Christmas|Holidays

10 Warm & Cozy Christmas Decorating Ideas

Are you looking for a rustic and cozy theme this holiday season? Here are the 10 best warm and cozy Christmas decorating ideas.

As the weather turns cooler, the days shorter, and we begin to inch toward a new year the instinct to make our homes as cozy as possible kicks in. Since so many of us already decorate for the holidays, a warm and cozy Christmas theme always feels like a natural choice! I’ve rounded up my 10 best warm and cozy Christmas decorating ideas for you below. You can visit my warm & cozy home tour here for more ideas!

Warm and cozy Christmas decorating ideas from the foyer to Christmas trees.

The 10 Best Warm & Cozy Christmas Decorating Ideas

Originally published December 8, 2015

Let’s set the scene: it’s early December, and snow has blanketed the view outside your window in pristine white from the first storm of the season. More flakes are gently and lazily falling. A fire blazes in the fireplace. You have a lazy day ahead of you. How could we make this fantasy even better? Let’s do some Christmas decorating!

There’s nothing more nostalgic than a cozy and warm holiday theme. I’ve decorated with many themes over the years, from a neutral woodland theme, to a classic red and green, to less traditional colors like French blue and green with gold. However, the warm and cozy Christmas decor theme is always a favorite!

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How do you decorate with a cozy Christmas decor theme?

  • Include wooden decor accents like crates and vintage sleds and skis.
  • Use natural elements like birch logs, evergreens, and natural Christmas trees.
  • Make sure there are plenty of soft blankets and throw pillows around.
  • Light candles and turn on twinkle lights any time of the day.

Read on to see these ideas in action!

1. Create vignettes that help you tell a holiday story

Styling vignettes is such a fun cozy Christmas decorating idea for telling a story and create a conversation with your decor. For this rustic vignette, (from my first ever home tour in 2014!) I filled the glass apothecary jars with rustic but natural Christmas elements — pinecones and cinnamon sticks. I incorporated wood decor like the wooden star and deer — two favorites that still appear in my decor each year! Quick tip: the mini live tree is sitting in a wooden crate and I filled in the gaps around the bottom with crumpled brown paper!

Cozy Christmas decorating ideas from this vignette:

  • Fill glass apothecary jars with natural elements like pine cones and cinnamon sticks.
  • Use wooden decor like the deer and crate holding the mini tree.
  • To make the sign I simply wrote “all is calm, all is bright” on a piece of wood with a white Sharpie and traced a star.

2. Decorate with artwork that evokes your favorite traditions

Warm and cozy Christmas decorating ideas for the foyer — vignette with card catalog and birch log arrangement with vintage skis.

Whether it’s on the wall or leaning in a vignette, decorating with seasonal artwork (maybe even a free printable!) that represents a favorite family memory will bring a smile to your face every time you see it.

Back in 2015, I styled a vignette that builds off of idea number one. I packed this nostalgic vignette with cozy Christmas decorating ideas, but it’s all centered on the printable tree farm sign that was inspired by the popular tradition of visiting a tree farm and cutting your own Christmas tree. We typically dragged our tree to the car on a sled, so I found the little wooden sled at the dollar store to represent that memory.

3. Use a printer’s tray to decorate with miniatures

Cozy Christmas vignette with miniature decor in a printer's tray and a red truck tree farm sign.
Vintage wooden printer's tray with miniature Christmas decor ornaments and wooden beads.

Printer’s trays have many uses, but I have to say that housing Christmas miniatures is one of my favorite ideas! Some of these tiny ornaments were from the apartment sized Christmas tree that Mack and I had before we got married. I found others at the craft store. I also included some berries and mini pinecones!

4. Wrap a fresh evergreen garland around the bannister

Fresh garland and Christmas lights on a stair bannister
Stair banner with fresh green garland for a cozy Christmas decorating idea

Having fresh garland on your stair bannister is a classic cozy Christmas decorating idea that I couldn’t leave off the list. Perhaps the best aspect of this decor idea is that the twinkle lights glow so warmly at night! A trick to fill out a mixed garland is to add in some extra evergreens from the yard if you have them.

5. Create a Birch Log Christmas Crock

Five gallon crock arrangment filled with birch logs, tree clippings, berry branches and string lights.

When I set out to do something with the extra clipping off of our Christmas tree, I had no idea that it would take off and go viral and even land me on HGTV to share the project with Martha Stewart!

This cozy Christmas decorating idea had humble beginnings as a pure accident when I filled a five gallon crock with some extra birch logs and tree clippings. I thought it looked pretty, so I decided to also add the berry twigs and a battery pack with string lights.

Now thousands of readers have made this project their very own! It’s simple and adds a big impact. If you decide to recreate it this holiday season, tag me on Instagram @ninahendrickhome so I can see!

