Holiday Decor, City Girl Gone Mom Style

No time like the "present." One busy mom, Danielle Schaffer of City Girl Gone Mom, streamlines seasonal decorating.
city girl gone mom san diego christmas decor

City Girl Gone Mom (a.k.a. Danielle Lucia Schaffer) and her family decorate for the holidays. Photography by Samantha Goh unless otherwise noted.

City Girl Gone Mom Does Holiday Decor

Danielle Lucia Schaffer is one busy mama. The self-described “boisterous, blonde Italian mombshell” is the force behind the ultra-popular motherhood and lifestyle blog City Girl Gone Mom (, @citygirlgonemom) and one of the hosts of “The Mom Confidential” podcast, which she records in an office-turned-podcast-studio in the home she shares with her dentist hubby Bobby, their four children and three dogs.

She channels the nonstop energy of her native New York to ferry her brood—12-year-old Jackson, 11-year-old Dylan, 7-year-old Roman and 3-year-old Brody—to all their artistic activities, from dance to acting to modeling. And things only get busier around the holidays. 

“We are really huge on the holidays,” Danielle says. “I do my Christmas cards in September and the day after Thanksgiving we go out to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We look forward to decking the halls all year long—so the earlier the stockings go up and the lights start twinkling, the sooner we’ll feel the magic.”

city girl gone mom san diego christmas tree holiday decor

Ornaments from their travels and a special yearly ornament for each of the children decorate the Schaffer’s Christmas tree.

Decorating the tree is always a family affair for the Schaffers, complete with a soundtrack of Christmas tunes playing merrily in the background. “We get an ornament from any place we travel to,” Danielle shares. “I also get a custom ornament made every Christmas for each of my kids to celebrate that year.” 

city girl gone mom danielle lucia schaffer

The bedside tables in the guest bedroom feature miniature pine trees that perfume the air with the scent of winter. Photo by Danielle Lucia Schaffer.

Pulling from her decorating experience and using tips and decor from Pottery Barn and Arhaus—two brands she has partnered with on her blog—Danielle gets everything up so she can spend the rest of the season rockin’ around the tree with her family.

city girl gone mom san diego danielle lucia schaffer dining table decor holiday decorations wooden trees pine wreaths

When Danielle hosts a seasonal soiree, she layers each place setting with faux-fur placemats, wood-slice chargers and a personal place card guests can take with them.

Seasonal Spaces

Danielle thinks that decorating should be a housewide undertaking to truly experience each holiday season to the fullest. She suggests easy ways to swap out everyday items and add fresh touches in each part of your home.


“I just wanted a visual boom right when you walk in,” Danielle says. In the foyer, she hangs green-and-white wreaths down the staircase and creates a festive vignette on a credenza against the opposite wall.

city girl gone mom christmas decorations staircase bannister wreaths entryway

For an immediate winter wonderland effect, Danielle lined her entryway staircase with green-and-white wreaths.

“Choose some stunning pieces and layer them with the bigger pieces in the back—think tall, intricate candlesticks,” Danielle says regarding her tabletop decor here. “Finally, bring everything together with a little eye-catching bling like a few oversized ornaments and metallic figurines.”

Recycling decor items—especially meaningful mementos—in a modern way is important to Danielle. She took ornaments from her ’80s childhood and attached them to a wreath. She hangs her old stockings as door decorations throughout her interiors.

Dining Area

“The best way to enjoy your dining space is to keep the table festively set for the whole month of December and not just dress it up for dinner parties,” Danielle shares. “I place greenery along the middle of the table atop the runner—I like to keep my white macramé runner on the table to stay true to my usual boho-farmhouse style—and in the chandeliers above the table. Then I add little twinkle lights or candles in votives for a softer glow as well as something metallic—I went with a few metallic trees in slightly different shades and designs—to add to the sparkle.” 

city girl gone mom danielle lucia schaffer holiday dining table christmas decor

Danielle lights candles—one of her holiday essentials—to case a glow down her table.

When you do have company for a seasonal gathering, Danielle recommends keeping what you already have out and adding layers of decorations to really get that wow factor.

“Faux-fur placemats in a snowy shade are a great place to start,” she says. “I like pairing them with a charger that looks like a slice of wood. To finish, have fun with your napkin rings—I love using golden bells on some twine. As place cards (and party favors), consider putting a photo of each guest in an ornament with the year inscribed on it—they will love it!”

city girl gone mom kitchen holidays christmas decor

The Schaffer family (from left)—Roman, Dylan, Bobby, Brody, Jackson and Danielle—enjoy mugs of ice cream in their modern farmhouse-style kitchen.

