Scandinavian Christmas

LAST UPDATED: May 11, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Nov 28, 2020 | By:

A Scandinavian Christmas is warm, calm, elegant and oh-so-simple. It’s modern and yet rustic, capturing the glowing lights, cozy textures and wintry elements of Christmas. This style speaks to the heart of the holidays in any part of the world!

Step inside for all the best tips and tricks to bring Scandinavian Christmas decorations into your own home.

A white living room dressed for a Scandinavian Christmas with a simple Scandinavian tree.

I have long adored the simple, calming aesthetic of Scandinavian Christmas decor. Fortunately, it fits seamlessly into the lake cottage and our Minimalist Christmas approach!

If you enjoy cozy layers, minimalist design, you’ll love the bright simplicity and warmth you’ll find in Scandinavian Christmas decor! Chances are you already have everything you need to infuse it into your home!

A close up of a gold wreath ornament on a Scandinavian Christmas tree.

Scandinavian Christmas is known for its wintery scenes that blend modern design with natural elements, warm woods and furs. It’s a refined minimalist aesthetic that makes your home feel festive, without feeling overwhelming.

I am a huge fan of a cozy minimalist style, and this Christmas inspiration fits right into that idea. You can create the cozy and warm style of your dreams with very little

Each year I find myself doing less, and enjoying more. I’m so excited to share our Scandinavian inspired Christmas tour filled with tips!

Looking into a Scandinavian Christmas living room through a Dutch door on a white cottage home.

6 Secrets to Scandinavian Christmas Decorations

Achieving the feel of a Scandinavian holiday is easier than you might think! It’s calm, restful on the eyes, and cozier than you can imagine!

flat lay of star stocking garland gift and greenery

Neutral Color Palette

Whites, silvers and golds are the traditional palette of a Scandinavian Christmas. You’ll often find pops of red, too… but don’t feel confined by a palette of red and white!

For our Scandinavian inspired Christmas decorations, I took a queue from the style of our lake cottage. The blues and whites are so calming and serene to me, and I knew that would translate beautifully to this style of holiday decor!

A soft wood kitchen table with white chairs and a Scandinavian tree in the background, lake view through the windows.

Faux Fur

Faux fur can be used for tree skirts, stockings, throws and more! They add beautiful texture without a lot of color.

Fur is also a hallmark of the Scandinavian Christmas style. Luckily, it’s so easy to find faux fur styles for affordable, cozy additions to your decor! In the bunk room, we use this fur throw as a rug and it adds such a soft and comfortable touch.

A little girls' room with bunk beds and a blue chest of drawers topped with a dollhouse decorated for Christmas.

Keep it Minimal

A hallmark of this style of design is the pulled back, minimalist look. Don’t overdo it!

Instead of simply adding decor elements, consider replacing what was already there! This goes for decor elements on tables, shelves, and even artwork.

When the rest of your room is simple and neutral, all the elements you add will truly shine! This helps keep the natural and cozy elements of Scandinavian Christmas decorations in the spotlight… like this simple, sparse tree!

A white living room dressed for a Scandinavian Christmas with a simple Scandinavian tree.

Want to see our Coastal Modern Living Room without all the extra holiday decor? Check it out!

Add Cozy Layers

Alpaca throws and any style of warm wool and cozy textural blankets are so important to capture the cozy essence of this decorating style.

A white guest room with blue accents.

It’s not just blankets that can create a layered look! In this guest room, I tied the white guest towels with a sweet blue velvet ribbon. This simple touch instantly elevates that stack of towels and helps guests feel special!

White towels in a guest room, tied in a blue velvet bow for a Scandinavian Christmas touch.
A white guest room with blue accents through the reflection in a brass mirror.

Throws can be used in unexpected ways, too, for an incredible textural elements that adds so much coziness. Consider adding them in the following areas.

  • across beds
  • draped over benches and ottomans
  • on the backs of dining chairs
  • wrapped around Christmas trees instead of traditional skirts
  • in your outdoor decorating
  • tucked into baskets
  • for a pop of color on sofas and chairs in your living room
  • And of course, as a tree skirt
A scandinavian tree wrapped in a cable texture skirt with a bunk bed in the background.

Add Candlelight

Northern Lights are a classic visual element in the Nordic Christmas tradition. While we can’t capture that natural phenomenon, we can bring the spirit into our homes with warm, flickering candlelight and lighting.

We added this pretty gold candle centerpiece in the kitchen and I love using my favorite battery operated pillar candles throughout our home for the perfect evening glow.

