Merry Christmas from the Big White House on the Hill

My girls are out of school, the MR has taken some time off work, and we’re enjoying some family time. So I’m taking some time off from the blog and wishing each of you a very merry Christmas.

May the joy of the season fill your hearts, and may God’s peace fill your souls this holiday season.

The Family

Merry Christmas from Sweet Miss, Kim, the MR, and Baby Girl.




Vive La Difference

Don’t you love those TV shows where they give chefs some ingredients and everyone makes something totally different and amazing? People are creative and unique; we all have our own way of doing things.

I attended a tea last week, and six of us were tasked with setting a Christmas table. I figured we’d all be sitting down to a bunch of red and white–yes and no. We all have our own ideas of what a Christmas tea looks like.

Tea Collage

When Sweet Miss was home for Thanksgiving, we were decorating for Christmas. She set aside a few boxes of red and silver ornaments to decorate upstairs. I figured she’d swag them around the windows or maybe put them out in bowls. She asked for some fishing line and 3M hooks, and I set it all aside for when she came home from school.

I was shocked the other night when I went upstairs to find this.

Ceiling Swags 1

It was magical, beautiful, and so surprising. I never would have thought of this. What a delight!

Swag Close Up

Who knew simply tying ornaments on fishing line and stringing them from one side of the room to the other could be so pretty and fun?

Row of Balls

A little creativity added a lot of excitement and energy to the hangout room.

Ceiling Swags 3

I should have known she had something special in mind.  The over-sized snowflakes that I hung on the tree last year wound up hanging in windows this year under Sweet Miss’ direction.


It’s fun to see what someone else will do with the same raw materials. Thank you Sweet Miss for sharing your creativity with us.

Any out of the box decorating going at at your house?



Spreading the Cheer

Last week, I had an a-ha moment when I looked at the cluttered counters and decided the empty bookshelves above them could use some Christmas love. So I spent an afternoon arranging and rearranging spreading the Christmas cheer.

By removing the everyday gee-gaws, I was able to add a little holiday festiveness to the office area. So cluttered and boring:

Empty Shelves 2

Turned into a whole lot of fun.

Full Bookshelf


We don’t have a toddler anymore, but this nativity puzzle adds some color to the shelves.


We also found a spot for our board books and the classic Santa’s Beard is Fluffy Puffy. I like grouping decorations by theme or by color.

Snowman vignette


One of the bonuses of packing up a few everyday things was being able to get a few more out. Our nativities have been tucked away in a box for the past few years, but this colorful set found its way onto a shelf.

Colorful Nativity


And the nativity my parents made as newlyweds is showcased on the counter.

Mom & Dads Nativity

It was the set me and my brothers would put out each year. I think the shepherd boy lost his head in a particularly vigorous tug of war. A little glue fixed that, and we choose to ignore the odd one-eared sheep. Maybe next year we’ll find a spot with a darker background, so we can show it to the best advantage. I love the sweet memories these old decorations hold.

When I was on the holiday house tour, I saw bookshelves backed with colorful paper for the season. Maybe next year, I’ll be a little more ambitious. We’ll have to wait and see.

Do you have decorations that say Christmas to you? 



Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We’ve got the Christmas spirit going on at the Big White House.

For years, our tradition has been to cut down a live tree and decorate over Thanksgiving weekend. This works out really well with Sweet Miss home from school for the holiday.

herbs christmas thanksgiving 017

Even better, she brought home her fella, and he did all the sawing and some of the heavy lifting. The MR says a couple of boys would have made this tradition a lot easier over the years, but we’d never trade in our sweet lovelies.

Cutting it down

Baby Girl and the MR spent the afternoon decorating the tree, while Sweet Miss and I took on the rest of the great room. We had company for dinner that night, and the decorating kind of stalled. Our tree is filled with funky ornaments we’ve collected over the years. It’s a hodge-podge of lovely memories. I remember painting the coasters with the girls as toddlers; and the girls’ pretty wooden plaques made from old Christmas cards remind me of the horrible card our friend sent with crazed reindeer that caught my niece’s fancy.

