“Bow Girl Christmas” Is the Biggest Trend Dominating Holiday Decor

published Dec 5, 2023
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Christmas tree with hand-tied gold velvet bows
Credit: Ashlyn Thompson

Year after year, you can always count on the same tried-and-true holiday decorating motifs: twinkle lights, gingerbread figures, and red-and-green everything. They’re all bona fide classics, but if you’re looking for new ways to elevate your 2023 seasonal setup, then you need to check out the “Bow Girl Christmas” aesthetic.

Piggybacking off tomato girl summer and coastal cowgirl, an up-and-coming trend that I’m deeming “Bow Girl Christmas” has officially hit the holiday decorating circuit. You may have already started to see an uptick of evergreen bow decor across your social media feeds, but more and more people are currently adding this dainty detail to garlands, wreaths, and even Christmas trees — in both petite and oversized proportions. 

New York-based TikToker Ashlyn Thompson (@ash.tho) originally tied velvet bows to the bottom of her living room sconces two years ago, as seen in a now-viral apartment tour video. She credits her aunt — aka “the original bow girl” — for the inspiration. “I stay with her family in Dallas, Texas … and for as long as I can remember, she has had these gorgeous navy blue ribbons tied up at Christmas,” says Thompson. This year, she’s taking her own holiday bow styling a step further, pairing them with small bells for extra embellishment throughout her space. 

That’s the beauty of the bow — it’s versatile enough to tie or hang anywhere, but this holiday trend seems most prominent (and customizable) when decking out Christmas trees. If you’re someone who prefers design-forward decorations, take a cue from London-based blogger and decorator Melanie Lissack, who blended vintage blue, tan, burgundy, green, and pink ribbon into her colorfully curated tree. She notes on her blog that she “made the bows small and left the ribbons hanging long so they draped the tree and looked more sophisticated.” Lissack also sprinkled in a few simple paper ornaments, but you can forgo them altogether for a more minimalist approach.

This bow revival is arguably rooted in current runway fashion fads, although Thompson also theorizes that the Barbie movie release encouraged “a lot of women [to feel] more comfortable leaning into their girlier side.” Even interior designers are putting their own spins on the trending holiday accessory: Christiane Lemieux (who styled a 2022 Apartment Therapy Small/Cool space) recently shared a series of chic bow-infused tablescape ideas via Instagram. Meanwhile, Emily Henderson, who says she loves ribbon decor because “it feels less risky to mix up color palettes and patterns,” DIY’d bow wreaths for her Portland farmhouse that prove you don’t need a dramatic knot for the full ethereal effect. 

However you embrace “Bow Girl Christmas,” this relatively low-lift look makes a big impact on a budget. You can source leftover fabric or ribbon from your holiday gift wrapping, or pick up a luxe-looking velvet or satin roll from a local craft store. It’s also easy to personalize around your preferred holiday aesthetic, whether you use matching monochromatic bows or a mix of sizes and materials. “My signature has always been a khaki/light gold, and personally I don’t think you can go wrong with that for any design style, but this year, I also went full send on black velvet, and I’m obsessed with the way it turned out,” adds Thompson.

The below TikTok video demonstrates how to assemble the perfect bow, which involves pre-tying and then hanging each one. This method does take more time, but Thompson adds that “tying directly to a surface can be tricky if you want the bow to stay put and look perfect (especially true if you have a 75-pound dog or little kids!).”

From there, depending on placement, secure the knotted pieces with twist ties, double-sided tape, or floral wire. As for Christmas tree decorating, most thick ribbons should be sturdy enough to rest right on top of the branches, no tying or pine-needle-finagling needed. When it’s time to take them down, you can also keep the bow shape intact to preserve for future use — and they’re much easier to store long-term than bulky, fragile ornaments. 

Note that you don’t have to put these away ASAP, though. Consider re-styling the ribbon elsewhere in your space post-Christmas. Thompson’s decidedly “pro-bow year-round,” whether they’re used to tie back curtains or even as chic party accessories. “My current favorite way to utilize them is for hosting — either just laid on top of the place settings or tied to glassware,” she says. “I love every picture I see of a thin velvet or satin bow tied around a coupe.” Either way, start perfecting your tying technique, because it’s clear this “Bow Girl” frenzy will still be going strong in 2024.