How to create a pretty, simple holiday display

December 15, 2017

This year I've reeeally cut down on the Christmas decor I put out, just because I didn't want to overwhelm the house (and me) with too much so soon after moving in. But it's surprising how so little can make the house feel so festive! 

One of my go-to's is the simplest decor and you can add to it as you wish to dress it up. I've had these glass candle holders for years and use them every Christmas. (Check the end of the post to see how I've dressed them up over the years.) This time my plan was to leave them bare and create a candlescape on either side of our fireplace:
Simple Christmas centerpiece decor

I used ten of the holders (five on each cabinet) and just placed them randomly (shortest in the front) on top. 

Then I grabbed some greenery -- years back I found the BEST faux greenery at Big Lots (they don't sell it anymore 😢) and got a bunch of it. I used wire cutters to trim it up so I could place the little bunches in random spots. I use this stuff EVERY year. It looks so real!: 
How to create simple holiday decor

I just placed the greenery around and in between the glass. Simple votive holders are inside, but I later removed those because they created a shadow when lit. Just put your votives inside or use fake LED candles (on a timer or remote is even better!). 

Then I just added some small red bulbs scattered throughout (I'll show you that in a bit). I liked it with the bare candle holders but they were kind of disappearing even when lit. So I grabbed this wrapping paper I found at HomeGoods last year: 
Birch wrapping paper

I got it specifically because it looks like birch and I knew I could use it for something like this!

Just cut the pieces to size and wrap around the OUTside. I taped them along the backs. And there you go!:
Wrapping Goodwill glass with wrapping paper

Isn't that pretty? SO pretty at night. And super simple and even with wrapping the paper around the holders, it hardly took any time. I wrapped them while on the phone to change a flight, so it worked out well. ;) (If you use real candles make sure your paper doesn't hang over the edge, especially on the short ones!)

I didn't want much but I wanted it to be festive -- and you can't go wrong with more candlelight!:
Simple Christmas tablescape decor

Of course this is one of those where anything goes! Fill them up with various colored bulbs, snowflakes, ribbon, whatever! It will be beautiful, I promise:
Black "x" cabinets on either side of fireplace

I had some LED lights strung through there at first too, but they took away from the candlelight, so I didn't think it needed them. 

Don't get me wrong -- I LOVE a house full of Christmas decor! I already have plans to do more next year. I'm giving myself some grace this year and yet, the places I've decorated have made a big impact so the house is certainly not lacking the Christmas spirit:
Black cabinet round mirror

Next time you're at Goodwill or the dollar store look out for these! You can use them SO many different ways! 

Here's my sweater wrapped version from a couple years back:
sweater wrapped candle holders

These wrapped in gold and silver were a favorite! They looked so good with that mirror!:
Dollar store candles with paper decor

I loved the snowflake versions too: 
Dressing up plain glass candles

And these metal candle holder wrappers can be used any time of the year: 
metal sheeting around glass

See how fun they are to dress up? They are the little black dress of holiday decor. ;) 

Do you go crazy with holiday decor or keep it simple? I find it depends on how the year has gone for me. Sometimes I'm in the mood to go crazy with it, sometimes I crave a calmer house. 

I hope to share a holiday tour of at least our family room and kitchen next week! Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, have a GREAT weekend!!

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. Thanks for this reminder! So pretty. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Oh my gosh, I love every single one of these ideas - I'm totally going to look for them in the dollar store next time I'm there!! Awesome, awesome, awesome - you really are so talented, Sarah!

  3. Clever and beautiful! I really love every iteration. You really know how to make a house a home in a very approachable way. You truly have a gift, Sarah!

  4. I really love your ideas and how easy and doable they are. This is such a simple one again but creates such festive vibes. Merry Christmas! :)

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  5. Beautiful! I love having go to decor that you can use and change each year. I have a large glass bowl in my entryway and I change up what's in it each season. If you find fake greenery that looks great again, please share! I'd love to have some for this type of project.

  6. Ahh I love the sweater candles lol! that's so cute!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  7. Gorgeous, easy, and so inexpensive to make! What's not to like?! Thanks for the tips!


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!