Scandinavian Christmas decorations are taken seriously across the region. While each country has slight variations in how they approach the decor, there’s an overall focus on natural elements like wood, flowers, and greenery, as well as a lot of the classic colors such as red, green, gold, and silver. Recently we’ve seen more on-trend hues as well, including pastels, greys, and neutrals.
The result is a typically refined and somewhat minimalist look that melts into the foundational decor, but still announces the holiday season. There are traditional decorations you’ll find in many homes from beloved brands such as Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen, to more modern and playful items that are chosen to suit each person’s decor style. If you celebrate Christmas, or just like decorating for the holiday season, there’s a Scandinavian decoration for you.
Here are the best Scandinavian Christmas decorations, from tree ornaments to candlesticks to table decor, and other Scandi decor to make the house festive:
Christmas Tree Decorations
Scandinavian Christmas tree decorations fall into three categories: ornaments, candle holders, and strings of lights and flags. There is usually a star or angel at the top of the tree.
Decorations tend to have a color theme, including gold and/or silver, and many people pass down ornaments from one generation to the next. Painted wood, straw, and felt ornaments are common as well.
On Christmas Eve, candles are placed in the candle holders and lit, creating a beautiful (if flammable) and dazzling display. In Denmark and Sweden, it’s typical to string the national flag around the tree, and strings of white lights are seen across the region.
Scandinavian Christmas tree ornaments
Georg Jensen Ornaments
Classic Danish tree decorations from Georg Jensen are hotly anticipated each year. They produce annual ornaments that are special editions, rendered in silver and plated gold. Some people like to go with only one metal, but we love how it looks when you mix them as well.
The designs are simple and traditional, focusing on shapes like hearts, spheres, tree, and stars. The polished finish and obvious quality makes for a striking look against the tree’s green needles.
Royal Copenhagen Christmas Drop Ornament
Though Royal Copenhagen is better known for their Christmas-themed tableware and other porcelain decor, they do produce a yearly ornament. If you like the old fashioned look, this one is just right, with its deep blue glaze and nostalgic scene. A real classic you’ll keep for years to come!
Iitala Glass Baubles
Minimalist, classic, and beautiful, these mouth-blown glass baubles from Finnish design brand iitala come in packs of five. Each pack comes in a scale of colors that keep things interesting but still quite sleek. These are a great choice if you want something with a pop of color that won’t be too intense. The ornaments are high quality and, if you store them properly, can last for many years.
Straw ornaments are very traditional and often seen in Swedish and Norwegian Christmas decor. For a handmade, slightly rustic look that’s still sophisticated, these ornaments are lovely. They’re unpretentious and sweet; great for kids because it doesn’t matter if you drop them!
Nordstjerne Paper Ornaments
These handcrafted, accordion paper ornaments are charming and easy to hang from a tree, or simply around the house. They come in a range of colors and shapes, so they can be used alone or paired with your other holiday decor. These ornaments look particularly nice hanging from branches or strung up across a window.
Georg Jensen Christmas tree topper
The star of the show, literally! This classic tree stopper is a work of art; intricate and beautiful. Buy one of these and bring it out yearly – it a holiday item that people pass down from generation to generation.
Scandinavian Christmas tree candle holders
That’s right: you light candles that are sitting atop the Christmas tree branches. Seems like a fire hazard? Maybe! But it sure is pretty. There are holders made specifically for these candles that either hook onto branches or clip to them.
Georg Jensen Christmas tree candle holders
These candleholders hook onto a branch and stay put thanks to a light top and a heavy bottom. The hanging bottom means you get both a candleholder and an ornament. These are absolutely traditional on the Scandinavian Christmas tree and they look beautiful.
A fast and easy way to put candles on the tree: small, clip-on candleholders. These work well as long as they’re clipped to a sturdy branch. Choose gold or silver colors, depending on your decor.
Scandinavian Christmas tree lights and flag garlands
These lights are used outdoors and indoors. Indoors they’ll be found wrapped around the Christmas tree or along the edges of windows. Scandinavians tend to go for the warm white lights as opposed to the cold white or colored lights; it’s closer to candlelight and just feels a bit more cosy.
