Holiday Decor Essentials: My Seven Favorite Decorating Items

You don’t need a ton of decor to make your home feel festive this holiday season. These 7 favorite holiday decor essentials will bring the joy of the season into your home, simply and beautifully!

holiday decor essentials beautiful christmas tree with ornaments and garland

When it comes to holiday decorating, I’m more of a ‘simple is best’ person. I don’t buy a ton of decor every year, and I tend to use what I do have over and over. 

And one of the reasons that works, is that I stick to some core decorating elements that feel timeless. By using classic items that can be re-used again and again, not only do I save money, but there’s a continuity to my decor as you go from room to room.

These seven holiday decor essentials are my absolute favorites, the ones I couldn’t decorate without. They make the house feel festive and cozy, and they can be used year after year. 

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Vintage-style Brass Bells

vintage style brass bells holiday decorating essentials

Brass bells might be my very favorite holiday decor essential. I love the vintage feel they bring to any space, plus they’re so versatile!

They look good anywhere you put them. Above I used this set and these small ones on an entry table. But I have lots of different sizes so that they can be used on anything from a wreath, to a mantel, to a table setting.


wreath with brass bells holiday decor ideas

This set is one I frequently use on wreaths or hanging from the mantel. 


Branches & Greenery

branches and greenery in rustic vase holiday decorating essentials

As far as I’m concerned, there can never be too much greenery! From pine branches, to eucalyptus, to cedar sprigs, they all work. And when it comes to the holidays, I use both faux and real. In fact, sometimes I even mix the two together to make the real go farther.

In the vase above, I used faux greens decked with pinecones.


greenery and bells in vintage bucket christmas holiday porch decor

And on the porch, I combined live pine and cedar branches in a vintage bucket for a festive seasonal look. 


Small Trees 

tiny christmas tree holiday decorating essentials

If brass bells are my very favorite, then little trees are a close second! This is one holiday decor essential that brings a lot of bang for the buck. They’re charming and irresistible, which is why I love to sprinkle them everywhere!

I’ve used everything from a small size on a table or counter, to a medium size tree that sits on the the floor. Above I used my favorite little 12″ trees in some vintage French terracotta pots.


cute tabletop tree in bucket on fireplace christmas decorating ideas

And here, I used my favorite 4′ tabletop tree ensconced in a wire basket lined with burlap. This tree has been everywhere from the hearth, to the kitchen, to the entryway, and it looks good anywhere you put it!


Natural Elements 

tabletop tree with orange slices european french christmas decorating ideas

The same way I love to use natural elements in the fall, I do the same thing when it comes to the holidays. I always gravitate to a natural style, and bringing nature inside is my favorite way to incorporate that. 

On the tabletop tree above, I used dried orange slices to decorate a little tree, creating a European take on the holidays. 


holiday decor essentials natural elements pine cones in bowl on table

You can use pinecones, oranges, pomegranates, pears, or whatever else says Christmas to you. The bonus is, most of these items smell great, and many can be eaten afterwards!



wreaths on front door gorgeous christmas decor ideas

It might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m always amazed at the amount of people that never use any wreaths at all! And while I don’t think you need them on every window or door, it is nice to use a few to spread some holiday cheer.

I would argue that there’s almost nothing prettier than a wreath decorating a front door! My favorite is the very realistic looking cedar wreath I used above.


little wreaths on chairs in dining room holiday decorating essentials

I also love them on windows, mirrors, or over a mantel. Or even on a chair. Above, I used tiny ones to add some charm to the dining room!


Quality Ribbon

I’ll admit that until just a few years ago, I either didn’t use much ribbon in my decorating, or I bought whatever I found at the local Michael’s or Joann’s. But I’ve completely changed my tune on this! The difference that using quality velvet or silk ribbon makes is dramatic!


The drape of quality velvet is much prettier and it really elevates anything you’re using it on; from gifts, to trees, to wreaths. 

I’ve got a few sources I love on Etsy here, and here, but my new favorite is this one. It is thick and luscious and it comes in several colors. Plus, it comes in a 10 yard size and ends up being much cheaper than the Etsy versions!

P.S. I save my ribbon from year to year. Unless they’re tiny pieces, I collect them after Christmas and keep them to use again. That way, I really get my money’s worth!


Scented candles 

You all know what a candle lover I am! In fact, I love holiday scented candles so much I wrote a post all about my top 10 favorites. They’re an essential way to add the scents of the season, especially if you use a faux tree. And even in the years where we used a live tree, I always added them as the tree smell really doesn’t last very long.

Above is Frasier Fir (one of my faves), but you can see all my top favorites below!


Shop Holiday Decor Essentials


Happy Holidays!


7 Favorite Holiday Decor Essentials graphic on Maison de Cinq

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more holiday inspiration and decorating ideas below:

Bronze & Gold Christmas Decor in the Family Room

10 Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas 

How to Style an Elegant Christmas Front Porch

European & French Christmas Decor Shopping Guide


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  1. Sheila, this is a wonderful list and a great reminder that we sometimes can make things much too complicated for ourselves! A person can still do anything from simple to over-the-top with some very edited and beautiful elements. And, I like only having to perhaps spend some money on a dash of a new color to incorporate into the mix. Great job (as always!). Happy Thanksgiving……

    1. Yes, yes! I feel the exact same way Beth! Thanks so much for your sweet comment and for stopping by!

      Happy Holidays to you!


      1. This is an excellent idea, as I get older I want impact and Christmas but not so much that it takes days to get it down. Your list is amazing though some of the items are sold out.

        1. Aww thanks Diana – I’m so glad you found it helpful! And sorry about the ‘sold out’! Things sell out SO fast now, and this post was from 2 weeks ago. Sadly, that is how fast things go now! I’ll try to find some newer items and replenish the post if possible. 🙂

          Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment!