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‘Tis the season for people all around the world to put up their Christmas decorations. Many families add their own personal touches to the holiday, but the aesthetic of Christmas tends to feature the colors red and green heavily. But Joanna Gaines approaches this time of year with different ideas. 

Joanna Gaines smiling
Joanna Gaines | Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty Images

She and her husband Chip, who built an empire with their eye for interior design through their former HGTV show Fixer Upper and their Magnolia Network, look forward to the yuletide season all year, and their choice for home decor is a more neutral look than you tend to see.

Gaines’ guide for a surprising Xmas palette

Gaines creates a framework for holiday decorations that breaks down each element into three main categories and associated accessories that are as follows:

  • Tree – ornaments, garland, berry sprays, string lights, tree topper
  • Textiles – tree skirt, pillows, throws, stockings 
  • Decor – candle holders, wreaths, greenery, tabletop accent decor, vases and votives, sign and wall expressions

To establish a neutral appearance, the designer recommends using white and silver ornaments on your Christmas tree. The tree is the signature symbol of the holiday and the first thing most people will notice when they walk into the living room. Its central presence also gives it the most influence on the rest of the space.  

Gaines’ stylistic choices show that when it comes to home decor, neutral doesn’t have to be a synonym for boring or cold. You still have the option of interesting or unorthodox pieces that can enrich a room without utilizing the most common Christmas colors. She then uses textiles to accent the colors used on the tree to “[establish] a rhythm of texture.” 

The rest of the decor may act in a more subtle manner, but their effect on the vibe of a space remains noticeable, especially in a neutral-colored setting. Gaines uses some of the items listed above to add whimsy and excitement to a room in a tasteful manner. 

Magnolia’s holiday collection offers items fit for several themes

Of course, Gaines sells many of the items she is persuading readers to incorporate into their own homes. Their holiday collection centers on the concept of presence as a theme. “In a season characterized by hustle and bustle, presence is an invitation to slow down, savor each moment, and simply take it all in,” they explain in a Magnolia article presenting their latest collection. 

To set the tone for a new collection, the Magnolia staff come up with a scene that adds shape and context to their newest products. This time, they imagined two set pieces: a traditional Christmas home heavily informed by nostalgia and a snow-filled day in the forest.

These inspirations help Gaines and her team creates things like holiday candles, serving boards, and advent calendars with a range of materials. Some of these features are made with standard Christmas colors if you want to stick to a traditional theme. 

Christmas decorations should suit your own taste first and foremost

Gaines’ success gives her opinions about decor more cache than most, but it’s important to remember that the main goal of any decorations is to please the residents of your home before anyone else. Holidays mean wildly different things to different people. The only firm rule about interior design is to celebrate the day in the way that you want to.

There’s nothing wrong with going all-out for Christmas or sticking to a more minimal appearance. Your style doesn’t have to be predicated on buying things, either. Reusing items you already have is a great way of injecting some creativity into your design plans without grabbing your credit card. 

Ultimately, Christmas is about creating nice memories you’ll remember fondly in the future. Whether your set-up is vibrant or neutral, that’s the most important thing.