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How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

From holiday tables to festive fireplaces—here's how to deck the halls like a pro


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Wedding stylist and interior designer Jenny Minns knows how to throw a party for the masses. But when it comes to the intimate family gatherings she treasures most, there’s no place like home. Here, the hostess opens up her 1904 Mission Hills Craftsman and shares her best tips on holiday decorating and entertaining. Grab the mistletoe and cue the fa-la-la!

 

How to set a holiday table

Start with a theme. Jenny used greenery, birch branches, and snowberries in vintage vessels.

Pick a color palette. Work with the colors in your house, not against them. Jenny leans toward shimmery neutrals with pops of color.

Mix and match items from around the house. Especially glassware, so it feels more unique and not so direct-from-the-store perfect. Ocean Beach Antique Mall is a great place to hunt for vintage sets. Pull chairs from other parts of the house so the table looks different from the rest of the year.

“This year, my kids inspired me to add a little whimsy: white, gray, chartreuse-y green (for Oliver), a touch of blush (for Belle), and a teeny-tiny dash of red.”

Add little touches. A sprig of rosemary in the water or centered on a plate can dress up simple elements.

Switch up your centerpiece. In lieu of flowers, try a cake under a pretty cloche as the focal point. If you don’t bake, order one from your local baker, but request “naked” or “messy buttercream” so you can add some styling to match your table design. Jenny topped her cake with greenery and pomegranate seeds.

Lighten up! When in doubt: candles, candles, candles!

Tip: Serve a signature cocktail that matches your decor and have it made before guests arrive.

Northerns Lights

1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cranberry sauce
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 ounces rosé
Garnish with cranberries (shown on a cut and rinsed branch)

 

How to make a fireplace festive

Stacked birch logs look rustic and super stylish. Find them at Wholesale Flowers and Supplies. Felt ball garlands add a touch of whimsy to grown-up holiday decor.

Start with traditional elements. These include a green garland or branches, stockings, candlelight, and a wreath centered above.

Opt for branches instead of garlands. Layering branches of greenery on a mantle can look as lush as a garland for half the price. Most Christmas tree farms will let you take them for free. Cedar also has a nice feathery look.

“A hint of pink makes for a fun and unexpected pop among the classic holiday palette.”

Go wild. Antlers can add a sculptural element and bohemian or Aspen chic vibe.  

Add some bloom. Pick a flowering branch to repeat throughout the decor. Sticking with one type keeps the look clean, and does not require expert arranging skills.

 

How to style a front porch

Psst! Someone told the twins—Belle and Oliver, age 4—that Santa is coming to town!

Make a first and lasting impression. The front porch serves as a sneak peek of what’s to come and a fond farewell for guests. Keep the details consistent.

Go green. Every front door needs a wreath! Order a simple base and add some decorative elements to match your styling. Jenny used a pink, feathery bird and snowberry branches.

Unplug! Battery-powered lights don’t require extension cords and work well for small outdoor trees and wreaths.

 


Sources Styling: Jenny Minns, Palm & Prep Design; Greenery: Blush Botanicals; Dessert: Cake; Decorations: West Elm and Home Goods; Felt garlands: Pigment Boutique and Etsy; Plates: Anthropologie; Flatware: Target; Place cards: Brightly Designed, Vintage glassware, cake stand, and vessels: Stylist’s own.

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