The European Holiday: 14 Ways to Decorate the House, from France, Sweden, and More

Every year we find ourselves caught up in a new slant on holiday decorations: one year it was Scandi style, with clean-lined ornaments and lots of charm; in other years, we have turned to toll-free decor for small spaces. Last year, after a late December trip to the snowy storytelling city of Stockholm, I found myself inspired by the ancient (varied) traditions of Western Europe. From France to Sweden to Ireland, here are some ways to decorate the holidays like the Europeans do.

England: cut the coat.

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Above: While decorating the tree, don’t forget to make the fireplace cheerful. “Decorate the mantle with fir garlands and decorate it with pine cones, candy canes and Christmas decorations,” says London designer Rita Konig. “Then use the fireplace to collect the presents and hang the stockings.” Read more of Rita’s tips in Expert Tips: 8 Holiday Decorating Ideas in English. Photograph by Justine Hand from DIY: Minimalist Holiday Mantel, $ 10 Edition.

France: Prepare thirteen desserts.

Do like the French and let sumptuous bowls of food serve as the decor.  Here, following the Provencal tradition of the thirteen desserts, nuts, dried fruits and candies are elegant when presented in cut glass and silver objects.  Photograph of Anson Smart of Christmas in Burgundy: at home with the expat family behind the cook's workshop.
Above: Do like the French and let sumptuous food bowls serve as decoration. Here, following the Provencal tradition of the thirteen desserts, nuts, dried fruits and candies are elegant when presented in cut glass and silver objects. Photograph of Anson Smart of Christmas in Burgundy: at home with the expat family behind the cook’s workshop.

Sweden: Channel Saint Lucia.

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