As the holiday season approaches, many people begin thinking about how to deck their halls with a touch of festive cheer. For those who appreciate a design aesthetic that’s clean, minimalistic yet utterly heartwarming, the natural beauty and simplicity of Scandinavian Christmas decor is an ideal choice.
Merging essential elements like wood and glass with an earth-toned color palette, this distinctive holiday style hails from Northern Europe, where it’s been embraced for centuries. Whether your goal is to incorporate a few Nordic inspired accessories into your existing decoration scheme or totally transform your space, this guide will provide insights, tips, and DIY project ideas to help you understand and achieve the Scandinavian Christmas decor look.
Understanding Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Origins and Inspiration of Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Scandinavian Christmas decor, also known as Nordic Christmas decor, is inspired by the traditions of countries in the Northern European region that includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Most notably, it draws from the idea of ‘Hygge’ – a Danish term that signifies a sense of well-being and coziness, which Scandinavians value deeply during the cold, dark winter months. This concept is reflected in the decor that features warmth and connectiveness, often using natural and simple materials to create a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
Distinct Characteristics of Scandinavian Christmas Decor
One of the defining traits of Scandinavian Christmas decor is its focus on minimalism. Unlike other styles that promote an abundance of light and ornamentation, Scandinavian decor values simplicity and functionality. Instead of a massive and heavily-decorated tree, for instance, the Nordic tradition features a smaller, simpler Christmas tree, often adorned with homemade ornaments. Besides mainstream Christmas lights, Scandinavians also use simple candlelight for decoration to promote a sense of calmness and harmony.
Natural Elements in Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Another prominent aspect of Scandinavian Christmas decor is the use of natural elements. Instead of plastic and artificial materials widely used in modern decorations, Scandinavians prefer organic resources, especially those locally sourced. These include pine cones, branches, twigs, and berries, wool, leather, and even tree bark. By incorporating these materials into their decor, Scandinavians not only celebrate the beauty of nature but also embody sustainability in their festive decorations.
Scandinavian Color Palette
Scandinavian Christmas decor is also characterized by a neutral color palette. This design principle stems from the Scandinavian love for nature again, capturing the essence of their wintry landscapes filled with snow-covered trees and mountains. The color scheme often includes hues of white, grey, beige, and silver, combined with muted tones of greens and reds. Minimal use of bright colors keeps the decor subtle, allowing the beauty of simple shapes and natural materials to shine through.
Modern Scandinavian Christmas Decor
The essence of modern Scandinavian Christmas decor is a blend of traditional roots and global influences. Contemporary interpretations often incorporate subtle touches of sparkle or metallic details while respecting the core values of simplicity and elegance. Even with these additions, the tasteful minimalism inherent to Scandinavian design isn’t compromised. Regardless of the evolution, this style of decor continuously captivates with its serene aura, affinity for nature, and restrained opulence.
Key Elements of Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Emblematic of Scandinavian design, the Christmas decor is a testament to simplicity, functionality, and asthetics. Naturally sourced materials, resonating with the landscapes of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, are frequently used. Wood, in particular, is a staple in these decorations. Everything from candles and figurines to Nordic-themed ornaments and intricately carved Christmas trees bears its signature. This reliance on wood hints at the region’s long winters and bountiful forests. Simultaneously, the rusticity of the wood offers a warm ambiance, juxtaposing the cold outdoors beautifully.
Popular Colors in Scandinavian Christmas Decor
The Scandinavian Christmas color palette largely echoes the Nordic landscape during winter. The popular colors are white, grey, and muted earth tones. Inspired by snow-covered landscapes, white is used extensively to create a calm and peaceful environment. It is seen in throws, cushions, candles, and other ornaments.
Grey, a color that evokes the hues of rocky Nordic mountains, is also used quite a bit. Whether it’s on blankets, table runners, or painted onto wooden decorations, grey adds a soft contrast to white. Muted earth tones, drawn from the browns and greens of the forest are also seen in the form of wood ornaments, wreaths, and other decor items. The use of such colors helps bring a natural, comforting feel to space while celebrating nature.
Common Themes in Scandinavian Christmas Decor
The common themes in Scandinavian Christmas Decor include nature and simplicity. Nature-inspired decorations, in the form of branches, pine cones, berries, and organic shapes, are central to the Nordic aesthetic. The influence of nature does not only emphasize Scandinavia’s profound relationship with its natural surroundings but also highlights a return to a simpler, more organic lifestyle.
Simplicity is a truly key part of Scandinavian design. There’s an absence of excessive details; decorations are kept minimal and functional. Traditional items include simple handcrafted ornaments, clean-lined wooden furniture, and minimalist table settings. Even the lighting stays simple with beautiful arrangements of candles often used instead of bright, multicolored Christmas lights.
Quintessential Scandinavian Christmas Items
There are several iconic items involved in Scandinavian Christmas decor. Decorative Christmas stars and hearts made of wood, paper, or metal are a staple. These shapes are often hung from the tree or from the roof beams to inspire a charming sense of whimsy.
Christmas gnomes, or “tomte”, are another quintessential aspect of Scandinavian holiday decor. Tomte figures are depicted as small, bearded men with pointed hats and are based on Scandinavian folklore. They have come to represent the festive season in Nordic cultures and are typically used to adorn window sills, centerpieces, and Christmas trees.
Candles, often placed in minimalist holders or traditional chandeliers, are considered essential for their warm, inviting light. Fir tree branches and wreaths, decorated with simple ornaments and white lights, capture the essence of a Nordic Christmas, and adding accents of wool or knitted textiles helps to create cozy, comfortable spaces.
