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Scandinavian-Inspired Christmas Decor

Christmas is only a few weeks away and the excitement is starting to build in our household. This is the first year that our son seems to have a really firm grasp of what this whole “Christmas” thing entails. He’s been running around the house shouting Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs and telling his little sisters they’d better behave or else they’re going to be on the naughty list. He’s also been begging us to decorate our house in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.

We’ve been putting off decorating this year; partly because we decided to get a real tree, and we want to keep it from turning into pile of dried-up needles by the time Christmas arrives. Also, at two years old, the girls are in the midst of a full-on destruction phase these days. I can already see them yanking the stockings down off the mantle and throwing our delicate glass ornaments like bouncy balls. (I can’t tell you how many times our fall pumpkins were dropped, thrown, smacked, licked, etc). For these reasons, I’m thinking we’ll take a more minimal approach to our Christmas decor this year.


Scandinavian design is characterized by minimalism and simplicity, without sacrificing beauty. When it comes to Christmas decor, the Scandinavian approach is to keep it simple, with lots of neutral tones and natural elements. It embodies a cozy and peaceful feeling that can be a achieved with a few key elements. After browsing Pinterest for some inspiration, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite Scandinavian-inspired Christmas decor ideas.

Neutral colours and tones

Scandinavian design is marked by a neutral colour palette (think lots of white, cream, brown, and grey), often with a pop of colour. For Christmas decor, a splash of black adds a cozy, elegant touch.

Bring the outdoors in

Scandinavians tend to value nature and spending time outdoors, and this is reflected in their home decor, which involves lots of indoor plants and fresh flowers. For Christmas, focus on bringing the outdoors in with decorations featuring fresh greenery, such as pine and eucalyptus, as well as pinecones and branches.

Soft lighting

Nordic winters are long and dark. In some parts of northern Norway, the sun doesn’t climb above the horizon between late November to late January. It’s no wonder that lots of soft, cozy lighting is an important Nordic design element. Lots of candles and string lights can help achieve a warm Christmassy feeling.

Lots of texture

Not only are Nordic winters long, the temperatures are often extremely cold. Hygge is an untranslatable Danish word that connotes coziness, and Scandinavian design often incorporates the use of warm textures to achieve this state. Use soft pillows, rugs, and furry throws made from wool or sheepskin.

Natural elements

Scandinavian design incorporates a lot of natural materials, like wood, leather, linen, and wool. Try wrapping your gifts in brown paper and adding some twine and leaves or bits of pine.

Small Christmas trees

In order to save space and break from tradition a little, choose a small tree and put it in a wicker basket or planter. Another way to “minimize” your tree (and to keep your favourite ornaments out of small hands) is to keep it natural and go with a bare tree with some string lights.

Modern/geometric designs

Scandinavian design often incorporates a modern element. For Christmas, geometric shapes and clean lines can come into play with modern art prints, garlands, and ornaments.

DIY

A lot of Scandinavian decor gives off a handcrafted feeling. Simple DIY projects, such as the ones below, are a nice way to add a personal touch to your decor. Plus, having the kids involved in making some of the decor makes it that much more meaningful.

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