we begin to begin pull out our holiday boxes and deck the halls, here are some ideas to make that slow transition into the holiday season for a simple, yet festive home
This certainly has been a long season of being home, and while it has looked different for all of us, I think we can agree that home should be a place that makes us feel warm and brings a little more joy into our lives. I spoke earlier this season how I was feeling this year's blues and how I was trying to lean into more simplicity and into life's simple pleasures during the holidays this year. It's safe to say that, "[our] home[s] either nurture and support [us] or depletes [our] energy and leaves [us] exhausted" (Interior designer and CEO of Home and Harmony Lifestyle Christa O'Leary). In today's turbulent and seemingly chaotic world, it is important that we have spaces and homes that nurture a calmness and allow us to recharge, especially during what is traditionally a busy season.
I think true farmhouse decorating focuses on the beauty in authenticity & realness. I am reading an auto-biography right now of a remarkable pioneering woman from my region who noted how,
It was almost Christmas and Issy and I had a lot of fun preparing the Ranch. I baked fruitcakes, killed and dressed the young roosters we raised and saved deer ribs to make into spicy spare ribs, a delicious specialty. We hung popcorn strings & paper chains on the tree as we had no power for string lights. Our gifts were wrapped in brown paper and newspaper under the tree & we made pulled toffee & popcorn balls while the radio blared Christmas carols and down home stories.-Gerry Bracewell from Gerry Get Your Gun
There is so much beauty in realness these days. Gerry is quite elderly now, but she remarks how there was no finnicky decorations nor fanciful meals but real home-hearted goodness. Holiday farmhouse décor can seem over the top at times with so many mass produced plastic tree collars, Santa mugs, and all the seemingly 'necessary' jars, tiered stands, and syrup pumps for the perfect coco bar. I think sometimes commercial farmhouse décor can seem kitschy or gimmicky with so many of the same products on the market. Don't get me wrong, I love Winners and Home Sense as much as the next person; but I am also really trying to fill my home with old world wares that bring warmth and joy handed down from previous hands filled with their stories. That, to me, speaks old country farmhouse.
How do you add simple farmhouse holiday touches to embrace the season?
I went for an asymmetrical garland this year, and just love it
We have such a narrow living space that I have had to get creative in defining spaces. I used a carpet to differentiate our table from our couch, and swapped the two table chairs for a bench which give the impression of more space and less crowding (and also opens a clearer view to the tree). It's not our forever home, in fact we're renovating to sell so we're working with what we have.
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Greenery
Bringing fresh greens inside is an easy and cheap way to add a bit of holiday cheer without the feeling of going overboard in 'stuff'. Take an assortment of clippings from the yard or go for a drive to cut some cedar, pine or fir boughs. I like to add a mixture of clippings into a vase or create my own garlands and wreaths. You can even just place small bunches on to your open shelving for a simple, yet festive touch.
A quick tip for adding greenery to vases: It is okay to also add faux elements such as eucalyptus, magnolia leaves, juniper or berry bunches to your live greenery. The faux pieces will be able to blend in easier amongst the live clippings and elevate your design so that it will last the season. It's economical and saves on time-- win-win.
Holiday decorating doesn't have to be a multi-week process. There are so many simple swaps that you can make in your home to give it a farmhouse holiday sparkle. If you have easy to swap picture frames, change a few of your prints to a printable Christmas print or even a DIY print. Keep your holiday prints stored throughout the year in a file folder either with your holiday décor or keep it in your filing cabinet (do we all still use these, or just me?). You can even just keep your regular prints in the frame as well, so they do not get destroyed being stored somewhere else.
An easy tip for finding prints: If you can't find holiday prints you like; use a holiday card instead or buy a downloadable print off Etsy.
Here is one of my favourite downloadable sources from Etsy
Textiles are another easy swap to bring holiday touches throughout the home in a manageable way. Farmhouse décor seems to favour those earthy colours of old world wares. Bring in light creams, linen, earthy greens or warm neutral colours to layer. Swap a throw blanket on the couch, add some different pillows, swap your hand towels in the bath as an unexpected surprise for guests and add a festive accent pillow or throw in the bedroom.
You are still living in your home throughout the holidays so make manageable decoration swaps where you're not adding so much extra, but just swapping one piece for a similar, but festive piece. Another holiday décor tip is to take extra everyday décor away & put it into your Christmas storage boxes for after the holidays. One of the biggest decorating mistake is not allowing your pieces to breath. It is okay to have gaps and spaces between wares on your shelves. Let the big elements ground the space with enough room on each side so that the eye naturally gives it the attention it deserves.
Bowls of Baubles, Bells, Bits & Bobs
One of the easiest ways to decorate is to fill an old dough bowl, or stone wear piece with delicate baubles or vintage bells or wooden spools of ribbon in your colour pallet. It's a simple yet effective way to bring a little charm to a space. Think of it as creating a vignette, which is a small grouping of objects to tell a story. Vintage baubles, mercury glass or even handmade wooden ornaments look intentional when placed inside a vessel on a sideboard, coffee table, end tables or book shelves.
Focus on earthy tones with layers of a natural pallet and natural elements. Bring in different farmhouse styled pieces that add to a vignette such as an old pair of skates hanging from the coat rack, turn a vintage mug rack into an advent calendar, fill crocks with trees & greenery, or create simple natural centrepieces out of dough bowls. You can use pieces you already have such as vintage silver, vases, galvanized buckets or copper bowls to bring in deeper metallics.
Here are some Favourite Etsy finds I've been keeping my eye on this season
Use the Fruits of the Season
Lately, one of the easiest and most practical ways to decorate for the holidays, use the fruits of the season! Citrus and persimmons are easily found right now and add a beautiful pop of colour in a simple way.