Nautical Christmas Decoration Ideas For The Whole Home

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Perfect for Cape Cod style homes, nautical Christmas decor offers a great way to merge the celebration of the holidays with the images and colors of the sea. Let nature and luxury inspire you as you create your own nautical Christmas display this year.


When decorating in a nautical Christmas style, remember to strike a balance between two themes, Christmas and the ocean.

  • Mix rustic and naturally themed Christmas décor with nautical pieces you already own, or ones designed specifically for the season from a home décor store.
  • Use ocean animals and materials as well as ships and nautical materials in decorative pieces and ornaments.
  • Use the relaxed yet sophisticated style of Cape Cod to guide your decorating.


When purchasing or making your nautical décor, try to stick to one of the several main colors found throughout the theme:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Tan
  • Silver
  • Green
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Christmas Tree

Since the Christmas tree is often the focal point of indoor Christmas décor, it is the perfect place to incorporate a love of the ocean with your seasonal pieces.

  • Check home décor stores and specialty Christmas shops for specifically designed nautical ornaments. Starfish, seashells, small replica boats and marine animals all make great ornaments for a nautical tree.
  • In place of a garland, try using a thick nautical rope.
  • Only use white string lights on your tree to avoid a more traditional look, and compliment the neutrally colored décor.
  • Blue ribbons can also be used to mimic the look of breaking waves and provide vibrant color against tans, whites and silvers.
  • To make your own nautical Christmas ornament, remove the top of a clear glass ball ornament. Fill partially with sand and small seashells. Place the top back on, and hang from your tree.
  • Hang ornaments from thin pieces of white rope or twine for an ocean-themed take on traditional hooks and wires. If you own large fishhooks, file down their points with sandpaper to make them less dangerous, and use in place of traditional ornament hooks.
  • Wrap your Christmas presents to be set beneath the tree with blue, white and silver paper. Use matte ribbon, twine or rope to tie into a bow. Cut out nametags in the shape of starfish, beach balls, life preservers or ocean animals.
  • For a fun nautical Christmas craft, have kids paint a faux starfish from a craft store to resemble Santa. The top point can become his head and hat, while the starfish’ remaining limbs can act as Santa’s arms and legs.
  • Use a faux starfish for your tree topper in place of a star.
  • Tie twine and burlap strips into bows around tree branches.
  • Spray paint seashells or faux starfish silver, blue or white for a stylish take on natural decorations.

Nautical Christmas Décor Pieces Around The House

  • Hang red and white life preservers on the walls around your home, resembling traditional Christmas peppermint candies.
  • Wrap a large nautical rope around staircase banisters to mimic a garland. Hang pine boughs, ornaments and nautical décor from the rope to mix the two themes.
  • Place your regular Christmas candles inside metal lanterns set on side tables, dining tables, windowsills and more. Metal lanterns add a classic nautical feel, and blend well with rustic Christmas décor.
  • Fill glass hurricane candleholders with sand, seashells and blue, white or silver Christmas ornaments.
  • Trace nautical images onto neutrally colored stockings, and paint them in.
  • Glue seashells to a foam wreath base from a craft store to create a nautical wreath.
  • To make your own life preservers, purchase foam wreath bases from a craft store, and cover with white or tan fabric. Paint or glue four red stripes onto the preserver, and attach a twine loop at the top to hang from the wall or your door.
  • Fill a tall vase with small pieces of driftwood. Hang silver, white and blue ornaments from the branches, along with starfish, blue and white striped bows and seashells.
  • Create a large nautical tree display with driftwood and canvas. Purchase a large artist’s canvas from a craft store, and gather driftwood from a local beach. Make sure each piece of driftwood is slightly smaller than the last, with a total of at least six branches. Have the smallest branch measure no more than several inches. Glue the branches onto the canvas horizontally in descending order (shortest branch at the top), creating the shape of a Christmas tree. Attach ornaments, rope, twine or other Christmas décor, and add string lights if the display will be mounted on a wall near an electrical outlet. When finished, hang on your wall for DIY nautical Christmas wall décor.
  • Wrap a textured rope around a clear glass candleholder or vase and tie in place. Leave gaps between the rope, where the glass is visible. Spray paint the vase white, silver or blue, then remove the rope. Textured lines in the shape of the rope will remain, showing the glass and candle inside.
Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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