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?






6 thoughts on “Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

  1. Your house is looking very festive. My decorating is coming along. I also have a child home from college. She arrived safely last night. I love the cute hat, I may have to get a copy of the pattern, if it is crochet.

  2. So fun! I gave up my crazy kiddo décor years ago so it’s great to see it on display looking very much the same at your house. Seems every kid at every stage does the same thing just changing the names to protect the individual! I did move to gold and white per a neighbor who came
    to decorate for me. She was not sentimental and I was ready to move on. oh, I might check a school paper box and see if anything turns up for the fun of it. Anyway, beautiful work and welcome home to the darlings!

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