Living Room

“For me, cozy definitely comes first,” Danielle says. “With that in mind, a simple solution to making your living space look festive is replacing the pillows on your sofas and chairs with oversized faux-fur ones and snuggly faux-fur and chunky cable-knit throws. I always recommend a plethora of pillows—so throw some red velvet and red-and-green checkered ones in there too for variety.”

city girl gone mom christmas holiday decor

Danielle adds cozy details that aren’t overtly Christmas with pillows, throws and candles. Photo by Danielle Lucia Schaffer.

Your mantel is another spot for an easy holiday flip. “Candles are one of my favorite holiday essentials,” Danielle says. “Even when they aren’t lit, they give a room a dreamy, ethereal feeling which, of course, is perfect this time of year. Pick a few of varying heights, mix them in with a garland and add any extra ornaments you have on hand. Your mantel will look so beautiful and polished.”

Danielle fills lanterns or glass vessels with ornaments that don’t make it on the tree. Or she hangs them from a decorative ladder.

Photo by Danielle Lucia Schaffer.


Besides the vintage stocking she places on the doors, every bedroom in the Schaffer home gets its own Christmas tree. “I put a tree in each kid’s space and put their homemade ornaments on them,” Danielle says. “I also like to outline their beds in Christmas lights.”

city girl gone mom bedroom christmas decorations

Photo by Danielle Lucia Schaffer.

In the master bedroom, Danielle adds wreaths to her entry barn doors, weaves a garland along the bed’s headboard, places a vintage “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” sign above the bed and tosses a faux-fur throw and a few checked and snowflake pillows on it. She decorates the nightstands with real mini pine trees to bring the scent of Christmas in the space in a natural way.

christmas blanket city girl gone mom decorations

Nothing says Christmas like a throw blanket with faux-fur pom-poms and reindeer. Photo by Danielle Lucia Schaffer.

“I did much of the same in the guest room—adding just a few festive and cozy pillows and a throw to the existing bedding and mini trees to the nightstands,” Danielle explains. “There’s a wreath on the door as well.”

The guestroom’s bed features plush holiday pillows embroidered with classic holiday sayings. Photo by Danielle Lucia Schaffer.


Even the bathrooms get jolly touches. Danielle hangs a wreath above the tub in the master bathroom and adds holiday-scented candles in the powder room.

city girl gone mom christmas decorations in bathroom

No room is left without a touch of holiday cheer in the Schaffer household.

Time-Saving Holiday Tips from City Girl Gone Mom

Fast Finds

If you don’t have the time to search out one-of-a-kind decorative wonders this winter, get inspired by Danielle of City Girl Gone Mom to peruse the holiday selections from these well-known shops to get your festive fix quick.

  • Pottery Barn has a vast selection of goods to trick out your tree—from whimsical avocado toast ornaments and pom-pom garlands to classic mercury-glass ornaments.
  • Target offers stylish stockings and stocking holders for all tastes. There are blush-colored sequin stockings or ones with subtle silver stripes. There are traditional golden reindeer holders and marbled snowflake options, too.
  • Pier 1 Imports stocks retro-inspired villages done in Candy Land shades and bottle-brush trees in blush and turquoise.
  • Crate & Barrel sets a holiday table with minimalist but classic pine tree-and-gold dinnerware.
  • Grandinroad sells hook pillows in bright bubblegum pinks and sky blues with seasonal salutations.

At Your Service

Experts at Pottery Barn and Arhaus helped Danielle with her holiday styling. “If you’re always on the go—like me—and you can splurge, I would honestly call one of your local showrooms and ask them if they can come and do the tree, dining table and living spaces,” Danielle says. Lucky for us, there are local stores that provide ideas and services (some for free!) to help.

  • Arhaus offers free decorating consultations.
  • Pottery Barn provides free party-planning and decorating consultations. You can also hire their holiday concierge design crew to come decorate your tree, mantel or an entire room.
  • Le Dimora sets up their showroom like a holiday showcase for Christmas tree decorating ideas each year. You can also recruit them (for a fee) to come spruce up your tree.
Categories: design inspiration, Home Design