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Choosing A Decor Theme For Christmas

July 20, 2023

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Do you choose a theme for your Christmas decor?

Does it change from year to year or is it always the same?

I like to mix things up, but in the end, I always come back to the classics.

Christmas Decorating Themes

For Christmas 2022, I wrote a post where I explained how growing up, there was no theme for decor. I didn't even know what that meant.

All I knew was that the boxes came out of storage, our beloved ornaments went on the trees, the red stockings with our glittered names were hung on the fireplace and the Santas were peppered around the house.

In very predictable spots.

Not much changed in our house from year to year.

Was there really more to it than that?

Apparently, there was.

And I learned all about it when I entered this world of decor online.

Over the years, I've changed things up a bit, added a new crafty Christmas home decor accessory.

A new tree. Or two.

But honestly, no matter what I called it, some decorations always make an appearance, year after, holiday year.

White Christmas Roses In The Kitchen

However, I thought I'd share some of my Christmas home decor and crafts, this July, in case you're looking to shake it up this December and want to get a jump on your decorating plans now.

You know, since the garland will be showing up in stores next week.

So without any further ado, let's start rockin' around that Christmas tree.

The Many Themes Of Christmas

Each year, my house morphed a little during the holiday season. Whether it was prompted by a new HomeGoods purchase or something I'd seen online.

Some years I embraced more red, other years I went for a more muted view.

However, every year was filled with Christmas decor that touched my heart in some way and made me glad to be home for the holidays.

Red, Red and More Red

Now be nice. The first year I shared my Exquisitely Unremarkable Christmas decor tour was back in 2013.

Christmas Table Setting

That was 10 years ago folks. Ten.

It was before professional caliber photos were the name of the game. It was also before I had any true Christmas style...except rolling out the red.

I decorated with what I loved and with what me {and my little ones} smile.

And isn't that what Christmas is supposed to be about? 

A Simple, Rustic Christmas

The next year I caught on and I raised my decorating game by diving into simple, rustic Christmas decor.

Cottage style living room decor

What did that mean, exactly? Well, in basic terms it meant leaving a lot of my colorful trinkets in storage.

I only put out muted decor. I decorated with newspaper and buffalo checks.

It was all very fitting for a living room with beams on the ceiling. And truly one of my favorites.

Even if the kids hated every bland minute of it.

(Which by the way, didn't stop me from repeating this theme in 2015.)

A Cottage Style Christmas

In 2016 I decided to fully embrace the bones of my 1920's charmer. I called it my cottage style Christmas theme.

Country Style Christmas Decorations

Of course, living in this vintage beach bungalow, every year is truly a cottage style Christmas, but it had a nice ring to it.

It was basically a more elegant version of my rustic Christmas from the two years before, thanks to some freebies and my new adoration for "less is more" decorating.

It certainly made the holiday set up easier and left me with more time to sit and enjoy the view.


Real Life Christmas Decorating

Ok, so I bet you're thinking what is she talking about...all decorating is real life Christmas decorating.

Country Christmas Kitchen Decor with two small lit trees one next to a round kitchen table

Well, yes and no. Sure, it happens in real life. But. 
Is what you see online in photos really functional for everyday living?

That was the question I found myself asking, while trying to decorate and take pictures for a Christmas themed blog hop.

In the end, I cleared away the clutter and the tripping hazards and only put out what looked good and functioned well.

It may not have been staged like a wonderland, but the house was still lovely. 

And better yet, completely liveable.

Timeless Christmas Decor

Christmas trends come and go. There's no denying that.

Timeless Christmas Decoration Ideas

When I was growing up, fake trees were a no no...of course, that's all we ever had since my mom liked the easy route.

However, today they're all the rage. They come with lights and flocking. You can put them up early and take them down late. I love that.

But give it a few years and, I guarantee, they'll be on the decorating don't list once again.

Of course, there are some Christmas decorations that never go out of style, like white lights, simple brown paper wrapping and Santa Claus. 

Timeless holiday accents and very fitting for a vintage home, and how I decorated in 2018. 

Christmas Sparkle

Ah, Christmas 2019. It was one where I needed a little Christmas now...and a little Christmas sparkle.

Christmas Tray Display with apples, flowers and votive candles

It had been a dreary fall and winter, I was missing my mom desperately, so I decided to lighten the season up a bit...with lights. 

Literally, a lot of lights. The whole house was illuminated. Candles and tiny lights that shimmered and twinkled. 

They were all the rage.

And it was lovely. So much so, that from that Christmas on, sparkle was a staple.

Creating A White Christmas

In 2020, I decided that I'd had enough red Christmases and I was going to focus on white Christmas decor instead.

Peeking Into Christmas Living Room

With tons of snow outside, I thought it might be a nice time to bring a little of that brightness inside for the holidays.

I used white roses, white painted signs and I replaced all the red checked curtains in my living room with long, ivory velvet panels.

I even gave my colorful Christmas village a monotone makeover.

It was all very charming.

And quite dramatic against a few pops of red. 

After all, as I said in that post, you can't ask a girl to go completely without. 😉

A Sentimental Christmas Tour

Christmas has always been a very sentimental time, bittersweet, filled with memories of happy moments and longing for those who are missed.

Christmas Snowbabies Collection

And in 2021 I leaned into it and pulled out only what spoke to me.

Treasures that decorated my childhood home. My mom's Snowbaby collection. A paper dolls book from my childhood, an exact replica, of what I had and played with each Christmas when I was little.

That's what I displayed. I didn't fuss with fresh balsam garland - I couldn't anyway, it makes me sneeze - but you get the idea.