Instead of stringing lights around your tree or staircase banister, how about a garland of flags? Scandinavians love their flags, and Christmas is no exception. Why not add a pop of blue and yellow into your color scheme?
Scandinavian Christmas tableware
Setting the table is a big part of how Scandinavians decorate for Christmas, as well as most holidays. It’s all about creating a welcoming atmosphere that is both beautiful and unpretentious; a place where you want to sit down and enjoy yourself.
Scandinavian table decor often combines porcelain, china, or ceramic dinnerware with natural elements (e.g. flowers), textile, and other small items like tea lights to create an appealing table-scape. Some like to include pieces of candy strewn like confetti for guests to nibble on throughout the meal.
Royal Copenhagen Starfluted Christmas Tableware
A true Christmas classic, the Royal Copenhagen Starfluted Christmas collection is as seasonal as it gets. The gorgeous, traditional pattern features wreaths along the tops or sides of the pieces, as well as red bows, gold bells, and other small ornaments.
While this is certainly the dinnerware of a Christmas enthusiast, the more Royal Copenhagen item you’re more likely to find in every Danish (and many Scandinavian) homes are the Christmas plates. These plates, first launched in 1895 by porcelain company Bing & Grøndahl, are made for one year only, with the mold being officially discontinued on Christmas Eve. They are blue and white, depicting Danish scenes and important places.
Royal Copenhagen made their first Christmas plate in 1908. They’re now a must-have in Danish homes, with people tending to buy their birth year plate as a commemorative object. Royal Copenhagen merged with Bing & Grondahl in 1987, thereby bringing the tradition under one umbrella. While Royal Copenhagen does not produce Christmas plates anymore (they stopped in 2011), they do still produce an annual plate through Bing & Grøndahl. See this year’s plate here.
West Elm Festive Stripe Dinnerware
It doesn’t get more festive than this! The white and red striped stoneware is delightful, allowing you to have an otherwise minimalist table setting; the plates do all the work of creating a holiday aesthetic! The design can easily be used at any time of year, unlike some other Christmas tableware, so it’s a good investment if you don’t want to be switching your plates seasonally.
Marimekko Oiva Unikko Tableware
Finnish design and textile company Marimekko has been producing gorgeous patterns since the brand first launched in 1951. Their 1964 classic print, Unikko, was created by designer Maija Isola when founder Armi Ratia declared that the brand would no longer make flower patterns. Well, they made this one, and it’s a good thing they did: it’s become their best selling pattern.
The Ovia Unikko collection is tableware emblazoned with the Unikko print. The red and white edition is very much in the holiday wheelhouse, but luckily will look great all year round.
Rörstrand Swedish Grace Winter Tableware
Beloved Swedish homewares brand Rörstrad has a huge array of tableware, but their Swedish Grace series in “Winter” is by far the most Christmas-centred. With nostalgic Swedish holiday symbology like branches, lovebirds, and stars, the pieces are both charming and beautifully crafted. This is quite a retro look, but it will always be in-style thanks to the classic design.
Norwegian brand Wik & Walsøe make beautiful dinnerware, and their Julmorgen (Christmas morning) series is extremely popular. Made from bone china and featuring a delicate Christmas-themed pattern, these are the mugs and plates you’ll be excited to take out for a delicious holiday dinner, and for your cup of coffee the morning after.
Most Scandinavian Christmas tables include textile: tablecloth and cloth napkins being the most popular. Whether it’s a solid color like red or white, or something with a playful pattern, the right Christmas textiles are all about matching with your tableware while not feeling try-hard. Additional items like Christmas-themed table runners for coffee tables and kitchen towels are also used to make the whole house feel holiday-ready.
Scandinavian Christmas candles, candle sticks and candleholders
Scandinavians love candles, and they use them constantly during the winter months. This is partly because it creates a sense of hygge, but also because it’s so cold and dark! Candles combat the winter atmosphere without harsh overhead lighting, which most Scandinavians avoid.
Georg Jensen SEASON Candleholder
Designed by Maria Berntsen in 2003, the SEASON and GLOW candleholders quickly become holiday classics thanks to their fluid design, multiple holders, and luxe aesthetic. They bring to mind an advent candle, or a candle nested in moss, but with a much more luxurious profile. Put one of these in the centre of the table and you don’t need much else.
