Christmas Explosion

It's our first Christmas as a family of four, and the first one in our you know I'm all about decorating the bejeezus out of this place right now. Since we were out of town the weekend after Thanksgiving and recuperating from our trip all last week (my head was spinning a million miles per hour just trying to get caught up on laundry, cleaning, list making, LIFE, etc), I felt kind of behind in the decorating world for not having a single Christmas trinket out on display. By looking at Instagram, you'd think everyone has had their house fully decorated with tree up, gifts wrapped, and egg nog drank since Black Friday! But no, not here.

We DID however get a major fire lit under our butts this past weekend just because it's finally December and we are just plain old excited to have our own house to decorate. Yes, both of us. Nate really gets into it, too, and lucky for me we have very similar tastes in decorating style. I had already changed up our candles, gotten a new white lampshade to replace our yellow patterned one for the holidays, and gotten new throw pillows instead of our old yellow ones. Everything else was done on Saturday and Sunday. Whew.


Ta Da! (Definitely has the lived-in feel with the multiple train tracks scattered about, no?)

And all cozy at night:

And outside daytime:

And at night:

Details | ( you didn't think I would stop with just 4 pictures, did you?)

New stockings this year! Nate helped pick them out from World Market and I was nervous these would be way too long. But by hanging them from our wooden box instead of the actual mantle we kept them from being TOO much of a fire hazard.

I love the knitted patterns. And our monogram pins that they thankfully still have at Target every year. Had to pick up the C to make miss thing official in this home!

I also love my random red bird from Kohls that Nate made fun of when I brought it home. Sorry, bird. You are cute!

And our little gnomes given to us by my aunt. Technically salt and pepper shakers;)

Love how our wooden box that Nate made looks with the festive garland, bulbs, lights, pinecones, and garland. My favorite seasonal decor in this box so far.

And my little DIY wreath I made in 2009--it was hung outdoors all of these years and it's saying, 'Thank you for not putting me out in the cold anymore'. Most of the berries are about to implode from enduring the conditions but it still works!

I found three really cute FREE printables online this year and framed them in existing frames.


My two throw pillows from Target. I wanted about 5 more but showed major restraint here. And I want a bright red fluffy throw blanket next year, too. Asking for it on my list;)


And our dining room

Decorating our tree:

We are so excited for Truman's first year of really 'getting' Christmas and helping us decorate the tree. He did pretty well, just demanding that The Little Engine That Could movie be played the whole time. So much for listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree!

She helped, too;)

We do not believe in cohesive, themed trees around here. Both my parents and Nate's parents gave us a yearly ornament growing up so we have about 50 between the two of us just from our childhood. I am literally obsessed with pulling each of them out and looking back at years from when we were little. Some ornaments are really simple which make me think our parents were probably not feeling too rich those years. And others are really nice 'Hallmark' ones. A lot are based around sports since Nate and I were both jocks as little kids;) It's definitely a tradition I want to pass down to my kids--one ornament from mom and dad each year. Too bad that I realized Truman got about 4 for his first year in 2010 and then NONE in 2011. Whoops! Totally bought two ornaments this year and just wrote 2011 on one of them. That counts, right?


Some favorite ornaments of mine (Starbucks, my own 'First Christmas' ornament from 1981, cute Santa domino, and Truman's first Christmas ornament)

Oh, Christmas tree! (that seems to be leaning a bit---it's a hand-me-down fake tree from my in-laws and they originally bought it back in 1993. Love it!) And again---going with the real-life look with the Packers game on TV here;) Go Pack, Go!

Also did colored lights on the tree this year. Always a big debate. This year we just happened to have the right amount of colored ones for the tree without buying anymore, so we went with it. About 5 strands of white were all burnt out when we pulled them out of the boxes, so that sucked. But now we have new LED lights for the mantel and outside. So modern!

Couldn't quite pack my wine cork vase away for the holidays. It just peeks out from the back corner now;)

So cozy. Love you, tripod!


Quintessential bokeh shot for Christmas.

Random story about Nate and decorating inside: when we opened up our Christmas boxes that had been stored in my in-laws' attic all year, we saw that one of our nice Yankee Candles had melted and the wax somehow got out of the sealed lid to the jar. Ick. The evergreen scent was STRONG and wax was all over our tree skirt (can't really tell--but I want a new one during the after-Christmas sales), my outside-turned-inside wreath, and our old stockings. Nate's personal mission was to save this dumb candle even though the wick was all lopsided and hidden under that melted wax. He heated up the candle with water in a pot on the stove and that seemed to work a little bit. Made the walls of this house absorb a ridiculous amount of evergreen scent that I cannot get out of my nose, but it worked. As he was pulling the wick out and trying to set it back in he got a little out of hand. Messy. Really really messy and scalding hot. He had the candle in our sink and got frustrated with it, so then he started cleaning out the pot he had used and forgot about the candle. So a bunch of water got into the jar that he had just spent 45 minutes painstakingly trying to save. 'That's it. I'm throwing it away,' he said. But of course, he was just bluffing and saved that bad boy despite it looking REALLY janky. Is 'janky' a word that makes me sound 40 years old to the teenagers of the world? Probably.

Outside decorating:

We did this on Sunday as a family and it was in the 50s at the time. Amazing!! Cecelia woke up from her nap in the middle of our event outside so I brought her down in our borrow Rock-n-Play from Erin. Died laughing when I realized she looked like Baby Jesus in a manger. A neighbor jogged by and commented that we should keep her in the manger---very festive. Ha!



