This year we were fortunate enough to have both the time and financial means to make some serious upgrades to our home and also, to add a few new furniture and decor pieces; can you spot our blue striped, refurbished tulip chairs below?! Adding delight to our home was a big (fun!) undertaking this year, but it also meant I looked forward to Christmas decorating in a really exciting way!
There’s an odd internal power struggle that happens when you’re passionate about home decor, but also cognizant of practicality and the realities of having two busy boys underfoot. But many of my fondest holiday season memories from my childhood were greatly enhanced by a mom who put care into stewarding a home that glistened, sparkled, and intentionally oozed magic, with baubles and bits put in places meant to delight. I used to always think our holidays were ritzy and high-end, it felt like we always had the best, but when I look back at home videos and photos, I see they were anything but. We didn’t have much yet it seemed like we had the world.
The appreciation here is that the magic was real, and that things, experiences, and traditions matter and mark our experiences. I hope to give that to my family always, and for the sake of today’s post, that’s exactly what I’m going to share with all of you!
This year I went with a blue and neutral palette to tie in with most of the decor on our main living level but also the existing decorations we have. Upstairs, where all our bedrooms are, there is a mix of greens, blues, oranges, and reds in the boys’ bedrooms, but on the main level I ran with a specific tailored look, so that the option to add more color (like red? Or navy!) in the future is there.
And those gifts under the tree are actually all our gifts wrapped and ready for Christmas morning. The one in my hands is what I’m calling a ‘shared gift’! In an effort to encourage better sharing between my kids (Bro shares fine, it’s Lachlan that struggles a bit more with territory over things), I’m gifting them with a shared gift I know they will both love. A new set of magnetic tiles and these awesome car bases I found via Em’s blog! These are going to take our light square building adventures to a whole new level.
I typically use Sugar Papa LA’s wrapping paper and always look forward to their yearly Aedriel partnership designs. When I saw this year they were adding in blue-hued designs I knew I had to get to Target on November 1st to scoop up a few rolls! The blue satin ribbon I added is from a big Tupperware bin of scraps I’ve saved from wedding planning days and adds a playful touch to the wrapped gifts.
And as an aside on how we approach Santa-relations: everything under the tree, put there once the kids go to bed on Christmas eve, is from Mom and Dad. Whereas everything in the kids stockings, overflowing to their delight and discovery on Christmas morning, is from Santa. We had to get really clear on specifics this year as a certain almost five-year-old has had a lot of questions about the logistics surrounding the big guy. My hope is to always be cognizant of the different circumstances my kids’ friends may have. Having a stocking full of simple trinkets provided by Santa lessens the pressure a bit for other parents who may have less resources or do Christmas a bit differently. It’s also inspired a lot of conversations about how Mom and Dad decide where and how to spend their money and that some of our money goes towards Christmas gifts for our kids because giving makes us feel joy.
I also want to touch on the tidiness of our space because I think without knowing me, our family, or even our home and how we use it, it’s easy to look at these photos and think, ‘impossible’. I even look at these photos and want to high five myself because our home does really look that tidy and in a society that puts ‘Hot Mess Express’ on t-shirts and mugs, that feels a bit rebellious to normalize.
But most days, that’s actually how our home looks when the day starts and the day ends. While it’s not always clean (read: free of crumbs, dog hair, trash taken out, sink empty, surfaces sparkling), and all three levels are usually not tidy simultaneously, our home is usually picked up and organized because that’s an easy way for me to be a more clear and present mother, wife, and self.
I posted about our easy toy storage and pick up hack here and also shared a few thoughts on how to keep a tidy home when you’re busy. These two posts are really helpful for giving context to how I make things work best in our home and family.
Our Christmas tree is from Hobby Lobby and I snagged it on sale last season. It’s really quite beautiful!
BUT the flocked color is so close to the color of our ornaments that they sort of blend in and I wish our ornaments would pop more. Half of our ornaments are vintage hand me downs from my mom and the other half are meaningful ornaments we’ve collected over the year so the ornaments aren’t up for changing. I think if we ever have a basement family room, the flocked tree would earn a spot there, and it would be paired with colorful lights and kid-friendly pieces. But for now the flocked beast will stay despite my flocked-quirks.
Let’s also talk about stockings! We have two from Target and two from Pottery Barn. I don’t love them. But because we don’t feel like our family is complete, I hesitate to invest in personalized stockings without knowing who might join us down the road. I saw Julia Berolzheimer share her family’s stockings recently on Instagram and fell in love, so in the very least I have an idea of what I may want when the time comes! I’ve started a Pinterest board for heirloom stockings and look forward to the day our collection is complete.
Ok! Here’s my next favorite part of this post. Probably our BIGGEST project of 2020 was replacing our almost decade-old microwave and upper cabinet combination with a custom hood. Let me tell you how big of a difference this piece has made in the look and flow of our kitchen! We worked with Jim Talsma, a local woodworker, and are so thrilled with the final results. Jim and his team used a special paint that mimics wood grain and matched our floors as closely as possible for a seamless look to the space. We also had our backsplash redone (long story there) and the two upgrades together have really made quite the difference.
The navy berry wreath hanging over our new stove is truly the cherry on top!
I’ve already started to pull our tablescape items for Christmas dinner, most sitting on our dining room table. You can see more on the subject in this post over here which highlights some of our holiday pieces and how we plan to set our Christmas eve tablescape.
And of course, the outside of our home is decorated. Our exterior decorations have been in our inventory for years now and surprisingly have held up really well in our cold, snowy, windy weather! What used to be a set of two flanking cement urns has now become two sitting on different parts of our porch because the wind kept blowing the right one off! Some years I mix in real pine boughs from the trees in our yard but this year I kept the arrangements faux with a mix of branches and berries.
Everything outside from our wreaths on all of our window and garlands, to the urn filler, is faux so we can reuse everything from year to year. You can’t tell in the photos but we also have string lights on our home, lights I painstakingly hang myself each year because hey, it’s worth it! Our outdoor decorations DO include pops of red and on a snowy wintry day, it’s quite the sight.
I’d love to invest in some thicker outdoor garlands that match our wreaths so more of our porch could be decorated but I can’t justify the price tag of multiple strands of garlands quite yet. Maybe that will be a future project worth saving for! 2021? We will see!
And for fun? Here is our home holiday tour in 2017! Goodness, how some things change while others stay the same.
Thanks for joining me today, friends! And thank you to Sam, my dear friend, who took all of these gorgeous images on the same afternoon she came over to visit and bake Christmas cookies together. To have kid-free time with a friend, that wasn’t work-centric, was a life-giving treat we don’t often get to enjoy together. I adore you, Sam and am grateful for our friendship.
Happy holidays, everyone! Xo