9 Brilliantly REALISTIC HOLIDAY TIPS from Creators We Love!

There is truly no shortage of beautiful holiday decorating inspiration online, and sometimes I wonder if it discourages too many folks to decorate since we’re all so prone to compare. The thing is, it’s not about budget, access to fresh greenery, or even how adept we are with a glue gun. To welcome a spirit of good cheer or great joy into our homes is to be vulnerably open, working with our talents and available time. I would argue that even when talent and time are in short supply, we can still make up for the deficit with heartfulness. So even if you’re just getting the itch to add some sparkle this moment (need permission to chill?), put your heart into it. Draw inspiration from these talented creators with 9 realistic holiday tips I’m highlighting below.

Cozy cat sleeping in serene French inspired holiday decorated home by Hummusbirrd. #frenchcountrychristmas
@hummusbirrd – bonus tip: take photos of your sleeping kitty with touches of festive green nearby

Brilliantly REALISTIC HOLIDAY TIPS from Creators We Love!

Before the 21st century, I never dreamed we would have access to the wonders of inspiring design, decoration, and home tours as we do today. May we never take the moments of beauty for granted…for example, the way hummusbirrd keeps the mood neutral and serene yet oh co cozy for the holidays (above!). Let’s peek at more tips we can apply to our own schemes.

Christmas and holiday themed inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #quotes #christmasquotes #holidayquotes #whimsicalquotes #saracasm #humor

1. Transform Ordinary Ornaments into the Extraordinary

Emily’s lovely mercury glass ornaments look vintage and expensive, but she made them! There’s a secret for getting that finish, but it isn’t complicated which is what makes it so brilliantly realistic for us! FIND THE DIY HERE at Le Cultivateur…you’re going to be inspired by her talents!

Mercury glass ornament DIY from Le Cultivateur for your holiday decor! #diyornaments #mercuryglass #diyholidaydecorations
Le Cultivateur* – DIY Mercury Glass Ornaments

*Psst. Emily, I’m blowing kisses to these and all of your romantically styled holiday vignettes!*

Funny holiday Christmas quote from Buddy in Elf. #funnyquotes #moviequote #christmasmovie #quotes #elf

2. Go High Contrast With Sophisticated Simplicity

Oh the adventures of Sherry and the gorgeous holiday magic she shares every year when she tours Atlanta Holiday Showhouse! The first idea I scored from her post was the unique holiday color story in this Michele Gratch designed bedroom.

Michele Gratch designed bedroom in 2023 Atlanta Holiday Home - photo by Sherry Hart (Design Indulgence). #atlantaholidayhome #holidaybedroomdecor
Photo: Sherry Hart; Design: Michele Gratch for 2023 Atlanta Holiday Home

A deeply rich color on the wall behind the bed sets off the light toned “wreath” magically. My thought is that you don’t even have to paint the entire wall. But if you have a smallish pale wreath you love, paint a board or a frame with soft black and attach the wreath simply.

Gracie Studio wallpaper in a breathtaking dining room by Brittany Carson Johnson for 2023 Atlanta Holiday Home - photo by Sherry Hart (Design Indulgence). #atlantaholidayhome #graciestudio
Photo: Sherry Hart; Design: Brittany Carson Johnson; Wallcovering: Gracie Studio

I also love this simply elegant wreath (above) she captured suspended from a beautiful dining room sconce. (Even if you don’t have a single wall sconce, I bet you have a mirror or other fixture on the wall that could be elevated with a plain wreath and a pale bow.)

Humor and funny quote about DIY and crafting: Why buy it for $8 when you can make it yourself with $56 of craft supplies? #quotes #funnyquote #humor #crafting #diy #holidays

(Sherry, if you’re reading this, I know what a pain blogging is, but please don’t ever stop. We need your writing voice forever and ever, Amen. I just love you and how you help me feel empowered so so dang much.)

3. Score a Winning Combo With Cedar + Red Berries

While it may not be realistic to live in a home as breathtaking as my friend Tina’s (The Enchanted Home), we can file away this idea for a winning combo for holiday curb appeal.

