Do you plan a theme for Christmas every year?

A color?

A winter floral?

A pattern?

A special Christmas find?

Every year when I’m dreaming of Christmas and it’s 105 here in Texas, I tend to think in themes. I group things together in new ways and take old decor and spray paint it to match the new theme and look at things in ways I’ve never looked at them before.

So today on the “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas” series I’m sharing with my friend Leslie from My 100-Year-Old Home, we are discussing themes.

How to plan for them.

Ideas to plan around.

Simple, creative theme ideas and tons more Christmas inspiration.

Are you ready?


When planning out a theme, it’s usually a good idea to go all Julie Andrews and start at the very beginning.

After all, it’s a really good place to start.

If you haven’t planned your theme yet for this year, here are four categories of theme planning I usually use:

  • I go with an overall color scheme (like blue and white) for the room and tree and mantel
  • I go with an overall pattern (like plaid) for the room and tree and mantel
  • I go with a certain type of Christmas floral (like evergreens or hydrangeas) for the room and tree and mantel
  • I go with one of my favorite Christmas things (like snowflakes) for the room and tree and mantel

Does that make sense?

I pick one and go with that. When you think of it in categories, it makes it so much easier to choose.

Let’s start with color. There are so many options and I wanted to show you a few of them to (hopefully) inspire your theme.

Here are four amazing color schemes I’ve used before (and I’ll probably use them all again).

Choosing a Color Theme

1. Blue and white Christmas decor

Please act surprised that this was number one. This is layers and layers and layers of blue and white texture and pattern. Here are a few ideas if you think blue and white Christmas decor might be in your future:

  • find blue and white wrapping paper for presents and use to decorate
  • flocked greenery mixes well with this color scheme
  • adding blue velvet into the texture mix elevates the entire room
  • create a mantel display with ornaments and wide ribbon looped around zip ties
  • add eucalyptus as an alternative to traditional greenery
  • a pretty blue and white table cloth makes a pretty patterned tree skirt

2. Red and green Christmas decor

Hello traditional Christmas. There’s nothing prettier. When I think of Christmas colors that make me truly happy? Red and green make the top of the list. Here are a few ideas if you think red and green Christmas decor might be in your future:

  • mix in galvanized buckets and other metal accents
  • traditional greenery like pine and fir and cedar are so pretty with red and green
  • add a simple mantel display with votives for each of the days leading up to Christmas
  • keep the wrapping simple with craft paper boxes and decorative ribbon
  • use skates and other vintage Christmas pieces to add to the traditional color scheme
  • fill a sleigh with red and white and green ornaments for an easy centerpiece

3. Red and white and black Christmas decor

This is another one of my favorite Christmas color schemes. It’s so fun to mix in chalkboard and vintage lettering and black and white check. Here are a few ideas if you think black and red and white Christmas decor might be in your future:

  • make personalized chalkboard ornaments for the tree
  • decorate the room with black and white checked ribbon and a buffalo check tree skirt
  • make a garland out of old Christmas cards
  • create displays with vintage red and white and black books
  • use a plaid blanket as a tree skirt
  • add pom pom ribbon on packages and swag it through Christmas garland

4. Neutral Christmas decor

The calm side of Christmas. Texture and natural materials and wood and burlap and all the greenery. Here are a few ideas if you think neutral Christmas decor might be in your future:

  • cut Christmas trees out of pallet wood
  • mix fresh greenery with faux greenery to add the smell of Christmas to your decor
  • add burlap and jute ribbons to the Christmas tree
  • make stockings from vintage feed sacks
  • mix in eucalyptus with pine and fir and cedar
  • create a mantel display with layers of ribbon and texture

Choosing a pattern theme

Instead of color? Why not look at pattern?

Like polka dots or stripes or Christmas toile.

If you are going with a pattern, it’s a good idea to start with the ribbon. Sometimes a ribbon has inspired an entire Christmas theme. Like this neutral with red buttons. I did an entire tree around mixed in with burlap ribbon I painted with the words to Christmas carols.

Or you could go with my favorite pattern, plaid

Here are some simple ways to incorporate a plaid pattern into your theme:

  • buy plaid wrapping paper and wrap your presents and decorate with them
  • fold up a plaid blanket at the end of a bed
  • wrap a tree with plaid ribbon and make your own DIY plaid ornaments
  • make a garland out of plaid fabric
  • tie plaid bows on wreaths
  • add a plaid runner to your dining table
  • make your own DIY chargers out of plaid fabric

Choosing a Christmas Greenery theme

Instead of pattern? Why not look at Christmas greenery instead?

Like magnolia or fir or cedar.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate Christmas greenery into your theme:

  • fill a vintage wheelbarrow with mixed greenery
  • add command strips and loop greenery up the stairs
  • add extra greenery or branches to a tree that’s a little scraggly to fill it out
  • fill vintage boxes with greenery
  • add greenery to a basket on the door
  • wrap a paper garland around a tiny tree
  • make tiny wreaths out of evergreen garland and decorate with them and add them to gifts

Choosing a Christmas theme around one of your favorite things

Instead of greenery? Why not look at one of your favorite Christmas things instead?

Like angels or mini-trees or red trucks or reindeer.


I adore snowflakes.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate snowflakes (or fill in the blank with your favorite Christmas thing) into your theme:

Christmas themes are fun and this post was meant to inspire you to think outside the box.

But truth?

If you don’t have a theme or having a theme seems a little overwhelming. No worries. Decorate from your heart. It’s the best place to start.

