These 14 Modern Christmas Decor Ideas Will Make You Rethink the Classics

Are you a fan of a modern aesthetic? If so, you’re in luck because today we’re bringing you the very best of modern Christmas decor. There’s no rule saying that Christmas decorating has to follow a traditional path. These pictures prove that sometimes thinking outside-the-box can be a very good thing. Keep scrolling for tips on how best to put together a modern Christmas aesthetic, as well as to see some great examples of how it’s done.

modern Christmas

Want to give your decorating a modern spin this holiday season? Follow these tips. Image: Louise de Miranda – 30’s Magazine

How to pull off a modern Christmas look

Putting together a modern take on Christmas decorating can be anything you make of it. Modern design is all about embracing individuality and this is no exception. If you know you want a modern look but aren’t sure where to start, we have you covered. Follow the tips below to ring in this holiday season in style.

  • Keep it simple: Modern design is synonymous with simplicity. In this case, less is more. Limit your design to just a few decorations, but do your best to make sure that each one has a big impact.
  • Switch up your color palette: Red and green may be the traditional colors of the Christmas season, but that doesn’t mean you have to incorporate them in your design. Expand your horizons and include other colors, whether they’re classically-modern neutrals or bold and bright shades.
  • Incorporate current trends: It almost goes without saying, but if you want to achieve a modern aesthetic, working with current design trends is a great way to make that happen. In particular, consider searching for decorations that are text-based or that include geometric patterns.

Check out these modern Christmas decor ideas


When it doubt, if you’re going for a modern Christmas look, keep it simple. With this banner, you don’t need anything else because the text says it all. Image: Mustard Seed Interiors


Rather than lining the mantle with the traditional garland this year, consider this paired down approach. Notecards with text can also evoke some of the season’s best imagery. Image: Stephanie Woody – Providence Homemade

Here, the tree is the one getting a makeover. Instead of hauling a huge tree in and out of your home, think about downsizing. The tree makes just as powerful of a statement as a coffee table centerpiece. Image: Kaegebein Fine Homebuilding

wall art

If you’re struggling to think of what decor to use, consider matching it to the function of the room. The “silent night” wall art is totally appropriate for decorating a modern nursery. Image: S.Flynn Designs


Light has always been a big part of the Christmas holidays. This year, think about switching out your traditional candlesticks for some on-trend lanterns. The bigger, the better! Image: Louise de Miranda – 30’s Magazine


Don’t let the winter weather stop you from incorporating the outdoors into your home’s design. Ferns and wreaths make for a rustic take on the Christmas season. Image: Julie Ranee Photography


Christmas doesn’t have to be all about red and green. This purple tree has all the trappings of the holiday season while also maintaining a personality of its own. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Image: Home at Last Interiors


If you do decide to keep to the traditional color scheme, keep in mind that you can still keep things feeling fresh by going for a subtler take on decorating. Notice how the red and white throw pillows evoke holiday nostalgia without being too on-the-nose. Image: Chris Snook


There’s nothing like minimalism to really drive home a modern aesthetic. Take this decor as an example. It only takes a few, key design elements to evoke the spirit of the holiday. Image: Houseology Design Group Limited


A neutral color palette is a surefire way to create a modern look. Mix things up this year and decorate with a variety of black, white, and gray shades. Image: Houseology Design Group Limited


Geometric patterns have been on-trend for a while. As you can see from this photo, there’s no reason not to include them in your holiday decor this season. Image: Add: Design


There’s no rule that says your Christmas decorations can’t include bold and bright shades, especially if you have little ones at home. This year, ring in the holiday with every color of the rainbow. Image: Anne Marie Photography


Sometimes it’s not what you choose to decorate with, it’s where you put it. Your ceiling can also be part of the holiday celebration. Image: Cortney Bishop Design

Which modern design elements will you add to your holiday decorating this year? Let us know in the comments.

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Here’s Everything You Need From Your Favorite Retailers To Create A Festive Christmas Dining Table

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If you’re thinking of hosting Christmas dinner at your home or apartment, we’re here to help you make it awesome. After viewing thousands of dining and tabletop products from all your favorite retailers, we’ve organized them into five on-trend Christmas dining table decorating categories: Whimsical Nordic; Black and White; Modern Red, White and Green; Snowflakes and Plaid. The products can mix and match with your existing tableware so you can make your Christmas table merry and bright.

