Effortless Christmas Decor Idea

December 10, 2016 6 Comments

Christmas and New Year are right around the corner! And I have been on the look-out for some holiday decor. As you may know already (depending on how long you have been following us), we like it to be nice and simple, especially when it is wallet- and eco-friendly. When it comes to decorating, Nadia is the person in charge, and Dmitri is the judge, I (Nadia) always have to balance between masculinity and femininity when it comes to decorating our house. Even though Dmitri is not in charge of decorating, he certainly has an opinion. He cares. Not as much as I do, but to some extent. It is not like if I didn’t take his likes and dislikes into consideration, he would lose sleep over it. No. But it is his house, too, after all, and I want him to be comfortable there just as much as I am.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree! It is, of course, the centerpiece of an entire Holiday decor.
We love this time of year as much as you, friend! When the tree is up, the lights are on, and you can sit down with a cup of hot beverage and enjoy the view.

As for me, I particularly love setting up the tree. While preparing this post I was researching ideas of designer Christmas trees, thinking I would come up with some WOW tree to inspire you. I even came across tutorials on “how to” decorate your Christmas tree. TUTORIALS! For decorating a tree. I honestly would never think those even exist! But I am sure you could find some great tips there. 🙂 But then I realized – I don’t want a WOW tree. You can surf Pinterest and find thousands and thousands of WOW ideas. But I just want MY (ok, OUR) tree from our childhood.


Don’t get me wrong, I think those beautifully decorated designer-looking trees are amazing, but I just wanted to go with our traditional way to decorate. And here is why. I don’t usually go and buy an entire set of ornaments of a particular color scheme for each year. I love to dig my old ornaments out of the boxes and just dive into this magic process of putting them on the Christmas tree – the only time of the year I feel like a little girl who believes in fairytales again. I absolutely take my time doing it. And this is more than just decorating a tree – it is sentimental and a little bit nostalgic. A couple of years ago, I even asked my mom to send me the ornaments from my childhood.

When I decorate the tree and see those “oldies”, I always recall the moments when my sisters and I would playfully fight for the right to hang our favorite ornaments on the tree.

Now, I am all on my own to decorate it, because Dmitri’s role in this whole process is to deliver and install the tree and leave me alone. Oh, by the way, keep reading and at the end of the post I will show you how our Christmas tree would look like if Dmitri was to decorate it.

But the main point is, it doesn’t matter how you decorate it as long as it makes you feel happy and excited. And this is true not only for the tree decorating, but your entire home decor in general. And while for decor there are some basic rules to ensure it looks cohesive, for the tree not so much. Not for OUR tree at least :). For me, the more colors it has, the merrier it looks.

Oh, and another fun thing I will tell you. And you might want to adopt this fun ritual as well. Every time we take the tree down, we write a letter to ourselves with our wishes and goals for the next year and pack it with the Christmas ornaments. Next year when we put the Christmas tree up we find this letter, which we usually forget about over the course of the year. It is so much fun to read and assess what came true. You’ve probably heard this type of advice before; that if you want something to happen write it down on a piece of paper and start taking steps towards it. Somehow it works for us!

Couple fun facts and a history excurse:

Remember Dmitri and I are from post-USSR countries?
So the New Year celebration is a big deal there. While for many people in the USA the holiday frenzy and cooking is subsiding after December 25, for us it is just the beginning. We gather with friends and family, preparing lots of food, shopping for and wrapping gifts, and celebrating all night long. While in our home countries, overseas, we would also go outside after midnight to greet everyone we meet, wish them “Happy New Year”, and go to see the New Year’s fireworks which usually takes place around 1 or 2 am. We even call a Christmas tree a “New Year’s Eve” tree.
During the Soviet Union era, when religion was prosecuted, Christmas was forbidden and erased from the calendar. However, the tradition to celebrate was strong, so the Christmas celebration was transplanted to New Year’s Eve. While religion is no longer prosecuted, this tradition endures, and people continue to celebrate New Year’s Eve as a super-holiday.
However, the preparation routine is the same as for Christmas.

Welcome to our home

This is something I have never done before – decorated our entryway. But this year I got a splash of inspiration.

See these branches? I picked them in the woods right in front of our backyard – they are natural and free! 🙂 Meanwhile, I also did some treeline cleanup of napkins, beer containers, bottles, some kid’s toys, you name it. Remember, friends, I am an environmental major, I just can’t ignore those things.

I initially intended to paint the branches white. But after fetching them out of the woods, I placed them on the porch, and decided to wrap some gifts before I get my hands “dirty”. I wrapped the boxes and decorated them with a ribbon that I picked up in our local Home Goods. The ribbon was with glitter that was falling off the ribbon while I was tying bows. So my working area was scattered with gold and silver dust.

