cozy nordic holiday decorating for small living

a few weeks ago, as the christmas spirit was beginning to bubble up in me, i created a post that showcased my obsession with having a nordic-inspired holiday theme. you can see all of my inspiration photos in >>> this post or on my pinterest board >>> here. i believed that having a nordic theme would be a way to honor celebrating christmas in sweden again, after two years of being in the states. plus, it felt right. like matching how i feel inside. a little moody. a little dark. but, very simple and calm at the same time.

it turns out that my love had the same feelings about christmas decorating this year. so, we decided to go for it. we would find inspiration + create our own simplistic, minimalist holiday feeling in our home. and it actually makes perfect sense because we live in a tiny apartment, so choosing a clean, minimalist theme works practically as well.  so this all feels good. a balance of practicality + simplicity.

ok. enough chit chat. here’s how it looks in our little holiday home:

first up were the advent stars in the windows. they came from a funky store in asheville and it feels amazing to have them hanging in our home here in sweden.

star advent window

kitchen christmas

and then… we got a fake tree. yep. true story. i can’t believe we did that. neither of us have ever wanted a fake one. but, this one at ikea was just soooooo perfect for our minimalist theme. simple. and, hey, we saved a tree. right? we will not use it every year, but this year, i cannot stress how much we needed to just focus on simplicity. turns out, we really do love our tree this year. it was definitely the right  decision. two thumbs up for it.
christmas tree fake
christmas tree fake
christmas decorations window
christmas decorations window
the advent wreath was next. a very important part of our holiday tradition. candles, moss, pine cones. a little nature and light and inspiration from the fête magazine for our coffee table.

then, we decorated the windows. more candles. a tiny tree from here, and some bare branches from our backyard.

christmas decorations window

christmas decorations window

christmas decorations

and for our piano, a little vignette made of (yes) candles, more pine cones from the tree beside our building, and an amazing reindeer that we brought with us from the states. (similar reindeer here. ours is not produced anymore). of course, we have the notes to a christmas song and a real vintage bing crosby album displayed. because, what is better than christmas music?! and if you’re like me, bing is the classic christmas voice.

christmas decorations

christmas decorations

we eventually put a few more decorations on our tree, wrapped a gray tree skirt around it, and finished it off with our asheville star on top. i think we are both absolutely loving our cozy, calm, simple, nordic holiday look.
living room christmas

christmas tree

i have to say that this is the first time that i’ve done such a scaled back holiday theme. and who knows what it will be like next year?! but, as we bring 2015 to a close, a non-commercial, charlie brown, nordic christmas was totally the way to go.

so, what does your home look like during the holidays? do you go all out, or keep it simple? how are you feeling about the holidays this year, and does your decorating seem to reflect your feelings/mood? do share!!

advent blessings + happy weekend, lovelies! xoxo

18 thoughts on “cozy nordic holiday decorating for small living

  1. I admit that I’ve not done anything yet. I have 4 cats and I just know the 2 youngest will probably not only take the ornaments off the tree, but will likely knock the thing over (mine is a lightweight fake one too). I do have other decorations. All of my stuff is just buried in the back of crammed full closet, but this post really makes me want to decorate this year. I wouldn’t mind a simplistic theme either, now that I’ve seen how beautiful yours is! I have to say I was a little captivated by your apartment! I love smaller homes and I just LOVE yours! Thanks for sharing another great post!

    1. Oh cats can be such a little mess with a tree most definitely! Well, if you find yourself in the mood for a little decorating, then do it. Just set out a few things, whatever you intuition tells you. Just go with it.

      And thanks for your words about the apartment! We love it here. It is small and cozy, but it is just right. Would love for you to see it in person! 🙂

  2. My Christmas decorating includes a large, fake tree FULL of lights and ornaments. Almost all the ornaments have sentimental value, being given to us by someone we love or souvenirs from places we have visited. Art’s mom used to give each of us an ornament each year. After she died, I loosely took up the tradition. Carissa has taken her ornaments for her own tree, but Catherine’s are still on our tree. Beyond the tree–not much. A fabric nativity set I made when the girls were little, a resin one given to us by our first church in MN when they found out we didn’t have one, a stained glass one Art gave me a few years back, and some assorted Swedish decorations dating back to the 1980’s

    1. Well, if the tree is the center of the decorating (and the nativity, of course!), then why not go all out with lights and ornaments?! That sounds just wonderful! And to have all of the memories hanging there… what a beautiful reminder of Christmases and moments past.

  3. I too love your apartment. I too have scaled back — but not to minimalist. LOL — that would be asking too much of me! 🙂

    But, I have not unpacked all the boxes of Christmas goodies and I have not gone over board on gift-buying. I wanted this Christmas to be about family, about connections, about belonging and feeling part of the love that binds us all. So, I made stars for name tags on the Christmas dinner table and home made crackers to snap and inside them put little poems I’ve written for each person. I’ve loved spending the time creating meaning for those and with those I love.

    Hugs — Love your decorating. Very beautiful!

    1. Louise, it sounds so cozy and amazing what you have been doing as you have traveled through this Advent season – creating and being in order to share with others. Your heart is so big, dear friend. I am honored to “know” you here. Hugs and love to you!

  4. That’s beautiful! My house is simple too – we actually decorated one day in mid-November, because I looked ahead and saw that there were NO days we had off between then and Christmas!!! We have a kind of a funky look, but it’s evolving as the girls grow up (I did NOT approve this, by the way, they were fine as little kids, this business of getting taller than mom has got to stop!). This year we have areas that are decorated, table displays, corners, etc., plus our fake tree (real ones make me sneeze, unfortunately). It really works with our house. I love love love your white/crystal/green/natural look and would love to incorporate that into my own rather more haphazard look next year. Happy holidays!

    1. Funky is wonderful! I’d say that I’ve had more years of funky-ness than not, but it feels so good this year to have done what we’ve done. The white, green, natural, simple palette just spoke to me/us, so I went with what I was feeling! And we didn’t buy anything new really, so that was awesome. I’m gonna try to repeat this idea of following how I feel when I decorate next year! Happy Holidays to you, dear Amy!

  5. So pretty! I love it Liz! It seems very much you, understated, calm, minimalistic, beautiful.
    I have the same straw angel on my tree!! brought it to Canada from Germany, it used to be on my childhood tree every year!

    1. Oh, how sweet you are to say that it seems very much me. 🙂 The straw angel is Lina’s , so it’s definitely a tradition that comes from Europe. How cool that we are sharing in the same tradition!! I love that!

  6. I love the branches in the jar and the whole piano arrangement. This year we got a tree from a nearby tree farm and it’s the most beautiful tree I’ve seen. It’s so pretty I barely put anything on it, just lights and very few ornaments compared to the size of it. Though real trees are more beautiful I support fake trees because like you said, you saved a tree! 🙂

    1. I absolutely understand the thought of leaving the tree as natural as possible, and letting it shine with only lights and a few ornaments. How beautiful it must be!

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