Beach-Inspired Christmas Decor

Heed the call of the sea with these 25 holiday decorating ideas inspired by high tides, summer breezes, and casual beach houses.

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  • Celebrate the Seaside

    If you love the beach—or have great memories of seaside family vacations—you can incorporate that into this year's holiday decor. Here's an inspiring room to get you started.

    A garland of bleached seashells and starfish draped from a fireplace mantel look perfectly at home during the Christmas holidays. The shapes of sea creatures mimic many of the beloved holiday icons: Starfish naturally lend themselves to the stars that sparkle at Christmas, the spherical shape of sea urchins resembles ornaments, and coral is an elegant alternative to floral arrangements.

  • Beach Cottage Christmas

    In this bright and breezy cottage, all the trimmings of Christmas are there but in a fresh beach-inspired palette. Watery blue, grass green, and sunshine yellow make this a happy holiday color scheme. Three conical boxwoods take the place of one big Christmas tree; touches of silver make them sparkle.

  • Christmas at the Shore

    Long walks on the beach can result in some uncommon but exceptional Christmas decor. In this living room, handmade shell boxes fill the fireplace while a wreath made of seashells, starfish, and sea urchins occupies the space between two carriage-style sconces. Blue ultrasuede pillows featuring silhouettes of coral add comfort to a pair of chairs.

  • Beach Cottage Dining Room

    Beach cottage style is very much in evidence in this charming room. Cushioned metal motel chairs become dining chairs at the whitewashed farm table. Simple holiday accents such as a planter of paperwhites, an unadorned evergreen garland, and understated, yet stately, candlesticks contribute to the serenity of the room.

  • Seaside Dining

    White seashells, coral, and red sea fans make this room feel beachy and festive at the same time.The juxtaposition of the summery wicker dining chairs and garden urn with the evergreen topiary and bay leaf garland that decorates the chair rail gives the room charm and a sense of playfulness.

  • Sea Urchin Centerpiece

    Sea urchins stacked in a Christmas tree shape are given luxurious elevation in a garden urn. To make, start with a foam cone shape and long T-pins. Starting at the bottom, pin sea urchins to the foam until it's covered. Hot-glue the urchins together, being careful not to get glue on the foam shape underneath. When the glue is dry, remove the pins and carefully slide out the foam shape. Sea urchins are fragile so be very careful when handling.

  • Undersea Place Settings

    White ultrasuede placemats shot with green ribbon anchor holiday place settings enlivened with sea creatures. Dyed sea fans cover plates topped with napkins ringed with sea horses and urchins.

  • Sand Dollar Favor

    An austere but beautiful sand dollar dangles from the back of a dining chair. Pinned to the chair by a green ribbon, the sand dollars make charming guest favors at a Christmas dinner.

  • Shell Encircled Candles

    Christmas candles need not be red and green to be festive. Create a seaworthy centerpiece with white candles adorned with scallop shells. Hot-glue shells around the bottom of each candle and set the candles on a silver plate or white wooden tray. Fill in the tray with evergreen stems such as boxwood and holly for Christmas color.

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    Holiday Shell Trees

    Conical tree shapes in multiple sizes make a whimsical statement on the coffee table. Covered in shells, the stylized Christmas trees are topped with starfish finials. Watery blue votives add to the beachy serenity of the tableau.

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    Tiny Christmas Accents

    Cone-shape seashells mimic the silhouette of Christmas trees so why not make a tiny tree farm as a tabletop display? Pair miniature starfish with the small shells and brush the stars with a mixture of half glue and half water. Sprinkle with glitter and glue to the top of the conical shells. When dry, arrange your tiny trees in a tray of beach sand.

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    Dockside Gift Wrap

    Christmas spent at a beach cottage or celebrated in beach style calls for wrappings to suit the occasion. Take inspiration from the attractive knots found in knot-tying books to make seafaring gift wrap with boat or utility rope. Glue a seashell to a handmade gift tag to complete the design.

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    Ocean Blue Christmas

    Blue holiday decorations in this comfortable living room help create an ocean-inspired palette. On the tree, starfish intermingle with glittery five-point stars; blue ribbon, garland, and Christmas baubles tie all the elements together. More starfish decorate the mantel of the stone fireplace, which is embedded with hundreds of fossilized shells.

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    Nautical Christmas Mantel

    Leave it to Mother Nature to provide the perfect accessory for your nautical holiday. Starfish, pure and natural, are tied onto square pillar candles with sheer ribbon and grouped together to make an attractive mantel arrangement. A garland made of boat rope tied into knots completes the look.

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    Seaworthy Mantel

    Create a seaworthy mantel topper by sprinkling a collection of shells and starfish amid a garland of greenery. Attach vintage-style cardboard letters covered with glass glitter to a ribbon and drape it across the mantel to express a favorite sentiment of the season.

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    Christmas Beach Box

    Brimming with baubles, this beautiful and evocative shell-covered box takes you immediately in mind to your favorite beach. Christmas balls and garland in vivid marine blue also recall the coastal waters while silver mirror balls add holiday sparkle.

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    Hang a Bit of the Beach

    If you can't put up your holiday tree at the beach, why not bring a bit of the beach to your tree? Easy to make, this little Christmas bauble starts with a basic blue ball. Paint on bands of glue and pour beach sand onto the glue. Dab a bit of glue onto the small shells, press into sand around the middle band, and let dry.

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    Icy Glass Ornaments

    Glittering in the sunlight with an almost iciclelike appearance, purchased glass-seashell ornaments hang from varied lengths of sheer ribbon. Although these ornaments are pretty on a Christmas tree, they are especially effective hanging at a window.

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    Topiary Christmas Tree

    Delicate starfish on a rosemary topiary mimic traditional stars while suggesting a seaside locale. Tucked into an old oak bucket, the shrub marries country cottage and beach cottage styles with panache.

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    Natural Color Palette

    Take your holiday inspiration from colors and objects that are just as nature intended. White and green cover the walls and follow through on a dining room tree and the tablescape. Starfish ornaments on the tree and seashells on the napkin rings play beautifully into this all-natural look.

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    Seashore Wreath

    Infuse a standard evergreen wreath with the flavor of the sea. Pair shells and small starfish with holly berries in a random pattern around the ring. Hot-glue in place and finish your creation with a pretty ribbon bow.

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    Make a Starfish Wreath

    Naturally beautiful starfish can be inspiration for a holiday wreath. To make, spray a 9-inch foam wreath and starfish with white paint. When dry, attach the starfish to the wreath with crafts glue. Brush the starfish with a mixture of half glue and half water. Dust with white glitter. Arrange your wreath on a white shelf or mantel with jars of shells and white garland.

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    Make a Shell Wreath

    Instead of stashing away pretty shells collected on beach vacations, make a wreath that looks good anytime of the year but especially so at Christmas. Simply glue shells of varying shapes and sizes to a foam wreath, placing them at random. Finish it with a pretty bow that matches your holiday decorating palette.

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    Sand Dollar Wreath

    Whether your door is a gateway to the beach or leads right into a drift of snow, dress it with a wreath adorned with coastal elements. Spray-paint a grapevine twig white, then hot-glue a circle of sand dollars or other flat shells around the wreath opening. Weave a sheer organdy ribbon through the shells and tie the tails into a simple bow.

  • Next Slideshow Fun and Festive Christmas Color Schemes

    Fun and Festive Christmas Color Schemes

    Break out of the red and green rut with pretty Christmas color schemes that will wow your guests. From pink and green to silver and gold, we show you how to get your holiday decor looking merry and bright for the season.
    Begin Slideshow »
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