This Christmas was all about the reason for the season and not about how my home would look in photos.

And honestly, that's how it should always be.

No Theme For Christmas

Last year was a throwback. All the way back to my childhood, when there was not theme for Christmas.

Santa In A Bathtub with ornaments as bubbles

My family had reached the end of their rope and decided that they were taking over. My days of directing the holiday decorating was over.

The singing Elmo was pulled out of storage and peacefully cohabitated with my thrift store Santa Claus sitting in a ceramic bathtub of shiny red ornaments.

My newly renovated hallway was turned into a Christmas forest from the unlikely combination of box store garland, vintage milk glass and Dollar Tree trinkets.

It looked absolutely fantastic.

I have to say, that themeless theme is worth repeating.

Plus, with the kids in charge, I get to focus on relaxing in front of the tree instead of unpacking boxes. 

And that's the best Christmas theme of all. 

Even in July.

Do you have a theme for Christmas?


Happy Decorating, Friends!
Kim Signature

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  1. Hi Kim! Loved this post! I grew up in a home with rigid themes and color palettes for everything! (We're talking Christmas decor to birthday parties to school clothes!) This has given me an appreciation for color and decorating but has also inspired me to be more flexible and less matchy-matchy. I gravitate toward non-traditional decorating colors for fall and the holidays. Texas rarely gives me a white Christmas, but I can create a blush pink holiday if my heart desires, lol!

    1. I love the idea of non-traditional holiday colors, especially blush pink! It's funny the impact our parents' influences have on us, isn't it...whether we stick close to what we grew up with, go in a totally opposite direction, or more likely, combine a bit of the two to find our own way...especially at Christmas!!

  2. I stay true to my style but I change it up every year in the decor pieces and my tree. I love the white neutral French cottage Christmas decor. Love seeing your beautiful color each year. Hugs. Kris

    1. I love all your white cottage Christmas decor, Kris. Over the years you’ve inspired me to lighten things up a bit and I love how it feels so fresh, even in the dead of winter.

  3. As a child through the 1960's we had no theme. Then, one year my Mother had a flocked tree and decorated with solid red ornaments. That became our tree theme for the next 20 years. Once Mama found something she liked, she stuck with it!
    In our own home, I have had a different theme for Christmas decorating every year for 41 yrs. 1 year. This year it will be The Twelve Days of Christmas. Think I'll sketch some gingerbread characters as characters from the Twelve Days, frame them and then use these to decorate the kitchen and family room while the decorated Christmas tree will be placed in the grandchildren's playroom.
    Oh and we had a huge clean out this year. My children and then sisters-in-law and other family went through our past Christmas decorations and took what they liked. The rest we donated to the Habitat for Humanity Restore.

    1. Julie, Christmas at your house sounds like so much fun!! I would love to see those gingerbread characters, you much be a true artist. What a gift! I really need to go through a lot of our stuff and donate it, as well. We purged a few years ago, but for some reason, Christmas decorations seem to multiply over the summer!! Thanks for the comment and I hope you'll share again!!

  4. Hi, I enjoyed this post. As the years go by I have changed my style a wee bit, I use to put up a huge village, but I do not do that anymore. I just put up a small village.

    I usually decorate with nature and I am doing more and more of it for the holidays too. I always will need twinkle lights, because I love twinkle lights.
    And we have a family themed Christmas tree with ornaments special to all of us. Some of those ornaments gifted to us, handmade or we purchased.

    1. I love the family tree, Carla. That's what I would say our tree is as well, a family themed tree. It's filled with the same, handmade, purchased on vacation or as a family or gifted from someone special...and those are the best ones!!

  5. I always say I'm going to have a theme, but it never happens. I decorate with the things I've had for many years. Yes, I've added a few new items, but I do what makes me happy!

    1. Doing what makes you happy is what decorating is all about in my book...especially at Christmas!! That's the best theme of all!!

  6. I loved reading through all your Christmases, and how you felt about each one. Taking on a different creative approach for each Christmas is impressive. All of the pictures looked beautiful and festive no matter what the theme was!! To quote my 2022 Christmas post, "there's nothing new here, it's the same old song of plaid, pine cones and greenery". I'll move things around, but I guess I'm not really interested in changing things up. My ornament collection includes as many of the ornaments from my childhood as I can possibly keep. And somehow I have built up a collection of blue pillows, table runner, snowman pitcher, and with all the thrift shopping this summer, I have found even more blue pieces to add to it. Thank you for the inspiration for next Christmas!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Kristine! Each year was special and as you said, nothing much new, just a new way to display them...mostly! Love the sound of your new blue Christmas decor. I can't wait to see it on display in December!!

  7. When I was a kid, our decorations were the same every year. Kind of boring, but seeing those things come out meant Christmas was here.
    I change things up from year to year, but have a lot the same too. And my theme is similar, usually rustic or farmhouse, but with a few new things added and some taken away.
    I loved seeing your pics of Christmas past!

    1. Thank you, Mari! I agree, boring, maybe, but seeing those familiar items was a surefire, and comforting, signal that Christmas was near and as a kid that's the best feeling!!

  8. Kim, I always put out the same traditional decorations each year. A few years ago I tried doing a theme and no one like it. They said it was so impersonal and that is why I don't have a theme Christmas! Kim, I did enjoy looking at your photos of Christmas. Have a happy Friday and weekend.

    1. Thanks so much, Julie and yes, I got the same reactions over here. Christmas traditions are more important than decor I guess and who am I to fight that sentiment!! Haha!!