Whimsical Nordic Christmas Dining Table Accessories

A Black And White Christmas Table

Modern Red, White And Green

A Snowflake Winter Dining Wonderland

christmas dining table

Plaid, Plaid, Plaid

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5 Ways to Create a Country Christmas Table Setting

When decorating for the holidays, it’s important to focus on the table setting. After all, it’s the peak gathering area for any traditional holiday meal. This holiday season, consider going for a country Christmas theme. Rustic chic is a popular decorating option. There’s also something about Christmas that can make us all feel a little bucolic. Maybe it’s the things from nature we bring into the house, like evergreen greens and holly, or the sight of classic Christmas ornaments. If you’d like to give your home a rustic and traditional holiday look, below are some country Christmas table setting ideas.

Country Christmas Table Setting Candy Cones

Traditional holiday candies are a playful way to set the mood. Image: AJ Margulis Interiors

Traditional Christmas candy table setting

Nothing says traditional and country like classic candies. The creative peppermint and gumdrop displays in the photo above provide a sweet, rustic setting. They’re also an instant focal point and conversation starter. These are easy to make, as well. Buy a Styrofoam cone from a craft store, then hot glue the candy onto the cone in whatever design you can imagine.

There are other ways to use candy is a traditional holiday table setting, too. You might fill Mason jars with traditional holiday sweets, like peppermint ribbon candy, for instance. Feel free to tap into your inner Willy Wonka and get creative.

Country Christmas Table Setting Natural Textures

Go natural with elements like cranberry strings draped on the table. Image: AMR Design

A rustic look with natural textures

Another way to get a rustic look for your country Christmas table setting is with natural textures. The photo above shows how plenty of natural textures create a cozy, country look. From the traditional cranberry strings to the evergreen on the table, this table setting has a woodsy feel. The white candles offer a classic ambiance while the reindeer antlers add to the festive cheer.

Along the mirror, natural textures like twigs and greenery add to the rustic, country feel. The pom-poms hanging from the light fixtures also have a natural texture, reminiscent of fuzzy cattails or burs.

Country Christmas Table Setting Bright Green

Small trees can give a country vibe, thanks to their natural texture. Image: Jules Duffy Designs

Minimalistic trees

You can also go for a slightly updated country Christmas table setting. The bright lime green gives this table setting an contemporary feel that just pops. The green shades also combine well with clean white shades in the candles, tableware and white tree. A green and white Christmas color scheme is a fun twist on the traditional red, green and white color schemes in most holiday decorating designs.

This table setting still has rustic textures in the wood around the vases and the trees on the table. Small trees are a good way to add natural, rustic textures to the table. The minimalist texture of the greenery on the table, however, still gives a stark, updated look. This is a great example of a rustic chic table design.

Country Christmas Table Setting Plaid Style

Green and red plaid is a good way to coordinate holiday colors in a space. Image: M&S

Country plaid

Nothing says classic and country like plaid. This kitchen table setting makes great use of the pattern in the table runners. Elements like the traditional English party cracker and the little present on the plate add to the pattern.

Other elements on the table also make the whole setting look delightfully country. The red pillar candles in the traditional Christmas cups are a fun feature. Sprigs of greenery in the center of the table round out the classic Christmas look.

Green and red plaid works well in a variety of different ways for a country Christmas table setting, too. You could go for plaid napkins, plaid chair skirts or even subtle plaid accents on dishes.

Country Christmas Table Setting Understated Look

You can use one element of greenery stretching the table to define the setting. Image: Houseology Design Group

An understated country Christmas table setting

The photo above is an example of a very subdued country Christmas look. The greenery running the length of the table gives this style a natural, traditional feel.

If you look closely, you can also see that there are bird figures on the napkins and reindeer figures on the two table ends. These animal-themed elements on the table add to the natural country feel. Small tea lights give off a classic ambiance and accent the large pillar candles. It all goes well with the rustic, textured dining room table. This display is a good example of a simple design that’s still effective in crafting a country style.

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15 Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes with Amazing Scents

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There’s nothing like the quintessential scents of Christmas wafting through the house. Pine, peppermint, cranberry and apple cinnamon all come to mind. An all-natural way to get these scents is to make your own holiday simmer scent pot. All these easy ideas require is throwing a few food items into a pot full of water. You then simmer them on medium heat until your home smells amazing. You can even put fresh or dried food items into a Mason jar for a thoughtful homemade simmer scent gift. Read on to discover several ideas for holiday simmer pot recipes. We’ll cover fruity scents, herbal scents and some scents made to mimic holiday food favorites. You can make some of these on your own and some you can even purchase premade.

