Hi there, people! Long time no see! It’s been a VERY busy year, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I thought I would start it back up with a tour of our house decorated for Christmas.
Over at our house, Christmas is everyone’s favorite time of year. For the kids, it’s a time of magic and wonder and miracles and everything good in life. For Nick and I, it’s a time of joy in watching the kids’ excitement. And of course, the reason for the season being baby Jesus’s birthday makes it all even more special. Woohoo! Go Jesus, it’s your birthday! We gon' party like it's yo birthday!
Okay, so moving on. We love decorating the house for Christmas. We usually start right after Thanksgiving, but this year, since our kids had pinkeye on Thanksgiving, we didn’t go to the family Thanksgiving dinners, so we put up our Christmas tree that night instead. And we have been decorating ever since.
If you know me, I love looking at interior decorating stuff, and Christmas decorating is no different. I like seeing how everyone decorates, and of course there are the beautiful and calm and neutral modern farmhouse looks, or the everything matching Pinterest-perfect looks, or the super modern barely decorated looks (which just look cold and joyless to me, but to each his own, right?). Well, as much as I love interior design and styling, when it comes to Christmas, I don’t go for precious or matchy or even serene. To me, with small kids, Christmas decorating is totally for them. I try to go with what I think kids like, which is 1) Stuff that has memories attached to them, and 2) Bright colors, kid-friendly, sparkles, tacky. Well, I guess for me too since I like all those things.
Decorating starts right at the door. This is our Christmas wreath, which we put up every year, and which I made right before I had kids….you know….that time when you actually have time to sit down and cut out tiny little felt leaves for a home-made wreath. And I LOVE that green on the coral of the door! Eek! Call me crazy, but these little things make me so happy!
The entryway is decorated too with a few things that together give you all the Christmas-y feelings as you’re putting on all your snow gear, or in the early mornings when we’re tripping over all that snow gear, looking for school bags and trying to get the kids out the door. Okay, maybe it’s a stretch to say we have those Christmas-y feelings in the morning rush, but it sure sounds nice, right?
On this side table, which is usually our mail dumping table, I put out a few things that the kids LOVE to play with. The reindeer is a Christmas gift I got during high school from one of my childhood best friends, Cynthia. It’s been around for a LOOOOOONG time…because you know, I’m old. The kids love to shake it because of its jingle bell collar. In front of it is a wood train from my mother-in-law. The kids have loved it so much that a few of the wheels have been glued back on and the different train cars don’t hook onto each anymore, but it’s still a favorite.
I have yet to meet a garland that I don’t love, but garlands with glitter hold a special place in my heart (or anything with glitter really – and I’ve passed this glittery mania on to Meena). And Target always has lots of different cheap garlands that I have to have. This one over the window is one of them. In case you can’t tell what they are, they’re glittery old-fashioned light bulbs. And on the side of the window is a tiny little jingle bell wreath. I have NO idea where we got it, but it came into our lives at some point and is apparently here to stay.
In front of the entryway is a cool vintage mid-century modern filing cabinet that is just waiting for me to refinish, but for now, it’s a little station of stuff for the kiddos. There’s a small pile of Christmas books for bedtime stories, along with their chocolate Advent calendars, and a couple of birds from (surprise, surprise) Target. I got these last year and said one is me and one is Nick. Can you see the resemblance? There’s also a very nice and beautiful Santa sleigh music box. This is from my mother-in-law and the kids love it. In fact, they’ve loved it so much that the music part doesn’t work anymore. Womp womp. But it’s still nice to look at. The white tear-shaped thing is a diffuser for essential oils. Other than that, everything else is for the kids to play with.
So, these stockings have come to us over the years from different places. In decorating for Christmas, we let the kids do a lot of it, and this year, Giuseppe hung up the stockings. The pink one is Meena’s baby one from my mother-in-law. Meena has since gotten a different (non-baby) stocking in the last couple of years, but with the advent of her love of all things pink and her belief that everything of hers must be pink, this year she decided she only wants her baby one up because her other new one is not pink. Nick’s looks like Giuseppe’s and mine, but is slightly different. His is from my mother-in-law. Are you noticing that we have a lot of Christmas stuff from my mother-in-law? She loves gifting us stuff for Christmas, and it is much appreciated. Giuseppe’s and my big stockings are from Target from last year. Then I have a tiny one which was given to me in a Secret Santa gift years ago, and which Giuseppe decided I needed to have up. Giuseppe’s little stocking is his baby stocking. I made this for him when he was an infant and I cut out and glued each individual little piece of felt on there and every rhinestone. Because just like with the wreath on our door, I used to actually have time and energy to stay up and do that stuff. And since Giuseppe is super sentimental like his dad, he must have this one up too. The tassel garland is up all year round and we just left it up for Christmas as well since it matches our theme of lots of colors and nothing matching. The Mother Mary statue is not technically one of our Christmas decorations, but is actually usually in our front yard all year, except winter. We bring it in for the winter so it doesn’t crack or get damaged. But since Mary is part of the whole Christmas story, I think she fits right in. And then the little Santa next to her was from my MIL, so he guards the fireplace.
