10 tips for mixing family heirlooms and antiques in with your new holiday decor & how to create Swedish Christmas decorating style.
This post is in partnership with World Market.
This one hits me right in the feels y’all. It’s not often that I cry over decorating, but this one did it.
If you’ve followed this blog for a few years, you probably already know about my Swedish roots, which I’ve mentioned a time or two. My great-grandfather came over from Sweden in the early 1900s, and I’m still fortunate to stay in touch with my Swedish cousins there.
Even though he passed away before I was born, I was very close to my half-Swedish grandmother growing up. She whipped up her famous Swedish pancakes every time we visited, and she treasured all of her heirlooms from Sweden around her little house at Fort Bragg.
She passed away when I was 12, but Christmas always reminds me of her playing on her beaten up piano belting out “Joy to the World” with little footy pajama’d me curled up next to her.
So this year for Christmas, I decided to display all of her special items my family inherited from her with a few Swedish/Nordic inspired decor pieces from World Market. Seeing it all around our home, I don’t think my heart has ever been more full of so many emotions during the holidays.
If you have sentimental items in your attic or in storage and want ideas for weaving them into your holiday decor, here are a few tips, no matter what your ancestral roots are:
1. Mix heirloom serving pieces in with neutral dishes to highlight their uniqueness.
My grandmother’s silver tea pot is perfect for using as a hot cocoa station when we have guests during Christmas.
2. Display old knick-knacks under cake stand domes or cloches with some greenery and fairy lights.
This Dala horse has never looked so fancy.
3. Place old cookbooks on kitchen shelves to show them off.
The more worn out it is, the more loved it is, right?! I surrounded my maternal grandmother’s old cookbook with these sweet light-up wooden houses to create a little Christmasy glow and wooden cutting boards for texture.
4. Frame a few handwritten recipes by loved ones using this preservation method displayed in a float frame.
I found my grandmother’s Swedish meatball recipe in her handwriting in a stack my mom gave to me a couple of years ago, and it’s been hanging on our kitchen wall right beside our stove ever since.
5. Use old bowls for holding ornaments or fruit in holiday colors.
6. Use a sentimental item as a centerpiece on your table.
This candelabra was my grandmother’s that I dress up with greenery to look like a Swedish St. Lucia crown every year.
7. Display sentimental trinkets on shelves and tabletops alongside mini Christmas trees.
I remember playing with this Dala horse as a child on my grandmother’s living room shelf, so it makes me overjoyed to see it on our entry table every day when we walk through the door of our home.
8. Incorporate old vases and canisters into decor with seasonal flowers or plants.
This silver sugar bowl was part of my grandmother’s collection.
9. Create small vignettes using special items on your end tables or coffee table.
This mining lamp belonged to my great uncle when he worked in the coal mines of West Virginia.
10. Hang special heirloom ornaments on your tree mixed in with world culturally-inspired new ones.
All of the Swedish/Nordic/Scandinavian style ornaments make me totally giddy!
If you want to channel the style’s cozy vibe, here are some ways to pull it off:
1. Utilize chunky knits in your pillows, blanket, or stockings.
2. Use textured woven baskets in place of tree skirts, for added storage, and as decorative pieces.
Now that we’ve gotten this woven tree collar, I’m never wrestling with a tree to stuff it in a regular basket ever again.
3. Add in plenty of candlelight.
4. Incorporate paper crafts like trees, stars, hearts, and snowflakes.
I remember my grandmother had some paper trees similar to these light-up trees. They make me smile!
5. Display gingerbread in your kitchen.
This was our best attempt at decorating ours. Haha! But if you’re not good at constructing them from scratch, this gingerbread house that’s ready-made is easier to work with.
And we pick up this tin of Swedish style gingersnaps every year to keep in our kitchen. They’re addictive! Beware.
6. Stick to natural elements like carved wooden accents and kraft paper wrapping with ribbon.
7. Add greenery everywhere!
It’s always beautiful to me seeing the house all aglow for Christmas, but this year is absolutely my favorite for obvious reasons. Pretty things are nice. But decorating with things that have soul… that’s what truly makes a house a home.
That is what makes Christmas even more worth celebrating.
You can find all of the Swedish-inspired decor we used here, if you love Scandinavian style as much as I do:
- Tree Collar
- Pre-Built Gingerbread House
- Gingersnap Tin
- Burgundy Stripe Kitchen Towel
- Eucalyptus & Berries Garland
- Eucalyptus & Berries Wreath
- Light Up Wooden House Set
- Wood Gingerbread House Ornaments
- Stone Gray Mug Set
- Marshmallow Toppers
- Cocoa Mix
- Cranberry Garland
- Felted Wool Ornaments
- Red Nordic Heart Ornaments Set
- Wooden House Ornaments Set
- White Bird Ornament Clip
- Wooden Snowflake Ornaments
- Wooden Nordic Ornaments
- 18 Point Star Ornaments
- Paper Pine Trees
- Knit Stockings
- Battery Operated String Lights
- Red Ticking Stripe Ribbon
- Ribbed Kraft Wrapping Paper
- Gold Stars Kraft Wrapping Paper
- Natural Woven Ribbon
- Wood Chargers
Do you use sentimental items in your decor? Or have any other tips? Do you have a heritage that you are super proud of and love displaying in your home? I want to hear all about it!
P.S. World Market is currently having a 40% off ALL furniture sale! Use the code WMFS75 to get free shipping on $75+.