Fruity holiday simmer pot recipes

Some of the most popular items to use in holiday simmer pot recipes are fruit. These release a delicious scent when boiled. Citrus scents are especially popular, since they give a clean, deodorizing scent to the home without the need for harsh chemicals. Cranberries are also especially popular this time of year, since few things say the holidays more than cranberries. Many recipes even call for apples and cinnamon, so you can get that fresh-baked holiday dessert scent wafting through your home. Take a look below for some delightfully fruity scents that are sure to make your home smell amazing this season.

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Orange Scent

This simmer scent uses orange and a variety of spices. Image: Etsy

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Lemon

This recipe contains dried lemons, rosemary and vanilla beans. Image: Dream a Little Bigger

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Orange and Cranberry Recipe

Orange and cranberry go well together in a holiday simmer scent. Image: Etsy


Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Cranberry Simmering

Here’s an idea that veers heavily into the cranberry scent; simply fill most of the pot with fresh cranberries. Image: Half Baked Harvest

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Spiced Cider

Get the apple scent of spiced cider with this blend. Image: Etsy

Herbal holiday simmer pot recipes

Certain herbal scents are also popular during the holidays. Cinnamon always conjures up images of holiday cooking in the form of Snickerdoodles and a holiday apple pie. Fresh sprigs of pine are also popular choices for holiday simmer pot recipes. If you get a live Christmas tree, you can simply take a few sprigs off the back of the tree and stick them in your simmer pot for a boosted pine scent in the home. If you want a more rich, unique scent, check out options like licorice. So take a look below for some top ideas on how to get a wonderful herbal scent in your home for the holidays.

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Herbal

This heady blend contains cloves, anise, cinnamon, ginger and orange. Image: Etsy

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Potpourri Bags

Here’s a set of three dried simmering potpourri packs boasting a complex blend of herbs: it comes in Pumpkin Spice, Country Spice and Spiced Apple and Peel. Image: Etsy

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Pine and Lemon

Keep your home smelling fresh this season by simmering some fresh pine and lemon peels. Image: Kimberly Belle

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Clove Scent

Amazing scents like clove, rosemary and cardamom make this simmering Potpourri a delight. Image: Etsy

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Bay Herb

Bay and licorice will appeal to anyone who likes the heady scent of strong herbs. Image: Etsy

Holiday food favorites

Holiday cooking fills the home with its own amazing smells, of course. But what if you want your home to smell like holiday cooking even where you’re not entertaining? Or what if you want a specific food smell that reminds you of Christmases past, even if that’s not the food you’re preparing at the moment?

That’s where food-themed holiday simmer pot recipes come in handy. With some simple items added to a pot of water, you can create amazing scents like pumpkin spice, candy cane and apple pie. Check out these easy ways to boost those amazing holiday food smells without always having to cook a full meal or dessert.

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Peppermint and Cranberries

Get the smell of peppermint and cranberries with this combination of ingredients. Image: Gabrielle Tyler

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Pumpkin Pie Spice

Here’s a recipe for pumpkin pie scent perfection. Image: Pinterest

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Apple Scent

This apple cinnamon recipe is sure to make your home smell like everyone’s favorite pie. Image: Etsy  

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Candy Cane and Pine

Here’s another idea for using actual peppermint candy in your simmer pot: combine a candy cane with fresh pine and cranberries. Image: Do It Yourself Divas

Holiday Simmer Pot Recipes Orange Clove and Orange

Having oranges with cloves stuck in them is a popular way to add some foody scents to the home, so boost this delicious scent by simmering them. Image: A Beautiful Mess

What’s your favorite holiday scent or simmer pot recipe? Let us know in the comments.

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4 Ideas for a Traditional Christmas Room Design

Christmas is a unique time. You can deck out your home in the most traditional of ways and never have it go out of style. That’s because our cultural ideal of Christmas is one from a traditional era. It’s the scenes set in our favorite holiday songs and stories: lush evergreen decorations, festive ribbon and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. A traditional Christmas truly is timeless year after year. Below, we’ll cover some key ways to establish a traditional Christmas room design this season.

Traditional Christmas Red and Green Style

Pops of bright red bring any holiday decorating design to life. Image: Leanne Michael

Use red and green

This idea may seem obvious, but a trend in many modern homes is to eschew the traditional Christmas colorings. All-white color schemes, blue color schemes and even black and white color schemes are all modern choices for decorating at Christmastime.