And that was the “A-HA!!!” moment. The idea came spontaneously to add some glitter to the branches using this by-product of gift wrapping. I just sprayed the branches with water and smeared this shiny dust on them. I just love how they twinkle in the dimmed evening light.


After it is done, you better not to mess with it, so the glitter stays on the branches. And tell your kids to keep away – it’s ART! 🙂

The trees are hand-made from craft-grade paper in a matter of minutes.

Very effortless easy decor, but it creates such a festive atmosphere!

Dining area

Here I mixed different metals and offset them with neutral table runners.

It used to be a big No-No for me to mix silver, yellow and rose gold; whether in personal attire or decor. But not anymore, and particularly for New Year’s Eve decor, when some extra glimmer is more than welcome! This is something very unusual for me, but this year I went a little crazy on tablescape decor adding so much bling-bling. I think it works perfectly for this look.

As you can see, I mixed some feminine and natural shapes of holiday greenery with industrial copper wiring of soft pink gold (I spotted some in the garage by accident, and exclaimed to myself, “Wow! That is the color I need!”) to fit in with our home interior (and to please Dmitri in hopes he wouldn’t mind me using this nice wire for decor. Now you can imagine how our house would look like if Dmitri was in charge of decorations).

To create a simple and relaxing family setting, I just used our regular everyday silverware and plates.

I also used a neutral color runner to offset the abundance of glimmer (ssssshhhhh… don’t tell anyone, it is actually a scarf).

So, this is what our home will look like this year. Please share your ideas and pictures with us! Let’s inspire each other!

We wish you Happy Holidays!

Oh! Almost forgot! 🙂 I promised to show you how our tree would look like if Dmitri was to decorate it:

Picture Source: Zsazsabellagio

Linking with:

Little Cozy House


  1. Tania

    December 11, 2016

    Haha! The last photo is priceless, because it speaks for almost all men out there! I LOVE you table setting, especially the evening look with candles and a Christmas tree on a background… So cozy and warm. Happy holidays to your wonderful family, Nadia!
    P.S. Did you do any decorations outside?

    • Nadia Karpov

      December 11, 2016

      Thank you for your comment! I hope you have Happy Holidays, too! For outside decorations, we have been decorating a bush that grows near our townhouse – very simple 🙂 Since we moved in, we have been so busy with the projects inside the house, so there was no time left to think about an outside decor. We will leave this opportunity for maybe the next year!
      Did you decorate outside?

  2. Dasha

    December 12, 2016

    Hi! Love the idea of keeping it simple just like the ones from our childhood years. I may have to send my grandma on a mission so that I can re-posses all of my childhood ornaments. What are your thoughts on fake trees? I haven’t done complete research yet to see if it outweighs the risks of real xmas tree production, but as much as I would love to have a real tree every year, I think I am leaning towards getting a fake one. If it’s better for the environment, then I am willing to invest into a fake one and re-use it for many many years lol.

    • Nadia Karpov

      December 12, 2016

      I love that you brought it up! I, of course, did some research, and tend to lean towards a real one. Both, artificial and real, make some environmental impact. However, the artificial trees manufactured with non-biodegradable petroleum-derived plastic, and they are also non-recyclable. The manufacturing process pollutes the environment as well. The real trees are absorbing CO2 throughout its lifetime. There is also a Christmas trees recycling program exists in the USA. It is called treecycling. Christmas trees, instead of being send to landfills, are being recycled into mulch and used in landscaping, gardening, for hiking trails, playgounds, etc.
      Also, artificial trees are mostly made in China, and real Christmas trees grow in the USA.
      I think we should feel less guilty for cutting those trees, because for every tree that is cut, 1-3 trees will be planted in spring.
      So, from environmental point of view, I would definitely go with real one. There are many reasons why people would choose an artificial one – some people have allergies to real trees, some consider cost, some low maintenance, some high rise buildings home associations prohibit real trees because of fire hazard, etc.

      • Dasha

        December 16, 2016

        Right, I have also heard that there are xmas tree farms, specifically designated to meet consumer demand. But, realistically speaking for every 3 trees planted only one will survive and it takes a looong time for a baby tree to mature. When we hiked the PCT we traversed some wild fire areas and I was surprised to see how small some trees were after a wild fire that happened years ago. Unless they are using some crazy growth enhancing stuff to make the xmas trees grow faster. Then if I think about the farm land needed to grow the trees = continuous deforestation of natural forest. So it really seems that there are cons and pros on both sides. As my mom said, plant a real one in your backyard and decorate that every year. И потом дети будут из под снега подарки выкапывать 😂

        • Nadia Karpov

          December 19, 2016

          fires definitely changes physical and chemical properties of soil, so this might affect bio-cycle in general. And your guess is right – farms may use fertilizers and pesticides, which is a downside of trees farming. And your mom gave you the best advice! Love it! ))

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