Welcome to our little cottage Christmas 2014 “tour.” I’m using quotes because it’s not like the tours I’m seeing on other blogs – the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, etc. – and it’s certainly not styled like a magazine shoot, either. In fact, I hesitated this year to post about our holiday decorations because they aren’t really themed or even that much different from this year or this one. But then I remembered our tagline: living simply and embracing imperfections. What better time to live this out than at the holidays? I’m not trying to be perfect for you guys (the blog would’ve shut down long ago if so!) -I like simple and I like easy. I also like beauty and to make our home someplace people enjoy hanging out. So we DO decorate, but we use most of the same items from year to year, adding in a few new ornaments or other items and arranging them in different ways (sometimes).
So on that note, I want to welcome you to our home to check out how we’ve arranged our decorations this year – and I hope you enjoy hanging out with us!
We’ll start on the porch. As you can probably guess, I spent about 10 minutes on the porch after our daughter composted all the pumpkins and frost-bitten plants from the fall and Brian hauled out the vintage sled and hung up lights. A few clipped boxwood, ornaments in a pot and hastily tied bows later I called it good (and hello imperfection, thy name is wreath). That’s what I had time for this year, but I think it does the job of adding holiday cheer and welcoming you all to our home, doesn’t it? So come on in!
You’ll enter into our big great room, though the living room is separated by a half wall. This is the view to the right. We put the tree here every year because that’s the only place it fits. But I’ve come to love that you get to see this part of the tree close up all the time, so we put some of our favorite ornaments here for all to see as they come through the door.
Head straight and you’ll walk by our ‘foyer’ (what do you call it when it’s all basically one big room?) and gallery wall. This is where I’m using my Anthro knock off pom pom wreath this year and I really love it here – it makes me happy every time I walk by. The clipboard holds a free deer chalkboard printable and we simply updated the gourd-pear with candles and greenery. Since we got our new china cabinet, I’ve been rearranging this wall, but I haven’t shared it with you all yet, since I’m not really happy with it yet (decorating is usually a process with me…).
Then it’s on to the dining room where the new items this year are easy dollar store chair wreaths and an old gardening wood box I found last month at a thrift store (oh, and our new cabinet of course!). I filled the box with cuttings from our arborvitae and boxwood bushes, candles and small ornaments and placed it on a piece of grain-sack-like fabric for the centerpiece. So easy and cute (and easy to move when we need to – this is our only table and LOTS happens here every day).
Our dining room sideboard holds the decoupaged “JOY” sign I made a few years ago, along with the transformed deer, greens and small ornaments. The one new thing here is an actual deer antler that my stepfather gave me – I’ve used a few others on the mantel and shelves, too.
We decided not to put all my hand painted Christmas village houses up this year – sometimes it just seems like too much – but I pulled out the church and placed it under our cloche and I think it’s very sweet. And isn’t that Anthro-inspired Reader’s Digest book monogram awesome? A friend made it for us and gave it to us a few weeks ago – B’s are apparently hard to do like this, so I’m touched and thrilled to have it.
The cabinets that separate the dining room from the kitchen is the spot we hang our Merry Christmas book page banner each year and where I hung the new 3-D music sheet ornaments we made after Thanksgiving. You can barely see a faux boxwood wreath I hung in the kitchen window – that’s the extent of our ‘Christmas kitchen’ this year and it works for me!
The other thing you’ll see as you walk into the kitchen is the music sheet wreath that is hanging this year on this odd little wall (it surrounds some kitchen cabinets) that is seen from everywhere in the great room. Since it seemed like it needed something else, I created a quick little Joy to The World banner in PicMonkey.
So let’s turn around and make our way to the living room, okay? Here you’ll see where we concentrate most of our time – on the mantel and the tree. We kept everything light and neutral with greenery, mercury glass and white accents. My daughter added a few of her favorite decorations to the bookshelves and this is as ‘staged’ as our fireplace gets, since we actually use it everyday and the hearth needs to hold real wood!
It was our daughter’s idea, in fact, to keep the chalkboard map from our fall mantel and add the words, “Joy to the World, The Lord has Come” since it was a world map and all. Love that girl. Since it was her idea, I commissioned her to add the writing to the map (smart, aren’t I?). This is a map we found on clearance from Target and the map part is permanent, but you can write on the rest with chalk or a chalk marker and it wipes off with a damp cloth – best $6.99 find of the year, I think!
You can see here that I used a couple more real deer antlers (these are the small antlers that deer shed – my stepdad picks them up in the woods) and our wood slice chalkboard decorations in the greens. The boughs perfectly hold my pom pom garland, too. There are mini lights all throughout the greenery, too, that you saw in one of the above shots – the lighting didn’t look very good close up, though.
Here’s how we used a few more of our traditional decorations: the book page chain garland hangs from boughs on our TV cabinet, the stump table holds bottle brush trees and a glitter house-cloche, and a metal table holds greens and vintage ornaments.
And of course, there’s the tree: a 7 ft. noble fir tree that we got for $21.99 (gotta love living in the PNW!). If you follow me on Instagram, you got a glimpse of it – and the fact that it’s such a perfect shape, it almost looks fake.
Every year I wrap it in a ribbon and a couple of metallic bead garlands and fill it with ornaments in metallics and whites, plus our handmade ornaments. I’ve never done a whole new tree theme. Some years I’ve added a color like purple, maroon, or pink, but mostly I keep to this pallet. I think it’s calming, and lets the tree shine. Oh, and I’ve never done red. Never. That and blue are just not my thing in decorating at any time of the year. 🙂
And while it looks nice without the lights on, lit up it’s just spectacular, I think. For me it’s all about the lights (I use 6-700) and they are on most of the time we’re home. In order to keep the focus on the real meaning of Christmas, I have never decorated with presents or put presents under the tree before Christmas Eve, so this is what our tree looks like for most of the season (it’s just a personal thing and really helped us when the kids were younger to think about Jesus and giving to others during the holidays – I encourage you to think about it, but do not ever judge anyone with presents under the tree!).
So there you have our official ‘tour.’ What – no bathroom or bedroom? Well, I did stick a candle in the main bathroom and wrapped a little banner around our bedroom plate wall – but nothing that’s ‘decorated’ enough to photograph. And since taking down the decorations is not nearly as fun as putting them up, I’m okay with the less-is-more. We have two large bins of decorations, a small one for the painted village, and one ornament box – and I have no desire to add to them.
What about you – do you pull out all the stops, create new themes each year or use the same cherished decorations from year to year? No matter what you do, it’s all good as long as you enjoy it and it brings happiness to you and yours. Merry Christmas, sweet friends!
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