The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based DIY maven behind I Spy DIY has built a huge Instagram following with her pretty-yet practical take on home renovation, so it's little surprise that she also brings plenty of creativity and a certain can-do spirit to holiday decor.

Forget visions of sugarplums, lords a-leaping, and store-bought tinsel—for Jenni Yolo, the creative force behind @ispydiy, the holidays are synonymous with made-with-care ornaments, a surf-and-turf menu, and toddler-friendly karaoke.

david and jenni yolo daughter portrait
Credit: Jay Wilde

Almost the minute the Thanksgiving plates have been cleared, she grabs her list—checks it twice—and heads to the tree farm with husband David and their almost 2-year-old daughter in search of the right Christmas tree. "I run around trying to pick out the perfect specimen as my husband pulls our kid around in a wagon. It is stressful," Jenni says.

living room with christmas tree and presents
Credit: Jay Wilde

After the family hauls home the perfect score, it takes its place of honor in a spot that Jenni has already spruced up. "We put up the green paneling in the living room, so the blue balsam looks extra beautiful," she says. The tree is trimmed with handmade ornaments, white lights, and burlap ribbon. "Making ornaments is something I can do with my daughter every year, and then we can hold on to them and use them for years to come."

greenery and citrus festive garland
Credit: Jay Wilde

When it comes time to deck the halls, she leans into a special blend of natural elements. Dried orange slices, twine, and wood beads make for a sweet garland on the tree and mantel. "I soak the cypress for 24 hours to try to get it wilt proof and say a little prayer that it will last," she says.

black and white modern farmhouse kitchen
Credit: Jay Wilde

Because the kitchen is the most popular gathering place, Jenni likes to deck it out with greenery, both real and faux. She hangs artificial boxwood wreaths with red-striped burlap ribbon and adds sprigs of cypress in unexpected spots like behind breadboards and vintage paintings.

farmhouse kitchen with holiday decorations
Credit: Jay Wilde

Jenni advises keeping an eye on sprigs that adorn oven hoods. "Some areas are more garland-friendly than others," she says. "We have to watch for needles falling into our food."

farmhouse dining area with plaid rug and light wood
Credit: Jay Wilde

A spray of evergreen beneath an array of vintage brass candlesticks dresses the dining table.

black and white stairway with festive garland
Credit: Jay Wilde

The stairway is home to a collection of vintage paintings—mostly sourced from the local Goodwill—and a banister twirled up with garland, burlap ribbon, and bells. "I like a pop of brass," Jenni says. "It adds something a little extra."

home office with forest green walls
Credit: Jay Wilde

Dark green walls are the perfect backdrop for a trio of tiny artificial trees that Jenni found on Amazon. "I make them a little more special by 'potting' them in vintage vessels," she says.

white and gray bedroom loft with festive decor
Credit: Jay Wilde

The cozy loft guest room is outfitted with a metal bed (an Amazon find) and a vintage perch for perfectly wrapped presents.

farmhouse entryway with garland and patterned rug
Credit: Jay Wilde

Even the mudroom gets glad tidings with a combination of fresh greenery, a single strand of citrus garland, and flashes of red that pop against the soft gray planks.

toddler playing in pink festive bedroom
Credit: Jay Wilde

Once Christmas Eve finally rolls around, Jenni rolls up her sleeves for another big project: the annual steak-and-lobster dinner. "That's a tradition in my family," she says. And while this family of three waits to open the majority of their presents with extended family on Christmas Day, Baby Yolo will unwrap a few the night before. "It's fun to see the joy she brings to the whole holiday process. She has a little karaoke boom box, and she just bops around all over the place," Jenni says. "Having this little walking human around makes everything just a little extra special."


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