Sometimes the best decorations are the ones that bring you joy and make decking your halls a little brighter.

And now?

Be sure and stop by Leslie’s.

She has the most amazing cranberry Christmas theme to share.

You can see it here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Rachel Ronson Rachel Ronson

    Every room and theme is Gorgeous!! Makes me want to decorate every room!! Lol. Beautiful ideas. You are so very creative.❤️

  2. Image for Karen Karen

    Thanks so much! Great info! I would love to see a demo on how to make the mantel display with ornaments, wide ribbon and zip ties included in the blue and white decor theme.

  3. Image for Teresa Y George Teresa Y George

    I love all your trees! I would love to do a theme tree, but my husband has a fit if I don't use all the old family ornaments etc. What I need is a bigger space so I can do 2 trees! My favorite from above would be the red and black theme, super cute! Or the plaid......

  4. Image for Veronica Veronica

    Absolutely love the ideas. This year, we can only do one tree, so I’m sticking with the beach/ coastal theme. Blues and whites, primarily. Across the room, I’m getting a new Mercury glass Garland to drape our “ Mantel” and using white and Mercury glass candle holders with some blue mixed in. The blue velvet is a great idea so off to find some pretty ribbon I go! You always have the best ideas!

  5. Image for Cheryl W. Cheryl W.

    I am 74 and have always used the family ornaments purchased, made and inherited. The angel topper was made by my son when he was in kindergarden. He is now 50 & the grown grandkids still look for it. They know the stories behind all the ornaments. I have ornaments from when I was a little girl. My late husband and I always purchased an ornament from wherever we were vacationing. The manger scene is from our first Christmas in 1966 as is the homemade stockings I made. It wouldn't be Christmas to me without the traditional red and green. The themed Christmas decor is stunning and I love looking at them all, but it wouldn't be Christmas for my family and especially me without the sweet memories the old ornaments evoke.

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Same here! I use a lot of red and natural or homemade items and that's as close to a theme as I get. If I had room for a second tree, it would be fun to do something "decorator", but since I don't, I go for the memories.

  6. Image for trudy nickelson trudy nickelson

    Every thing is so beautiful and inspirational. I was taking pictures of your pictures for reference as I shop and decorate, thanks!! Question: Can you recommend a good site/source for the wide ribbons you used? They're hard to find and so pricey in the stores. Blessings!

  7. Image for Donna Donna

    Love the homemade snowflakes and those wooden elements your brother makes. . . . .so much better than mass produced items, at least in my opinion. You coordinate the colors so well. I think as I age, I want to embrace a simpler look.

  8. Image for Stacey Stacey

    Every color theme you've ever chosen is gorgeous! I tend to gravitate towards the traditional red and white - it makes me so nostalgic. <3 Excited to start decorating!

  9. Image for Kathy Menold Kathy Menold

    Now that,we are empty nesters, I get to do a more themed, coordinated Christmas decor. I enjoy changing it up each year and with some help from my husband for hanging and reaching we get it all done after Thanksgiving week. Outside is always fresh greens, pincones and berries with lots of little white lights and inside faux tree,wreaths and garland and fresh flowers and plants.The theme this year is yet to be decided but I am leaning toward lots of white and mercury glass and faux candles. The dried oranges I used last year in the family room and saved will be used in the kitchen with greens and lots of other fruits like apples, pears and pomegranates. Such fun to decorate at this time of year.

  10. Image for KC KC

    We add a little to our decor each Christmas but cherish what we already have with all the memories passed down, My family would revolt if the house looked different every time they came home! I have toyed with the idea of having a gorgeous coordinated tree in the living room but get voted down every year-- it's so fun to see the grandkids look for their parents special ornaments as well as hear stories about ours and our parents- their great grand parents. We won't be in a magazine, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

  11. Image for Katy Katy

    Great ideas KariAnne!!! I’ll take a look over at Leslie’s too! Tons of creative ideas and options for a beautiful and meaningful holiday season from you as usual. I tend toward the traditional red and green theme with all the memory maker ornaments from our military life around the globe and the kids favorite ornaments. We recall the many friends, moments and zip codes we’ve been blessed to come across! Our eldest son is deployed this year, so I’m adding red, white & blue to the mix with ribbons, flags & some speciality ornaments to make sure we feel his presence despite his absence. So that’s our theme for ‘21! Your encouragement and blog help me get my thought process started and spur me into action! Many, many thanks KariAnne!!! ♥️🎄🇺🇸♥️

  12. Image for Rosie Rosie

    Hello, I absolutely love your designs and all of your pages you post here are lovely! I have a question about this post and how to decorate natural for Christmas when I have blue, denim like color furniture, but I do not want to to do any blue for my Christmas decor. Can you give me some ideas please? Thank you!!

  13. Image for Jamie Jamie

    Hi. What would you do with dark green and gold for the living room. I do have a mantel & 7’5” tree? Thanks for your help. I love reading and listening to all your posts. Happy Holidays, Jamie

  14. Image for Beth Beth

    Good Morning Karianne! All beautiful Christmas ideas - thanks for the inspiration it will help motivate me to take down Halloween. It was a busy season for us my husband officiated at a Halloween wedding! Most fun Halloween ever! I tend to do themed trees - especially like to do 4 foot trees scattered around the house. We also have two 7.5 foot trees. I try to theme the house but end up with themed rooms instead! Thanks again for help with the motivation.

Comments are closed.