See how easy it is to create a perfectly plaid Christmas with classic tartan, buffalo, and gingham check patterns and festive holiday colors.
Nothing creates quite the same cozy winter vibe as warm Christmas plaids in bold colors and patterns. They’re the perfect way to update your holiday home with decor and accent pieces, and to spread Christmas cheer to all you hold dear.
But before serving you with ideas and inspiration for incorporating plaid into your holiday decor, let’s learn more about this classic pattern.
What is Christmas plaid?
There’s no denying the appeal and versatility of plaid. It’s both traditional and modern, elegant and rustic. It can take on a formal or informal tone, from stylish suits and dresses to lumberjack shirts and cabin decor. But why is plaid such a staple at Christmas?
The answer can be found in the rich history of tartan.
You’ve probably heard of buffalo check, gingham, houndstooth, and even tartan. Most people use these terms interchangeably to identify fabrics and other items that feature grid-like patterns of straight lines and intersecting stripes. However, these terms actually refer to specific textile patterns where the different colors that overlap create a new color.
[Side note: If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between buffalo check, tartan, and plaid, read this post.]
A brief history of plaid (& tartan)
Plaid traditionally referred to a type of garment made of tartan, a material worn by the Scottish during the winter months to protect them from the cold. The word “plaid” is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word “plaide,” which means “blanket.” Plaid, also referred to as a “belted plaid” or a “great kilt,” was a large garment made of thick wool that was worn by both men and women starting in the late 16th century.
Today, the word “plaid” simply refers to patterns inspired by traditional tartan designs.
Tartan’s and plaid’s association with Christmas comes from the Scottish folk who wore their tartan plaids at the Yuletide festivities during the winter months. However, the use of tartan at Christmas is not simply a longtime tradition being passed down through generations. Tartans (like the Balmoral royal tartan, which was designed by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, in 1853) still hold incredible social, cultural, and even political meaning.
So, we have Scotland to thank for the festive Christmas plaid of today, which has broadened from its use in garments to all forms of home decor and accessories.
Mixing & matching Christmas plaids in your home
The wonderful thing about plaid patterns is that they go so well with one another. You can easily mix a bold white and black buffalo check plaid with more intricate red and green tartan-inspired patterns, and the same applies to gingham and houndstooth. You can even mix different tartan prints, as long as you’re staying within a cohesive color scheme.
The bottom line is: Plaids look lovely when layered, so get creative and use any patterns you like in your decor. Play around with your arrangement and see what works for your home.
Plaid is incredibly versatile and can coordinate well with solid colors as well as other patterns. You can add plaid to rustic, country, or farmhouse decor, old fashioned or vintage-inspired holiday decor, modern and contemporary Christmas decor, girly, glittery, or glam holiday decor, and even coastal Christmas designs. Plaid looks great with traditional red Christmas decor, trendy green and white decor, Nordic- or Scandinavian-inspired styles, simple or minimal decor styles, or unique and eclectic holiday decor.
The best part is that the look is timeless, so as you update your other holiday decor items, your Christmas plaid decor will always remain a staple.
Christmas plaid home decor ideas & inspiration
Whether you’re fully committed to all things plaid or just want to test the waters, you’ll find these ideas and inspiration for adding Christmas plaid to your holiday home useful.
1. Christmas plaid stockings
A great way to add a touch of plaid to your holidays is with plaid Christmas stockings. They’re widely available in a variety of styles and designs, from trendy buffalo check patterns to rustic burlap with tartan cuff, fun family characters, and more.
2. Christmas plaid tree
Another simple way to try out the Christmas plaid look in your home is with plaid Christmas tree decorations. You can add a wide ribbon garland in plaid, or make simple plaid bows to add throughout the tree. There are even tree toppers adorned with plaid details and ornaments dressed in Christmas plaid. If you have a white or flocked Christmas tree, try black and white buffalo accents for a truly unique touch.
3. Christmas plaid ornaments
Plaid Christmas ornaments can decorate your tree or serve as gift toppers in lieu of gift tags or stickers, especially if you use personalized ornaments. You can DIY your own plaid ornaments with fabric or paper (there’s no shortage of tutorials available out there) or purchase ornaments individually or as a set. Our Christmas plaid ornaments can be customized with names, photos, and more.
4. Christmas plaid tree skirt
You can achieve a big impact simply by adding a Christmas tree skirt with plaid details. Your tree skirt can be all plaid, or have a plaid trim or other plaid accents, depending on the look you’re going for. It’s an effortless way to add plaid to your holiday home and a great way to coordinate decorations with your Christmas stockings, ornaments, and other decorative details.
5. Christmas plaid wrapping paper
Wrapping your gifts in plaid wrapping paper is another easy way to add some Christmas plaid to your decor. Plaid wrapping paper is available in a variety of colors and patterns for you to choose from. It’s a great way to test out different plaid designs on the cheap to see which ones you like the most.
6. Christmas plaid pillows
Adding a few plaid throw pillows to your family room, entryway, or bedroom is also a great way to incorporate plaid in your holiday decor. Coordinate them with other holiday-themed designs or plain throw pillows in festive colors and warm cozy fabrics, such as faux fur, velvet, or knit designs.
7. Christmas plaid blankets
For a more complete look, throw in a warm Christmas plaid blanket with a plush faux sheepskin sherpa layer or silky soft fleece. Choose a smaller blanket to drape on your sofa or chair, or go for a larger one to display on a bed. The blanket will serve as a decorative piece for your living room or bedroom while keeping those you love cozy and warm during the winter.
8. Christmas plaid doormat
A plaid Christmas doormat can be a decorative and functional accent to both the inside and outside of your home. Use it in your entryway or foyer to give visitors a place to leave their snowy boots, or place it in front of your front door to add a plaid touch to your front porch. Many also use Christmas-themed doormats in front of the fireplace to have a spot to put their firewood or simply add a decorative piece to the family or living room.
9. Christmas plaid garden flag or sign
Give guests a warm holiday welcome with garden flags or signs that feature Christmas plaid details. If you’re decorating your front porch, yard, or garden for the holidays, you can easily add plaid details your decor. Tie it all together with plaid ribbons on your holiday wreath, garland, and other outdoor decorations.
10. Christmas plaid table
Dress up your holiday dining table with plaid accents to give your home that perfectly plaid vibe. Start with a plaid tablecloth, table runner, place mats, or napkins. You can also use plaid plates, bowls, chargers, platters, mugs, and other dinnerware items — they’re surprisingly common these days and can be found at a variety of retailers. Your table centerpiece can also include plaid details.
Layer on different plaids for a unique, eclectic vibe or go with a single pattern for a more dramatic look. You can also extend the design of your holiday table to your sideboard or buffet table, kitchen decor, and more.