I love this time of year so much! It really does feel magical, and while I don't have any misgivings about a perfectly styled home yielding the perfect Christmas, I do think that all those ways we bring Christmas into our home lend to that feeling that something special is happening.
You might love trimming a perfectly themed tree (or five!). Or maybe you're in the just-throw-some-green-branches-around-the-house camp. Or maybe you clear the stores out of the $1 red bows like it's cool. Whatever your Christmas flair, it all gets the job done in it's own way. It's the shift out of our ordinary day-to-day rhythms that jars us out of a monotony of motions. Because something special is happening.
And I couldn't wait to deck our new halls for the first time! That is until James dropped a bomb on me a few weeks ago...
"I really hate decorating for the holidays".
*GASP* What do you mean?? Do you hate the actual decorations, or the process of it?
We were interrupted by the kids, so I gave it some thought before I revisited the topic. I will just say now, that I am the worst about starting something, knocking out 80% of it fast, and then not finishing it. Rooms sit undone, boxes sit in walk ways, and the chaos of the unfinished eats away at the would be calm.
Last year I thought slowly decorating would take off some of the holiday stress and pressure. And it did, but it caused a whole other level of stress to have the giant Christmas bins floating around various rooms for weeks on end. And I know it drives James nuts to do a rote motion like reach for some hand soap and have some unexpected object known as the "holiday vignette" block your way (and get knocked over in the process).
I finally asked if these were the reasons for his aversion to holiday decorations. He confirmed. Which left me with two goals when it came to our holiday decorating:
1 - Make it quick. Don't let it drag on. No need to rush but stay focused. Keep the bins out of the way of our daily routine....and PUT THEM AWAY when the job is done.
2 - Ditch the cluttery vignettes. I had started going this direction over the past couple of years anyway. I wanted to include more natural greenery and to keep things simple. And now I would add being considerate of placement. As in....will hanging this wreath here make it hard to close the curtains? Will this decoration be annoying every time we open/close the door? Will the toddler be able to destroy this and send me into a mom-rage every time she does? Etc, etc.
Being that this is our first Christmas in the new house it did take some time to figure out how our tried and true decorations would work in this home. It took about a week (instead of the weekend I hoped for) and I finally had to let go of some of my ideas to call it done. I have lots of plans for next year, but that's the great news. We have many more years in this house to have fun decorating for the holidays in new ways.
So, with that, here's how we brought in some holiday cheer for the first Christmas in our new home....
I apologize in advance for the snowpocolypse shot. All we did for our porch was put up our light-up skinny trees and throw some red bows on the lights for a little pop of color. As if the door weren't enough ;) You're guaranteed to be be greeted by at least one munchkin when you knock on our bright blue door and they're happy to usher you in.
Our entry has the perfect sized wall for our piano and Mia loves playing because the acoustics are great in here (read: it's loud). I split up a 20 ft fresh garland from Trader Joe's (under $7!!) and spread it around the house. I attached some poinsettia clips from Tar-jay to the garland on the piano and added our favorite Nativity.
Our entry is right in the middle of the house and the rooms form a U-shape around it. If you walk to the left you enter the living room. We slid the desk over to make room for the tree, added a poinsettia that always reminds me of my grandmother, and that vase of fresh greenery a friend gave me.
Cutting down our family tree is always the highlight of the season. The kids decorated almost the entire tree themselves (I just helped with the fragile ornaments on the top), and they knocked it out of the park.
We opened up the wall between the living and family room when we first moved in and although the tree is in the living room it's really close to the fireplace in the adjoining room. We didn't do much in the family room, but we did add a holiday bin for all the Christmas books.
The family room flows into the kitchen - again thanks to opening up another wall. We just added a few touches of greenery and stocked the fridge with peppermint mocha creamer.
I think he's embarrassed that we still have a Halloween pic up, but he'll get over it.
Past our kitchen and to the right is our dining room, just on the other side of the entry (don't mind the toddler mess at the bottom of the stairs). We recently switched this from a play/homework room back to a dining room and it's getting so much more use. It's also doubling as our Santa's workshop. Gifts, wrapping paper, ribbon, and gift tags are stashed all around the room.
My favorite addition to this room (aside from the long table) is this bar cart. I recently had a Holiday Mom's Night In and this was our hot drink station. We filled a thermos with hot cider, another with hot cocoa, and then filled up the cart with some fun drink additions and a few merry touches.
The charms do tend to slide down the handle, as modeled by our resident Vanna here, but they still did the trick....and gave the plain white mugs a festive touch.
The final bit of holiday decor was in our bedroom. I've never added any decorations in here before and since this room is still very much a work in progress, the blank wall above the headboard was begging for a wreath. I'm not sure James loves that I put up the furry white one up, but I love it. Next year, maybe we'll try some greenery in here - more masculine?
And that's about it! That one large bundle of fresh garland gave us some serious bang for our buck. It ended up in three different rooms and the house smells like a Christmas tree farm. Even though there's more I would like to do next year, I love the simplicity of what we have going on this season. It also won't feel like a bear to put away when the time comes. This is the earliest we've ever put up decorations and been "done" with plenty of time to actually enjoy them. Maybe there's something to be said for not procrastinating after all ;)
We hope you're able to enjoy the process of getting your home ready for Christmas this year, however simple or elaborate. It felt good to take the pressure off and say "good enough". Because something special is happening no matter what my house looks like...and I might just enjoy the waiting a bit more now.
Entry: Garland (Trader Joe's) | Poinsetta clips (Target in store only - by the wreathes/bows) | Lamp bases (Home Goods) | Lamp Shades | Canvas | Nativity (Home Depot super clearance last year) | White sheepskin (IKEA)
Kitchen: Garland (Trader Joe's) | White pitcher (Home Goods) | Hedgehog table crumb brush
Dining Room: Table (Pottery Barn Outlet) | X-back chairs | Grey linen chairs | Plaid Throw (old blanket scarf) | Buffet (Craigslist) | White Ceramic Villiage | White shelves | Lego Advent Calendar | Giving Manger
Bar cart: | Stainless Pitchers | White mugs | Wine charms (Home Goods....similar here or these cute ones) | Camping mugs | Silver Tree (older, gift) | Marble bowl w/ gold spoon | Green velvet ribbon (Home Goods)
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