21 Winter Decor Ideas That Don’t Scream Christmas

What's NOT green and red and Santa all over?

21 winter decor ideas that aren't red or green

Both David’s and my parents got married in December, which has got to be super unusual. When we got engaged, David was in law school, which meant that if we wanted to take a post-wedding honeymoon (we sure as hell did), we needed to plan the wedding for a law school break—December or summer. December had an immediate lure. First, it wasn’t eighteen months away (we didn’t rightly figure we could pull off the wedding we wanted in six months, leaving us with an eighteen month lead time on summer). Second, it was family tradition. For both of us.

For as long as I could remember, my mom had told me to get married in December, when the church was already decorated, at no cost to you. The only trouble was, we weren’t getting married in a church. Our little interfaith family was having a Jewish wedding. When you have Christian and Jewish backgrounds, December is a minefield. So as much as I would have enjoyed a nine-month engagement and a December wedding, we nixed it almost straight away. The biggest reason? Decorations.

Having, at that point, weathered several Decembers in our relationship, I could see how a winter wedding was going to play out. There would be fights over evergreens. Is it, “simply a seasonal plant,” or “a really Christmas-y plant”? I’m smart enough to avoid Poinsettias, but it’s hard to totally avoid red. And green and red would have been out, but would blue and white be just erring in the other direction? And has Christmas taken over the twinkly white lights game, or can anyone use them? Continue fights ad nauseam.

While we skipped those particular wedding-related fights, we re-visit this decor debate every single holiday season, while the Pinterest onslaught makes me feel like the most left out person in the world. Typically, by this point in November, I’ve started to feel like an (very sad) outcast from the Internet. Because while I love Christmas, David hates it with equal fervor (something about a lifetime of feeling left out). Plus, we have a Jewish household… that celebrates Christmas… and what do you even do with that? While I’m gearing up to decorate for the holidays, green and red and gold and everything Santa is not helping me out. And after years of trees and garlands decorated with blue and white ornaments (our ongoing compromise), I’d really like something a little more… creative?

With that in mind, the APW staff decided to round up the best not-red-and-green-all-over holiday decorations. Here are our picks for seasonal decor that doesn’t scream, “SANTA CAME OVER AND I HUGGED THE REINDEER WHILE HE ATE COOKIES, AND THEN WE TALKED ABOUT BABY JESUS AND DRANK SOME MULLED WINE.” Except for the mulled wine. We’re all obviously very into that. So let’s bring on the subtle, and the sparkles. I hope these tutorials help you decorate your house (if your reason for the season doesn’t happen to be Jesus, or if you’re just tired of red and green), or plan the hell out of your winter wedding. Hot buttered bourbon cheers!

Autumnal & Rustic

Fall leaf escort cards, via once wed, photos by Ali Harper

Perfect for your friendsgiving feast. Bonus: leaves are basically free!

Dried Wild Feather Bouquet, via Curious Fair

Dried flower bouquets have really beautiful texture and depth. And, you can buy them farther in advance of your wedding and quit worrying about how you’re going to keep them alive long enough in the winter.

Gilded Fruit Centerpiece, via APW, photos by Allison Andres

Metallic spray paint + fruit = instant fabulous party centerpiece.

Neon Pinecone Place Cards, via Camille Styles, photos by She-N-He Photography

We are all about any DIY project that you can do while watching Parenthood.

Gold Leafed Pine Cone Garland, via The Sweetest Occasion, photos by Alice G. Patterson

You could also match your garland to your place card holders by painting them neon.

Painted Pumpkin Centerpiece, via APW, photo by Allison Andres

Pumpkins don’t have to disappear after Halloween, y’all! They’re still perfect for November (particularly when spray painted).

Bird’s Nest Ring Holder, via Francis and Joan’s Snowy Canadian Wedding on APW, photo by Photobox Photography

One of my favorite ideas for an unconventional ring “pillow.” Bird’s nests are home, and you’re making a home together. Awwww….

Glitter & Lights

Quartz Place Cards, via Ruffled, photo by Love Is A Big Deal

This has got to be one of my favorite wedding decor pictures of the year. By which I mean obviously you should steal i.

Gold Branch DIY, via Pop Sugar

Branches spray painted gold is one of my favorite winter decor statements. Plus, it will add some height and glam to your centerpieces on the cheap.

Lighted Aisle Backdrop, via Alexan Events, photo by Frances Marron and Julia Timmer

It’s called the season of light for a reason.  The reason is it’s real pretty.

Glitter Gold Floral Centerpiece, via APW, photo by Allison Andres

It’s like glitter exploded and made glitter babies. Is that so wrong? Bonus: it’s fake! Make it ahead, stash it somewhere, and bring it out whenever you want to look extra fancy.

Star Floor Runner, via Martha Stewart Weddings

You can’t go wrong with sparkly stars. And for those of us negotiating the Jewish/ Christmas divide this time of year, you can make six pointed stars, and stop the argument before it starts.

Glitter Welcome Signs, via A Glittery Homemade Catholic Wedding, photo by Eyes & Hart

Sparkle that won’t leave with your guests at the end of the night.

Tinsel Cocktail Stirrers, via Style Me Pretty, photo by Nancy Ray Photography

If you invite me to a party and give me a fancy drink stirrer, I’ll be so impressed with you I won’t even notice the unfolded laundry in the corner.

Glitter Donuts, via Glitter Guide, photo by Kate Ann Photography

Not technically decor, but who cares, they’re glitter donuts.

Winter White

Mercury Glass Centerpieces, via Ruffled, photo by Brooke Schultz

DIY your own mercury glass, or thrift it, but either way you’ll end up with instantly pretty centerpieces. Adding sequins on the table is optional, but recommended.

Garland Centerpiece, via APW, photo by Allison Andres

Did we mention this is fake. IT’S FAKE. Also, the candles and holders are from Ikea. Tie things up with some hot pink ribbon, and you’ve got festive without the Santa.

Rosemary Sprig Place Cards, via Spoon Fork Bacon

Simple, cute, and definitely the right skill level for a lazy DIY session.

Cloud Backdrop, via APW, photo by Allison Andres

Probably my favorite backdrop of our series. Possibly add a little sparkle to the clouds to winterize them. Mmmm… sparkles.

Vellum Candle Centerpiece, via APW, photo by Allison Andres

A classy centerpiece idea for non-crafters. Switch up the paper to match any winter decor scheme you’ve got going on.

Cable Knit Sweater Cake, via Weddingbells

It’s a cake, but it looks like a sweater! Let’s make December all about decor that looks like sweaters, and let peace reign.

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