My new white wreath from Target---just added the red ribbon. And our little Christmas trees in the planters. Loved decorating these cheap-o trees! They were pre-lit but needed a lot of extra silver bulbs we had in boxes that we never use (too many personal ornaments to put on our tree already!) and some of that same red ribbon.

I'm a sucker for red bows. Could have put about 5 more around the outside of the house for fun but Nate reeled me in. These babies are only $0.99 at Michaels, people!

Wrapped the columns with garland and lights, too. I think next year I want to get more garland to make it more compact up the column if that makes sense.

And our flower box got spiced up with colored LED lights, giant ornaments, garland, and bows;)

Nate bought this huge wreath from a co-worker's son. His idea to hang it up here and to buy the spot light to shine on it at night. Love this man's sense of style sometimes! And note the little boy waking up from his nap looking down at mommy taking pictures;)

Nate's comment when we were admiring all of our hard work outside? " I can't wait until we get a new roof". Sigh. Can't ever please the guy!

Craft making:

I have a lot of other ideas up my sleeve but for now, here is what I've done with Truman. The kid loves to craft which makes his mama very proud.

First we made the 'countdown to Christmas' chain to help him understand that no, it's NOT Christmas RIGHT NOW. So far it hasn't helped with the whole concept of time too much. But it's cute!



Just used a bunch of old Christmas scrapbooking papers that I had laying around from the days when I handmade our cards. I get hives just thinking about doing that now, by the way. And the actual sign was a free printable online. Then I used our yarn wreath I had wrapped for the fall and added some ribbon to it to make it more festive. And voila!

And then in our dining room boasts a new table runner made for us by Memaw, a cute serving plate given to me by Keri, and I just added some garland to the light fixture. Plus a red bow. Plus antlers;) Then I made a banner to hang above our buffet:


Again, this was made out of extra paper I already had. Not my favorite color scheme since I prefer the bolder version of traditional colors, but oh well. It was free! And easy to make. I am going to hang all of the Christmas cards that we receive from friends and family on those little ribbons hung across the actual windows. I'm sure it will fill up in no time!

And then I made us 'our first house' ornament. Saw this idea on pinterest. Loved being able to use one of our cool skeleton keys for the interior doors in our house.

I let Truman have some fun with finger paints---top secret project for some family members that read this blog;)


IMG_8537 So that is it for now. I kind of can't wait for it to get cold enough for a fire again. And for snow. I am dying for a little winter wonderland so that we can just bundle up in our cozy house together for our first Christmas as a family with two kids. I have always loved Christmastime as an adult but now having two kids makes it 100x more special.

Now that the decorating is done I REALLY need to get started on some Christmas shopping. But I'd rather find more projects and crafts to do;)


  1. Looks good! Come to my house and decorate. I've done like 1% of that :)

  2. I love your pillows! Where did you get them??

  3. I love your pillows! Where did you get them?

  4. I love your Christmas decoration! So warm and cozy!

  5. I love that it has all come together so well and your style is just awesome. I'm so envious of your wall colors. It just makes everything else feel so fresh and yet warm.

    Love the way you've captured it all too!

    Your craft time with Truman makes me want to get some crafting time in with Coen. He's just not as patient. :)

  6. Wow, your place looks great! Super festive yet stylish. You're inspiring me to go shopping for new Christmas decorations to replace some of my chotchkies. Also, I love the Christmas countdown chain! I'll have to remember that for next year when my little guy is old enough to get it :)

  7. Oh yes, I saw that fuzzy red blanket at Target too, and seriously had to back away slowly to keep myself from buying it!

    Our tree is the same way--filled with ornaments that we both inherited. We even have a decorated toilet paper tube from one of us when we were toddlers ;)

    My stuff STILL isn't up, ha! Yours looks GORGEOUS!

  8. What a merry home!! LOVE your stockings - are they also from Target?

    1. No--they are from World Market. The monogram pins are target's though.

  9. It is very pretty how your tree is reflected in the large mirror in that one picture.

  10. Love! Where did you find the stockings? Now that we have a new little one, I need to find one for her and can't find cute ones anywhere I've looked. Thanks!

    1. They are from World Market. The monogram pins are target's though.

  11. So pretty! Your home looks so warm and cozy! I'm so jealous (we had to downsize this year, so we only have a 3' Christmas tree). I wish I could steal some of your ideas!

  12. Everything looks so warm and cozy. We love the holidays around here too! Christmas with kids is the best!!

  13. You did an amazing job, Julia!! I love it all so much. Laughing at Nate trying to save the candle.

  14. As you likely know, I'm borderline obsessed with your house. Particularly the exterior and the living room. So I'm eating these pictures up! Just so cozy and homey. I love it. And I love your decor style.

    Anyhow, I think it all looks amazing. Such a great mantel and tree. My husband loves colored lights, so I think I'll be converting to colored lights in the future. Just haven't bought them yet. They are quite festive and fun, I think.

    Also, I am totally wanting to make a paper advent like that. We always had them growing up. Fun memories!

  15. Love the countdown the Christmas idea. My almost three year old is constantly asking when Santa is coming so I might have to put one of these together. Thanks for the inspiration... and your house looks great!

  16. It looks great! I especially love the outside :)

  17. I love it all, Julia. It seems like everything that you do, you do so well.

    The outside is GORGEOUS.

  18. so pretty! I had to practice self control with the pillows at target too...they were all amazing! I bought the red Merry Christmas one with the bells on each corner:)

  19. I remembered two more things I meant to comment on. One, I totally use the word "janky" and often wonder if it's a lame word that people don't really use - but it's just so appropriate at times!

    Two, you even switch your lamp shade for Christmas? That is hard-core, girl. And impressive!

  20. Live your decor. Great ideas for next year. Nice job!


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