This year's most unexpected Christmas decorating trends

From "book trees" to Gothic trees to Kitschmas, these are the unusual decorating styles growing in popularity on Instagram

christmas decor
(Image credit: Oliver Perrott)

There's no shortage of Christmas decorating ideas (opens in new tab) this year, and our Christmas page (opens in new tab) is full of inspiration from festive front door ideas (opens in new tab) and entrance hall ideas (opens in new tab) to Christmas table setting (opens in new tab) and alternative Christmas tree ideas (opens in new tab).

We've seen lots of new Christmas trends emerge, including more minimalist decor and clever ideas for small spaces. But these more unusual decorating ideas below are the ones dominating social media feeds this year.

1. Book tree

One of our favourite emerging trends is the growing popularity of "book trees". Previously confined to spaces like public libraries, photos from past years have inspired homeowners to create their own versions at home.

So far 35,000 people have taken to Instagram to share their #booktree (opens in new tab) creations.

A post shared by kobis.books.and.tea (@literaturtee) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

It's a striking idea for in a home library or reading room (opens in new tab) of course, or as a secondary Christmas tree – for example at the bottom of the staircase (opens in new tab) or at the top of the landing.

A post shared by @daisy_at_home (opens in new tab)

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One method is to stick to books in the same colour, for example books with a pine green cover, to create a Christmas tree effect.

A post shared by Ashley || Old Houses >> (@our1917farmhouse) (opens in new tab)

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A post shared by Books On Show (@booksonshow) (opens in new tab)

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A more festive approach is to wrap the book tower up in twinkling fairy lights.

A post shared by elle hunter 🌩 (@ellehaunter) (opens in new tab)

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2. Gothic Style

This style is not for everyone, but lovers of gothic culture have embraced a more dramatic colour palette this year, with nearly 16,000 sharing pictures of their #blackchristmastree (opens in new tab). #Gothicchristmas (opens in new tab) has had nearly 8,000 shares, with around 3,000 people choosing Christmas tree decorations inspired by the film Nightmare before Christmas (#nightmarebeforechristmastree (opens in new tab)).

Gothic style aside, black is a very effective backdrop for creating extra drama, and for layering on golds and other metallics.

A post shared by 🖤 Nicole 🖤 (@spooktacularstyle) (opens in new tab)

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Pair a black tree with simple white decorations to create a more paired-back, monochrome scheme. 

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3. Rainbow tree

Meanwhile at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we've also been spotting flamboyant, multi-coloured rainbow trees, often inspired by gay pride.

16,000 #Rainbowtree (opens in new tab) snaps have already been uploaded to Instagram, with related tags including #rainbowchristmastree (opens in new tab) (2.7k+) and #rainbowchristmas (opens in new tab) (4.8k+).

A post shared by boichick (@boichick.ptown) (opens in new tab)

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Dip your toe into this kaleidoscopic decorating style by clustering baubles together by colour, to create a rainbow effect through baubles.

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The rainbow trend isn't just for trees; people are taking to incorporating a wider range of colours in other Christmas decor too, creating a cheerful vibe during the coldest, greyest time of year.

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4. Vintage vibes

This year, people are channelling Christmasses past, re-using vintage ornaments or decorating in a vintage-inspired style to create a nostalgic atmosphere.

#Vintagechristmas (opens in new tab) has seen over 538,000 posts already, ranging from treasured family heirlooms to more kitsch ornaments.

For a classically vintage vibe, one Instagram user shared a snap of their tree on a vintage sledge with a traditional Christmas sack.

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Treasured vintage finds are also great for creating other festive vignettes around the home, for example as a table centrepiece.

A post shared by Susan (@flemingfarmhouse) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

5. Merry Kitschmas

Last but not least, #kitschmas (opens in new tab) is back (with over 56,000 posts), and this year seems to be more flamboyant and kitsch than ever, offering up plenty of quirky Christmas inspiration.

Our favourite? This utterly bonkers DIY wreath with recycled childrens' toys. 

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Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.