Breathtaking holiday porch and greenery on a home with classic architecture - @theenchantedhome. #christmasgarland #christmasporch
The Enchanted Home – Realistic Holiday Tips and Funny Holiday Quotes to Pin!

Cedar and little berries look so stunning at her front door, and can’t you just smell the fragrance right through the screen!?! (Don’t forget to shop The Enchanted Home shop!)

Funny Christmas humor and holiday quote. #quotes #funnyquote #christmas #humor

(Hey, Tina, ever wish we could time travel to 2010 in the early days of blogdom before the terms “Pinterest,” “influencer,” and “algorithm” were things? ‘Cause I’ll board that time machine with you, blog sista.)

4. Creatively Wear Vintage Bling During the Holidays

In this strike of fashionable genius, Cindy Hattersley reminded us of the power of a bit of bling for holiday outfits…specifically, cover the button of a blazer or sweater with a sparkly vintage brooch!

Designer Cindy Hattersley in a Margaret O'Leary cardigan to which she added a festive brooch for the holidays. #fashionover50 #vintagebrooch
Cindy Hattersley Design

Love this so much, and it works for us no matter our age! (My collection of costume jewelry and such brooches is rather legendary since it has been collected over four decades!) Be sure to visit Cindy to score the sources of her enviable wardrobe and learn more of her styling hacks.

Funny quote with humor: If your mom doesn't have an old gift bag filled with other old gift bags, is she even a mom? #funnyquote #holidays #humor #momhumor #quotes

(Cindy, thank you for being my Midwest blogging bud as you soak up California sunshine with your killer smile and wardrobe! Please visit me if ever you are near the heartland, friend.)

5. Crown Your Kitchen With Holiday Romance

If you follow Mary Ann (she sometimes looks more like Reese Witherspoon than Reese Witherspoon in her fashion posts!), then you may know she relocated to the South. Look at the magnolia added to this greenery!

Holiday kitchen with garland on range hood - Classic Casual Home (Mary Ann Pickett). #holidaykitchen #classicwhitekitchens
Classic Casual Home – Realistic Holiday Tips as well as Funny Holiday Quotes to Pin

She is a favorite blogger of mine because of the practical timelessness of her advice, designs, and aesthetic.

Hilarious Christmas tweet quote humor about Mary and the Nativity by @TheAndrewNaveau - Hello Lovely Studio. #christmashumor #funnychristmastweets

(Mary Ann, your home and your content are some of the most calming and realistically brilliant out there, and I so admire how you look the other way when it comes to trends for yourself and your clients…lovely! Yer making me want to move to Florida!)

6. Capture the Soul of Nature

Elizabeth of Pinecones and Acorns embellished her tree true to brand: with collected pinecones and acorns.

Beautiful Christmas tree with pinecones and acorns, moody light, and dark walls - Pinecones and Acorns. #christmastreedecor #pineconesandacorns
Pinecones & Acorns

You simply cannot go wrong when you connect design plans for the holidays to your unique environment. Elizabeth shared a video recently of this deer studying her on a hike, and I had to take a screenshot because the colors were so lovely…

Beautiful deer in the woods captured by Elizabeth of Pinecones and Acorns. #winterwonder #wintercreatures #deerphoto #pineconesandacorns
Pinecones and Acorns

This proves you can score a winning Christmas card with beauty right outside your door!

Silly tweet funny quote about Christmas movies and dog by @RiotGrlErin on Hello Lovely Studio. #christmasmovies #sillyholidayquotes #dogquotes

(Omg, Elizabeth, how long have we been bloggers, baking freaks, and bookworm buds? Thank you for cheering me on in a creative field that is often competitive and unkind.)

7. Bring on the Brown Velvet

If you know designer Dore of Burlapluxe, then you know her palette is restrained and serenely muted. So what a lovely touch she gave to her French cupboard with this brown velvet. Who can resist touches of chocolate during the holidays? Brilliant!

You can also score art and treasures from Burlapluxe HERE.

