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by Arun Raj on February 04, 2022

As the season of chunky knits and hot cocoa draws near, that’s our annual cue to slow down, cosy up, and take a moment to appreciate the things that matter most to us. And while we prepare to reunite with family and friends for the Christmas time, one big takeaway from this past year is the value of togetherness. "People are looking forward to creating new, lasting memories with loved ones,” says Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson. "It’s an opportunity to be super purposeful about how we celebrate, and make considered choices about who and what we surround ourselves with." One simple way to cultivate an intentional atmosphere at home? Be extra-mindful about your festive approach. Whether you hope to create a joyful space with merry and bright pops of colour, or you’d like to incorporate natural elements to keep your gatherings more grounded, we’ve rounded up six festive decorating and entertaining ideas to help make your season more memorable, more meaningful, and more you.

Pops of colour

A collage of colourful Christmas decor available on Etsy
SHOP (top to bottom, left to right): Neon "Merry Christmas" sign from Neon Dancing, from £145; green ceramic dinner plates from SIND Studio, £109 for a 3-piece set; bayberry pillar candle from Kindred Essence, from £22; hand-embroidered stockings from First Campaign, from £36; "Meet Me Under the Mistletoe" Christmas card from My Darlin BK, £5; pink tinsel wreath from Fat Pom Poms, from £37; multi-colored gold-leaf Christmas bulbs from Holiday Every Day Art, £68 for set of 9

If you could use a little bit of extra cheer this time of year, then consider putting your own fresh twist on the classic Christmas palette. You can tone things down a tad by swapping reds for rosy pastels, or dial up the drama by selecting rich, enchanting jewel tones for your stockings and ornaments. "Trying an alternative colour scheme can be a great way to stay true to your year-round aesthetic when decorating,” Dayna says. “Personally, I’m loving hues that bring in a little of that softness and warmth that many of us are craving." There's no right or wrong shade to incorporate – whether you’re drawn to a playful pink tinsel wreath for your door or an eye-catching neon sign for your sitting area – just bring your own style and energy, and your home, in turn, will feel warm, welcoming, and well-coordinated.

Show-stopping table settings

A collage of table settings available on Etsy
SHOP (top to bottom, left to right): Personalised star place holder from Bombus, £7; personalised wire place cards from The Letter Loft UK, from £69 for set of 4; engraved wooden napkin rings from Celebrate With Us, from £23 for set of 20; natural linen tablecloth from Sand and Snow Linen, from £88; block-printed table runner from Julie Peach, from £44; dark green cloth napkins from Cool and Mellow, from £21 for set of 2

"Sharing a meal is often the heart of a Christmas gathering,” Dayna says. “It’s the tradition that draws us all together.” This year, to bring the focus of our festivities back to the family feast, we’re paying special attention to our presentation and our plating. “Setting an appetising scene starts with setting the table,” Dayna explains – and while we love a set of heirloom ceramic serveware, the real deliciousness is in the details, from personalised place cards to hand-engraved napkin rings. Lay out a rustic runner to give your ham a homely backdrop, or drape a eucalyptus garland between dishes to add extra elegance. Prefer a more minimalist arrangement? Stick to a soft linen tablecloth and let your famous pumpkin pie serve as your centrepiece.

Chequered patterns

A collage of chequerboard patterned Christmas decor from Etsy
SHOP (top to bottom, left to right): Chequered cushion cover from Tanya Shev Design, £31; chequerboard gift wrap from Raye's Retro Home Decor, £11; chequered throw blanket from paka prints, £34; buffalo cheque star ornaments from £8 for set of 3; chequered glitter rainbow ornament from This Cheer Life, £26; chequered mugs from Pinch of Clay Co., £41 each; hand-sewn quilt from Quilts by Caster, £120

True, chequerboard designs have been popping up all year long on everything from tea towels and cushions to clay earrings and crocheted bags. But we happen to think there’s something about the pattern that translates beautifully to our Christmas decor, too. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia we have for cosy chequered quilts and playing board games, or its resemblance to classic buffalo plaid, but somehow those bold blocks of colour remind us of simpler times spent with family and friends. Pick high-contrast black and white prints for seasonal swag like ornaments and gift wrap, or opt for unexpected shades of red and green on accent pieces like coffee mugs and cushions. “Whether you’re decorating, getting dressed, or wrapping gifts, the possibilities are endless!” Dayna says.

Natural accents

A collage of nature-inspired decor from Etsy
SHOP (top to bottom, left to right): Dried floral wreath from Nova Wreaths, from £59; mountain candle from Cai Cai Handmade, from £12; snowflake garlands made from vintage books from La Mia Casa, from £7; mushroom ornaments from Made of Leaf and Star, £24; pinecone garland from Style Sparkle, from £18; oyster shell ornament from Her Salty Hands, £19; hand-painted glass bulb from schemata, £28

“Many of us spent the last year turning to the great outdoors for a calming escape,” Dayna says. “So it’s no surprise that we’re trying to carry those vibes inside for the winter.” To create your own at-home wonderland that’s naturally soothing and serene, incorporate earthy elements and textures in your trimmings. Dried flower bouquets and wreaths will lend your setup a rustic touch and last longer than the fresh-cut variety, while ornaments shaped like mushrooms and all manner of woodland creatures will transform your tree into your own mini-enchanted forest. And if you really want to show your reverence for greenscapes, consider curating with eco-conscious materials like recycled paper snowflakes and tiny pinecone garlands.

Poignant pins

A collage of vintage brooches available on Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Sapphire and pearl Edwardian brooch from Maejean Vintage, £295; vintage Victorian heart brooch from Heaven's Vintage Finds, £24; vintage marcasite bouquet brooch from KK Vintage Collection, £55; vintage malachite pendant brooch from Hunter Ridge Jewelry, £56; vintage goldtone teardrop brooch from BLACK FEMME Shop, £36

Decorating intentionally doesn’t have to end when all the halls are decked and the final bauble is hung. In fact, half the fun of spreading cheer this time of year is in how you choose to ornament yourself – especially if you plan on playing host. Our favourite pick for pinning on some festive flair? A good old-fashioned brooch. “Not only do vintage brooches add some unexpected sparkle to your ensemble, they’re wonderful conversation starters,” Dayna says. "Every piece comes with its own story.” Maybe yours was worn by a flapper in the 1920s or has a personal engraving from over 100 years ago. No matter which tiny tribute you decide to affix to your collar or lapel – from ornate silver florals to stunning stone pendants –each previously loved pin is a great way to honour and preserve a piece of the past, and look positively fab doing so.