It’s that time again! The balsam fir scented candle is burning in the kitchen, Granny’s Christmas bells are ringing on the banister, string lights are twinkling all through the house, and the purple candle for the first Sunday of Advent is flickering happily in the Advent wreath. I topped it off by baking a batch of my favorite cookies–chocolate chip–and picking up some egg nog to sip along with them. My house is cozy and warm, and my soul is filled with the peace of the season.
My tree has been up and decorated since November 10th, since the boys and I have had a full schedule and wouldn’t be home the rest of the weekends of November. This past weekend I put up the rest of the decorations, just in time to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. I always want the boys to be there when we put up the tree, but the rest of the decorations I’m happy to do on my own and chose a weekend they were away at their dad’s. So on Saturday I got everything up, inside and out, and snapped some pictures to share with all of you!
Of course I’ll start with the tree! It’s been up for three weeks already, but I gave it some upgrades on Saturday. I bought some more fake snow from Hobby Lobby, then sprayed all of the branches. I did this last year, but the snow was definitely worn off by the time I put it up this year. I also put the ribbon up in a hurry, so I took the time to pull it all down and put it back on the tree more precisely.
And, thanks to my nosy kitty-cat, I rearranged some of the ornaments to put the breakable ones at the top, after he shattered two of my grandmother’s antique pink glass balls. Most of the ornaments on this tree, as well as the pearl beaded garland, are her old tree decorations from my childhood in the late 80’s\early 90’s. Since my accent colors are soft turquoise and pink, they couldn’t have been any more perfect for my home. Thank goodness she never got rid of them!
The Advent Wreath
To me this is the most important decoration in the house. As a Catholic, Advent has a deep meaning for me, and my boys and I put this wreath to use each year. I made it in 2012, the year I was in the RCIA program to join the church. I bought a plain pine wreath and some tree picks with sugared berries and pinecones on them, plus some green plastic candle holders from the Hobby Lobby craft section, and hot-glued it all together. I bought some new Advent candles and sprayed it with some fake snow, before doing the First Sunday of Advent bible reading and lighting the first candle.
On the side table in the background you can see a vase of Christmas flowers, and a snowman throw on the couch. This, plus another homemade candle ring on the side table next to my chair, are all of the decorations for my living room. I love Christmas and used to go all out decorating everything I could. The trouble is…what goes up, must come down. I’ve learned over the years that keeping it simple makes for less headaches after January 1st!
The Dining Room
I always wanted a two story house, just so I would have a banister to decorate for Christmas! While I ended up with a single-story ranch, I finally got my banister with the open stairs to the basement family room. This is my favorite thing to decorate, because it contains so many special memories. The stockings on either end are my boys’ stockings, which I handmade from kits when each of them was a baby. It took about two months of work to finish each embroidered stocking, but it makes for a special feeling of nostalgia that just buying a stocking can’t compare to.
The stocking in the middle is mine from my very first Christmas in 1985, when I was six months old. I’m not even sure how this stocking ended up in my Christmas decorations, since I just found it in my décor last year. Someone must’ve given it to me and I don’t remember it, but at any rate, it’s so cool that I get to hang it with my boys’ stockings! The final touch is a set of musical Christmas bells that my grandpa bought for my grandma in the early 90’s, around the same time my tree decorations are from.
If you look carefully in the first picture, you can see my tiny little kitchen Christmas tree in the window!
On the dining table I took away my usual candle holders and put out my glass candlesticks with pretty gold Christmas tapers. I swapped out the fall centerpiece on the cake plate and put a homemade candle ring in its place sprayed with fake snow, with another pretty gold Christmas candle in the center. Simple, but so pretty! The bookcase in the corner is a bit awkward, but the Christmas tree is sitting in its usual place. It’s so heavy that sliding it over to that corner is about all I can do with it!
In the kitchen, I started something new that came from a wall hanging I fell in love with at Hobby Lobby. This Grow in Grace picture inspired the lambs ear wreaths (which are actually candle rings from the Hobby Lobby wedding section) that I hung on my cabinet doors. I attached ribbon, which I stapled to the inside of the cabinet doors, and hot-glued on some pearl and rhinestone buttons for a finishing touch. I love these so much that I’m going to leave them up year-round! I took down a vintage metal paper towel, wax paper and foil dispenser I had hanging above the microwave, and put the picture up in its place. This opened up the top of the microwave to decorate, so I placed a centerpiece on it with some twinkle lights.
Around the window I strung up some lights that I also plan to leave year-round, then replaced my vase of flowers with the miniature Christmas tree.
The day I chose to put up my decorations was nice and warm for December–60 degrees! But it was about as windy as being in the middle of the ocean, and I had no desire to get up on a ladder and mess with wrapping garland around my front porch posts. So this year I decided to keep it simple. I put up some garland with ornaments and a bow under my living room window, tied a red bow to the front porch light, and placed three miniature trees out front; two under the window and one on the table with some string lights on a timer. I didn’t even need a ladder…just a step stool to reach the front porch light!
Simple, but pretty is what I was going for this year. For a full visual of the decorations, here are some photos of my living room, dining room and kitchen all decorated for Christmas:
Wishing all of you a very happy Advent season, and a Merry Christmas!