Funny quote about a strategy for others to expect less of you - Hello Lovely Studio. #funnyquotes #midlifequotes

(Dore, what a gift your support has been these 15 years in the field, and I can always count on your loving energy to flow my way at just the right moment. So much like magic, it must be magic. Merci, lovely one.)

8. Create 20 Paper Bag Snowflakes

See details of my holiday foyer with paper snowflakes here, and here’s a peek at how they look during the day in bright afternoon light.

Simple, a total of $6 for the paper lunch bags, and I didn’t even add fairy lights or embellishments beyond fabric ties (recycled my well-loved men’s style pajamas that had seen better days).

9. Cat-Safe Book Tower Christmas Tree

Truth be told, I don’t know if my friend Fifi O’Neill (follow her!) stacked her beautiful design books to suggest a Christmas tree or not! But when I saw this image of her lovely blue and white Christmas vignette, it read “tree” to me!

Fifi O'Neill's pastel and white Christmas ethereal style in her own home. #pastelchristmas #whitechristmasdecor
Fifi O’Neill

And don’t you feel like it’s a stroke of genius when trees are hazards? If you have cats, maybe a stack of books with a star on top (or mouse like Fifi’s!) will especially make perfect sense! But which books? Hmmmm…

(Fifi, you already know it, but I think you’re the cat’s pajamas and the bee’s knees. Come to the prairie soon, and no need to bring a parka and wellies since I have extras.)

Waiting quote from Michele on Hello Lovely Studio. #personalgrowthquotes #motivationalquotes

Do visit all of these creators to explore their creations, decor, and lifestyle inspiration!

Brilliantly Realistic or Brilliantly Unrealistic?

Does Martha inspire you to create or feel less than?

Hopefully it’s the former because there’s only one Martha, and she’s great at doing HER. You are free to be at peace doing YOU. Isn’t that a relief?

Funny and encouraging holiday quote about not getting stressed on Hello Lovely Studio. #funnyquotes #holidayquotes #anxietyquotes

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

FREE (in spirit…free like all this content and the daily design consulting for email subscribers)! Isn’t it just the loveliest word?

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. December 13, 2023 / 7:56 pm

    Oh my Michelle, you are a beautiful soul.
    Thank you for the 15 years of love you show my way. I’m still waiting on another video of you dancing through your home.
    Biggest hugs your way beautiful friend,

    • Michele
      December 13, 2023 / 8:54 pm

      My math could be a little off – it may be 13 or 14 but still – a lonnnnng time in blog years. 🙂 I agree. A dancing video needs to happen in 2024. Let me just make sure my health insurance is up to date. LOL. xox

  2. Lauralee Boling
    December 14, 2023 / 9:53 am

    May God bless you with all the energy and good health you can bear during this season! I LOVE my “visits” with you through your blog! (Sometime I save up a couple to spend more time with you!) Thank you for all the work you do to minister to so many. You are a sweetheart! Love you, sweet friend.

    • Michele
      December 14, 2023 / 10:02 am

      I love you back and am so grateful you’re here. Soaking up the blessing from you and the wondrous wish of more good health than I can bear. I LOVE THAT. May the wonder and awe swirling in this season find its way to your door. May it bloom into gratitude and then wisdom and deep contentment. May the Good News of Christmas light your soul on fire. May its light travel to corners dim. Happy Christmas, friend. xox

  3. December 15, 2023 / 12:28 pm

    Michele, we have been cheering each other on for a LONG time! How blessed are we to have one another across the miles and internet to share books, sweet treats and all that we love. One of my favorite things about us, we write what we love even after all these years. They are never going to put a label on us my friend. THANK you for including me with some of my favorite and illustrious blogger friends. The talent in this group is astounding.
    Thank you also for always encouraging me, offering help and suggestions when you are busy and just being a light in this sometimes dark world.
    xo Merry Christmas Michele!

    • Michele
      December 15, 2023 / 12:45 pm

      So happy to spotlight you – omg the tree and that vignette is stunning. All these years, and they have flown by! You’re right – still can’t quite pigeon hole these ol’ gals or niche them down. Hahahaha. Just the strangest small business I have ever run. And how comforting to not be alone on the journey. Happy Christmas, Elizabeth. 🙂

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