Holiday decorating doesn’t have to feel like you’re turning your home into Santa’s elf workshop for the month of December. But if that’s your thing, that’s okay too! Interior designer extraordinaire and Target Style Home Expert, Emily Henderson, believes the most important thing is to do what will make you and your family feel all that warm holiday cheer. This year, for her that meant filling her home with greenery, twinkling lights and neutral-hued ornaments and decorations on every surface!
Ahead, an exclusive look into her home and tips for decking your halls.
Last holiday season, Henderson felt like she played it safe. “It was great, kid-friendly and easy to live with, but looking back it could have been bigger and better,” she says. “This year, I wanted my house to drip in holiday decor.”
Wondershop Birch Wrap Tree Figurine, $20, target.com
Threshold Wood Bead Garland, $12.99, target.com
Pick a Theme
Though Henderson decided to go all out this year, she says when it comes to holiday decorating, it’s less about how much you decorate and more about consistency. If you’re going to layer decorations on every surface of a room (“And honestly, why wouldn’t you?!?,” she says.), try and stick to a theme. For her own home, the decor was driven by the colors and patterns in the living room rug with lots of pastels and layers. This can be a great jumping off point for holiday or decorating in general.
Birchwood Bay Ceramic House Christmas Ornament, $5, target.com
Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Medium Vase, $27.99, target.com
Make Holiday Your Own
“We styled the space to look ‘party ready’,” Henderson explains. “It’s festive, but does not scream holiday.” She then incorporated seasonal pieces that fit within the existing vibe, like ceramic houses and wooden tree figurines. She also tried to find things her kids, Charlie, 5, and Elliot, 3, would be excited about and would feel holiday-like to them. “The Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Rocking Goat is perfect,” she says. “Birdie s obsessed with it, and the color scheme fits perfectly in our neutral, yet festive, living room.”
Wondershop Ceramic House Figurine, $5 target.com
Wondershop Large Bottle Brush Christmas Tree, $8, target.com
Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Wooden Plumbob Figural Set, $34.99 for 4, target.com
Wondershop Lit Laser Cut Deer Scene, $10, target.com
Try Two Trees
“The tree in my living room this year is truly one of my favorites ever,” says Henderson. “I kept the ornaments relatively simple, focusing on pieces in neutral tones, then peppering in family hand-me-downs.” If you want your tree more curated as well, Henderson suggests getting a smaller “kid’s tree” for somewhere else in your home. “My kids are young, so they are fine with any tree, but of course when they want their homemade ornaments on our living room tree I’ll say yes,” says Henderson. “Plus, a tree that has all your kids’ DIY ornaments, even if it is a tabletop tree, will become THE tree.” This year, she went with a real tree, but Henderson is also not opposed to faux, especially for the second.
Wondershop Ornament Set in Rosegold/ Champagne, $50 for 50 pieces, target.com
“The happiness you get from a family heirloom or a child’s DIY ornament is not something we should ever consider analyzing, curating or styling,” says Henderson. “That is the stuff that makes our lives worth living.” If you have an heirloom, she suggests giving it importance by putting it under a dome, on a pedestal or just making sure it isn’t buried in “stuff.” “We always have pictures of the kids in a frame with the year on them — bringing them out every year makes me extremely happy,” she says. She also loves the idea of collecting ornaments for the kids over the years. “This year, we filled a frame ornament with a picture of Charlie and Bearcat [the family cat they lost last month], as a nice way to remember her.”
Wondershop Picture Frame Christmas Ornament White, $5, target.com
Throw On Twinkle Lights
To make the space feel extra special, Henderson added twinkle lights on the bookshelves and in the greenery. “Lights, candles and greenery are what makes a house feel festive at night,” she says. She layered garlands over the living room door, across the piano and on the buffets in the living room.
Wondershop Cable Knit Christmas Stocking, $13, target.com
Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Rocking Goat, $59.99, target.com
Always Add Greenery
“For a party, I love putting greenery on the coffee table and dining table with other decorative elements to soften it,” she says. She also loves a good wreath. “The Threshold Gold Wire with Red Berry Pine Wreath is such a showstopper – and under $50! It came with red berries, but I removed them and layered in some additional greenery.”
Threshold Gold Wire and Red Berry Pine Wreath, $49.99, target.com
Don’t Procrastinate on Wrapping
Henderson suggests getting on that present wrapping ASAP. If you do it early, you use the wrapped packages as decorations, kinda like what we did with our giftbox advent calendar. “Try adding special special touches like an ornament you’ve hand selected or packaging your gift in a personalized stocking to show your loved ones you went the extra mile,” she says.
Target’s new personalized wrap and gift bag options, wondershop.com
Threshold Chunky Lumbar Pillow, $19.99, target.com
Do What Makes You Happy
At the end of the day, Henderson says all that really matters, is that your holiday decorations make you and your family happy. If you don’t feel like changing out your pillows, don’t! If you want to change out all your art for wreaths, do! “It doesn’t matter how it turns out or what people think,” she says. “Decorating is a layer on top [of your home] that should bring you happiness.”