When Joanna Grzeszczak was growing up in Poland, Christmas was an important celebration in her household. It’s also something that, over the years, has continued to inspire her when decorating her Montreal-area home during the holidays – imbuing her space with vignettes that perfectly balance both childlike whimsy and modernity. “I felt the need to recreate the anticipation and excitement I used to feel as a child, so I started to decorate early on in the season with many different vignettes,” she says. So, hold on for deer life and take the grand tour of Joanna’s winter wonderland – she absolutely sleighs it.
Originally published on November 11, 2019. Updated November 13, 2022.
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum
When we think of holiday decor, we often envision something big, bold and over-the-top with Santas, stockings and nutcrackers gracing every room of the house. Instead, Joanna Grzeszczak opts for specific pieces that complement each room without overpowering it. “Our space is quite small and I have three little kids, so there are things I can’t do, like put up a big Christmas tree with lots of ornaments,” she explains. This relatively narrow, medium-sized tree is the perfect find for a smaller living room.
Cozy and Warm
The soft, soothing colour palette of the holiday decor goes hand-in-hand with the living room’s overall aesthetic. When asked to describe her home during the holiday season in three words, Joanna responds: “cozy, colourful and warm.” We couldn’t agree more!
As a mom to three young kids, Joanna has realized one of the easiest ways to avoid holiday decor mishaps is to ensure all items within reach of little fingers are unbreakable. “I’ve learned to create small vignettes and add decorative pieces that are less breakable, like felt ornaments on the Christmas tree,” she says. “And I simply keep the glass decorations far from little hands.”
Leave Me a Message
Even the throw pillows offer a subtle nod to the spirit of the holiday season.
The faux frosting on the tree gives the entire room the feel of a winter wonderland.
Put a Pin on It
It turns out, Joanna is as big fan of Pinterest when it comes to finding decor inspiration. “I love scrolling through it for hours,” she says. “But I also like to reinvent what I already own and keep things simple and nature-inspired.”
Light My Fire
The stockings are hung from the fireplace with care – and the outdoorsy aesthetic of the mantle offers the perfect amount of holiday vibes for the open-concept living room and dining space.
Sweet and Subtle
A white reindeer figurine (breakable and therefore, out of reach from kids) is paired with a tiny pine cone tree and scented candle. For more inspiration, check out homeowner Joanna Grzeszczak’s website.
You don’t have to go all-out when it comes to decorating the smaller sections of your home. Here, Joanna kept her breakfast nook virtually the same as it always is, albeit with subtle holiday touches such as the tree table decor and themed throw pillows. Find some of our top tips for holiday entertaining on a budget.
Subtle little pieces like this patterned print throw pillow offer gentle reminders to take a moment to pause and simply enjoy the holiday season.
Merry and Bright
Even with a small kitchen design, this cheerful space offers reminders of the upcoming holiday season thanks to its bright window decor and holiday-themed cups and utensils. “I hope that my kids will always feel that the holidays are a special time of the year,” Joanna says. “And I hope that our home decorated for Christmas will bring others as much joy and warmth as it brings me.”
Even washing the dishes is an occasion to embrace the holiday spirit.
Tea for Two?
Family and friends won’t be able to resist a hot cuppa when they’re served up in this adorable cup and saucer combo.
Red, White and Green
Not sure how to decorate your kitchen countertop? Joanna has a few ideas that you can see here. You can also celebrate the countdown to the holiday season with this festive (and reusable!) advent calendar.
Home for the Holidays
“I think holidays are about the joy of the season so, for me, anything that brings [a person] joy is a good idea,” Joanna says. “Nothing is too much during the holiday season!” (By the way, we’re lovin’ Joanna’s bold print wallpaper here).
Visions of Sugar Plums
Joanna’s holiday aesthetic mirrors that of the rest of her home – right down to the kids’ bedrooms. “It’s great to keep a colour palette cohesive,” she says. However, she adds: “but if you feel happy with a rainbow of colours, then why not?”
With it’s whimsical twinkling lights and nutcracker protectively watching over it, we have no doubt that Joanna’s kids’ personal holiday tree makes them the envy of all their little friends.
Even the kids’ dresser is given a little festive cheer.
The soothing white tree near the change table is the perfect dash of holiday whimsy for a baby’s nursery.