Nothing screams Christmas like a fire blazing in the fireplace, peppermint hot chocolate and sparkling Christmas lights, but to a girl who loves the ocean and all things nautical my go to Christmas decor equates to starfish, sand dollars and seashells. While I do add pops of red, the majority of my Christmas decorations are in shades of blue, silver and white. All you need is a sound machine and salty air candle and you will feel like you are sitting on the beach listening to the ocean lap the shore. So, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but oh how I crave to feel the sand under my feet, breathe the salty air and listen to the waves crash. At least with this color palette, it will bring about a bright, airy and relaxing environment.
So, my first tip for a Coastal Christmas is to keep the colors soft like the colors of the sea or go bold with deep blues, bright reds and pops of and yellows to mimic a sunset.
This year I decided to try something different and go with live pine roping for the mantle to bring the outdoors in. I love the look but if you look close you can see it is starting to brown already and there are still two weeks until Christmas day. I have tried to spritz it with water but I suppose the heat of the fire in the fireplace was just too much. I still think it looks beautiful and adds to the simplicity of the overall theme. Bringing in natural elements will make it feel like you are outdoors and you get the added bonus of the aroma of pine. Simple greenery is fantastic, not overdone and makes it feel elegant but cozy.
Choosing Pottery Barn’s quilted velvet stockings in cream (you can find them here) because they are versatile is a great way to add something that you can create memories around. By choosing a neutral tone, no matter what the overall color, style or theme of your decor, your stockings will always blend beautifully. Bonus material: if you love the brand I mentioned above, then you need to go here and check out this website. I purchased the “Dad” stocking above from this site at an amazing price, the other three were from Pottery Barn’s website. As you can see in the photo, ALL of the stockings are the same (other than the dogs stocking with paw prints on it).
Now back to the easy ways to decorate for a coastal Christmas. If you are like me then you can’t get enough of the coastal decor, I try to incorporate it in every possible way. Although I do make very calculated decisions as to which items I want to stick around year after year, so we create tradition for our kids. I love traditions! With that in mind, I am currently weeding out the items that I have had since before we got married, while adding a few quality statement pieces and then the must-haves of the season (like the skies from the Target bargain section) which I love.
I also am not a fan of buying items to just get rid of them next season, so I have quite the collection of upcycled decor. For example, the piece of coral (above left photo) is from an estate sale in St. Louis, Missouri. The turquoise vases were from my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding shower. Some of the blue glass ornaments are my parents from when they got married. And one of my favorite things on the mantle are the real starfish that we purchased from a vendor at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market in Sarasota, Florida.
Side Note: This year we had to add a new stocking hanger and stocking for our new puppy, Grady. Yes, if you are a boat fanatic then you will know that my husband named him after a boat manufacturer, Grady White. Or in the Midwest when no one knows what he is talking about, he will say it reminds him of an old salty sailor. Either way, I love his name and he fits right in to our salty family.
Even though we are currently residing in the Midwest, you can still find coastal decor even for Christmas. I searched the local TJ Maxx and found silver starfish stocking hangers. So for less than $20 I got a box that came with two. So we added his stocking to the mantle along with ours.
Above is a look at the complete mantle after collecting and re-arranging things a few times to get it just how I wanted it. I find that it always takes a couple of attempts before getting it just perfect. And sometimes you have to step away, let it soak in and then come back to it in order to see what is missing or what needs to be removed.
Some of my favorite things are on my living room table and grouped together on this silver plastic tray. When I was looking at this collection of items, I realized that each of them brought about a different tip that I thought might be useful.
Additional tips the emerged out of the “stuff in the silver tray”:
- Don’t be afraid to look for things in not so ordinary places.
- I had been searching for a tray to set on my table for a while but most were to small, not the right color or way too expensive (I have children and this would be in their reach, so expensive was out). Finally last Christmas while walking the aisles of Costco, I came across the big food gift baskets and lo and behold one of them had this huge tray included with it. It was exactly what I was looking for and at the right price, just not in a place that I was looking for it. Sold! Always keep an open mind.
- Purchase those pieces that you absolutely can’t live without.
- I had been eyeing the Tommy Bahama coaster set for a while and finally decided to purchase it. Now, every time I walk passed the table and see the coasters it puts a smile on face.
- Before discarding, attempt to make changes to an item that doesn’t fit your style.
- Instead of getting rid of this pair of Mikasa candle stick holders that I have had for a very long time, I decided to see if I could do something to them to make them more “me”. I wove a thing strand of rope in and around the stems to make them more my style and now they look fantastic anywhere I decide to put them.
- Don’t keep your “special” items put away!
- This silver shell bowl that we received as a wedding gift is something I will cherish forever. But instead of worrying about wear and tear on it, I choose to put it front and center where little fingers can touch it everyday. Although I do keep it filled with seashells that we have collected throughout the years and during Christmas I add non-glass ball ornaments. This way they touch those items more than they mess with the bowl. You have to be “mom-smart” at times.
- Bookshelves are meant for more than just books; and books are meant to be put in other places than just bookshelves!
- Stacks of books under other decor add interest to the collection. Turn books up on their edge and also lay them in stacks on their side. (You can see how I do this on my living room table as well as the mantle pictures.) They are also a great way to add height to an item without it looking strange.
- Never have candles with virgin wicks!
- Please oh please, burn your candles. There is no shortage of wax but for some reason people never burn their candles. It’s not like they are expensive or hard to replace, but almost every house I enter has candles that have never been lit. I was this way once too, but have vowed to burn my candles. They really are calming, smell fantastic and bring such ambiance to a room.
Of course you can’t forget the Christmas tree! This tree was given to us from my in-laws after they decided to upgrade to a pre-lit tree. It’s thirty plus years old, yes you read that right! Every year my mother-in-law says how do you make that tree look so good? Well, here is my secret, are you ready for it….. Lights, lights and more lights…..ornaments, ornaments and more ornaments. My husband wraps lights on the inside stem first, which is easy because you have to insert each of the limbs unlike the new trees that just fall open into place. *Gasp* Then he adds strand after strand of as many lights as I request. Lights really are one of the tricks to making a tree look fabulous, so when you think you have enough, always add more. Throughout the process I always stand back and squint my eyes to make sure that the entire tree is evenly lit, seriously you must try it, it actually works!
Also, I have been collecting ornaments for years. Most of them are red, white, silver or blue but now that we have children ornaments started coming home in all sorts of colors, shapes, sizes and styles. I like a very uniform tree, so each of my daughters has their own tree that they get to decorate and display all of their homemade ornaments and non-breakables. Before anyone shudders because they think I’m a mean mom, if it goes with my tree I definitely add it to the main tree. Besides, don’t think I don’t know that when no one is looking, you re-arrange all of the ornaments your kids put in just the right spot (grouped in bunches of 5 all on one limb, trust me I know)!
Finally to top off my coastal Christmas, every year we purchase a new ornament that represents our year, something we love or a place we visited. This year we added the Mote Marine Wooden ornament and last year we added the huge sand dollar from Fantasea in St. Armand’s Circle. And there you have it, how to create an easy coastal Christmas theme with a few additional do’s and don’ts to guide you!