Nothing says Christmas like a mantel lined with stockings and a full tree twinkling through the night. Wreaths dress up front doors and garland wraps the banisters, mingling earthy scents of pine with fresh-baked cookies wafting in from the kitchen. Festive candles light up the dining room table with sparkly centerpieces and pinecone boughs.

Holiday decorating is about creating a feeling—one that is warm, cozy and comforting on cold winter days. Some of us switch out everyday items, like blankets and throw pillows, for ones sporting snowflakes, candy canes and cursive script that reads “merry and bright.” Others do a complete home makeover incorporating all the newest holiday decor.

Keeping up with the latest trends comes naturally to Becky Allsup, lead designer and owner of Niche Design House at the Promenade Shops at Centerra. Her team completes around 20 holiday designs in a season, ranging from traditional Christmas to rustic cabin decor. The following are some trends she’s noticing within the most popular holiday themes this year.


The classic Christmas theme has stood the test of time. However, Allsup says, there’s a more retro trend this year that brings us back to our roots: “The classic Christmas style incorporates anything we can think of from our childhood—sometimes it’s the felt stockings that your mom put sequins on, or maybe it’s the old elf figurines wearing a stocking cap.”

Notable trends this year include vintage ball ornaments, Scandinavian tree skirts, old-fashioned cookie jars and water lanterns swirling with glitter, an accessory Allsup sells out of almost immediately after she puts them on the shelves. Natural elements, like wreaths and live tree branches, are also prominent in this year’s classic decor—people are even adding fresh greens as filler for their store-bought Christmas trees.


Photo courtesy of Niche Design House

Glamorous holiday decor is making a bit of a comeback this year, despite large gatherings still being rather scarce. “You might not have as many people over as you used to, and people certainly aren’t touring massive homes with 10 Christmas trees,” Allsup says. “But we are still seeing lots of glitzy decor this year with gold, silver and white—it’s all very sparkly, shiny and metallic.”

Everything is bold and luxurious with glam holiday decor. Christmas trees are piled high with gold and silver ornaments, shimmery white lights and thick, sparkly ribbons. Faux poinsettias, eucalyptus and cut greens are coated in glitter, and presents are topped with large, sparkly bows. Faux fur stockings hang from the mantel beneath garland wrapped in gold and silver tinsel, white lights and tall, candles.

Don’t let all the glitter fool you—Allsup says you can find sparkly and metallic sticks at the craft store, so you don’t have to gather your own greens and glam them up yourself. However, if you want to find high-quality decor and accessories that are truly unique, she suggests getting a head-start on your shopping before all the good stuff is gone.


Of all the themes Allsup draws upon for holiday designs, the farmhouse category has probably undergone the most change in recent years. Much of the decor is still reminiscent of a cozy cottage, but the latest trends are a lot less rustic and more modern.

“The farmhouse look incorporates even more white than it used to, with clean lines and some metallic accents. Christmas trees tend to have all-white features, and stockings are usually white or cream-colored with pom-pom French lining,” she says.

Quaint and charming, Christmas at the modern farmhouse combines classic with homemade. Neatly wrapped gifts are tucked under the tree on burlap, and the hearth is lined with white candles atop silver

pedestals or on natural aspen logs. The color scheme is mostly monochromatic, with a few red accents popping out from a pure white backdrop. Fresh-cut greens and California holly tie the neutrals together for a clean, polished look.

Allsup notes that people are also starting to incorporate more items they already have into their holiday decor—particularly in the kitchen. Apples, cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices are becoming more common in farmhouse decorations for the fall. Oranges are often used in centerpieces, along with pinecones, cranberries and other natural materials, closer to Christmas.


The log home style is also popular during the holidays, especially for those who live in the foothills or have cabins in the woods. It’s easily recognizable, with lots of

natural wood, plaid flannel and animal themes adding a rustic twist to classic holiday decor. “The log cabin look is much more handmade than a lot of the other design styles,” Allsup says. “I’m seeing a lot of elves and less Santa, and some red-and-blue plaid in addition to the typical red-and-black plaid.”

