Real talk: I have issues making new places feel like me, so ever since I sold my car (shout out to you, Penelope) and bought a plane ticket from Florida to New York City, I’ve put little effort into my apartment—especially in December. What holiday decorating ideas could ever compare to my childhood home(s)?
My first place in NYC was a tad too small for a regular-sized person to comfortably move around, so I’m off the hook on that one. But now that I’m onto my second (still tiny!) apartment, I’ve made it my goal to create a space that feels close to being home for the holidays—even though my mom’s candle collection and my dad’s gigantic hand-picked trees are hard to beat.
Oh, the other thing I forgot to mention? I live with a thousand other people (just kidding, like five), so balancing a holiday theme throughout the apartment that also jives with everyone else’s tastes is another hurdle I’ve avoided… until now.
In preparation, I’ve planned out my first-ever holiday shopping spree—minus the long lines, impatient New Yorkers, and back aches, because my millennial burnout is much too strong for me to shop anywhere other than from the comfort of my itty bitty apartment.
Keep scrolling for some holiday decorating ideas that will finally make any small space feel like home.
My apartment is a bit cluttered (remember all the roommates?), but a tree is a non-negotiable. I can’t exactly go buy an eight-footer like my dad does due to the square footage in my home (and no, my pride will not divulge what that is), but this three-foot, pre-lit tree will fit right in.
Since my tree hasn’t been cut down from a forest, it’s lacking the pine scent I crave this time of year—and one that constantly circulates my Panhandle home—so opting for these diffusers will produce the same nostalgic feeling (without having to actually care for a living tree). One for every room? Why not.
I used to beg my parents to get on the roof and string lights up when I was a kid—an urge they often obliged—but this year I decided to outfit my stoop (closest thing to a front yard!) with these fairy lights that give just a touch of twinkle without becoming that neighbor. And I’m even thinking of snagging another set to string throughout the living room as well. The more the merrier, am I right?
This isn’t decor, but I can’t possibly enjoy my tree, lights, and pine-scented air without a mug of hot chocolate in hand. With a quick pop into the Keurig, I’ll be sipping on this sweet form of pure holiday cheer through December (or, let’s be honest, March).
I’ll admit it: I dig wreaths—especially this simple pine one with a splash of red berries. I’ll be hanging it on my apartment front door as welcoming prop for when friends come over for feasting and wine nights, and probably one in my room just to boost the overall jolly vibes of my personal living quarters.
If I could live in pajamas I would, which is why this time of year—when everyone sports a set of matching PJs without any shameful looks or questions like, “Why are you wearing pajamas at a movie theater?”—suits me so well. And this plaid set is classic, not over the top, and the idyllic ’fit for watching holiday movies and sipping something warm and sweet.
The finishing touch? A knit throw to up cozy factor. Once I’m be snuggling under this one watching every holiday movie, sporting the cutest PJs ever, and admiring my teensy tree, it’ll feel like I’m *finally* home.
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Top photo: Getty Images/Vladimir Vladimirov
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