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Scandinavian Christmas Tree Decorating

The holiday season is in full swing. Join me today to learn exactly how to decorate a Scandinavian Christmas tree this holiday season. Neutral & subtle, but so charming!

A Scandinavian holiday tree sits in a bay window, waiting to be admired by the world, in al it’s simplicity.

This year I’ve decided to change up how I decorate my holiday tree. Last year, I opted for a variety of handmade and store bought ornaments. I included dried citrus orange slices, plain wooden ornaments, bows made of jute fibers, pine cones, and a simple, rustic star placed at the top. It was so rustic and endearing.

This year, however, I was inspired to create a more Scandinavian-inspired Christmas tree. I really wanted something minimalist and classic. I also prefer my seasonal decor to blend in seamlessly with my everyday decor.

If that sounds like you, you’ll be delighted by how easy it was to create this look.

Here’s how I dressed our Scandinavian holiday tree this year…

How to Make a Scandinavian Christmas Tree


Wood beaded garlands

Neutral-colored ribbons

Homemade salt dough ornaments (I like using this recipe here)

White throw blanket or tree skirt

Tree topper, optional

Nordic wood ornaments, optional

Electric candles, optional

Pine cones

Colors to keep in mind: whites, golds, silvers, and lighter hues of blues, greens, or reds

White with blue stripes, a ribbon lays on a white bench, ready to be put on a Scandinavian holiday tree.

Steps to Make a Scandinavian Christmas Tree

Decide on the tree you’d like.

Will you go with something classic? Do you want to visit a Christmas tree farm and hand select the perfect one for your home? Or would you rather reuse a faux tree you’ve used in previous years?

Picking one out from a farm can be an amazing experience for couples and little ones around the holidays. Growing up, we always went to a tree farm to pick our very own tree. I’ll remember those memories forever. It’s such a fun experience, and if this is at all an option for you I think you should go for it.

However, not everyone has a vehicle made for hauling large pine trees around. They’re also very messy. Those sharp pine needles can be a nuisance, as they’ll likely fall bit by bit every single day as it sits in your home. You’ll also need a special stand to keep it safely upright.

Nowadays, we opt for a reusable faux tree that we can reuse each year. This is affordable and more eco-friendly.

There are pros and cons to both options, but I think it is good to consider both.

Decide on colors and envision the final product.

After putting the actual tree up, now you’ll have to decorate it! Maybe your Scandinavian holiday tree will use only handmade ornaments this year. If you have the time and energy and have kids who would love this activity, this may be right for you.

Maybe you prefer to reuse a few ornaments and decor from last year, but want to add a little something new to it also. Either option will give you room to be creative. Even with the Scandinavian theme there are so many options. For example, rustic vs modern, all white vs lighter-hued colors, traditional ornaments vs all wood/natural ornaments.

There are still so many routes to go when decorating your Scandinavian tree. Especially with all the holiday Pinterest boards out there. Don’t be afraid to get some inspiration from these.

Ribbons and wood beaded garland line a Christmas tree.

As far as colors go, blues, greens, and reds are traditional. I chose to go with a white and blue-striped ribbon to drape vertically down the tree, so it would create a cascading effect that is both stunning and simple. If you prefer to add some more traditional reds, you can use a more neutral hue or maybe use a pop of dark red in your tree. It is completely up to you.

Add a base first.

I personally opt for using what I already have on hand. I know one day I will come to the point where I just want to use an actual tree skirt. Until I find that perfect one I’m willing to spend money on, I’ll just use a throw blanket. Since it will only be in use for about a month, I will be just fine using one of these for the month of December.

Again, use colors and materials common in Scandinavian Christmas trees, like softer hues and whites and knitted or soft, cozy fabrics.

A base of a white, cozy throw blanket sits as a skirt for a Scandinavian holiday tree.

Add ribbons and garlands.

First, I added these wooden bead garlands all around the tree horizontally. I used about 4 packages, and they covered the entire side of the tree facing us.

I personally love the classic and natural look of wooden beads, so I knew I’d love using these instead of bright lights. They also go very well with just about anything, so this makes them a winner in my book.

Then I added in vertically-strung white and blue-striped ribbons. These cascaded down the tree in such an elegant manner. After this I knew I’d only have to add a few ornaments in between to fill in empty spaces.

Next add in ornaments.

The goal is to really just be filling in any gaps. The point is to accentuate the natural beauty of the treenot to look over-the-top gaudy or it will just clash with the rest of your living space. I suppose some people like to mix and match ornaments, which is fine if you have heartfelt hand-me-downs and whatnot. I prefer a more collected look, though, especially on a Scandinavian tree.

A salt dough ornament is hung on a holiday tree this year.

If you feel the need to add a tree topper, add this last.

Maybe your tree doesn’t even need a topper. Sometimes the ornaments look so well put-together and coordinated that adding something large on top would be too overwhelming. Or maybe your tree just looks too plain and bare without one.

You could even make a topper using this salt dough recipe, shaping it into a large star, or purchase one secondhand. Popular ones I’ve seen in stores that would pair well with a Scandinavian Christmas tree include straw stars, Nordic gnomes made of fabric, and Swedish woven stars.

A beautiful Christmas tree sits in a bay window in late November.

Final thoughts…

Whatever you choose, use your own personal style and never feel pressured to spend more money than you have or jump into trends that just aren’t you. (Some may even think the Scandinavian holiday tree is a trend, but I happen to think it’s timeless and gorgeous.)

Create something you will happily and proudly display in your living room.

In my opinion, there is never a bad time for a minimalist tree like this because I’ve found that most of the time when it comes to decorating, less is more. That’s exactly why this style feels so authentic to me. 

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