The Christmas tree is a fake (obviously). I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of a real Christmas tree, but I cannot bring myself to buying a tree that was cut down just for Christmas. I’m not judging anyone that does. But it makes me a little sad to think of a tree sitting outside, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying their day, when along comes some guy with an ax. So, anyway, ours is fake. And when we are old and decide to not bother with decorating a tree anymore, I’ll give it away for free to someone else that can use it. Then I don’t have to think of it ever being in a landfill. Okay, enough of that. Our tree is a wonderful cluster frick of ornaments with memories attached to them. Every year, I take the kids to Anthropologie to pick out an ornament, and then it’s theirs. Also, every year, they get an ornament from my mother-in-law that is picked out to go with whatever they love that year. Also, my sisters have given them ornaments as well. There are ornaments that Nick and I got when we first got married, and ornaments for when each of the kids was born. There are ornaments that I’ve made, that the kids of have made at school, or that friends have made. This is the happiest tree ever. It’s decorated with love and memories. We let the kids unpack the (non-glass) ornaments and let them decorate the tree with their ornaments. They LOVE LOVE LOVE doing this. And they sit and talk about each one and who gave it to them. It’s all very wonderfully perfect.
Even my desk needs some holiday cheer. I should actually say, ESPECIALLY my desk needs some holiday cheer. Since I work from home a lot, and this is where I work at, I need something over here to distract me from work (hopefully my boss isn’t reading this!). So, right over this painting, I just hung up some silver tinsel garland. I LOVE tinsel garland. It totally reminds me of being a kid because we had lots of it, and Christmas in the 80s just wasn’t complete without it. Meena says it is hung in the shape of an M because her name starts with an M. Sounds good to me. The paper hearts are her work and I love them.
And, on the curtain tieback right next to my desk is a Santa head ornament. I haven't decided yet if I consider it creepy or not. I don't love random floating heads. The jury is still out. What do you think?
Looking from the living room into the dining room, I used the overhead area to decorate as well. Another glittery garland (cheap Target garland that satisfies my glitter obsession) on one side of the column and then Christmas cards taped up with sparkly turquoise washi tape on the other side. The paper lantern is about 15 years old and was given to me in college. When that thing is lit up at night, it is absolutely gorgeous and warm and cozy feeling.
The dining room we don’t decorate a lot for Christmas. That room is where we usually hang up all the kids’ artwork. The walls are usually covered in kid pictures. But with all the visual chaos of the Christmas decorations, I take most of the artwork down for December so that it’s a little less chaotic. The only Christmas decorations in the dining room are jingle bells on the china cabinet doors, a tree garland on the mirror in here, and some of the Christmas art projects that the kids like to make. And as always, we have a rolling cart full of art supplies because the dining table serves as the hub of the house where they do EVERYTHING. And these kids LOVE to color and draw and make all kinds of art projects. The table is actually always covered in their work. This is cleanest it’s ever looked. Let’s just have a moment of silence for this miracle. ...Okay, moment over.
And that brings us to the last part of the Christmas décor tour. Above the entryway from the dining room to the kitchen, we hung up a silver leaf ornament that one of Nick's very good friends gave us for our wedding. We hung this instead of mistletoe, and instead of kisses, anyone caught together under it gets hugs. I tried to make it kisses, but both of my children think that kisses are absolutely disgusting and hugs are better, so unless it's my birthday or something, I'm not getting any kisses from them. So, this is our hugging leaf.
And in case anyone out there is under the impression that my house EVER remains this neat on a daily basis, please know that I totally made my kids play outside for this entire ordeal and luckily, there was lots of snow to occupy their time. And as soon as I was done, they came inside and immediately threw all their snowy gear off in the entry way, started eating the prop bowl of tangerines and a plate of Christmas cookies that I had just bought at their school's Cookie sale, and then decided to take all the nicely folded blankets in the living room and throw them on their heads. This is the norm and I just want you to enjoy that fact.