The tree

At night, it’s all just a beautiful glow, and you don’t notice the weird ornaments or the crazy Father Christmas that the girls won’t let me replace.

Beautiful glow

Sometimes, I want everything to be gold or silver and red flowing together seamlessly, but I doubt that it ever will be. If it were wonderful and glitzy, could I still hang up the Christmas poem Sweet Miss made or Baby Girl’s feet and hands made into a reindeer? I miss those sweet little teenies, and those decorations bring them back for a minute. Our Christmas decorating is funky and homey, and kind of us.

Now that I’m done being sappy, I have a few tips and tricks. Last year, with my newly acquired collection of nutcrackers, I spent a lot of time climbing up and down the step stool rearranging them on the stair step wall surrounding the fireplace. This year, I had pictures and had them set up in a flash.

Mantel 1

If you like it, take a photo and you’ll be able to replicate it so much quicker. Now I know exactly where to put the little the nutcracker with a tan and the crazy white hair. This was the first year decorating for Christmas since we filled in the conversation pit and added the seating area by the fireplace. Now that the mantel is at eye-level rather than seven feet in the air, it doesn’t feel like it needs as much height and bling. I decided against the silver garland and festive balls this time around. (You can check them out here.)

And remember the children’s artwork I mentioned? In the past we’ve always just hung them up with poster putty. Well, it’s been sunny and that means inside it’s been hot–over 80 hot. Every day, I’d find all our lovely pictures scattered on the floor. My patience was wearing.

Empty Wall


So I bought some 3M velcro strips. I’ve used them for the lightweight artwork hanging on the stairs. It’s easy to make sure their level, and when Christmas is over, I can remove the strips without a trace.

Artwork in place

Years ago, I got tired of finding a place for all the Santa photos, so I grouped them with a lovely matted frame. Then a few years later, I added another. It’s fun to see the girls as they grow up and gives the pictures much more presence.

kids craft wreath


We’ve collected and been gifted various Christmas decorations over the years. Some just don’t go with anything, but no worries. We have narrow windows near the front door that give each little grouping its own showcase.


Another great way to display all those bits and bobs is by tucking them into the buffet. Figurines, candles, and a few shiny ornaments add color and sparkle to the everyday display without getting in the way.

Full Buffet with bits


I went on a holiday house tour with a group of ladies last Friday. It benefits a local charity and is a fun way see some great holiday decorations. As we were wandering through a kitchen, one of the ladies I was with asked how someone could live like this? With beautiful decorations, boughs of greenery, and flower arrangements covering the counters. The easy answer is you can’t live like that and still make room for cooking, and homework, and real live people.

That being said, I have some work to do in the office area. I was looking at the cluttered counters, and then looked up. Some of the shelves are quite bare.

Empty Shelves 2

The step stool is going to come in handy spreading out the Christmas spirit, so I don’t have an angel riding in Santa’s sleigh next to a manger puzzle and a gingerbread house. I like a more cohesive story line.

Hodge Podge


And since no one’s paying good money to tour my holiday house, I can take my time. Of course next year in the summer when I say Christmas is so far off, maybe I’ll get a start on a few of those great projects so that they are actually completed before December rolls around.

In the meantime, I’m filling my days with parties and shopping, baking and sweets, and a few fun projects.

Doggy Hat

Hope Baby Girl’s teacher likes the hat for her little boy.

I’m getting in the holiday spirit. Sweet Miss comes home from school today. I love it when my babies are both home.

How’s your Christmas decorating? Any tips or tricks to share?





Wordless Wednesday–A Christmas Welcome

Front Door

We’ve added wreaths and decorated the little pines for the Christmas season.



Stop sign & tree

Our schleppy little trees we bought last summer might need more light than they get by the front door, but for this year, I’ve spruced them up to add some color and welcome. In the spring, we’ll find them a new home.



Baby Girl personally made a pair of wreaths for the front porch. I love the mix of greens and the brightness of the holly berries.