Well, come on in!

Ah, Christmas. My favourite holiday as a kid and the holiday that can seriously send me into panic as an adult. While the holidays are truly a time of fun and cheer, there’s preparation involved – from decor, to food, down to shopping and wrapping gifts. It is honestly a major production.

This year is our third Christmas here in Malaysia and we thought we’d amp up the holiday spirit a couple of notches higher: we’re having friends over on Christmas day! This, by the way, is a first, since we usually just celebrate by ourselves.

If you’ve been reading my writing in this space for quite a while now, you probably know one of my non-negotiables: Everything has to be pretty and classy, without breaking the bank. Another thing is that I want our flat to be festive without looking like Santa’s elves had one too many and decided to throw up at our place.

A lot of people think that you have to spend an arm and a leg when it comes to decorating your home and while that is perfectly fine if you can afford it, there is also this option for people who want to make some savings.

My store of choice for decor? IKEA, of course. I’m half Scandinavian. Blood dictates that I shop there! Kidding aside, IKEA has always been our first stop when it comes to decorating our flat – for any holiday. Our move to Malaysia was definitely made easier by its presence in this country.

IKEA is also one of the first stores to roll out Christmas decor all over the Klang Valley. Some department stores don’t bring out their holiday goods until the absolute tail end of November! We always try to start decorating right after halloween so I’m glad I can pop by their store and pick a couple of things a little earlier. Come to think of it, we’ve amassed quite an embarrassingly huge IKEA Christmas ball collection.

Definitely not complaining here. Christmas decor is something that you can repurpose and re-use every year. You just have to keep mixing things up a little and adding a couple of new things here and there.

So how does the flat look like before the makeover? Yes, I’m aware I haven’t posted about our flat despite being repeatedly prodded for a home tour. I only wanted to do a post on that when we’re about to finish our posting here for safety and privacy reasons. However, for the sake of this Christmas transformation, let me give you a sneak peek on how some parts of our home usually look like:

As you can see, we love our space and are deathly afraid of clutter. Decor, if not executed well, tends to take up too much space so I am quite careful of it as well. (This is a personal preference.) So we added a Christmas tree and some holiday elements here and there make our home a little more festive. Let’s start with the living room area, shall we?

Living Room


We changed up the cushion covers from our regular turquoise (also from IKEA) to striped, red ones from the Vinter 2016 collection. They remind me of candy canes!

The cushions definitely brightened up the living room and somehow match my old woman pillow. 😉 It’s the triangular cushion that I use when I’m reading – something that I picked up in Thailand while on vacation.


The rug has also been changed up to Vidstrup – something a little brighter and more fun yet will serve its purpose throughout the year. And just in case you’re wondering, yes – my reading lamp is also from IKEA.



A favourite hobby of mine is repurposing and reusing decor. This snowman is from 2014. I forgot where we bought it from and he used to be a part of our tree. Now, he’s standing by our candles on the coffee table to add a little cheer while we watch episodes of The Crown. The nativity snow globe was a gift and now rests on our side table by the lamp.

Speaking of reusing, our tree is also mostly made up of IKEA decor. All the red and gold balls that you see, as well as the star on top are from there.

The beauty of buying IKEA is that the pieces go so well with everything – even with things you already own.

If you’re a fan of mixing and matching, then this will be fun for you as well. You just have to get your creative hat on. 😉


Tip: You save more when you buy their big bundles for the decor. 😉


This year, we added some elements of Star Wars to the tree. Alvin and I are big fans, so why not? They also go with the triptych and the droids that we usually have in the corner next to our TV.



Quite embarrassing to admit but I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet. Look at those judging looks from R2-D2 and BB-8! But here are a few that I’ve gotten around to wrapping for the purpose of shooting photos of the tree. (I will be adding ribbon to them so watch out for a gift wrapping post in the coming days.)

I used leftover Star Wars gift wrapper from last year and plain red wrapping paper from IKEA which I love because it has a different colour on the other side (khaki) so you can use it for other occasions or if you want to switch things up among your gifts!

I used the Vinter 2016 sticker tags to make life a lot easier. I also decided to hoard them for use throughout the year. My husband’s job entails a lot of gifting and that means wrapping things has become a regular part of my life. There are three designs and these plain red and white ones can easily be used throughout the year.

The Balcony


For the balcony, I popped a potted poinsettia into a beautiful, Skurar plant pot. It’s not real, even if it looks like it is! 😉 Good thing too, since my bout with gardening failed on an epic scale. Who has time to water plants these days?

For the dining area and console table, I decided to make our own centre pieces for a more personal touch – using bits and bobs of IKEA decor as well.

Let’s start with the console table:



We took out the usual vignette on its left, moved the photos to the side, then took out some of the books to make room for this piece. Here are the items I used:

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how cute this Santa Claus is? The moment we saw him, we knew we just had to have him!


For the dining area:



Here are the things I used for this centrepiece:

I love how it serves its purpose without taking up too much space on the dining table, especially since we do end up with a lot of food on it every time we’re hosting. I wouldn’t want it looking too crowded.

So that ends part one of this year’s series of holiday posts! Next up will be about dining where I will be talking about some holiday recipes and setting up the table, and another post on wrapping gifts!



This post is in collaboration with IKEA.

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