11 Local, Modern Decorating Ideas for Christmas


The sky is twinkling with stars by 4:30pm, and the streets are slick with ice and snow. Indoors is the place to be this time of year. And oh, what a magical place it can be. Far from feeling oppressive, with the right hangings and foliage, the living room is our respite from the cold and a welcoming hearth to decorate lovingly till the groundhog does his thing.

Here are our some of our favorite ideas for the winter season, many scooped up from local sources. We hope they help keep your nest festive till Christmas and beyond.


Prints by Lisa Chow at Sacred Art

The above print of charming little buildings strung with Christmas lights is no longer on Texas-based artist Lisa Chow‘s website, but her work can be found at Sacred Art (4619 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL, 60625). This 2013 print, called “Skiing”, is an example of her whimsical drawing style that is perfect for winter, yet not so trendy or noël-heavy that it can’t stay up all year round.

Ornaments from Virtu


These beautiful birchwood ornaments are from Wicker Park boutique Virtu (2034 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL, 60647), a hub for local makers.

Felt Gnome Ornaments


Hand crafted with felt and wood, these little gnomes can make anything from a desk to a kitchen table festive. Also from Virtu.

DIY Ornaments from Recycled Jars


Have a surplus of jars, baby food or otherwise? A couple craft-sized christmas trees and twine make these upcycled ornaments (and keep the materials out of a landfill.) Find the tutorial here, at Simply Ciani.

Wreaths from Sprout Home



Beautiful and fresh takes on Christmas wreaths. Both, Sprout Home.

Alternatives to Christmas Trees

Sustainable hardwood tree from Festive Tree


Based out of New Hampshire, Festive Tree creates Scandinavian-inspired trees of out sustainably sourced hardwood that will last for many years. Above “The People’s Tree.” From their about page: “More and more folks are looking for a way to escape the commercialism and waste of Christmas with something simpler and more sustainable.” We couldn’t have said it better.

Potted Christmas Trees from Gethesemane


To quell commercialism, why not get a tree that can be planted once Christmas is over? Theoretically, it could be uprooted each year and temporarily transferred to a pot to bring inside, or it could be the start of a little evergreen forest in your backyard. Or it could be decorated with twinkling lights and tinsel and then adorned with snow and sparkly ice in the outdoors. All are better than a temporary tree then relegated to the ether.

Champagne Tinsel Tree, from Treetopia


Tinsel was originally made of strips of silver, invented in Germany in 1610. Nowadays, it usually made of PVC or coated Mylar plastic, which may not be biodegradable, but it can be used for many, many years, with contained ecological impact. If a champagne one (layered with silver and gold for depth) isn’t your thing, other colors, from classic green to black, to silvery white can be found online.

Chalkboard Paint Tree

There’s also this idea from Apartment Therapy: a tree (or menorah) painted with chalkboard paint, and decorated with chalk ornaments, sayings, and good tidings. Once January rolls around, it can easily shift into a January 1st to do list.

Minimalist Snowglobe from the MCA

Modern snowglobe

Sometimes you just want snow, and nothing else. Gaze into this simple snow globe and let holiday stress become a mere snowflake in a swirling blizzard.

DIY Card Display from the Holiday Queen

Martha Card Tree

Martha Stewart’s DIY project involves hanging all of those wonderful holiday cards on a tree, and not on a mantel piece where they continue to fall over. You can purchase branches at your local florist or garden center.

Happy Holidays!