• Abigail Shea

Home for the Holidays

Happy Holidays from ASI! I'm excited to share a tour of my simple, natural holiday decor and tips for holiday decorating that feels fresh and elevated.


I love decorating for the holidays. When temperatures start to drop and it gets dark at 2:30pm, bringing some warmth and joy inside with seasonal decor is really uplifting for me. That being said, commercialized holiday decorations make me literally uncomfortable. I hate that this season, intended to be about togetherness and simple pleasures, has become SO monetized and tacky. I could talk about capitalism’s grip on the holidays for hours, but the point is that big-box holiday decor is cheap, environmentally disastrous, and honestly *lowers voice to a whisper* really ugly.


But fear not! For behold, I bring you tidings of great decor ;)


My holiday decor tips are always the same--I wrote a similar blog last year about fall decorating-- and they echo the principles I use as a designer year round. Trust me, as I’m writing this I’m thinking to myself “dang, you’ve really gotta mix it up” but hey, let’s just call it good branding. But I think these ideas are worth repeating because they accomplish so much! Using natural materials, vintage pieces, and festive (but not explicitly holiday) decor you might already have is sustainable, affordable, and timeless. I’ve read plenty of blog posts about how to tastefully decorate for the holidays and usually the advice involves purchasing a lot of really expensive stuff. My tips are intended to not only elevate your holiday decor, but to save you money and reduce your consumption. In my opinion, a small collection of natural materials and timeless pieces is all you need for a beautiful home for the holidays.



1. Use ! Natural ! Materials !

Did you know....that I like natural materials? ;) But really, instead of filling your space with plastic, disposable holiday decorations, why not stick (pun absolutely intended) to pine boughs and winter berries? Nature makes way better decorations than Hobby Lobby.



2. Keep a simple color scheme with pops of interesting seasonal colors

If you keep your color scheme neutral, anything will match! Or “match,” I guess--not sure why we’re all so worried about matching anyways. So keep your base simple and neutral (no, you don’t need to switch out your beige throw pillows for red plaid ones!) and try adding some interesting seasonal colors in small ways. Reds and greens are obviously beautiful and festive, but why not try some other seasonal tones? This year we used oranges on our tree and I love the addition of that color. I also loved adding some gold, blue and...uh, ivory? That’s the best I could do--red is a big step for me, okay?!


(One could also try using dark purples, mustard yellows, maybe even a pale pink?)




3. Play with your display!

Time to rethink the way you display your decor. Yes, ornaments are for trees, but is there a different, fun way to show them off? Like, in a wooden bowl for example? And yes, technically presents are supposed to go under the tree but like, why not also vintage artwork? And don't forget to dress up those door knobs!




4. Add lots of festive, non-holiday pieces

I think a major reason that people are generally underwhelmed by their seasonal decor is because they add a handful of loud, explicitly seasonal decor items and call it good. That tends to look very themed and artificial. I’m a huge fan of adding non-holiday elements that in combination with some obviously Christmas-y items create a really festive feeling. The lanterns for example! I don’t think white paper lanterns really scream Christmas, but if you add six of them to the ceiling next to a Christmas tree, the whole room feels a little more special and seasonal. Do you have a spot you could stack some birch logs? What about just grouping a bunch of white pillar candles on your dining table? A bowl of dried orange slices?



5. Start with what you’ve got

If there’s one thing I hope you take away from this blog, it’s this -- look around, take inventory of what you already have, and try to use it in your holiday decor. This saves you money, time, and really cuts back on consumption. It also really helps tone down the “themed” holiday look! If you’ve bought something already and live with it year round you probably really love it--see if you can get creative with it and use it as part of your holiday decorations! We didn’t have a tree skirt, so I just used a few sheepskins I had. It saved me money and the unnecessary consumption of a cheap, tacky tree skirt from Christmas Tree Shops. Full disclosure, I realized quickly they might get ruined under there so I just wrapped the tree stand in some extra fabric I had! If you bought pretty wrapping paper and bows, why not use them as part of your decor? What about a dusty old chair you’ve got in the basement? Bring it up, tie a ribbon around it, and invite it to the party! There are so many ways to include items we already have and love in our seasonal decorating.




Wishing each of you a very happy & tasteful holiday season! Xoxo