To keep it traditional and timeless, you’ll definitely want to stick to a red and green color scheme in your holiday decorating. Pops of bright red are especially popular; you might want to think of using red as an accent color. You have many options, like bright red throw pillows, presents under the tree and seasonal figures around the room.

Then you can balance these red accents with plenty of deep forest green. The natural green can come from the Christmas tree itself, garlands, throw pillows, small table trees or seasonal green statuary.

Traditional Christmas Textures and Layers

Different textures like lush plant life and smooth ornaments can give a layered look to the decorations. Image: The Yellow Cape Cod

Go traditional with layers

A common design trick in traditional homes it to decorate in layers. Traditional designs favor lots of texture and layers of color. It’s part of what makes traditional design and Christmas decorating go so well together. The traditional look allows you to fill up your space with all those seasonal heirlooms, trinkets and other decorations you’ve accumulated over the years.

In order to get those layers, you should first focus on placing different textures around the room. Layer deep textures like wreaths and smoother textures like ceramic figures, for instance. You should also layer color. For instance, you might have cherry red throw pillows and deep burgundy seasonal floral arrangements. You can play with this idea and get truly creative with it.

Traditional Christmas Groupings

The mantel is a great place to assemble your holiday treasures. Image: M&S

Get a traditional Christmas by using groupings

A challenge with decorating for the holidays is how to incorporate all those disparate items into one cohesive design. We tend to get all kinds of holiday items as gifts from family, from Secret Santas at work and by finding items we like ourselves. And then there are all those family heirlooms that come down to us through the ages. Often there’s no way to make sure all our holiday home items look like they’re from the same collection.

One way to bypass this problem is to use small groupings throughout your home. If you have a collection of snowmen, for instance, think about placing them together. For example, you could gather them on top of a long side table. This creates a sort of diorama that stands on its own as a distinct element in the room. You could also do this with different items sharing similar colors. Or arrange a table setting devoted to just heirlooms.

Traditional Christmas Natural Items

Natural textures like intricate centerpieces and evergreen on the light fixtures can give an instant traditional feel. Image: Dawn Hearn Interior Design

Go for lots of natural textures

Another element of a traditional Christmas is keeping it natural. Traditional Christmas scenes are full of lush evergreen textures in garlands and trees. Colorful poinsettias often sit on multiple surfaces. Other seasonal flower arrangements like deep red and white flowers make great centerpieces. Wall hangings commonly have sprigs of evergreen in them. Rings of natural seasonal plant life go well around candleholders.

Outside of using realistic plant life, traditional Christmas decorations also often have natural motifs. Think everything from throw pillows depicting poinsettias to table runners with rich flower and berry patterns. Faux items can be good stand-ins if you don’t want any of your pets eating real poinsettias, since poinsettias can make them sick. (You can also learn how to use natural textures year-round here.)

Do you like the traditional Christmas look? Let us know your favorite designs below.

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6 Easy Ways to Update Your Christmas Decorating

Christmas decorating ideas

Update your Christmas decorating with on-trend gold accessories. Image: Williams Sonoma Home

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We live for Christmas decorating. The planning and preparation for this special day is part of the magic of the season. With so many events and details to handle, it’s easy to reach for the same decorations every year. There are definitely ornaments and decor that are special to you and will always be a part of your Christmas decorating. By planning a little in advance, though, you can give yourself time to replenish your decorations and add new colors and designs to your home this holiday season. You’ll want to start with a decorating plan so that everything will come together for the big day. To help you with your plan, we’ve created a Christmas decorating checklist.

Ready to Update Your Christmas Decorating? Start Here:

Christmas Wreath Pottery Barn

Silver and gold ornaments are the perfect Christmas decorating accent. Image: Pottery Barn

Christmas is about family gatherings and tradition. There’s no doubt that your Christmas decorations are cherished every year, so it’s important to honor that while updating your home’s holiday look. While you’re going over your plans to decorate this year, it’s also a great time to freshen up your Christmas decor.

If you’d like to give your Christmas decorating a fresh look you’ll want to focus on these six things:

  • Freshen Up Color: The easiest way to update your Christmas decorating is through a new color palette.
  • Create a Plan: Use social media like Pinterest to get inspiration for this year’s Christmas decorating.
  • Make Hard Decisions: Deciding what to keep and what to donate is crucial in making space for your new look.
  • Stick With Your Plan: Once you decide on a new Christmas decorating plan, sticking to that plan will save you time and frustration.
  • Make It a Whole-House Project: Carry your new Christmas decor scheme from room to room.
  • Organize as You Go: Stay organized as you’re unwrapping treasured Christmas decor and unboxing new items.

