The Holidays are my absolute favorite time of year. Thanksgiving is around the corner, with its amber, rusty and sage green hues. Yet soft candle-light, eucalyptus leaves and gourds, hay bales, muddy boots and pumpkin spice are already making a swift exit in favor of fir and pine, mulled wine, glitter and gold, colors bright and bold.
Brown paper and twine, twinkling lights, shiny baubles and cozy firesides, define this upcoming season. Whether you intend to decorate right after Hallowe'en (hello, 2020), or are about to hit the shops for some fresh new pieces, I'd like to share what's trending this 2021 Holiday Season. Let's dive in.
First in line, a trend that is rising strong in 2021; the SCANDI CHIC. This Hygge-inspired décor finds its roots in Scandinavia and has a timeless minimalist appeal that has been simmering at the top of Holiday look books over the last couple of years.
Defined by organic, hand-crafted materials, this elevated natural look plays with clean lines, symmetry and warmth. Items are primarily fashioned out of wood, paper products and straw. The word Hygge originated in Norway, meaning "well-being” and was then adopted by the Danes, loosely translated as: "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality, exuding a feeling of contentment". What better way to define the Holiday season?
Garlands, strung with twine, are adorned with straw-bound angels, stars and snowflakes. Delicate, accordion paper baubles, star-shaped paper lanterns and intricately carved wood ornaments form the essence of Scandi Chic.
The beauty of this minimalist look is that it blends in seamlessly in both the contemporary and traditional home; in the former its clean lines lend an earthy, softer warmth, while in the latter, it has the effect of simplifying and uncluttering a more exuberant, plush setting.
This design plays on whites, sage greens and light wood tones, traditionally garnished with a splash of red. If your preference is neutral elegance, then avoid the red and add a hint of sparkle and gold instead. Retailers who really excel at this style are Crate and Barrel, Molbak's, and of course, IKEA.
"Defined by organic, hand-crafted materials, this elevated natural look plays with clean lines, symmetry and warmth."
Also coming in hot this season is the MERRY BOHO look, defined by a bright color palette that is more daring than the traditional red, green, silver and gold. Think vibrant pastels that boldly mix pinks with reds and peacock blues with emerald greens. Textures are soft and tactile, featuring felt, wool and chunky knits. You’ll typically find more of this bohemian style in World Market and Anthropologie. For a more refined Merry Boho, try West Elm.
This is a fun aesthetic to roll with for the Holidays and if you’re not sure about going all out on color and texture, you can complement this décor with paired down neutrals, so that the high energy hues and sumptuous fabrics don’t overwhelm. Juxtapose an eclectic mix of color on your tree and gorgeous felt garlands hanging from your ceiling, alongside clear LED lights, glass hurricane candle holders and simple fresh greenery on your tabletop. When color is bold, less is more.
Experiment with pom-poms, felt wreaths and pearlescent multi-colored baubles. Go to town with bottlebrush trees in ombré or multicolor, (these are ubiquitous!) and be liberal with your statement slogans. Pottery Barn’s “Oh What Fun” bright red garland is one of my favorites to hang over the mantel.
Anything goes when it comes to the ornaments you choose to adorn your tree; mix felt with glass, vintage with modern eclectic and throw in the multicolored lights if you dare. Be merry and above all, shine bright!
"Pinecones or dried oranges add texture and olfactory appeal to verdant foliage."
Meanwhile, simple rustic, defined by me as the TWINE & PINE look, has been making a resurgence. There is an understated beauty, especially in the Pacific Northwest, in decorating in a way that reflects our local natural habitat. It can also be an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to decorate and wrap gifts.
This look relies on adorning our home with the nature that surrounds us, bringing the outdoors in. Foliage in the guise of cedar, pine, fir, eucalyptus, or holly make beautiful centerpieces throughout the home; from your mantel to your staircase and of course, the table. This greenery has outstanding longevity and will stay fresh throughout the season, as well as infusing your home with an authentic holiday scent.
Earthy and elegant, this woodsy vibe is best paired with whites and natural fabrics, such as twine, burlap, jute and raffia – or even flax linen. Clear and iridescent baubles are a designer’s well-kept secret; they complement any holiday décor by reflecting the light in a delicate hue of rainbow colors. And they work especially well in amongst rustic naturals.
I love to add some vintage appeal to this whimsical look with mercury glass votives, ornaments and decorative centerpieces in and around the whites and greens. Pillar candles and simple clear fairy lights complete this sophisticated Modern Farmhouse chic. Pinecones or dried oranges add texture and olfactory appeal to verdant foliage – spray paint with silver or gold glitter for extra pizzazz.
"Clear and iridescent baubles are a designer’s well-kept secret."
When it comes to wrapping presents, this rustic elegance is hands down my favorite look: brown paper, hand tied with a natural ribbon of your choice and given a little personal touch with a variety of festive branches, including traditional pine, rosemary, mistletoe or even dried florals, like thistle. I like to add a miniature vintage bauble to mine and of course, a handwritten gift tag. For ribbons and supplies, visit Michaels, Molbak's and Paper Source. But above all, be resourceful and see what you can find in your own garden.
Last, but not least, meet the NOSTALGIC TRADITIONAL. This time-honored festive fashion transcends seasonal fads year after year and holds the archetypal Christmas Tree, at its heart.
The origins of the Christmas Tree stretch far back to the ancient Egyptian and Roman civilizations’ symbolic use of evergreen foliage. Representations of peace and prosperity, greenery was also hung atop doors to ward off “evil spirits”. Germany, however, is where the tradition of decorating a tree through the holiday season was first compounded, in the 16th Century.
It was Germanic settlers on the East Coast of the United States, who are credited with bringing the concept of a decorated tree to American shores. Early décor comprised of delectable edibles including berries, nuts, apples and oranges. Popcorn was strung together and dyed in bright colors adorning its branches, alongside homemade marzipan goodies. To this day, in many cultures, hanging fine chocolates and wrapped cookies on the tree is still very much a tradition.
Red, green and gold are the venerated trio of choice in traditional Holiday décor, while foliage preference leads to fir and pine. Trees real or faux are adorned by pretty bows, candy canes, fairy lights and, if you can pull it off, tinsel. Stockings hang over the hearth, opulent garlands wrap around staircases and balsam fir wreaths grace the porch. Berry reds are now often replaced by feathery whites, while shimmering silvers stand in favor of gold, adding sophisticated elegance to this classic genre.
The last couple of years have also marked the return of plaid and buffalo check, harking back to Celtic heritage. Use plaid in bedding, throws or decorative pillows for a modern cabin chic.
When paying homage to true holiday nostalgia, prop a vintage sleigh under the tree, hang an old pair of ice skating boots on the wall and place Christmas bells at the front door. Snohomish town's antique stores are a great spot to pick up original or re-finished pieces, but I love Kirkland's very own Clementine Shoppe for a winter wonderland of beautiful, hand-picked Holiday décor items that echo traditional sophistication.
And with that, happy decorating and cheers to a joyous, healthy Holiday Season!