Along with bread-baking and closet reorganizing, another nesting trend on the home front is “cottagecore” style.
“The cottagecore aesthetic swarmed the internet this year with its revival of traditional ideals and the glorification of a simple yet charming cottage lifestyle,” says Amanda Brennan, trend expert for Tumblr.
Engagement on the social platform for cottagecore began spiking in early spring and hasn't abated, she reports.
Now it's flowing into the holiday season, she says, “with posts of farmhouse-inspired holiday decorations, homestyle seasonal recipes, warm winter décor, and knitting.”
What to do, where to go and what to see
Etsy.com trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson agrees: “The nostalgia-inspired movement is all about bringing back pastoral aesthetics and activities.”
Characterized by romantic, nature-oriented themes and homespun design elements, cottagecore started around the mid-2010s. But it’s taken off this year as the pandemic kept people at home.
“It’s no surprise that the trend’s extending into the holidays,” says Isom Johnson. “Shoppers are opting for décor that’s reminiscent of a time that was filled with simpler pleasures in life, from baking to crafting.”
Etsy saw an increase in early fall in searches for crocheted, knitted and embroidered ornaments, as well as holiday quilts, she says. They’ve seen a nearly 200% increase in searches for DIY kits.
Kits come at all levels, for kids, beginners and skilled crafters, and with a variety of holiday-friendly themes. For instance, Fancy Tiger’s felting kits offer alpacas, squirrels and sheep, and cross-stitched mini holiday ornaments. Stitchery.com has simple kits for making embroidered tree table-runners, tiny stockings and snow globes.
Many Etsy shops, like Lark Rising, Rene Creates and Barmy Fox, offer templates of designs for download. Creativity for Kids has holiday snow globe kits, while Paper Source has kits to craft dog nutcrackers and Hanukkah bears in winsome sweaters.
Lorna Aragon, home editor for Martha Stewart Living, suggests some easy holiday projects for home and gifting that fit the aesthetic:
“Think about stenciling or stamping a tablecloth, runner or napkins with a simple geometric motif. You can make a tree skirt the same way," she says. "Create some homemade stockings from simple dishcloths. Use baskets under the tree to hold gifts. You can also get some quilting squares at the craft store and make sachets to gift friends. I’m loving simple fabrics like ticking, gingham, denim, muslin and calico small florals and prints.”
The magazine’s team created some items for the December issue based on quilt designs and folk-art motifs, evocative of the cottagecore look.
Minted’s Founder Mariam Naficy likes ‘furoshiki’, the Japanese technique of gift wrapping with fabric. She says it’s a great way to wrap oddly-shaped items, and re-purpose fabric scraps or old scarves.
She’s also making garlands this year out of various materials, including fragrant dried orange slices. “You can display them on a mantle, bookcase, or drape one on your dining table surrounded by tea candles for a simple, aromatic centerpiece,” she says.
Naficy also suggests making garlands out of last year’s holiday cards and scraps of wrapping paper.
Wreath frames from garden centers and art stores offer crafting parties the opportunity to make indoor or outdoor décor.
“Eucalyptus doesn’t scream Christmas, and will work all winter,” says Stephanie Pollard of Hello Nest.
Dried or faux greenery, pompoms, cotton balls, or colorful ornaments and a primed hot glue gun are all you need. To get the cottagecore look, add burlap or velvet ribbon, or wrap the wreath in cloth.
Ashley Martin, a sixth-grade teacher and mom of two who lives in Green Township, New Jersey, transformed a scrounged vintage wooden Coke crate into a rustic succulent garden to decorate her home through the holidays and beyond.
Martin says she’s always loved arts and crafts projects, but became obsessed with cottagecore décor when she and her husband bought an 1850s farmhouse. Turning her ideas into custom art and signs became a side gig, and she’s working on holiday orders now.
“I really enjoy working on something creative any time that I can,” she says.
Other ideas for DIY holiday decorations with a cottagecore feel:
Gather a stack of blank cards, markers and essential oils and make aromatherapy cards. Clear glass or acrylic ball ornaments can be jazzed up with a coating of Mod Podge and a dip in a bowl of snowy glitter. (Keep a lint roller handy to clean up the sparkles. ) Use a glue gun to seal seams on cut-out felt mittens, trees or stars, then stuff the open end with a gift card or small treat.