1. Freshen Up Your Color Palette This Christmas

Draper James Christmas Decorating

Your Christmas color palette doesn’t have to be complicated. Neutrals make beautiful accents with traditional holiday colors. Image: Crate & Barrel

We love traditional Christmas colors like green and red — you can use them as your base when you update your palette. Silver and gold metallics are an easy way to add more color to your decor, but you’ll want to consider copper and brushed gold if you’re creating a contemporary color palette.

Choosing colors for your Christmas decorating is easy because you don’t have to limit yourself to just a few. You’ll want to choose three main colors for your decorating plan, then add three accent colors to your palette (and metallics to tie everything together).

2. Create a New Christmas Decorating Plan

Coastal Style Christmas Decorating

Christmas decorating inspiration with coastal style. Image: Pottery Barn

If you’re ready to freshen up your Christmas decor, it’s time to make a plan. Making a decorating plan isn’t as formal as it sounds. What you’ll be doing is looking through your favorite social media (Pinterest is ideal for this) for inspiration and ideas. Once you have a vision in mind, note the colors that seem to pop up in every image you love. When you decide on a theme for your decorating this year, you’ll know exactly what’s right for your updated Christmas decorating plan when you go shopping.

3. Make Room for New Decorations

Contemporary Christmas Decorations

Keep what you love while making space for new Christmas decor that reflects who you are now. Image: Crate & Barrel

Your treasured ornaments and decorations are a big part of your Christmas traditions and will be the center of your updated decorating plan. Like any decluttering project, going through all of your decorations can help you decide which pieces are truly keepsakes and which are not. We’ve all accumulated boxes of ornaments and decorations over the years that are put up out of habit. These are the items that can be replaced by updated decor as part of your new decorating plan.

4. Stick With Your Christmas Decorating Plan

Christmas Decor Ideas

Charming Christmas throw pillows are easy accent decor for your living room. Image: Crate & Barrel

Now that you have a beautiful new Christmas color scheme and decorating plan, your goal is to stay focused as you shop for new decorations. When you know exactly what your new vision looks like, you’re less likely to impulse shop. While it’s best to stay within your plan, allow yourself a few must-have ornaments that you know will become keepsakes for years to come. The secret is in creating a beautiful foundation to highlight your most cherished decorations.

5. Flow Your Christmas Decorating Throughout Your Home

Bathroom Christmas Decorations Wayfair

Decorate your guest bath with fun Christmas decor. Image: Wayfair

Spread the Christmas decorating love throughout your home. Seasonal throw pillows, blankets and wall art can be used in any room. For your guest baths, Christmas towels and even a shower curtain can make guests feel at home during the holidays.

6. Save Time Next Year by Organizing Your Christmas Decor Now

Christmas Decoration Storage Ideas

Pretty and practical ornament storage boxes make organizing easy. Image: The Container Store

We know that the last thing on our minds as we decorate for Christmas is next year, but taking a little more time to organize while decorating can save time and hassle later on. If you’re going to be storing some decorations in their original boxes, labeling the boxes as you decorate makes packing them away later so much easier. There are usually big sales after Christmas on ornament and decor storage boxes and tubs. Take advantage of those before you take everything down this year.

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Freshome Holiday Gift Guide: Crafty Boho-Chic Gifts For The Etsy Lover

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Etsy has a wonderful collection of home goods and gifts. But many are one-of-a-kind and go fast. If you’re shopping for someone who loves objects that look handcrafted and natural, check out these boho-chic gifts for the Etsy lover.

boho chic gifts

1. Blue Agate Coasters (Set Of 4) at Amazon, $28

boho chic gifts

These natural coasters make beautiful art objects when not in use.

2. Green Owl Vases at Pier 1, $10 – $20

bohemian gift ideas

Whimsical owl vases in one of the most popular colors of the year: sage.

3. Amped Fleece Throw Blanket at Urban Outfitters, $49

boho chic gift ideas

This fleece throw is soft, inviting and chunky in texture. Plus, the color works well with nearly any decor.

4. Opalhouse Diamond Rattan Pendant at Target, $70

boho chic gift ideas for the home

This easy-to-install pendant light adds a modern bohemian look to any space.

