The bold buffalo plaid print can add instant style, character, and a unique element to your Christmas decor. Get started on your holiday buffalo check-list with ideas and inspiration for decorating with everyone’s favorite plaid.

The popular buffalo check plaid is not new to home decor. In fact, it’s been around for ages and used in a variety of ways. Recently, though, there’s been a renewed interest in buffalo plaid, particularly in the area of holiday decor.

This classic pattern is incredibly versatile and can serve as both an accent and a neutral base in place of a solid color. As with many plaids, buffalo check has the perfect balance of a masculine and feminine look, and can be used in a bold or subtle way depending on its application in the space.

You can use it in a variety of color combinations and easily mix it in with other prints and patterns, even other plaids, to achieve a timeless look with your holiday decor.

Holiday decorating with buffalo check plaid

Buffalo plaid can add a homey, rustic feel to your home that’s reminiscent of a cozy cabin tucked away in the winter woods. But it can also add an elegant and sophisticated touch to your Christmas decorations, depending on how you use the pattern.

It’s ideal for any country or farmhouse-inspired home and goes well with both vintage and modern pieces. Don’t be afraid to incorporate it with what you already have, especially if you’re able to stay within the same color scheme.

Play it safe and use it sparingly with small decorative accents mixed in with your typical Christmas decor. Or go all out and transform your living space with bright, bold pops of buffalo check on throw pillows, blankets, table runners, napkins, wall art, shelf decor, Christmas tree skirt, stockings, and more.

For winter holidays, you can use buffalo check in the family room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, entryway, porch, and even to decorate your entire Christmas tree and fireplace mantel.

But before we dive into how to use the popular pattern, let’s talk about what buffalo check is, and isn’t.

Buffalo check vs. tartan vs. plaid

Today, buffalo check, plaid, and tartan are frequently used interchangeably to describe a textile pattern that’s made up of straight, intersecting vertical and horizontal lines and colored stripes that create a grid-like pattern.

Here’s a quick guide to help you distinguish between buffalo check, tartan, and other plaids.


Check patterns are simple, bold, and plain, typically utilizing two colors, such as white and black, or red and black, which are both popular for holiday decorating. The stripes are symmetrical and equal size, creating a simple, neat, proportional grid.

Buffalo check incorporates big, wide stripes, gingham check is a smaller pattern, and windowpane check creates the look of a square window in the design.

Here’s a visual comparison of the three check patterns with examples.

Check patterns - Buffalo vs Gingham vs Widowpane


Tartan patterns are more intricate than check, frequently utilizing multiple colors and overlapping stripes of various sizes. Like buffalo check, the tartan pattern is still very neat and symmetrical, but not all the stripes are equal size and the design typically incorporates more than two colors.

Tartans feature multiple horizontal and vertical cross-crossed stripes in different colors that create new colors in places where the lines overlap. The vertical and horizontal stripes are identical, duplicating in exactly the same way on their own axis.

Here are three popular Tartan examples.

Tartan Examples


Plaid was historically used to refer to a cloth or garment and not the specific pattern of the fabric.

Today, however, plaid is used to refer to a variety of checkered and boxed patterns, including both check and tartan designs mentioned above.

The term is still used differently depending where you live. Here in the U.S., plaid has become a sort of catch-all term for patterns inspired by traditional tartan and check designs. Plaids also have many more variations and no strict rules as far as how the stripes and bands should repeat on the horizontal and vertical axes.

Plaids can be simple or complex and can feature a variety of colors, varying widths of stripes and how they repeat throughout the pattern.

Here are a three notable plaid examples.

Plaid Pattern Examples

10 ways to add buffalo plaid to Christmas decor

Adding small touches of buffalo plaid to your existing Christmas decor is easy. Start with your Christmas tree and fireplace mantel and include buffalo plaid accents in a color scheme that will coordinate with your current holiday decorations.

1. Buffalo check Christmas stockings

Customize buffalo check Christmas stockings for the whole family. Choose stockings that are entirely made from buffalo plaid fabric or ones that feature a more subtle touch of the pattern, such as in the winter icons in the stockings below.

2. Buffalo check Christmas tree skirt

Easily give your Christmas tree the buffalo check treatment with a tree skirt that features the plaid print. Again, you can go bold or subtle, with either small accents of buffalo check or the entire tree skirt made up of the fabric.

3. Buffalo check Christmas ornaments

Hang a few Christmas tree ornaments featuring the buffalo check print. Or add a wide ribbon garland and bows made of buffalo plaid to your Christmas tree to bring out the bold pattern.

4. Buffalo check accent pillows

In the family room, bedroom, or guest room, you can add a touch of buffalo plaid with a woven throw or accent pillows. Remember, buffalo plaid mixes well with other patterns, and its simple, two-tone color scheme can accommodate a variety of existing color pallets. Don’t be afraid to use it in new and unexpected ways to add a cozy, warm feel to the room.

5. Buffalo check holiday doormat

For your front porch or foyer, you can add a holiday doormat with a buffalo check accent. Coordinate your doormat with a buffalo check wreath or simply add a buffalo plaid bow to your front door to complete the look.

6. Buffalo check holiday welcome sign

Your entryway can also be adorned with a holiday welcome sign that incorporates the plaid print. In this design, buffalo plaid is added in small amounts so it’s not too overwhelming.

7. Buffalo check holiday wall art

Wall art can be used in any space to add a buffalo check touch to your holiday decor. Hang our buffalo ornament sign above the fireplace, in the kitchen, or as a holiday accent to your family gallery wall.

8. Buffalo check holiday shelf blocks

Our shelf blocks are small but extremely versatile, and when used in the right way, they can be very impactful. Place the shelf blocks on the fireplace mantel, add them to any shelf or wall ledge, or use them on your holiday table as a unique centerpiece.

9. Buffalo check garden flag

Bring buffalo check to your front lawn or garden with a garden flag or sign that welcomes guests and visitors to your home with the trendy pattern.

10. Buffalo check slate plaque

Adorn your front door, hallway, or any wall in your home with a unique slate plaque that features buffalo check in a cozy, winter-themed design.

buffalo check Personalized Slate Plaque
buffalo check Personalized Slate Plaque

Bonus: Buffalo check holiday gifts

If you’re looking to brighten someone else’s holidays with buffalo check, you have plenty of options.

Surprise friends and loved ones with a personalized camping mug that features their name and initial in white and black buffalo plaid.

Or customize our adorable teddy bear that’s wearing a festive red and black buffalo check hat and scarf.

If you already have your presents picked out, simply wrap them in buffalo check wrapping paper in the color scheme of your choice.


Kasia Lorenc is a writer and editor at Personalization Mall, covering gifting, home decorating and more.

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