Kähler Advent Candle
Scandinavians delight in lighting their advent candles from the first of December. It’s an excuse to light a candle every day, and it’s a fun way to count down to Christmas. Though you can get these in almost any store across the region, the Kähler version is one of the prettiest by far, making the ritual extra special.
Swedish Christmas Candlestick Bridge
A classic found in most Swedish and Norwegian homes, this (typically red) candleholder adds a dash of nostalgia to any table. It’s simple yet playful, and definitely announces Christmas has arrived. It’s also known as a Swedish Candelabra, or en julstake.
Skultana Advent Candleholder
What does a company that’s over 400 years old have to offer in the way of modern design? Swedish brand Skultana has plenty, and their sleek advent candleholder is great for the holiday season, but can be used year round thanks to its minimalist design, functionality, and top quality.
Love a scented candle? Us too! Skandinavisk’s candles are the best in the game, and their winter and Christmas-themed candles are the perfect blend of seasonal and subtle. Jul (Christmas), Snö (Snow), and Træ (Tree) are the ideal mix of scents that bring Scandinavian winter to mind. Light a few while cooking or relaxing at home to really make it feel like the holidays!
Scandinavian Christmas home decorations
Scandinavian Christmas home decorations are the items not found on the table or tree that still bring the holiday season to life: hanging paper decor, little figurines, and other items range from the nostalgic to the modern. These are kept tucked away in the attic or basement during the year, then gleefully brought out around the 1st of December to make the home feel more festive.
This classic blend of mobile, chimes, and candle holder are seen throughout Scandinavia during Christmas time. The way the candles catch the polished panels and the heat gently moves the chimes is hypnotic and beautiful. There are iterations that hold tapered candles, and ones that hold tea lights. In Sweden they’re called Englespil.
Maileg Pixies (Nisse or Tomte)
Pixie dolls, also called nisse (Danish and Norwegian) or Tomte (Swedish), are a popular decor item in Scandinavian homes. You’ll often find them lining a windowsill or sitting happily on a sofa. One of the most beloved brands is Maileg, who produce a variety of beautiful toys that are kept as design items once children stop playing with them.
The Maileg pixies are cute and cuddly, rather than creepy, so you’ll be as pleased with them in the hands of your child as you are to have them as part of your holiday decoration. Other popular nisse include Anne Beate Design and the silly, sweet Swedish tomte dolls with long beards and button noses that you’re likely to see everywhere during the holiday season.
Love having a bit of greenery in the home but don’t have the space for a Christmas tree? A beautiful wreath can be a great compromise! From lush and green to minimalist and metallic, there are so many different kinds of wreaths that can brighten your doorway or any part of the home.
Finnish brand Lovi makes wooden decor, including these charming trees, in a range of sizes. The products are made from Finnish plywood and are a nice blend of rustic and minimalist; a great addition to your table, windowsill, or anywhere you want to add a touch of holiday spirit without feeling like it’s “too much.” The trees are packed flat, so they’re easy to ship and make lovely gifts.
Kay Bojesen Denmark Christmas Figures
Kay Bojesen Denmark may be best known for their wooden animal figures, but their beloved Christmas items are just as lovely, and an instantly recognizable Scandi classic. If you already have the popular monkey, why not get a little Santa hat to give it a jaunty holiday look? Kay Bojesen also makes Mr and Mrs Claus figurines, as well as two adorable skiers; any of them are a great addition to your holiday decor.
Also referred to as advent stars, these folded paper (and occasionally plastic) stars are a gorgeous way to add decor that’s not too Christmasy but still in the aesthetic of the holiday. Many Scandinavians hang these in their windows or on their doors, or even use them to cover light bulbs. Some even come with their own bulbs.
Classic colors like white, red, gold, silver, and anything neutral are a safe choice, while those looking for something a little unique will love the patterned options, including this stunner from Josef Frank and Svenskt Tenn.
Demelza Hill Design Branch Tree
When you want the fun of hanging ornaments but none of the mess or stress that comes with getting a real Christmas tree, Branch is the way to go. Made from sustainably-sourced maple wood, this minimalist “tree” is kind of like a fancy coat rack for your ornaments. It’s stylish, clean, and comes in three sizes.
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