5. Olivewood 2-Piece Salad Serving Set at Crate & Barrel, $25

bohemian gifts

Each set of handmade, eco-friendly olive wood salad servers is one of a kind.

6. Water Hyacinth Placemat at Pier 1, $8 each

boho chic gifts

This placement is lightweight and versatile. Use it at your table setting, as a centerpiece or even hang it on the wall.

7. Tamsin Wall Hanging at Anthropologie, $68

gifts for etsy lovers

This handwoven tapestry adds a global bohemian vibe to any room.

8. Charest Chunky Knitted Throw at Wayfair, $100

bohemian gift ideas

This chunky throw would make a wonderful Christmas gift for cold winter nights.

9. Hanging Glass Terrarium at Crate & Barrel, $30

natural gift ideas

A hanging glass terrarium with a no-maintenance faux succulent arrangement inside can be hung in a corner or window.

10. Janel Foo Glassworks Modern Geo Suncatcher at West Elm, $54 to $88

boho chic gift ideas

These handcrafted stained glass suncatchers work well on a wall or, better yet, hanging in a sunny window.

11. Opalhouse Decorative Natural Basket at Target, $20

natural gift ideas for the home

This handmade, natural fiber basket can be used for many purposes.

12. Papetal Floral Plate at Anthropologie, $16

These unique, hand-painted plates have a zen feel.

13. Opalhouse Round Rattan Mirror at Target, $50

boho chic gifts for the home

Rattan is one of the best-selling materials on Etsy and this rattan mirror would work well in nearly any setting.

14. Opalhouse Macrame Velvet Throw Pillow at Target, $30

bohemian gift ideas

Luxurious velvet and macrame fringe add an artisanal, bohemian vibe to this throw pillow.

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Here’s How To Light A Christmas Tree Like A Pro – In 10 Steps

If you look at the most beautiful Christmas tree displays, you’ll notice the trees are lit to the nines. Designers and visual display experts know that loads of lighting is what makes a Christmas tree magical. You’re about to get a crash course on how to light a Christmas tree in 10 simple steps. Your tree will never look better.

1. Match your light cables to the color of the tree

how to light a christmas tree

Homeowners used white light cords to hide in the silvery grey tree. Image: Jennifer M. Ramos

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but many people don’t think about it. Have a flocked white tree? Go with a white cord. Traditional green pine? Use green cord or cable. Your tree will look far more magical when it looks like the sparkles just float.

2. Use more lights than you think you need

how to light a Christmas tree

This stunning tree is all lights and no ornaments. Image: Rikki Snyder

The Christmas trees you see on TV and in magazines look magical because they are dazzling. When lighting your tree, more is more. LED lights are safer – they don’t heat up like traditional lights – plus they tend to last longer and cost less to run. And nowadays, LEDs are fairly inexpensive, making them worth the upgrade.

As a general rule of thumb for how many lights you’ll want to use, get two to three 100-light sets for every foot of your tree’s height.

3. Check your lights BEFORE you hang them

One of the most common (and annoying) mistakes is to string your lights on the tree only to discover some don’t work. Lay your lights out on the floor or a table, plug them in and check them before you hang them.

4. Use a special tree light extension cord to make life easier

how to light your Christmas tree

The Woods 9-outlet extension cord for Christmas trees is only $8 on Amazon and will make lighting your tree easier.

If you have several strands of lights to work with, pick up a 9-outlet Christmas tree cord. String it up along the trunk of the tree with outlets at the bottom, center and top of the tree. Using this trick saves you from having to run all your plugs to the bottom of the tree.

5. Put your lights on a timer

christmas tree lighting ideas

A timer will let you enjoy the glow of the tree longer and will turn the lights off automatically when everyone’s in bed. Image: Balsam Hill

A simple timer helps you enjoy your tree more without having to keep your tree on at all hours. Set which times you’ll be coming and going and enjoy waking up in the morning or coming home from work to your beautifully lit tree.

6. Focus on lighting your tree in two places

christmas tree lighting tips

Colorful lights add a whimsical look to your Christmas tree. Image: Unexpected Interiors

Most people string their lights along the outer branches. This works well, but the inside of the tree will appear dark. Consider lighting the inside of the tree by stringing lights close to the trunk to cast an outward glow.

For a cool light display, consider lighting the trunk in white and the branches in color. Keep tabs on which plug powers the sections so you can light each section separately. Wait ’til you see how cool your tree will look late at night if you only power the trunk lights.

