23 November 2018

Deck The Halls Like A Modernist

Photo from Stefanie Hartman, a blogger in Wilmington, NC

(Disclaimer: The Modernist Angle has not and will not receive any compensation for products or websites mentioned in the following.)

Decorating your home for the holidays is a very personal thing, isn't it? You have traditions that span decades and warm memories arise, like a genie from a bottle, the moment you open that first box of ornaments. It just wouldn’t be Christmas/Hanukkah without the presence of that big wooden nutcracker…ceramic crèche…Bubbe's elaborate brass menorah. If young children are in the mix, multi-colored lights and miniature Disney characters are mandatory.

But if you love modernist design  -- and especially if you own or plan to own a modernist house -- modern, minimalist merriment for the holidays is so compelling. And it won’t clutter up clean lines or compromise open, airy spaces. 

We’re not going to talk about mid-century modern/vintage holiday décor because the subject is bountiful on the Internet. Google it and you’ll see. You can find just about anything you want, including MCM Christmas tree skirts.  A modernist approach to holiday decor is much less obvious and tangible. It’s informed by a love for simplicity and order, rather than the ornate flourishes of other decorating styles. It suggests paring down everything. And it's beautiful in any home, modern or not. 

That said, here are some alternatives to a few traditional holiday items, Christmas and Hannukah, that we’ve gleaned for you – to emulate or inspire. (You know, the kids might love a small, Disney-filled tree in their own bedroom. Just a thought...)

Modernist Alternatives to the Traditional Christmas Tree
Green branches in graduated sizes
form a little minimalist tree that
requires no floor space, just a
section of crisp white wall.
(From Brit + Co)

Birch branches bring nature inside. 
They also create a 
minimal place on which to
hang a few ornaments that
reflect the natural, muted 
colors of the 
(From Fashion

A  serene, monochromatic approach
to a fresh green Christmas tree:
A sparsely branched fir tree is a
minimal presence in the space.
White lights and a few white
snowflakes are all the
trimming it needs.
(From  One Kings Lane)

No Mantel? No problem.

A bare branch and two
clusters of greenery
create minimal magic
as they offer a natural
alternative to hanging
Christmas stockings -- 
especially if you don't
have a fireplace!
(From Brit + Co)

Little paper trees hung in rows create
 a serene holiday decoration over 
a sleek, modern fireplace.
From Brit+Co)

                                                   Shape, Color, Texture
Leaf segments along a string of white lights
are the opposite of ornate and frilly.
(From Brit + Co)

Modern minimalist decor
pays attention to shape,
color, and texture. To
let these fundamental
elements shine through,
extraneous flourishes 
must be peeled away.
At Christmas, this
sensibility creates such
stunning decorations
as these.  (From
Brit + Co and 

Towards a Modern, Stylish Hanukkah
(with apologies for not finding more examples)

Creative, contemporary Hanukkah Menorahs are in abundant supply, made of everything from stainless steel and fused glass to fine wood, marble, and stone. And the shapes are virtually limitless. 

What we sought out instead were modern, innovative, alternative options for the sacred candelabrum that you create by combining beautiful, non-religious objects. Of all that we found, these two are resplendent in their simplicity. 

Black candle holders in four different
sizes await pure white candles to 
transform them into a modern 
Hanukkah menorah. The group 
includes a ninth shamash holder 
for the candle that's used to light 
all other candles.

Eight small jars, one taller narrow-necked bottle,
olive oil. floating wicks and a birthday

candle come together on an elegant tray

to form a Modern menorah.  
(From MarthaStewart.com)

Wall Decor

A simple composition of white twigs, blue and silver balls, and a white
flocked berry wreath complement the modern Hanukkah table decor.


If you know of other excellent examples of modern, minimalist alternatives to traditional holiday decorations, please share them with us in the Comments section.