and a desire for rusticity to balance
so much feminine elegance.
Are you ready for dozens of delicious Nordic/Scandinavian
spaces and moments of beauty ready to serve as the backdrop
for precious holiday memories and to inspire us to get merry?
I have sprinkled in some of my own creations and
photos (you may recognize my tranquil style)
to round out the plethora of Christmas inspiration.
A bonus Swedish Cookie Recipe is hiding
within the Nordic inspiration...YUM!
(image above: via willow decor)
Combine an informal mix of candlesticks,
a scrubbed wood vintage table,
and a galvanized pot with a
mini Christmas tree for
My Scandinavian Home
Look at what just a few colors
can do to bring a calm but festive
spirit to a room!
Bring out that old faded vintage quilt
for wintry days and subtle color.
Mass brown paper packages tied up with string
and well-loved toys in quiet hues near the tree.
Venture outside to gather a few branches
to shape into simple, but large scale stars.
Fresh greenery need not be blinged-out
to be charmingly decorative.
Bake a batch of Pepparkakor Cookies that I grew up with
using this delicious recipe (they're like gingersnaps).
1/2 CUP molasses
1/2 CUP sugar
1/2 CUP butter
1/2 TEASPOON vanilla
1 egg, beaten well
2 1/2 CUPS sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 TEASPOON salt
1/4 TEASPOON baking soda
1/2 TEASPOON ginger
1/2 TEASPOON cinnamon
Heat molasses in small saucepan to boiling.
Boil 1 minute.
Add sugar and butter; stir until butter is melted.
Beat in vanilla and egg.
Sift flour, salt, soda, and spices.
Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 3 hours or more.
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll a portion of dough on lightly floured pastry cloth til thin.
Cut into desired shapes...I like hearts best.
Bake 6-8 minutes.
Cool and store in airtight container.
a tin of Swedish Pepparkakor from Hemslojd
and decorate the Pepparkakor with icing
(these are the real deal baked in Sweden,
and I have been devouring them for years!).
Remove window treatments from a sunny
window and take time to notice the
Light a simple candle on an old sled.
Create a dramatic centerpiece by
unifying mismatched candlesticks
and a simple wood tray
with white paint and a little distressing...
add a few winter branches for contrast.
My Scandinavian Home
Add furry cozy comfort to dining chairs.
Turn a Shaker-style peg rack on its side
and add a wee lovely wreath.
Think beyond traditional pine
greenery...peek at the possibilities
right outside your door.
Hand-letter a simple GOD JUL on red
for a cheery red greeting which will
feel at home just about anywhere.
(Merry Christmas in Swedish)
Bring on the red and white stripes,
toiles, checks, and florals.
Tuck simple evergreen branches into
clear glass jars...so clean and minimal!
For a small space, create a Christmas tree
on the wall and string with white lights
and mini ornaments or pinecones.
Decorate a tree with a red heart motif.
Suspend berry mini wreaths from festive
checked ribbon in the windows.
My Scandinavian Home
Arrange the flatware in a new style
and watch the smiles appear.
Arrange photos of family and friends
in the shape of a Christmas tree in an
entry or area where guests can admire it.
Paint a door red, if only for the season!
Silhouette beautiful branches in a window
and string on a few simple bulbs.
Plan a candlelight dinner with a fancy table
even if it's just for the family
(...and notice the clove-studded oranges
which were a childhood tradition in my family).
Make friends with white on white.
Nail together a simple rustic
country Christmas tree.
Let your spirits be brightened with
a cheerfully colorful rug.
Decorate mantels and shelves
with the iconic handpainted
Row House Nest
Put a collection of clear vintage
bottles to use as candleholders.
Hang a fragrant wreath at each
seat at the Christmas dining table.
A simple bough hung on an armoire
can sing in a bedroom
Set up a snack/dessert station outside of the kitchen
beginning with a small white table.
Decorate the tree with over-scaled white spheres.
(This is a Texas home with all the sensibilities
that feel Swedish to me.)
Tuck little giftboxes in unexpected places as reminders
that the big day is coming.
Hello Lovely Studio
Make a cozy wooly pom pom wreath inspired by
the handknitted slippers your Swedish Gram
used to make for your chilled tootsies.
(I'm sure you recognize my creations and photo.)
Hello Lovely Studio
Fill a vintage wire laundry basket with
tissue poufs and a strand of fairy lights.
(Also yours truly.)
Bring out the vintage European pink pointe shoes
that trigger memories of sugar plum fairies
and a night at the ballet.
Juxtapose a modern wallcovering and contemporary art
with a traditional white Christmas tree and Midcentury magic.
Scour the antique mall for vintage, well-loved
toys and bring them out during the holidays.
Set out colorful compotes and bowls of goodies
on the coffee table.
Show your love for red and white and reindeer all over.
Create a clothesline for stockings
whether you have a mantel or not!
Just imagine the conversation that could occur here
in the orbital, sheepy, scandi mix.
Look for vintage Swedish candleholders painted
in bright cheery red.
Dress your critters in embroidered finery.
Keep the color scheme neutral with white, green, and gold.
Let your white farmhouse table get votive happy.
Bring on the free greenery just outside your window.
Collect vintage glass Christmas ornaments
to display in a bowl.
Are you Swedish style lovers still with me?
Find any great holiday decorating ideas to get
you motivated to deck your halls?
I can't get enough of the romance and simple lovely
Scandinavia brings to holiday decor and the everyday.
I am so grateful my childhood was filled with Swedish
aesthetics and traditions I can carry on to this day.
Stay tuned for more Scandinavian wonder
from my home to yours!
Peace to you right where you are.