How to Decorate Bookshelves for Christmas

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As the festive season approaches, transforming your home into a cozy, cheerful haven becomes a delightful task. While the Christmas tree garners much of the spotlight, other areas of your home, like your bookshelves, provide a perfect canvas for holiday cheer. Decorating bookshelves for Christmas not only enhances your room’s ambiance but also showcases your personal style and the magic of the season.

Here are some whimsical yet sophisticated ways to deck your bookshelves for the holidays.

Clear and Clean

Before you begin the transformation, take a moment to declutter your shelves. Start by clearing all your books and collectibles off of your shelves. This would be a good time to dust and perhaps pare down your collection, making space for your holiday decorations. Consider this a fresh start, both for your bookshelf and the new season.

Choose a Theme

Finding Inspiration

Your chosen theme sets the stage for your decorative story. Seek inspiration from your favorite Christmas memories, the current color palette in your room, or the classic holiday films you adore. Themes can range from:

  • Classic Christmas: Think reds, greens, and golds that echo timeless tradition.
  • Winter Wonderland: A cool palette of blues, whites, and silvers shines here.
  • Rustic Charm: Embrace nature with wood tones, burlap textures, and forest greens.
  • Elegant Metallics: Golds, silvers, and bronzes for a touch of festive sophistication.
  • Whimsical and Bright: For those who love color, a vibrant, playful mix of bright hues.

Coordinating Your Decor

Your theme will guide every subsequent decoration choice. Aim for consistency in your selections, from the tiniest bauble to the grandest garland. But feel free to play within your theme; nuances and variances add character and intrigue to your shelves.

Gather Decorations

Gather your Christmas decorations. Here are some ideas:

  • Mini Christmas trees
  • Christmas lights
  • Garlands
  • Christmas baubles
  • Ornaments (snowflakes, reindeers, Santa)
  • Mini stockings
  • Pinecones
  • Poinsettias

A fun and bookish idea could be to wrap some of your books in Christmas-themed wrapping paper!

Mini Christmas Trees

Start by placing one or two mini Christmas trees at different levels on your shelves. Consider the size so they don’t overwhelm your space but still stand out as focal points. Mixing in flocked and pre-lit trees can bring both texture and light to your arrangement.

Christmas Lights

The proper use of lights can transform any space. LED fairy lights, wrapped around your shelf frames or weaving through your display, provide a soft, ambient glow. Create layers of light to build depth and intrigue.


Next, drape or nestle garlands along each shelf. Opt for plush, verdant greenery to give life to the shelves, or a garland with pinecones and berries for a natural, rustic look. If your theme is more minimalistic, consider thin, beaded garlands for a subtle hint of festivity.

Christmas Baubles

Baubles are not just for trees. A careful selection of glass or hand-painted baubles can be nestled among books or placed in visible spots to catch the eye. For a more modern twist, opt for abstract shapes or unconventional materials.


When it comes to ornaments, variety is key—you might choose delicate glass snowflakes or ornate Santas. Position them to create little scenes or narratives across your shelves, inviting closer inspection.

Mini Stockings

Pepper your shelves with miniature stockings, which can be personalized or adorned with the initials of family members. If they’re hung at the edge of a shelf, ensure they don’t obstruct your carefully chosen decorations.


Pinecones add a woodland touch to your décor, and they can be adorned with glitter or faux snow for a seasonal sparkle. Scatter them loosely or collect them in glass jars or rustic baskets.


Incorporate pots of poinsettias, or even single blooms placed in small vases, throughout your shelf decor. The bold red blooms act as natural accents, drawing the eye and punctuating your design.

Add Personal Touches

Lastly, infuse your bookshelf decor with items that hold sentimental value, like handmade crafts, family photos in festive frames, or heirlooms. These pieces add a unique touch that makes your decor truly special.

Arrange and Layer

How to Decorate Bookshelves for Christmas

Start arranging your décor and books back on your shelf. Here’s where you get to be creative.

  • Start by placing larger items first and layering smaller items in front.
  • Add lights first if you are using them. Fairy lights can be draped around the edges or woven between books for a twinkling effect.
  • Position books both horizontally and vertically to create visual interest.
  • Add garlands or tinsel between books or around the edge of shelves.

An interesting idea is to use your books to create a mini “Christmas book tree”. Stack them in a triangle shape (the largest books at the bottom), place a star or an angel at the top, and wrap them in a miniature light string. It can make a cute and creative focal point on your shelf!

Add Finishing Touches

Add some finishing touches to perfect your shelves:

  • Hang mini stockings from the edges of shelves.
  • Stick a few Christmas cards between your books.
  • Place a candle or a holiday-themed bookend for a little extra sparkle.
  • Take a step back, assess your work, and tweak it as desired.

With these steps, transforming your bookshelf into a festive wonder is easy and fun. Remember, the goal is not to create a “perfect” display but to express your unique style and create a space you love. 

Safety Tips

As the final touches of your decoration come together, remember to prioritize safety:

  • Inspection: Check all lights for damaged wires or bulbs before use.
  • Placement: Be mindful of placing decorations too close to ceiling lights or other heat sources.
  • Stability: Ensure that heavier decorations are securely placed and won’t fall.

DIY Decoration Ideas

Inject your personality into your bookshelf display with handcrafted items:

  • Bookmark Ribbons: Craft festive bookmarks with ribbons and small decorations such as bells or stars to mark your favorite seasonal stories.
  • Paper Snowflakes: Fold and snip paper to create a flurry of unique snowflakes to scatter among your shelves.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, keep books that fit the theme or wrap some in festive paper to match your décor.

LED lights are safest due to their low heat emission.

Use handmade items, and natural elements, or repurpose existing decorations. Printable Christmas motifs are a good, inexpensive option.

Yes, use miniature decorations, fairy lights, and flat items like holiday postcards to save space.

Minimize risk with LED lights, fire-resistant fabrics, and never leaving lights on unattended.


Decorating your bookshelves for Christmas is an excellent way to spread holiday cheer throughout your home. By combining lights, greenery, ornaments, and personal touches, you can create a festive display that reflects your style and the joy of the season.

Remember, there’s no wrong or no right way to decorate; the most important aspect is that it brings happiness to you and your loved ones. Happy decorating!

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