Christmas Through The Years


Brian and I (and those kids) are traveling the whole month of December. We’ll be up in Portland for the actual holidays, and will be at my brother’s house, which BETTER be decorated, but sadly we did not decorate our house this year. To celebrate, and mourn, I thought I’d show you all the different Christmases I have decorated over the last 5 years on the blog. Some of them you might remember (last year), but many you might not have seen (like the HGTV holiday special I did with Cheryl Burke, or the Secrets From a Stylist holiday special). Here they are, for your viewing pleasure and horror . . .

Emily Henderson Holiday Decorating Copper Gold Blue Christmas Tree White living room

Last year was Winter Wonderland Glam. I still think it looks beautiful and out of all the styles you are about to see, it is what I like the most (although I wouldn’t do it again . . . read on to find out what my fantasy 2015 plan would be . . .). It’s fairly neutral and calm which works well with the house and my general mental state of being these days.

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Last year marked the first time in YEARS that I embraced the color brown. It shocked America.

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I had totally forgotten that I once threw a bunch of art on that wall in the dining room. It looks ok in the photos, but in real life it was extremely busy, crowded and annoying. Now the string art lives there along with 936 holes from the failed art wall. Cool.

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Last year Target tasked me to take 12 Instagrams using Target product (after the 12 days of Christmas of course). Luckily the product was wonderful. If you are wondering why we didn’t just do them within the big overall decorating story from the photos above, it’s because we needed to do these in November, and I wasn’t prepared to go full-holiday early November. So we set up some shots in smaller areas with nothing too pulled back.

12 Days Of Instagram With Target:

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I do like this a lot because it is really happy, bright and inviting.

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Then earlier last year I had styled a set of the Target videos that went the teal/black/white/metallic route, which is really fun in a different way. Go here to see the full story – Target Style Christmas

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Now 2 years ago, we had just moved into our new house and had just had Charlie, so we didn’t do any decorating for the blog. I did however find this Instagram photo which shows the scale of the tree that we got that year (even though it wasn’t decorated yet).

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That same year I had a holiday shoot at, the then, brand new Fig House, which I still LOVE. Full post here – Holiday Cocktail Party at the Fig House:


These were two years ago, when doing copper/rose gold and blush was brand new, and super edgy. Glad it’s still around (what’s next?).

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That was pretty. But the year before that, 2012, was rough . . .

I Decked My Halls.

Man. A lot has changed. We like to refer to this period in my life as “Commonwealth.” Not because it was common or wealthy, but that is the name of the street that we lived on. It was just so glam-y, regency, busy, overly-whimsical, ridiculously quirky, and even borderline NOT AWESOME. There are some things I still love in that room (chairs, sofa, hand chair, credenza, coffee table), but it just looks NUTS.


Should have limited the hot pink, I should never had put that blue sofa on that blue rug, and we should have made the photos much brighter.


SO MUCH STUFF ON SO MANY SURFACES!!!!! I still like “stuff,” but not this much. There was just no restraint and so much of it was too decorative. I did make that flower wreath which is so pretty, despite the fact that it surely cost me $300 worth of flowers. Such a great, affordable DIY! That dies in 2 days!!


That pink painting was a mistake, although I think it was hilarious that we wrote “Ho Ho Ho, Ho.” Get it? Bearcat is sleeping on a hanging macrame cat bed OBVIOUSLY, and there are LOTS of patterns to be mixed here. I think if we took down the hot pink painting, got rid of the dome and ornaments on the table, and switched out the rug for a lighter colored rug I’d still like this. Oh and those curtain rods. Those have to go. Critiquing your own work is very fun.


This was also the year that David and I tried to watermark our photos, which was a huge fail. We were so sick of not getting credit or linked back to that we figured we’d try it. But that watermark is too big. Now that I have better branding maybe I’ll try to do it again. Just a little emblem in the corner . . .

I still love the idea of that wrapped present tree, but i think the navy/hot pink/white/gold color palette has had its time.


But I was skinnier in this photo which I love so I’ll give this shot a A++++. Plus Landy is with me, and I love him. I think this was the year that I dressed like a flight attendant or equestrian all the time, on accident. The next year I dressed like a sister wife a little too much, and this year is leaning way towards a pirate or more specifically Zorro – so  many capes, hats and boots.

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Ok. Woah. That is a lot of visual chaos to take in at one time, I know. Individual pieces I love, but all together it’s a lesson in contrast. You can have contrast in color, style, shape, size and pattern but unless you want a really, really busy room you should only stick to a few of those things. Lesson learned.

But even before “Commonwealth Christmas,” there was an episode of Celebrity Holiday Home, which we shot months before the above holiday shots.

Celebrity Christmas with Cheryl Burke:

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GAH. These photos are so terrible, and everything feels so dated about this. But it could just be that I personally can not handle very much high contrast and mess in my house right now. Now that I remember it, we had shot this in August and I kept a lot of the ornaments and wrapping paper which is why I think I did that hot pink in my house. That snow looks disgusting and dirty already, and I swear it wasn’t.

Design Star winner Emily Henderson has just completed her Christmas makeover for dance celebrity Cheryl Burke, on HGTVs Celebrity Holiday Homes. Emily Henderson Holiday Decorating_Pink_White_Red_Dancer_3

It’s kinda all bad, but still pretty fun to see.


I did really like the flower wreath that Natalie made for it. And I like that big white nutcracker lamp that we happened to score from the valley. Cheryl’s family collected them growing up, so she asked me to incorporate them into the decor. When I found that I freaked. I would absolutely have that in my house now. Overall it’s a little terrifying and dated and doesn’t feel particularly inviting either, but so fun to see.

And even before that, was the holiday episode of Secrets From A Stylist: 


This WAS the year of brass animals, truly. I still like them, but man that year (2011) I was OBSESSED with them. I still like this color palette for the holidays (although I’d lose that citrine on the windows). I clearly still loved eucalyptus there, too and now I’m wondering why I felt the need to cover every single surface with either garland or fake snow. Calm down, past Emily.


Those vases are pretty, though. I wish I had hoarded them . . .

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I did make those adorable (and extremely expensive) globe snowmen. This was also the year of “The Map” and globes/vintage maps were everywhere. They were like this year’s “seascape” or last years “portraits” (what is next year??).


An oldie but a goodie. I don’t love this shot, but I still like the idea of a big statement piece of art (like a map) with stick-on contact paper letters. So cute.

Well, folks, as you can see I’ve done many different Christmases. If I were to do one this year (we are traveling all month) it would be a big green real tree, a ton of white/silver and matte gold ornaments and some pine garland here and there. Pulled back minimalist, yet happy.

Speaking of happy . . . Merry Christmas.

The post Christmas Through The Years appeared first on Emily Henderson.


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