12 Holiday Movies to Steal Decor Inspo From

man sitting in front of piano in holiday decorated room
credit: Netflix

The best part of the holiday season? How about the activity that puts an extra pep in your step and allows you to have a safe space where you can recover from holiday stress (and yes, your relatives)? That's right — we're talking about decorating your home for the season. It's the time of year when you have an excuse to turn your space into a winter wonderland, a cozy cabin, or a pine-scented paradise. Nothing is off limits during the holiday season, and if you need a reminder, look no further than all of your favorite holiday movies.

Whether you're bundled up watching a classic like White Christmas or the more modern Elf, there is plenty of holiday decor inspiration to take in. But if you don't have time to watch every holiday movie out there, we've got you covered with our favorite picks.

1. Elf

To create your own winter wonderland, look no further than the white lights, paper snowflakes and chains, popcorn and cotton ball garlands, and assorted shiny objects hanging from the ceiling in Elf. Buddy (and set decorator Johanne Hubert) prove that you don't need to break the bank when decorating. Instead, you can mine the recycling bin for newspaper that can easily be reused to form chains and snowflakes. You can also string popcorn, making sure it doesn't go to waste by later leaving it outside for the birds to eat.

For easy hanging, you can buy self-adhesive hooks or tape (which you can get in a biodegradable option). If you have some fishing line on hand, that works perfectly — or you could buy some twine that can easily be reused.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

In 2000's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, set decorator Merideth Boswell pulled out all the stops with red, yellow, and green lights outlining every Who home. Even inside, window and door frames are decked with holiday lights. Oversize garlands are covered in artificial snow and highlighted with large silver ornaments. Throughout Whoville, you can also spot plenty of light-up star accents. Who says the only star should be the one on top of the tree?

To make similar oversize garlands at home, you can weave several garlands together and spray them with artificial snow. As for the ornaments, there is a great option on Pottery Barn, where you can also find your glowing star accents.

3. Home Alone

If classic holiday movie decor that screams nostalgia is more your speed, the McCallister family has got your back. Throughout the home, they have potted poinsettia plants and tabletop nutcrackers. The family room is where the season really shines with matching stockings hung above the fireplace, a large wreath, and a modest tree. Doesn't it bring you back?

The one piece of decor you'll want to be careful with is poinsettia plants. Poison Control states that if children or pets eat it, they can develop a rash and upset stomach. Fortunately, you can always go with an artificial version.

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

lampoon christmas tree
credit: Warner Bros.

On the other hand, if you prefer more expressive holiday movie decor, set decorator Lisa Fischer's work on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is the way to go. Though this nostalgia might be costly, the idea is quite simple: get the biggest tree you can find and cover it in rainbow lights, assorted ornaments, and a bucketload of tinsel.

national lampoon holiday movie decor
credit: Warner Bros.

As for the rest of the Griswold home, it features stuffed-to-the-brim stockings, a mantelpiece garland, and plenty of tabletop tchotchkes you could pick up at local secondhand shops. If you're going to go overboard, 'tis the season to do it!

5. The Family Stone

_The Family Stone'_s holiday decorations are probably just like the ones you grew up with. The 2006 film with set decoration by Matt Callahan has a mantelpiece covered in mismatched stockings, one for each member of the family. And yes, of course there's a red one with fluffy white trim that simply reads "Mom."

To really show that they're an eclectic family, the Stones have a tree covered in rainbow lights, paper and pearl garlands, and mismatched ornaments. If uniform holiday decor isn't your thing, let The Family Stone be your guiding light.

6. White Christmas

For a vintage look, you'll want to pay close attention to White Christmas. The 1954 movie, featuring set decoration by Sam Comer and Grace Gregory, utilizes sweeping garlands and silver tinsel like no other. But rather than use ornaments to punctuate the garland, Comer and Gregory chose traditional silver bells, which can also be seen as ornaments in the Christmas trees.

If you're hosting a party and want to recreate this look, you can buy white tablecloths and holiday-themed candle holders to house your red candles. _White Christmas_'s holders have Santa Claus on them, but you can instead use a menorah or kinara.

7. A Christmas Prince

a christmas prince tree
credit: MPCA

A Christmas Prince, the 2017 Netflix hit, combines classic elements with royal touches. Throughout the palace, you can see fluffy garlands covered in red and gold ornaments, with gold bows marking the beginning and end of each strand.

a christmas prince hallway
credit: MPCA

In every room, you will find tarnished silver candelabras that hold bright red candles, keeping with the royal red theme. As for the tree, it's decorated with simple white lights and assorted gold and silver ornaments. If A Christmas Prince teaches us anything, it's that red, silver, and gold make for a royal holiday.

8. The Holiday

Cindy Carr, Cynthia McCormac, David Smith, and Al Hobbs saved _The Holiday'_s best holiday decor for last. The 2006 film primarily features two gorgeous locations — an English cottage and California mansion — but not a ton of holiday decorations until the plot resolves itself. Once Amanda, Iris, Miles, Graham, Sophie, and Olivia come together, we see paper snowflakes, white candles, a garland with white lights, and plenty of silver tinsel on the mantel.

Throughout the room, we also get quick peeks at hanging silver star garlands, which you can keep up through New Year's Day.

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas

If you have a hard time choosing between Halloween and Christmas, you should definitely bookmark the decor from The Nightmare Before Christmas. With a bare-bones (pun intended) tree à la Charlie Brown and thin garlands featuring small ornaments and skeleton heads, this movie proves that you don't have to choose between spooky and jolly. Why not have both?

If you want to have a fully gothic holiday season, you can grab yourself a black Christmas tree and matching ornaments. Areaware sells a black menorah on Food52, and for that, you can purchase matching black candles. "Chanukah candles can be any color, shape or size (provided that they burn for the minimum half-hour, or one and a half hours on Friday night)," states the Chabad-Lubavitch organization.

10. Eloise at Christmastime

"Think pink" is the motto when it comes to emulating Jaro Dick's holiday movie decor in the sentimental 2003 film Eloise at Christmastime. Though Nanny and Eloise have a large pink tree with colorful ornaments in their family room, Eloise's room is where the real holiday inspiration begins (minus the mess).

To celebrate the season, Eloise has strung up pink fairy lights and hot pink ribbon peppered with bows. She also has a small, sparse tree set on a table covered in pink cloth. With her decor, she proves that just a little pink goes a long way.

11. Love Actually

The best, most relatable holiday decor in Love Actually can be seen inside Karen and Harry's home — after all, they have two young kids. Around the house, they have their children's drawings taped on the wall, along with holiday cards they've been sent from loved ones. It's affordable and easy, but still invokes the spirit of the season.

Karen and Harry's Christmas tree has a colorful assortment of ornaments that could have easily been passed down through generations, with rainbow-colored lights and ribbon running throughout its branches.

12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

harry potter holiday movie decor
credit: Warner Bros.

Though not technically a holiday movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has unforgettable Christmas decorations in Hogwarts's Great Hall. Even if you don't have your own sprawling dining hall, you can still do the following: Place identical trees with gold baubles and white lights around your home. Rather than have bowls of fire suspended everywhere, you can translate that same energy into white candles in gold holders.

harry potter christmas tree
credit: Warner Bros.

If you'd rather play it safe, you can buy battery-powered candles that will give your home an equally warm glow. To keep your decor extra-realistic, you can also purchase a flickering version.


Anna Gragert

Anna Gragert

When Anna Gragert isn’t trying to create a groundbreaking third-person bio for herself, she's writing for places like Teen Vogue, Glamour, Bust, Nylon, and now, Hunker! Follow Anna on Twitter or Instagram for more.