This week is always one of my most favorite weeks of the year. I love that calm between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when the kids are home on break and everything feels relaxed and cozy. The decorations are still up and we do a fair amount of baking, cocoa drinking, sledding, game playing, movie watching, pajama lounging and reading. We take a break from heavy lifting and household chores and just soak up time with friends and family. Truly THE BEST.
For the past couple of years I have pulled out our Christmas bins the first week or two of December, and then just pluck away at a few areas of our home over the course of a few days. I love the warmth that a layer of Christmas decor spreads; extra candlelight, cozy blankets, mantel decor, wreaths, and trees, but it doesn’t take long before I feel a little clutter induced panic.
We will host a New Year’s Party and then all of the decor will come down the following day. Before it is all packed up, I thought I would share some photos of our colorful and simple holiday decorations from this year.
Our front planters were filled with some pines, and we hung a few wreaths on the door and windows. The wreaths are faux, while the pines are real.
To add a little Christmas color on the other end of the porch, a couple of $3 (faux) poinsettias were placed inside some planters.
We have always done a real tree and planned to do so again this year. But then I found a narrow pencil option that allowed us to squeeze in a tree without the need to find a new home for any of our existing furniture. #hugewin
I started out by bringing in some real cedar garland to decorate our mantel, and it gave us that fresh pine smell we crave each year, but it quickly dried out from the fireplace and looked sad and messy within a week. Out it went and I replaced it with some eucalyptus branches I purchased from Trader Joe’s. I went through a process of cutting, smashing and soaking the stems to keep them as hydrated as possible on the mantle, and even as they slowly dried out, they still looked simple and pretty.
The stockings for the boys were hung with clear Command Hooks, and a couple of faux white poinsettias were placed in the center of the mantel with some ornaments sprinkled throughout.
We reused the poinsettias from last year’s tree; initially, I wrapped the tree like garland, but it felt a little busy so I ended up removing a quarter of them and placed them randomly around the tree instead.
Our narrow sideboard area in the dining room served us well this season, and will hopefully be the hot spot at our upcoming New Year’s bash as well. First, we used it for a small holiday themed happy hour…
And it nicely transitioned into a long-term cocoa station for the boys and their friends.
My boys absolutely LOVE making hot cocoa, and they also love serving it up for friends and family that stop by as well. Of course, we try to limit their sugar intake, so they don’t drink it every day, but we love having the setup available when the mood strikes. (I just cover the fixings in between cocoa making sessions to keep them fresh.)
We use this frother for our coffee, but it also works really well for cocoa. Just pour in the milk, and after it is started, slowly add the cocoa powder through the lid opening. It mixes in the powder as it heats everything up, creating a yummy treat. The best part it that it is fun and easy for the kiddos.
The tree upstairs added some nice Christmas cheer and nightly ambiance, while the tree in our lower level family room was where the real magic happened.
Parker helped me decorate both trees, but the entire family pitched in on this one. This is the one where every random ornament and decoration gets hung and displayed, and where all of our reminiscing takes place.
Around the corner is my office, and because I spend so many hours facing that beautiful teal blue hutch, I thought it would nice to give it a little holiday bling.
This is also where I stored our gift wrapping supplies for the season. I have a closet around the opposite side of our stairs where I store many of my gift wrapping items, but to make things quick and easy this year, I placed them out on a tray in my office. It was convenient to take the tray wherever I needed to spread out for wrapping, while simply keeping all of the essentials corralled together (my essentials were my address book, tissue, ribbon, bows, mini-ornaments for embellishments, gift tags, our Christmas cards, gift boxes/bags, tape, and scissors).
In this room, I also displayed many of the photo greetings I received from fellow friends and family. You may recognize a few of the faces, many of my fellow blogging buddies were smiling at me while I worked each day (is that weird? that sounded weird…).
I ordered a customized pinboard from Minted, and it is beautiful. I selected my favorite Minted frame, which I have used for a couple of art pieces in our home, as well as a flowing blue fabric pattern. Such a nice office addition, and a great way to pin up our cards as they trickled in over the course of the month.
And now you have seen a few glimpses of our Christmas card, which I also ordered from Minted this year. It was my first card order from them, and I was pleasantly surprised. The cards are high quality, and I had the hardest time narrowing down a design from the hundreds of choices. I also appreciated that they offered a service to address all of our envelopes and that I could add a sweet little envelope lining detail.
I was originally going to just use some photos I took of the boys this summer for our card but decided on a whim that it would be nice to get the entire family in a photo. Of course, we picked one of the coldest days of the year, ran into our favorite photoshoot spot, set up the tripod, shot a couple of photos and then hopped right back into the warm car. I crossed my fingers I got one of all of us looking, and lucky for me, we did! Although my eyes were watering and my nose hairs were frozen, I was pretty proud we pulled something off. Next year I am thinking a selfie stick in November will be the way to go.
We generally only decorate the main living areas of our home for the holidays, but this year I swapped out our sunburst mirror for a berry embellished wreath in our bedroom.
And the younger two boys both received a little bedroom door decor (from Target).
Parker also strung Christmas lights around his entire room, but most of the Command Strips had fallen off of the wall by Christmas day.
And that is it! Sprinkles of Christmas in a few of our jolly spaces.
From our family to yours, we wish you all full hearts as you head into the new year. I am so grateful to have you all as readers, and for your endless excitement and support of what we have going on around here. Cheers my friends! I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and that 2017 rings in with an abundance of happiness and joy.
Oh! And before I forget, I receive a lot of questions about how we store our Christmas decorations. I updated our system last year, and it was AMAZING this year as we unpacked everything.