6. Create Birch Log Candle Holders

Speaking of birch, another favorite warm and cozy Christmas decorating idea is these DIY birch candle holders. My dad is an arborist, and he gave me a bunch of birch logs. I really loved the birch candles that were being sold in many places, so I created my own! I’ve had a few questions about the safety of these candles — so I recommend using a tea light with a metal tin and monitoring the candle as you’re burning it. I haven’t had a problem! Oh, and if you’re looking for birch logs if they aren’t local to you, here’s a source for you (the best value I found!).

7. Set Up a Warm Beverage Bar

Is there a cozier holiday pastime than drinking a warm beverage? If there is, I haven’t found it yet. A hot chocolate bar is a no-brainer for warm and cozy Christmas decorating ideas. I’ve done a few variations of the warm beverage/hot cocoa bar over the years, including in this tour here and later on in this exact spot once we removed the built-in desk. I love that this idea invites your guest or family member to settle in and enjoy a nice treat — and bonus that it looks so pretty and festive for decor. Looking for some cookie recipes to go with the warm drinks — try these!

8. Create a Simple Berry Centerpiece

Cozy Christmas decorating ideas including this glass hurricane with cranberries in a wooden bowl surrounded by pine needles, pinecones, and cinnamon.

To create this simple arrangement, I used a white candle and cranberries inside of one of the glass hurricanes that were our wedding centerpieces.

The vase sits in a wooden bowl that was a Christmas gift from a sweet family friend named Bernie. He’s an incredible craftsman and makes these bowls as a hobby in his retirement. I fell in love with the bowl while I was visiting his workshop, and it magically appeared under my tree one Christmas. It must have been Santa! 

I finished the arrangement off by surrounding the hurricane with some extra pine needles, pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and berries. It has an almost nordic vibe, especially when you light the candle!

9. Consider a natural tree (at least a small one)

Another warm and cozy Christmas idea is to use a natural tree. If you’re worried about the environmental impact, consider a tree that you can plan in the spring or just having one small natural tree. I love my giant faux tree, but nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree!

Another tip is to keep it simple, with minimal ornaments. I know over-the-top trees are more Pinterest-worthy, but they’ve never been my thing. We only put the very special ornaments on the tree, like first Christmases along with the regular glass balls. If you scrutinize it closely, I’m sure you would find that many of the ornaments are on the same branch, and colors are clumped together. I have my little crew of elf helpers, and it looks beautiful to them. That makes it even more special!

10. Elevate the Cookies & Milk For Santa

Cookies and milk for Santa are a cozy Christmas decorating idea in front of the tree with glowing twinkle lights.

A glass milk bottle and cookies and milk on a pretty plate with a tea towels makes for such a cozy and cute scene on Christmas Eve. When I took this photo my boys were very concerned that I forgot the carrots and celery for the reindeer. I promised this was just a trial run, and I will remember for the actual event!

Warm & Cozy Christmas Decorating Ideas

I hope that this post has inspired you to get your comfiest flannel pjs on, grab a warm beverage, and begin putting some of these ideas into action! If you recreate any of these ideas tag me on Instagram @ninahendrickhome!

17 Comments

  1. Kendra @ www.joyinourhome.com Says

    I find myself enjoying Christmas home tours all year long and yours is beautiful! So cozy and breathtaking!

  2. Kim Says

    I just came across your Christmas decor on Pinterest. SOOO beautiful. How did you manage the amazing chandelier decor in your dining room?

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Do you mean the crystals? It’s already like that :) you can see more about it here (affiliate link) http://rstyle.me/~8eHeM

  3. Monique Says

    Just came across your blog and was wondering where you got the Dear Santa napkin in you had next to your cookies for Santa vignette?

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi Monique- I found that at Homegoods last Christmas! They had a bunch, so I’d keep an eye out this year. xx Nina

  4. Carolsue Says

    I would get the Lawrence Club Chair by Andover Mills

  5. Sherry Fram Says

    Your house is so pretty & festive! Love the entryway! Thanks for the giveaway! Ifci won I would buy a coffee table.

  6. Cindy A. Says

    Thank you for offering such a wonderful giveaway! I would buy a new area rug for our living room.

  7. Amy Orvin Says

    I would buy the 72″ Cat Tree by Go Pet Club in black.

  8. Cindy A. Says

    Thank you so much for offering such a wonderful giveaway! I would buy a new area rug for our living room.

  9. Jason McAfee Says

    Beautiful with a rustic charm!

  10. Vanessa May Says

    Loved your Christmas home tour, wondering where you got the star on top of your tree?

  11. Tami Says

    I am 100% in LOVE LOVE LOVE. with your breath taking foyer. That apothecary cabinet is to die for!

  12. merry z. Says

    Beautiful – love the lights in the logs!

  13. Jen @ Migonis Home Says

    Beautiful, Nina! I love the giant tree even if ornaments are clumped or on the same branch… we had the same thing going on here. And tell Mack I love his advice to see the flow of rooms! :)

  14. Meg @ Green With Decor Says

    Your house is gorgeous!! I love the foyer. I”m already on my way to download that pretty Christmas tree printable!

  15. Julia@Cuckoo4Design Says

    You have such a beautiful home inside and out. Really loved the tour! Happy Holidays!