A gold candle centerpiece on a soft wood kitchen table.

Candles bring the perfect finishing touch to your Scandinavian Christmas decorations, both indoors and out!

An outdoor table set for a Christmas dinner with clear glass hurricanes and greenery.

Candles aren’t the only important lighting for a Scandinavian Christmas! Add some glowing and magical touches of holiday lights anywhere you can… we even decked out the dollhouse for an extra layer of charm!

A little girls' room with bunk beds and a blue chest of drawers topped with a dollhouse decorated for Christmas.
A little girls' room with bunk beds and a blue chest of drawers topped with a dollhouse decorated for Christmas.

Add Greenery

I love fresh holiday greenery, even if it’s just touches of something unexpected. This year, I used a combination of silvery olive leaves, seeded eucalyptus and even fresh thyme.

See that sweet fresh wreath on the door of their holiday dollhouse?

A child's doll house with a thyme wreath on the blue front door.

In that same vein, I created the simplest DIY Christmas wreath of olive branches for the cottage, too. While I tried it here on the front door, I ended up placing it in the reading nook under the stairs. Where do you love it more?

dutch door open with olive wreath peeking into a home with a scandinavian christmas tree
A built in nook under stairs, decorated for Scandinavian Christmas with a fresh wreath and a frosted Christmas tree.

In the end, I used this gorgeous (faux) wreath with soft blue berries for the front door. The bells add another layer of charm and rustic whimsy!

The smallest touches of greens can bring the feel of the outdoors in, perfectly capturing the feeling of a nordic-inspired Christmas. We even added a little greenery to these simple linen stockings.

Three white linen stockings with touches of holiday greenery, laid out on a wooden surface.
Touches of greenery on a hand stamped gold star for a child's Christmas stocking.

And a simple branch of olive on the sconces, tied with a blue velvet bow. While olive certainly isn’t a Scandinavian tree, it does capture the silvery, rustic feeling of fresh greenery that works within the theme!

A brass two branch wall sconce with a touch of olive branch tied on with blue ribbon for a Scandinavian Christmas home tour.

And again, encircling this brass chandelier over our dining table. it doesn’t take much to make it special!

Fresh olive branches inside a brass chandelier in a Scandinavian Christmas decorated living room.

Scandinavian Christmas Tree

A traditional Scandinavian Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments, candle holders, and strings of light utilizing a color theme and integrating gold and or silver. Wood, straw and felt ornaments are most often used.

A white living room dressed for a Scandinavian Christmas with a simple Scandinavian tree.

Scandinavian Christmas trees are lightly decorated with or without lights! Candles and ornaments are optional, but used sparingly and garlands are often made of natural materials, like these wood beads.

A close up of a gold wreath ornament on a Scandinavian tree.

This Scandinavian Christmas tree is a simple, pre-lit Sparse Christmas Tree decorated in just 12 silver and gold ornaments, draped with wood bead and gold garland.

A Scandinavian Christmas tree decorated very simply.

Under the tree you’ll find gifts wrapped with care in a limited color palette adorned with natural elements, wooden ornaments and ribbons.

Blue and white gifts wrapped underneath a Scandinavian tree.
How do they celebrate Christmas in Scandinavia?

On Christmas Eve, those who celebrate Christmas often attend church services. After, they celebrate with a traditional, often elaborate family dinner (referred to as a smörgåsbord in Sweden). After the festive Christmas Eve dinner, Swedes have a visit from Tomte, which (a Christmas gnome who lives in the forest- the Swedish version of Santa Claus).A bamboo bar cart with a white oval platter filled with Scandinavian Christmas cookies, fresh greenery accents.

What is a Nordic Christmas?

Nordic countries have long celebrated Christmas as an embrace of the winter solstice and a way to celebrate longer days to come, and Christmas is still referred to by the Pagan name: Jul. Their Christmas celebrations are almost two weeks long, and Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas day itself!

Home baked or not, it’s easy to create your own Smorgasbord of treats for friends and family! I turned our bar cart into a charming dessert display.

A bamboo bar cart with a white oval platter filled with Scandinavian Christmas cookies, fresh greenery accents.

Even before it’s decorated, this sweet gingerbread house is perfect when surrounded by touches of greens.

A gingerbread house with fresh greenery surrounding for nordic christmas inspiration

I’d love to hear from you! Would you love to celebrate a Scandinavian Christmas, or at least try this style of decorating?

You can shop our home and holiday decor here!

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