Decorating for Christmas has always been important to me. I know, you’re all shocked. Ha. But I remember even in my freshman college dorm room going all out. Amidst studying for finals, my roommate and I made dozens of snowflakes and hung them at varying lengths from the ceiling. At the end of the room, we had a small artificial tree that my uncle had bought me and I covered it with white lights and tied scraps of tulle on the branches. When people walked into our room, a wonderful gasp would follow, “It looks like a winter wonderland!” they would say. I was so thankful for the decor there, but the truth is, I couldn’t wait to be home for Christmas.
Twenty years later (gasp), I am still just as delighted, if not more, to decorate my home for Christmas. The last couple of years I used a lot of white, giving the full effect of snow, like my college dorm room once was. But this year I wanted to add a little more color back in the mix. The creative juices in me cannot do the same thing over and over, I would get too bored. I shared my master bedroom a couple of weeks ago, done up in a Highland red, black and white theme. You can see that post here, and the inspiration behind it all.
To tell you the truth though, I didn’t know how I was going to decorate the rest of the house this year. I just knew I didn’t want a repeat of last year, and I didn’t want to spend much, if any money on new decor. So while many times I start with inspiration, this year, all I knew was I wanted a touch of color. Sometimes inspiration isn’t born until we actually put our hands to it, until we engage in what we’re supposed to do. Its a principle of life, really, not just a creative hint. Yes, a plan is good. However, the first step to accomplishing a goal, is to be faithful with what’s in our hands. Sometimes we don’t know steps 2, 3 or 4, but when we’re faithful with 1, the rest will follow.
Let me welcome you through the front door, in our train depot entryway. Our little flocked tree is simply stated with white lights and pine cones brushed with white paint for snow. Little did I know, that our dog thought the pine cones were new additional chew toy, so the tree no longer has pretty little pine cones. So goes life. I wanted it simple and elegant, a mix of woods and class. Touches of black and white check ribbon add to the cedar garland and grapevine cedar wreaths. The Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus was the Nativity I bought when were first married and had no money; making it sentimental as well as meaningful.
I wanted to start on Christmas decor a few days earlier this year, so my dear husband got the totes out of the garage overhang, and I set up the huge prelit tree a few days before Thanksgiving. I was immediately met with discouragement as only about 3 of the 15 or so strands of lights lit up. I set my plan aside and started working on the built-ins. I have always added and switched things around in the built ins, but as I played with ideas of cedar and pine cones, white cake plates and nativities, I ended up letting Christmas take over. I feel like it is simply stated and yet refreshing. The shelving unit is really large. So I had fun mimicking the top shelves order which houses the vintage train set across both built-ins. Running the decor through the length of both shelves horizontally alludes to more of a whole, rather than ten separate shelves. I’m super happy with how it turned out. I love that most of it is just everyday decor that is reinvented; cake plates set a stage for little glittery church scenes, wood trays and boxes become stables, and pine cones receive a brush of white paint to allude to snow.
Pounded pewter trays found at a thrift store provide a contrasting backdrop to the snowy, glittery church scenes and tie in the grey with the five stockings
Little things, like a bottle brush tree, turns a black and white family fall photo into a winter wonderland.
Turned trays become a stable for the nativities.
The tree gave me fits this year. However, my husband showed up like a knight in shining armor, and cut all the old tree lights off for me, then I spent an entire afternoon re-stringing it. So much for pre-lit. I started with white on the tree, once again, and then added touches of blue and gold.
Caspian is a regular piece of decor around here, adding fluffy fur to every vantage point, but we love him anyway.
I also had an epiphany. I know it’s not new by any means. In the past, I have wrapped gifts in kid wrapping (mostly Star Wars) paper and hid them in the closet until Christmas morning. But last year, after Christmas I bought wrapping paper on clearance in my color scheme, blues and white and gold. It was then I decided the gifts could be part of the decor, rather than an afterthought. So I started wrapping. The big one, in blue and white check was inspired by my four year old boy, who only wears button-up shirts, simply because he likes them. I have collected stashes of thrifted buttons, and the gift wrapping inspiration ensued from there; white and blue with gold buttons. I wanted it classy and a bit masculine, because after all, there are five males in this household. I LOVE having the beautiful gifts under the tree, and the boys do too.
The only thing I bought “new” this year for decor besides cedar, was this little porcelain store. You know, the Victorian villages, you can find them a dime a dozen a the thrift stores? I had seen people redo these as large snow globes or a German village. But I had something else in mind. I shared it on Instagram (you can follow me here if you don’t already, and see the before of this sweet store). This little store was inspired by photos I’ve seen of the streets of Paris. It was $2 at a thrift store, and after an evening of paint therapy, it is now a sweet new festive touch of decor. I’ll keep my eye out for other perfect pieces, if I do find other pieces they will be very intentional.
I draped cedar through the dining room chandelier again. I am forever in love with the drapey, lacey look of cedar. (I only wish it wouldn’t dry out so quickly. I am on the hunt for a very real looking faux cedar garland.) Just below the chandelier, I am trying something new! I am forcing paper whites. And miracle of miracles, they are starting to bloom! I love having a live touch.
This is a bit late for a Christmas home tour, I realize. But the sun did not cooperate with my plans, and so I took photos when I could. So if you like an idea, tuck it away, pin it for another year. Because, even if it takes twenty years, it will be a dream fulfilled. The important thing, is just being faithful with what’s in your hands.
A behind the scenes view of family life is as follows. The bottom shelf of the built ins are reserved for the Little People Nativity and my little people to play with it as much as they want.