In spots like the Biltmore Estate and historic downtown Thomasville, it's as if Christmas were somehow frozen in time in the Victorian era. And while top-hatted carolers, horse-drawn carriages and boughs of holly and ivy are traditions worth cherishing, holiday creativity need not pause there. Nor is it necessary to get trapped in the 1940s-era time warp of “The Christmas Story” or any number of other heartfelt "home for the holidays" decorating schemes.
As trendsetters and designers will tell you, it's possible to be both festive and forward-thinking. This year's holiday decor trends are both bright and simple, sparkly and serene.
Here's what's new and joyous on the style scene for holidays 2018:
A bloomin' wonderful way to decorate
According to Pouted, adding colorful blooms to your Christmas tree, garlands and wreaths will be an "in" thing this year. "It will also look elegant if you add some stunning ornaments, glass bulbs and golden colored ribbons to provide the eye-catching look," Pouted advised.
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Larger than life lawn ornaments
One of House Beautiful's picks for redefining festive this year: really big lawn ornaments. "If you want something kitschy and cute for your front yard, these oversized ornaments are the way to go. Much like the zombie flamingo trend from this Halloween, large lawn ornaments are taking over - and they're so fun."
Pom pom wreaths for a cheery front door
Another House Beautiful pick, pom pom wreaths are part of the popular "boho chic aesthetic" this season. "Festive yet un-traditional. And the best part? You can find them at your favorite stores, but you can also DIY them, if you're feeling crafty."
Make merry with modern ornaments
Elle Decor suggested choosing geometric gold ornaments for a "fun, minimalist twist" on the Christmas tree. Niki Brantmark, a Londoner who lives in Sweden, described how to pull off the look on her My Scandinavian Home blog: "I went for a pared-back look (you know me!) including simple wrapping paper decorated with ribbon and foliage, adding a sprinkling of brass to the tree with a fab drinks trolley to match."
Seasonal message lights to go with the year-round offerings
Another 2018 holiday decor trend spotted by House Beautiful: those omnipresent message lights, only with holiday cheer instead of inspirational slogans (and sometimes both). "Neon and faux-neon lights (and other fun lighting accents like marquee letters) definitely hit their peak in 2018, so naturally that's translating into festive options, too," HB said. Their favorite: a "merry" Lit Sentiment Wall Art piece from Pottery Barn.
Santa don't take my monochrome away
Handmade Christmas ornaments will have their usual popularity this year, according to Lushhome, but the design idea website also predicted styles that incorporated many shades of the same palette. "Christmas ornaments in monochromatic colors are one of the most elegant trends in decorating for the winter holidays 2018. Light yellow, earthy yellow color shades, golden, brownish yellow hues, traditional red and green colors, elegant black and white are modern color choices that create fabulous Christmas trees, blending luxury and optimism into lush green branches."
A very succulent Christmas
Curbed calls cacti and succulents the "perfect plant for this cultural moment" due to their social-media-friendly air resilience, so it's only fitting that the trendy, eco-conscious plants also have a place in the 2018 holiday decor line-up. According to Lushhome, the best ways to get the desert vibe going in your Christmas decor is to add Santa hats to your household cacti or make them into seasonal centerpieces with Christmas balls, tiny garlands or Christmas lights. Lots of those ideas work for succulents too. Or opt for a Christmas cactus that blooms to decorate itself.
Galvanized buckets with naked trees
Naturally, Country Living is going to go rustic no matter the decade, but for 2018 they're on-point with vintage-look trees "you'll love more than shiplap and barn doors." One hot country look, especially in entryways or small spaces, is a simple, unadorned tree set into a galvanized bucket.
The "tree" made of Mason jars
Okay, we knew after a few years of Pinterest it might come to this: a trendy Mason jar Christmas tree. You simply get those pint-size mason jars off the shelves or out of the craft closet, clean them and plop ornaments inside. Then line them up three across, two on top of that, and another to create the top tier. Drape them with metallic beads and pin a star to the lid of the top jar and your updated country Christmas tree is ready to shine.