Scandinavian Christmas decor captivates with its simplicity, sustainability, and its intrinsic connection to natural elements. This minimalist approach towards holiday decoration not only renders a visually appealing aesthetic but also creates a warm, inviting, and rustic ambiance in any setting.
DIY Scandinavian Christmas Decor Ideas
Understanding the Scandinavian Christmas Aesthetic
The heart of the Scandinavian Christmas aesthetic lies in its simplicity, functionality, and profound connection to the natural world. Traditionally, Scandinavian Christmas decor imbues natural elements such as wood, glass, and greenery while often incorporating color palettes of white, grey, metallic shades, and accent of red for a subtle pop. The minimalistic design principles which are a significant part of the Scandinavian style interweave seamlessly into their holiday decorations, resulting in decor characterized by clean lines, simplistic shapes, and a restrained yet elegant aesthetic.
DIY Scandinavian Christmas Ornaments
One of the easiest ways to introduce a Scandinavian touch to your Christmas decor is through ornaments. Craft wooden geometric ornaments by cutting balsa wood into simple shapes like circles, triangles, and rectangles. Decorate them with a whitewash or grey stain and hang them with simple twine.
You can also create felt Christmas hearts by cutting two heart shapes from red felt, then cut a line from the top of one heart and the bottom of the other. Slide them together to make a 3D ornament. These decorations are a traditional Danish holiday staple and can be hung on the tree or used as a gift decoration. Remember that Scandinavian style emphasizes simplicity. Aim for a design that is clean and not overly complicated or ornamental.
DIY Scandinavian Christmas Wreath
Craft a door wreath using minimalist Scandinavian principles. Start with a basic wire or foam wreath form. Gather thin branches from evergreen trees such as pine or spruce, as well as some branches with red berries. Arrange the greenery around the wreath form, securing with floral wire. The goal is a natural and simple look, not overly full or lush.
For a unique touch, add a few white or silver Christmas ornaments, or wrap a string of white fairy lights around the wreath. This will add a gentle glow to your wreath, producing a cozy, Nordic winter feel.
DIY Scandinavian Christmas Tablescape
Create a Scandinavian-style Christmas tablescape by sticking with a natural color palette consisting of white, greys, and browns with pops of red. Use a white or gray tablecloth, then layer with a natural jute table runner. Place pine cones, white candles, and simple wooden Christmas ornaments along the center for a minimalist and natural feel.
Involve natural elements such as wooden napkin rings and sprigs of evergreen as decorations. Use white or neutral dishware, and consider tying a small sprig of pine to each dinner napkin with twine for a merry touch.
Add a touch of Scandinavian magic to your Christmas celebrations with these DIY projects. Scandinavian Christmas decor is defined by its simplicity, functionality, and incorporation of natural elements, all presented with an elegant, minimalistic touch. This design philosophy is known for creating a serene and tranquil ambiance, perfect for creating a homely and cozy environment during the holidays.
Shopping Guide for Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Finding Your Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Online platforms are a treasure trove for finding diverse Scandinavian-inspired Christmas decor items. Renowned platforms such as Amazon and eBay offer an array of Nordic holiday adornments including tree ornaments, door wreaths, tree skirts, and exquisite tabletop displays.
For those seeking unique handmade items, Etsy becomes a marketplace filled with small scale artisans. Here, you’ll find products ranging from charming wooden reindeer to hand-knit Christmas stockings, and even Swedish “tomte” or “nisse” – creatures from Scandinavian folklore akin to Santa Claus.
Certain well-known brands such as H&M Home, IKEA, and Nordic Nest specialize in offering Scandinavian designed items and carry a special range of seasonal decor to impart the Nordic holiday feel in your spaces. To shop physically, check out the Christmas markets or seasonal fairs nearby, or look out for large city stores or boutiques featuring Scandinavian-themed decor during the holidays.
What to Look for in Scandinavian Christmas Decor
Scandinavian Christmas decor typically exudes minimalism, functionality, and a connection to nature, all hallmarks of the Nordic design philosophy. As such, when shopping for these items, look for decor that embodies these principles.
Color-wise, Scandinavian design favors natural hues such as whites, creams, and light browns, accented with pops of red or forest green. Patterns commonly incorporate nature-inspired motifs, like trees, animals, and snowflakes, as well as geometric shapes.
Materials also play an important role in Scandinavian design. Incorporate items made from wood, wool, and other natural fibers into your decor. Papercraft, especially in the form of intricately cut snowflakes or stars, is a popular choice as well.
Key items to consider include candle holders, as candles are a significant aspect of Scandinavian Christmas traditions. St Lucia’s Day, on December 13, is celebrated by procession with candles to bring light into the darkest time of year.
Also, look for decor pieces that feature iconic Scandinavian Christmas symbols. These can include Advent candles or calendars, straw goats or julbock, gnome-like tomten, heart-shaped baskets, and a Yule log centerpiece.
Remember that the essence of Scandinavian Christmas decor lies in simplicity and understatement. Resist the temptation to clutter your space with too many items; instead, select a few key pieces that reflect the Nordic aesthetic to create a warm, inviting holiday atmosphere.
Nurturing a festive atmosphere this holiday season doesn’t have to mean overwhelming your space with glitzy ornaments or clashing color schemes. Embodying serenity and functionality, Scandinavian Christmas decor can help create a welcoming environment where every piece is pacifying, meaningful, and perfectly in place.
For those drawn to this minimalist, nature-inspired aesthetic, chiseling out your unique version can be a joy-filled journey. Remember to incorporate essential elements like wood, glass, and neutral colors, and don’t miss out on the fun of DIY Scandinavian decor projects. With the right blend of understanding, creativity, and a savvy shopping strategy, you’re well-equipped to bring the peace and tranquility of a Scandinavian Christmas right into your own home.