At ZUZU, we appreciate a wide variety of interior styles including the simplicity and elegance in Scandinavian design. That's why we are sharing some of our favourite nordic-inspired festive decorations and interiors to help inspire you this Christmas, but first, a little background story...
Christmas in Nordic countries is still referred to by its pagan name: 'Jul' in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, 'Jól' in Iceland, and 'Joulu' in Finland. It wasn't until the 9th century AD when Yule went through a process of Christianisation that shaped the celebration we know today.
In most Nordic countries, celebrations start early, usually from the 13th December or in Iceland, even earlier on the first Advent Sunday.
The "Elf on a Shelf" tradition where one of Santa's scout elves watches over the children of a home to make sure they are behaving on the build-up to Christmas (whilst often unexplainably getting into funny and unusual predicaments) has become increasingly popular in the UK and America. What many people don't know is the "Elf on a Shelf" book by Carol Aebersold actually stems from Nordic folklore dating back to the 1700s. In Nordic culture, a mythical creature - usually a gnome - starts visiting homes twelve days before Christmas and well-behaved children will often find sweets or cookies in their slippers in the morning. In Iceland, children get visits by the "13 Yule Lads" which are merry but mischievous troll-like creatures with different personalities. If children are good the trolls leave sweets or small gifts in their shoes, but if children have misbehaved they leave rotting potatoes!
Christmas Eve is the main event with a big meal and the exchanging of presents, whereas Christmas Day is usually for visiting family and friends.
Scandinavian design can inspire new ideas for those who appreciate a tranquil, cozy Christmas interior that encompasses the spirit of hygge. Decorations have slight variations depending on the country however, there's an overall eco-feel that focuses on natural elements such as using wood and greenery combined with classic colors such as white, red, green, gold, and silver.
Image Credit: DemiVStyle, Etsy
In true Scandanavian style, this decor is minimalistic using wood, whites, and subtle touches of silver. Warmth is added through the earthy tones, fluffy texture of the chair and rug as well as the colour and smell of the real tree - fir and pine trees usually have rich camphor or menthol-like fragrances.
Image Credit: Miss MV
This Nordic Christmas table centerpiece can be made by collecting pine needles, pine cones, and using vanilla and cinnamon-scented candles to indulge the senses. Simple and easy to do, this centrepiece can be adapted to suit your own personal style and colour palette.
Image Credit: House & Garden
We love this simple foliage arrangement which is perfect for smaller spaces. You can add pines, berries and other decorative pieces to make it your own. Another foliage arrangement you can make is the beloved christmas wreath...
A wreath is really easy to make if you purchase a ready-made wire ring or you can use an old wire coat hanger. Have a look in your garden or go out for a walk in nature to find evergreen foliage - ivy, conifers and spruce work great as do pine cones, moss, holly, rosemary and berries. Remember, if you are using natural foliage spray it with water regularly to make it last! The Range offers some great tips on how to make one.
If you want to stick to true Scandinavian style, the "less is more" approach is the way to go - enjoying the beauty of the foliage without dominating a space.
Image Credit: GonkStory, Etsy
Remember the Nordic gnomes? These small bearded mischievous creatures are a firm favourite in many homes across Scandinavia and are called “Tomte” in Swedish, “Nisser” in Norway and "Tonttu" in Finland. You can buy them from various retailers and independent sellers online or you can make your own if you are crafty!
Image Credit: CraftMeUpDecor, Etsy
This scene adds more colour and texture, giving a bolder design yet still has many Scandinavian features with lots of white, woods and earthy elements. This really embodies the spirit of hygge - warm, cosy and comfortable.
Real tree or fake tree?
Like the rest of the world, Nordic countries use both. What makes them special is the decoration. Scandanvian Christmas trees are all about using neutral colours, natural materials, creating a cosy vibe and having fun with shapes.
What is more sustainable? A general rule of thumb is if you’ve got a fake tree already, keep using it and make it last as long as possible. If you want that real tree smell you can buy fragrances for your home - oils for a diffuser, candles, incense sticks or scented pine cones.
If you buy a real tree then make sure it is locally sourced to avoid an unnecessarily hefty carbon footprint caused by transporting it. According to The Carbon Trust, real Christmas trees can actually be more sustainable, but only if disposed of correctly. We recommend checking with your local council to see if they offer a Christmas tree recycling service, some wildlife sanctuaries accept trees for their animals or if you have bought a potted tree, you can re-plant it back in your garden. When deciding where to buy from, look out for sellers that plant two new trees for every tree sold.
Finally and most importantly, we hope you have fun decorating your home for the festivities! Merry Christmas from all of us at ZUZU x
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