Welcome to our Home for the Holidays Series! We hope you’ve checked our other blog in this series, our Shop Local Round-Up, to kick off the holiday season. Our next post brings you home décor tips from our very own Activa team members. Check out our team’s expert tips for how they make their home holiday-ready!

holiday decor

Add warmth to your potpourri with a candle, or make it into an ornament for your tree!

Make your home smell like the holidays!

Activa Design Studio Manager, Kim, recommends adding natural homemade potpourri to make the house smell like Christmas! Learn how to make potpourri with her recipe below:

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 large cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 orange halved
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise or bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 piece fresh ginger
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small branch fresh pine
  • 1 pomegranate or cranberry juice


Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size saucepot. Fill the pot with water until it reaches 3/4 of the way full. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, adding more water as needed. Simmer for close to 3-4 hours and then let it cool overnight and simmer again the next day. Just be sure to keep adding more water as it evaporates. Enjoy the festive feel of the holidays with this natural air freshening alternative!

holiday decor

Add warmth and texture with everyday items

“Switch out your everyday candles to a seasonal scent such as balsam or cedar”, says Senior Design Studio Consultant, Sandy. She also suggests changing everyday items, such as throw pillows, to incorporate warmer tones in your living space. Add texture with chunky knits to keep cozy in the colder months. You can also add texture to your holiday décor with homemade crocheted items, like a knit stocking or pillow cover, for a nice cozy element. Crafty items are an excellent way to add a personal touch to your home.

Check out Sweet & Spice for holiday scented candles!

holiday decor

Colour coordinate your home décor

Activa’s Creative Designer, Jennifer, shares her tips for colour coordinating her holiday home décor for a beautifully tied-together look:

When decorating a space, I try to carry the same ribbon and colours throughout the space to tie everything together by using repeating elements. This also applies to decorating the tree, I start by grouping similar items together and then repeating these elements throughout the tree for an even and balanced look. I also repeat the same ribbon and colours used in my other décor on the tree to help fill it out and add layers and sparkle. I use a lot of wreaths around the house at Christmas. You can easily hang them in front of a window or mirror, or use them as a centrepiece on a table.

holiday decor

When it comes to the outdoors, I carry the same clear white lights outside because they are timeless and never go out of style. Again, I repeat the same ribbon I have on the wreaths on the front door to the lights over the garage, and my planters for a uniform look.

For my planters, I start with the largest branches at the back as my base since they are rigid enough to hold everything together, and then build forward with the more dainty branches that are softer and droop nicely at the front. I add foam on the bottom of the planter to have something to push the landscaping staples into, to hold everything in place. Lastly, I put the most delicate cedar branches at the front. After that, you can add whatever you like, from birch branches to pine cones, holly and of course more lights to finish off the look!

PRO TIP: Jennifer recommends labelling all the lights and garlands when putting them away so that the following year you don’t have to remember what goes where – it makes decorating so much faster!

holiday decor

Don’t forget garlands!

Activa Design Studio Consultant, Marla, adds garlands with pinecones and twinkle lights to her staircase, fireplace mantle and bookshelves. This is a nice way to tie in elements of the outdoors inside the home, and who doesn’t love seeing more Christmas lights around the house? We love to see twinkle lights wherever possible! Marla adds extra shine to her outdoor-themed décor with lots of decorative deer!

Get social with us

Do you plan on using these tips or have some home décor tips of your own? We want to hear from you! Follow and tag @builtbyactiva on Instagram or Facebook for a chance to be featured on our social pages! Stay tuned to ActivaLearn for more design-related content throughout the year.