Cabin-style trees are a lot like the classic Christmas trees, but with more wooden ornaments (think lots of aspen and pinecone animals) and plenty of burlap. Ribbons and bows are checkered red and green, and stockings are hand-knit or made of canvas or felt. This year’s trends also include some vintage finds, like old lanterns, wooden sleds and weather-worn signage. Antlers are becoming more popular in the log cabin theme, too, with some people putting them out as-is and others decorating them with ribbon or plaid fabric.


Prior to the pandemic, DIY was already in the works. Pinterest sparked ideas for people who wanted to create their own gifts and decorations for the holidays. Then when things shut down, they had more time to put their skills to the test. So far this holiday season is looking a little more optimistic than the last, but even though there are more things to do, there is still a lingering interest in DIY decorating.

“We see a lot of the specific DIY trends go out of style quickly, but the idea of getting involved in your own decorating is really fun for people no matter what,” Allsup says. “I have several different trees at my house, one of which is full of ornaments and crafts my kids made in school. Even though my kids are in their 20s now, they still love looking back at everything they made on that tree.”


If you want to support local artisans who create handmade gifts and decor, Northern Colorado is home to lots of creators who are eager to share their craft, many of them in the downtown areas or on Etsy. Walnut Creek is an artisan collective with over 60 vendors who sell their wares under the same roof in Downtown Fort Collins, many of whom have specialty decor during the holidays.

Walnut Creek co-owner Linda Roth says the fall and winter months are a great time to support creators in your area rather than exclusively ordering decorations online or buying from big-box stores. Many small businesses carry locally made gifts and decor this time of year, and pop-up shops and holiday markets make unique, handmade items easier to find.

“We have a lot of people who come into our store just to get ideas to try themselves,” Roth says. “Our artisans love inspiring people and educating them, but some things are really hard to replicate. It’s important to keep our impact local and support the artists and creators that have such a huge impact on where we live.”


According to the EPA, Americans dispose of 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other time of year. The biggest culprits are non-recyclable wrapping paper, product packaging and discarded holiday decor, such as old Christmas lights, plastic greenery and tinsel.

Minimizing your carbon footprint is easier than you might think. Consider these tips when you’re getting ready to shop, wrap and decorate for the holidays.

Photo courtesy of Walnut Creek


Decorating doesn’t have to come at a cost—old decorations can be repurposed, everyday items can be upcycled and live greens make a great alternative to faux branches and boughs. For example, 90 percent of the gifts and decor at Walnut Creek, in Fort Collins, are handmade using found items, upcycled furniture and antiques that were previously collecting dust. Some of these things include crocheted ornaments, candles in festive mugs and tweed animal busts hung on the wall.


Once the holidays have passed and your greens start to dry, the last thing you should do is toss them in the garbage. Live Christmas trees, wreaths and garland can usually be composted or mulched (as long as they don’t contain any glitter or other plastics), making them a more eco-friendly choice than artificial trees when sourced locally and disposed of properly. Check your city website for more information on live tree pickup after the holidays.


Handmade gifts and decor tend to result in less waste, especially when it comes to packaging. Think about making your own centerpieces, door swags and mantel decorations with items you already have to minimize trips to the craft store. If you’re trying your hand at DIY gifting, make something people can use up, such as candles, soaps and sweets, so little to no waste ends up in the landfill later on.

Photo courtesy of Walnut Creek


One way to guarantee zero-waste gifts is to give experiences rather than physical things. Walnut Creek co-owner Linda Roth notes that goods sell better than services when COVID restrictions tighten, so one way to support local businesses through the holidays is to give gift certificates to salons and spas, restaurants, escape rooms (did you know there is one above Walnut Creek?) and organizations that offer community classes. If there was a time for pedicures, cooking classes or just a night out on the town, this is it.


If you opt for store-bought decorations and want to give physical gifts this year, a great way to minimize waste and support the community is to shop locally. Each Northern Colorado downtown has unique shops and design studios with trendy decorations and gifts you can’t find anywhere else. Keeping your impact local not only supports these businesses and the makers behind them, but it also cuts down on excessive packaging and fuel for shipping.


Part of decorating and gifting responsibly is being intentional about where your materials come from, and whether or not they have the potential to be reused or recycled. Many gift wraps are non-recyclable (especially the metallic and glittery ones), so take an extra moment to make sure you’re buying the right kind. Gift bags are a great option because they can be reused as-is, and many decor items, like elf figurines and well-kept faux greens, can usually be donated.