7. String your tree with the lights plugged in

 secrets to lighting a christmas tree

When you light your tree, leave the lights on and step back regularly to look for dark spots. Image: Llama Group

If you’re working with LED lights that don’t heat up, light them up before you hang them. It will help you see how the lights are looking as you go. Step back now and then, squint your eyes to assess how you’re spacing the lights out, find dark spots and adjust as you go.

8. String your lights vertically and in sections

how to light a christmas tree

Focus on lighting small sections of your tree one at a time. Image: Regina Gust

Most people spiral their lights around the Christmas tree horizontally in circles until they get to the top. The lights often end up too close to the trunk, with most of the twinkly glow getting lost inside the tree.

Visualize your tree in three sections: top, middle and bottom. Run lights up and down each section. Your lights will sparkle more and will be easier to remove later. As you run your lights vertically, wrap around branches and slightly zig-zag your lights so you don’t get an obvious line.

9. Strategically place your ornaments

Christmas tree lighting ideas

Place reflective ornaments near and behind the lights to reflect the glow. Image: Robeson Design

To create the best Christmas tree glow, hang your shiniest ornaments deeper in the tree and next to a light bulb to reflect the tree lights back out.

10. Don’t skimp on the bottom of the tree

how to light your christmas tree right

Light the bottom of the tree well enough to showcase presents and floor ornaments. Image: Lorde Interior Design

Use plenty of lights underneath the lowest branches to create a downward glow that highlights your nativity scene, presents and more.

Now that you know how to light a Christmas tree like a pro, let us know how your tree looks and which tip helped you the most.

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Freshome Gift Guide: Gift Exchange Or Secret Santa Gifts Under $20

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Need some Secret Santa gifts under $20 that nearly anyone would appreciate? Shopping for these types of items can be a challenge, especially when you’re gift exchanging at the office with coworkers you don’t know well. We’ve found a great selection of small and unique gifts to help.The best part is, all of these gift exchange or White Elephant gift ideas cost $20 or less.

Secret Santa gifts under $20

1. Gold Gnome Snow Globe

white elephant gifts AND gnomes

Gnomes have a big cult following, and this gold one with gold snow may be a very lucky Secret Santa gift for the recipient. Gold Gnome Snow Globe at CB2, $20.

2. Wash Appetizer Plates

Secret Santa Gifts under $10

These Asian-inspired appetizer plates can be used as dishes, trays, candle holders or catch-alls. Mix and match as many as the Secret Santa rules allow for. Wash Appetizer Plates at CB2, $3.50 each.

3. Blackcard Playing Cards

gift ideas under $10

These sleek and modern jet black playing cards would be well appreciated by a design lover. Blackcard Playing Cards at CB2, $10.

4. 5-Minute Turquoise Hourglass

secret santa gifts under $10

This small hourglass is not only decorative, it can mark a short, 5-minute break or task. 5-Minute Turquoise Hourglass at CB2, $5.

5. Inlay Wood Black And White Coasters (set of 4)

secret santa gifts under $10 for the home

A stunning geometric coaster set that can also double as a candle holder. Inlay Wood Black and White Coasters (set of 4) at CB2, $10.

6. Small Natural Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp

gift ideas under $20

Himalayan salt lamps are very popular because the salt has ionic and purifying properties. No two are alike and make great Secret Santa gifts. Small Natural Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp at Bed Bath & Beyond, $15.

7. Monogram Jewelry Boxes

christmas gift ideas under $20

A lovely porcelain box can work to hold office supplies, jewelry and other small items. Monogram Jewelry Boxes at Anthropologie, $14 each.

8. Self Watering Herb Pot

gift ideas under $20

These modern, self-watering pots are a good way to wall-mount and display an herb garden. Self Watering Herb Pot at Amazon, $20.

9. Betty Smoke Set of 6 Tea Light Candle Holders

secret santa gift ideas

These textured glass votive holders are a good way to create ambiance in any room setting. Betty Smoke Set of 6 Tea Light Candle Holders at CB2, $18.

10. 6-Pocket Armrest Organizer with Tray Top

secret santa gift ideas under $10

Who wouldn’t appreciate a sofa or armchair caddy that fits over nearly any arm? 6-Pocket Armrest Organizer with Tray Top at Bed Bath & Beyond, $10.

11. Buffalo Check Coasters (set of 8)

gift exchange ideas

These fun coasters are a good way to break the ice when hosting a party. Who’s naughty and who’s nice? Buffalo Check Coasters (set of 8) at Crate and Barrel, $14.

