You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

Alright kids, it’s that time again! Time for the Holiday Homes Tour. Thanks again, Jen, for hosting. Also, thanks for giving me no excuse not to post at least something in the last quarter of 2011. Yeesh. What happened there? (A whole lotta life is the answer. Hopefully more later. Hopefully.)

This is the fourth year I’ve participated in the tour. You can find the other posts here (that’s the old house), here, and here. Typically, I’m a traditionalist (and a cheapskate); I don’t change up my holiday decor. But this year something was eating my brain. Or maybe my subconscious was looking to clear the cobwebs after the Grinch I was last year. I tried, but I just could not get into the holiday last year. Not so this year! In fact, I’ve tried to do so much that I’m afraid a whole bunch of stuff is getting done late.

To start…we have two beautiful blue spruce gracing our home with their wonderful scent and beautiful branches. We trek out into the wilds of the Black Hills every year to cut our own trees. This year we brought home two especially full trees. So full, that I ended up needing to buy more lights. I swear I buy lights every darn year. My husband says one day I’m going to stumble across a whole box of them somewhere ridiculous like in with 4th of July stuff. Any who. A few years ago, they logged the area where we find our trees for the Ponderosa Pine. This left the spruce to grow straight, tall, and full. And it’s shown the last few Christmases.

The tree in our foyer is about 12 feet tall and is decorated the same as always, featuring my Marshall Field’s Santa Bear collection. It looks pretty much the same as it did here.

However, the tree in our living room received a make-over this year.

For the two previous years we’ve been in the house, this tree has been decked out in red and green. This year I wanted something new and fresh, so I picked up a pack of blue and silver shatterproof bulbs from Tar-zhay with an awesome coupon they were offering. (50 ornaments for less than $10? Yes please!) Good thing I chose the shatterproof ones. Because shortly after we finished decorating this beauty, this happened:

Oops. A larger tree stand and a few well placed cords/boxes so our robot vacuum wouldn’t yank on it and she’s tall and steady once again. She’s also giving me all the opportunites to play with fun holiday bokeh.

Moving on…

There are two other new additions to our main first floor living space:

The first is the new card wreath I made. It’s simply one of those foam wreath forms that I covered in some pretty holiday ribbon. As the cards roll in I just use my stash of straight pins to tack them to the wreath. The second are the little bells you see hanging there in the windows with the snowflakes. Those are pretty ceramic bells my mom made way way way back in the day. (I can say that because it was that long ago. I was about the Boy’s age I think.)

They have long been one of my mom’s favorite holiday decorations. So this year I asked if I could borrow them. (We’ll see if she gets them back. Ever.) There are 6 bells, each one featuring two of the twelve days from the classic Christmas carol. I hung them from our windows where they can catch a bit of sun and twist and turn.

Here’s the last bit of switcheroo I pulled this year. For the previous two years I decked out the railings in our foyer with fake greenery and numerous red/green/silver ornaments. This year I simplified a bit, skipping the greenery to start. Then I hung these fun ornaments from the ceiling over the railing running along the hall at the top. Normally they hang in a nice straight line. But I let the kids play a bit here so they’re swinging. The kids especially love the glittery blue reindeer on each end. My favorite is that big ball in the middle:

Oh! And look! There’s a wreath back there (all blurry)!  My mom gave that to us this year. It’s beautiful and hangs outside in the middle of our second story picture window in they foyer. But that’s really the only photo I took of it. Oops.

Just a few final things…When we moved into this house, I wanted to create our own spin on a tradition from both our childhoods. Growing up, every year (as in many families) Josh and I received a new ornament. I started the same when the Boy was born. But once the Girl joined us and we were in our new house, I wanted something that tied them all together. And so I chose monogram ornaments. The first year was a simple silver letter I picked up at Hobby Lobby for each of us.

Last year I stitched up some cute felt ornaments with our initials.  (Inspiration from Dana.)

This year, I’m following the glitter theme:

They’re simple cardboard letters I’m covering in glitter glue. Mostly green, with 2011 in blue on the back. When I finish them…

And you may have noticed our advent calendar way way way back up there in the card-wreath photo. Yes, we’re still doing our activity based advent. The kids love it…to the point of arguing over whose turn it is to open the door each day. We’re repeating many of the activities from past years, and throwing a few new ones in to. And since no post is complete without a bit of cuteness, here’s the kids and I enjoying a new Christmas story (Curious George’s Christmas).

Thanks so much for stopping by! May your holidays be warm and filled with the joy of friends and family.