The first day of December has arrived! I can officially blast Bing Crosby and Judy Garland to my hearts content, dress my girls in Christmas sweaters, and deck my halls with wild abandon. Usually I am a firm believer in waiting until at least the day after Thanksgiving to put up the tree, but since we were going to be out of town this year, we caved and put it up the Sunday before. The girls were crazy excited, and it was so fun embracing the chaos and letting them dig into the ornament bin, oohing and ahhing at every one. Lucy preferred handing us ornaments to put on, but Penny was a very busy little elf, carefully choosing the perfect spot for each shiny bulb (which often happened to be the very bottom of the tree).
As an interior decorator, I have had to learn to find a balance between creating a stylishly decorated holiday home and a home that embodies what the season is all about- family. Before kids, I had the perfect tree (with ornaments peppered evenly throughout), the heavy reindeer stocking holders perched on the mantle, the delicate glass bulbs dangling from every branch. Since having two little ones, adjustments have had to be made, but truth be told our home has never been so beautiful. The homemade decorations created by tiny hands and the glittery hand cut snow flakes taped to the windows are so precious and sweet, and add such a feeling of joy to our home. I am proud to show you how we have brought the season into our home this year, managing to create a winter wonderland that excites both the interior decorator-minded Mommy and the brightly colored and glitter loving children.
For the last several years, I have stuck with a very neutral color scheme of golds, silvers, coppers, whites and creams, and I have yet to get sick of it. After paring down our Christmas decorations greatly after our massive purge, I was left with only the ones I truly loved, and was excited to unwrap each and every item this year.
While I usually drape a classic garland on the mantle, I decided to go with something different (and less messy)- a lighted branch garland and a leaf garland made out of sheet music. The stockings were hung with command hooks so I wouldn’t have to worry about the girls pulling heavy stocking holders down on themselves. Two glittery trees flank the tv to create balance, and some of my usual clear and milk glass vases are hanging out as well, with a few pine cones here and there to complete the nature vibe.
On the tree, I kept with the same color scheme. The tree makes me super happy because of the neutral colors (which are still so interesting due to their shiny sparkly nature), varying shapes and textures, and unique and precious ornaments (the more fragile of which are hung near the top), but the girls love it as well because of the whimsical butterflies, silk flowers and woodland animals. The majority of the ornaments are plastic so the girls can safely hang and rehang bulbs to their hearts’ content, and the paper sheet music leaf garland helps to add an organic flow to the tree. A simple bit of burlap wrapped around the base of the tree completes the look.
A couple tips to make your Christmas tree the perfect mix of styled and family friendly:
- Choose a defined color scheme
- Vary shapes and textures
- Don’t just hang ornaments on the ends of branches- put some further in to create a sense of depth
- Get creative with garland- ribbon is classic, but there are no limits to what you could use!
- Make it personal with family photos and heirlooms
- No need for a traditional tree skirt- a piece of cloth or even a basket housing the base of the tree would do just as nicely!
- Organic and natural trumps perfect any day!
I managed to sprinkle a bit of Christmas throughout the rest of the house as well, mostly with nature inspired trees that went along with my theme. The felt tree and ornaments activity on the wall in the dining area is something I made for Penny 2 years ago- a rather ambitious endeavor that involved a stressful and expensive trip to Joann Fabrics, and lots of cutting and glue gunning. Hours later, I got a call from a friend saying that she had found one for $10 at Target. Sigh. But, the girls love it, so there’s that!
My favorite area of our home, however, is the girls’ play area. The small gold tree on their table is where they were able to put all their fun and colorful ornaments, and they love having it there to enjoy and frequently redecorate when they are working on crafts. On the wall behind the tree is where all of their artwork is displayed, and I predict it is going to get a lot more crowded in the coming weeks.
In our bedroom is another small tree- what can I say, I like to be surrounded by Christmas! And on the bedroom mantle are our handmade snow globes as well as our advent calendar. I made this a couple of years ago as a way to help us make the most of the season, and we still love it today. I appreciate the visual reminder of how many days are left until Christmas (because let’s face it, toddlers have no concept of time), but I also love how it seems to keep the month from getting away from us. By planning out a list of things we want to make sure we do in preparation for Christmas, we are able to do one thing each day and really spread out the fun. Some of the activities are bigger, like going to the Festival of Lights or visiting Santa, and others are simpler, like making a craft or having cocoa with a holiday movie.
And finally, all of our Christmas and winter themed books are on display to encourage frequent reading of them. I’m still not sure how we have managed to accumulate so many in such a few short years, but we love them all.
This is such a magical time of year, and now that our home is feeling festive and our activities are planned out (not to mention most of the shopping done, phew!) I am so ready to just sit back and embrace this cozy time spent with loved ones. I hope you find a way to fully enjoy this time as well! Do what makes you and your family happy, and you can’t go wrong. For us, that will mean plenty of cocoa drinking, cookie baking, and holiday music all day every day. Happy December!