The thing I love about the holidays is that although everyone decorates in some way, shape or form to get into the Christmas spirit, each person’s way of decorating is deeply personal and individual. No two homes ever look alike during the holiday season.
My favorite homes in general are those that tell the story of the people who live there. The items they choose to bring into their homes and surround themselves with reflect their own unique life experiences, their travels, their passions. These are the homes I love most.
At Christmas I feel the same way, maybe even more so. And so when I set out to decorate my own home during the holiday season, it’s not so much a decision of “hmmm….what type of look am I going for this year” as it is a wonderful excuse for me to bring into view even more special pieces from my family’s story. Items that during the rest of the year I squirrel away in the attic, because truly, I don’t like too much clutter or tchotchkes around the house. But at Christmas, I loosen up a little, and embrace many more mementos, keepsakes and tiny treasures collected over the years. To me, Christmas is a celebration of nostalgia, and really nostalgia is what guides me as I make my home festive this time of year.
So, c’mon in! Let me show you around. I’m so happy you’ve stopped in to take a little tour of my home this holiday season. I hope you enjoy it!
I keep things pretty natural and classic for the front entrance. We live in a traditional hip-roof colonial and greenery with white twinkle lights and a vibrant red and green plaid bow works well with the architecture of the house.
But, when I was little, my parents always strung those big, old-fashioned colored C7 incandescent bulbs on a holly tree in our front yard. I love those lights! And as much as a pain in the neck they are (and a dying breed in the land of LED lighting), I still buy them and use them in the back of the house. Their fuses constantly burn out and bulbs have to be replaced, but to me nothing matches the warm, colorful big orbs of light they give off. It’s magical, and reminds me of childhood, the movie “A Christmas Story” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” all rolled into one!
I string the colored bulbs on this boxwood and along the lines of our garage. In the flower boxes along the side of the house I use old-fashioned white ones.
When you enter our house, the tree is one of the first things you’ll see in our family room. It’s filled with ornaments from all the places we’ve lived, as well as many vintage ones I’ve picked up from estate sales over the years. It’s a real mix of eclectic, collected, vintage and global! I grew up with colored lights on my tree, and so we use them on this tree too.
Two of my favorite vintage ornaments include this glass bird and this pink glass indent ornament.
I display a set of tin angel candleholders from Indonesia and two Christmas themed peasant art prints from China on my bookshelf here in the family room as well.
In the living room I stick to white lights on our mantel and for our second small tabletop Christmas tree. A large silver reindeer we brought back from Singapore takes center stage on the mantel.
One of my favorite traditions of all is our origami tree. Allen Say, a children’s book author, wrote a beautiful picture book entitled Tree of Cranes. In it, a mother in Japan folds paper cranes to decorate a small tree for her young son. Cranes are a symbol of peace in Japan and that symbolism intertwines nicely with Christmas. We lived in Japan for several years, and I love the beautiful origami paper made there. When my girls were babies, I folded many paper cranes for our own origami tree. Now that they’re older, the girls join me in adding to the tree each year (although folding paper cranes still frustrates them!).
The tree skirt is actually an embroidered table runner from India that’s too short for my dining room table, but works just fine here. If you look closely, you’ll see one of my least favorite Christmas traditions hiding in the tree: our Elf!
I keep things simple in our main foyer. We don’t get much traffic through here since guests mainly enter the side door, and because of the busy wallpaper, I didn’t want to go overboard and compete with that too much. Just some greens, winterberries, and large Ponderosa pine cones from Trader Joe’s in a trio of neutral vases that I liked from Pier 1.
I keep things pretty simple in the dining room as well. White poinsettias and kind of an earthy, organic centerpiece of more pinecones, berries, and candles. These are the Pottery Barn Premium Flicker Flameless Wax candles. I’m not sure where you stand on fake candles, and honestly, I love, love, love real ones! But, I also love the flicker of candlelight in as many rooms as possible this dark time of year when the sun sets close to 3:30 each afternoon. These flameless pillars provide a beautiful, warm glow with none of the worry of real flame. So for now, I’ll take it!
And the last stop on our tour is the kitchen! Not much happening in here, because I get to enjoy the tree from this room, but I do love a bowl of bright orange clementines and the fresh scent of a miniature rosemary tree on the island!
And there you have it: Our home at Christmas. Thanks so much for joining me on this little tour of my house. I’d love to hear your own favorite holiday decorating tips and traditions that you love I’m always inspired by other ideas and love to tweak things a bit each year over here, so share away!
And Happy Holidays from our home to yours!