12. Jones New York Gym Set Collection

secret santa gift ideas under $15

A simple black workout set includes a water bottle, shampoo and body wash and a microfiber towel. Jones New York Gym Set Collection at Bed Bath & Beyond, $13.

13. Felt Letter Board

secret santa gifts

This board can be wall hung or placed on the easel. The included letters can create custom messages, for a unique Secret Santa gift idea. Felt Letter Board at Amazon, $19.

14. Your Highness Iridescent Crown Bottle Stopper

small gift ideas

This iridescent glass wine stopper proclaims who’s the boss at any party. Your Highness Iridescent Crown Bottle Stopper at CB2, $12.

What are your favorite Secret Santa gifts? Let us know in the comments!

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Freshome Holiday Gift Guide: Smart Home Gift Ideas For The Tech Lover

An automated home that you can run from your smartphone or voice-activated hub is no longer a thing of the future. Here are some unique tech accessories and smart home gift ideas for the tech lover in your life.

1. Google Home Mini (2-Pack)

smart home gift ideas

Powered by Google Assistant to answer your questions, each Google Mini can also play music, control appliances, find a lost smartphone or broadcast messages to other rooms. Google Home Mini (2-Pack) at Bed Bath & Beyond, $78.

2. Roku Streaming TV Stick

smart home gift ideas and tech gifts

Plug the stick into any TV or screen with a USB to stream movies, shows and video. Comes with 1 month free Hulu service. Roku Streaming TV Stick at Target, $50.

3. Withings/Nokia Body+ Smart Body Composition Wi-Fi Digital Scale

smart home gifts and health gift ideas

Smart home gift ideas can also help you get healthy. This scale monitors weight, body fat, water percent, muscle & bone mass and sends the info to your smart phone wirelessly. Withings/Nokia Body+ Smart Body Composition Wi-Fi Digital Scale at Amazon, $100.

4. Audio Pro T3 Speaker at Pottery Barn, $249

smart home gift ideas and best bluetooth speakers

This portable Bluetooth speaker has a retro look and delivers 25 Watts of sound. Audio Pro T3 Speaker at Pottery Barn, $249.

5. Smartphone Pocket DJ Mixer at Amazon, $100

smartphone accessories and tech gift ideas

Connect the Pocket DJ to your smartphone to create your own custom music mixes on the fly.

6. TP-Link Kasa Mini Outlet Smart Plug

smart home connectivity

Plug this into a wall socket and turn nearly any home electrical device into an automated smart home device. Alexa compatible. TP-Link Kasa Mini Outlet Smart Plug at Amazon, $27.

7. Wemo Dimmer WiFi Light Switch

smart home gift ideas

This sleek wall switch is Wi-Fi-enabled to communicate with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Home Kit so you don’t have to get out of bed again to turn off or dim the lights. Wemo Dimmer Wi-Fi Light Switch at Amazon, $50.

8. Touchscreen Mist Cleaner at Amazon, $10

tech gadgets and tech gifts

An award-winning device that uses a fine mist to clean touchscreens gently.

9. Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Smart Notebook

tech gift ideas

A reusable notebook that can be wiped clean after you sync your notes or doodles to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud or email. Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Smart Notebook at Amazon, $30.

10. Weber iGrill Mini

smart kitchen decides and tech cooking gifts

There’s a free app for this digital thermometer so you can remotely adjust temperature and get notifications when your food is ready. Weber iGrill Mini at Amazon, $28.

11. Nest Thermostat E

smart home gifts

Save money and control your home’s temperature with this smart thermostat that knows when you’re home (or gone) and can be remotely controlled via a smartphone app. Nest Thermostat E at Jet, $169.

12. Drop Wireless Charger

tech gift ideas

Place your iPhone on the non-slip base of this wireless charger and it will charge without plugging it in. Drop Wireless Charger at CB2, $60.

13. Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug

smart home gifts

For those who are picky about how hot their coffee or tea is, this ceramic mug will maintain a hot drink at the precise temperature set. Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug at Amazon, $80.

14. Petcube Bites Wi-Fi Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser

best smart home gifts

Send your pet some love while you’re at work. This wireless camera can be viewed remotely from your smartphone. And if your pet is smart enough to check in with you by approaching the camera, you can remotely release a treat for them to enjoy. Petcube Bites Wi-Fi Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser at Amazon, $222.

What are your favorite smart home gift ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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