Each year we find ourselves taken by some new tilt on holiday decorations: one year it was Scandi style, with clean-lined ornaments and plenty of charm; other years we’ve looked toward no-cost and small-space decor. Last year, after a late-December trip to the snowy storybook city of Stockholm, I found myself inspired by the (varied) old traditions of western Europe. From France to Sweden to Ireland, here are a few ways to decorate for the holidays like the Europeans do.
England: Trim the mantel.
France: Set out thirteen desserts.
Sweden: Channel Saint Lucia.
Denmark: Invest in festive stamps.
France: Make a pomander.
Ireland: Hang holly and ivy.
Norway: Set out gløgg.
Germany: Add intricate carved-wood scenes.
Austria: Light an advent wreath.
England: Set crackers around the holiday table.
Italy: Have a ceppo.
Portugal: Set out your shoes.
Finland: Feed the birds.
Switzerland: Light a fire.
For more European holiday decor, see 13 Favorites: European Christmas Ornaments. And for more easy holiday decor ideas from the archives, see:
- DIY: Holiday Decor for Small Spaces
- The Simple Life: 10 Christmas Holiday Tips from Tricia Foley
- 10 Favorites: No-Cost Holiday Decor Ideas
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on December 4, 2018.
Frequently asked questions
What is the article about?
This article is about holiday decorations in Europe during Christmas time.
Where can I find these decorations?
Most of these decorations can be found in local Christmas markets, department stores or online retailers.
What are some popular decorating themes in Europe during Christmas?
Some popular decorating themes include traditional rustic decor, modern minimalistic decor, and festive Nordic decor.
What are some traditional Christmas foods in Europe?
There are many traditional Christmas foods in Europe, including mince pies and Christmas pudding in the UK, gingerbread cookies in Scandinavia, and panettone in Italy.
What is the history of Christmas markets in Europe?
Christmas markets have a long history in Europe, dating back to the late Middle Ages. They originated as an opportunity for crafters to sell their wares during the holiday season, and have since become a longstanding tradition that brings communities together.
What are the origins of the Christmas tree?
The origins of the Christmas tree date back to Germany in the 16th century, where it was common to decorate trees with apples, candles, and other ornaments.
Are there any new decorating trends emerging in Europe?
There are always new decorating trends emerging, but some recent ones include eco-friendly decor that uses natural and sustainable materials, and DIY projects that repurpose old materials into festive decorations.
What are some popular Christmas destinations in Europe?
Some popular Christmas destinations in Europe include Vienna, Austria, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Strasbourg, France, among others.
Can I use these decorating ideas in my own home?
Absolutely! These decorating ideas can be adapted to fit any home or budget, and can help add a festive touch to your home during the holiday season.
What is the significance of the Advent calendar?
The Advent calendar is a countdown to Christmas that originated in Germany in the 19th century. It typically includes small gifts or treats for each day leading up to Christmas Day.