For the past 5 years, my friend Jen has hosted an online Holiday Homes Tour. I am so excited to be a part of her fifth annual tour today. This year is particularly fun for me since we have moved since last Christmas and therefore have a whole new house to decorate and many new traditions to start.
My husband will tell you that I started decorating this house in my mind the minute we put a contract on it, and he’d be right. For years (actually for as long as we’ve been married), we’ve had 8 foot ceilings, so we’ve had to be very careful not to get a tree that was too tall. Our new great room has a 2-story ceiling, so that was no longer a concern. As soon as we moved in, I tried to get Jim to talk about where we would put our tree, but alas June was too soon for him to engage in those discussions. Long about Thanksgiving, we got that figured out.
Anyway, enough chit-chat from me. Off we go.
Let’s start outside, shall we?
I was going to tell you that the kids talked us into this inflatable for the front yard, but the truth is that we were all excited to find something fun and festive for the lawn and this was just the ticket. I also went online to find outdoor ornaments. My mother-in-law sent us the gorgeous wreath for the front door.
[Note: Apparently, WordPress has changed the way it handles media and is only allowing me to post these pictures as thumbnails, but if you click on them, you'll get the full-size photo.]
As you continue into the house, just inside the door, this is what you see:
To your right is an old German desk my grandparents owned, adorned with nutcrackers, candles, and an angel. Above the desk is an adorable snowman that was a gift from my mother-in-law years ago and is always a centerpiece of our decorations.
Just ahead is the stairwell, which we have wrapped in paper-chain garlands the girls and I made together.
To your right, is a hall table, decorated by my wonderful Emerald. This has been her table to decorate since she was very little. In those days, she would choose all of her favorite decorations (angels mostly) and clump them together in the center of the table. She still adores those angels, but she now lovingly arranges them so they are just right, throws in a few Santas, and a few of her other favorites, and . . . Lovely!
Just before you get to the stairs, on your left is the dining room.
Several years ago, the girls and I decided to make a table centerpiece by placing different colored ornaments in a crystal bowl. We love the result. The table runner was a gift my mother-in-law brought me from her recent trip to England. She knows how I love to decorate for Christmas.
As you face the table, to your left is a table decorated by my sweet Sapphire. She couldn’t wait to decorate a whole table of her own, like her big sis. (Last year I gave Sapphire a shelf of the Baker’s rack in kitchen to decorate, but this year she wanted a table.) She chose the decorations that were near and dear to her heart (including a snowman she made two years ago during a playdate with her best preschool pal) and off she went. She was so proud of the result:
And to your right:
Back in the foyer, to your right is our home office (which is where I work part-time). We didn’t do much in here, but there had to be some Christmas cheer:
And a little buddy on the desk:
Moving on down the front hall, you enter the kitchen/great room area, with the tree right in front of you.
One of the reasons that I was so excited to be able to get a bigger tree this year is that we have so many sentimental ornaments and I wanted to be able to display them all without have an over-crowded-looking tree. Jim’s grandmother made ornaments and Jim’s mom shared her collection with us years ago, so along with ones the kids have made and ones we’ve collected over the years, our tree is a tale of our family history. It’s such a treat every year to take the ornaments out of the boxes and listen to each person’s delight as he/she recalls a particular ornament and the story behind it.
As an aside, I will mention that when I thought of a big tree way back in the summer and ever since until we purchased this one, I had Jen’s story of the Big Ass Tree in my head as a cautionary tale. Hence, we did not go any taller or fuller for fear of recreating her misadventures.
Turning left into the kitchen, on the table is a centerpiece made by Emerald when she was in preschool and it’s still one of my favorite Christmas decorations. Next to it are candles given to me by Emerald’s Kindergarten teacher as a thanks for my being one of two Room Moms that year.
To the right of the table, we have more sentimental favorites on the Baker’s rack, including the Gingerbread house Sapphire made at school this year and Christmas cards we’ve received. [To the Arbaughs, if you notice your card is not up there, it's because Sapphire insisted on keeping that one in her room.:)]
Moving on to the great room, which is without a doubt our most decorated room. Here’s an overview:
Stepping on into the room:
On the coffee table we have a Fisher Price nativity scene, which Sapphire just loves. As for the center of the table, I love the bowl that is the usual centerpiece and didn’t want to move it, so because the ornament-in-a-bowl idea works so well for us in the dining room, I decided to continue that theme in here. Also on the table is a plush, musical sleigh we got years ago at Hallmark.
Turning around the room, we have more plushies, a small gold Christmas tree, and a pillow:
We hung more paper-chain garland around the windows. The girls and I made this years ago, but had to combine two of them and make it longer this year to get it to fit all the way across. I was glad it needed some “tweaking” for the new house, because it was yet another fun mother-daughters moment that I treasure so much.
On the mantle, we have more angels, Jim Shore figurines that were a gift from my mother-in-law two years ago and that we treasure, and our stockings. We hang one for each person who will join us on Christmas Day, one for our puppies Riley and Raine, and one for our kitties, Squeaky and Shadow.
The last thing I want to show you is our screened-in porch. It is my favorite room of the entire house (especially when the weather is nice). We couldn’t resist lighting it up, too:
That just about does it for our leg of the Holiday Homes Tour. Thanks for stopping by. Continue on this way to the visit the other homes.