We’ll Be Home For Christmas

img_3218Something my mom and I share is decorating the house for Christmas. So you can imagine our delight when our house was chosen to be included on the towns Christmas House Tour! After weeks of decorating, cleaning and crafting, the day finally came. Here is a tour of our home for Christmas. 

In September, we found out that our house had been nominated to be on the town Christmas House Tour, a yearly event that includes 10 or so homes and the inns in town to be opened for 700+ people to walk through and see how people decorate their homes for Christmas. The last year or so, my family and I have been doing some home renovations to get our house ready to put on the market, so this was a wonderful opportunity to get people a chance to walk through our home. Over the last few months, we have been knocking down ceilings, pulling up the floors and purchasing gallons of paint to get our house ready for the House Tour. Two days before Thanksgiving, our new ceilings and floors were completed. After pie on Thanksgiving we immediately started bringing up boxes of Christmas decorations and started to make Christmas happen! We have an entire room in our basement FILLED with Christmas decorations because Christmas is a kind of a big deal in our house. Leading up to the Tour, we have been tripping over boxes, staying up past midnight, watching a lot of Christmas movies, and ordering a lot of take out to get this house ready. Even our neighbor commented on our work ethic because she would look out her window at 3am and still see us hard at work decorating.

Both my parents and I work crazy hours, so it is a miracle that we got all of this done in two weeks. We kept a countdown on the chalkboard in the kitchen reminding us how much there was to do! My mom kept finding cute crafts to do on Pinterest, while we rolled our eyes when she got out the glue gun again, in the end it is the little things that made this house so special for Christmas.

I thought I would give you all a little tour of our house to get you inspired to decorate!
One of the most common comments on the tour from the visitors was that they all felt they had to go home and decorate their house even more for Christmas. Every room in our house had a theme and was decorated from floor to ceiling.

THE FRONT PORCH

We knew that there would be a line of people waiting to get into our house, so we put a lot of effort into the front porch. It is the first thing people see when people come into the house, so why not go all out with a theme?! We did an outdoorsy theme, with two tiny trees decorated with birds, owls and red berries, some hedgehogs who we named Heddy and Henry from Pottery Barn, and pillow stuffing from the craft store to make it look like snow. The sign is old from Homegoods I got after Christmas last year for $3. I always buy a lot of Christmas decor after Christmas because they cut the prices a lot to get it out of the store to make room for Easter decorations.

The green garland is fake, but doesn’t it look real? We have had it for so many years, but it still looks beautiful year after year. If you have to invest money in one thing, it would be garland because if you buy higher quality garland, it will last for years. My mom takes the extra step to put other greenery in it to make it look more real.

The window boxes and planters are filled with greenery we buy or take for free at the tree farm every year. Instead of buying the front porch trees that Home Depot sells every year, we add a more personal touch with adding wooden sticks, Christmas tree branches, pinecones and dried hydrangeas from our garden every winter. The mini planter trees at Home Depot can be pricey,instead this look is a lot cheaper and is a little more personal instead of the cookie cutter look.

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THE PARLOR

This is a sitting room that has our Beach Tree every year. On this tree we have real seashells on it, 30 years worth of seasonal beach badges, with seashell garland from The Christmas Tree Store and blue ornaments.We got a lot of our tree decorations from The Christmas Tree store including the big shells and garland.

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LIVING ROOM

This is a room that recently went from a floor to ceiling (literally) renovation!
We put up garland along the ceiling held up with screw hooks that we purchased from AC Moore with a string of lights to make the room glow. The walls are painted yellow, so at night the tree and room give off this gold glow, it is truly magical!

This tree is special because most of our trees do not have ornaments on them, but instead have sentimental ornaments.There are gold and silver balls from my parents first Christmas tree when they were married, baby shoes, my baby bracelet, Irish ornaments and dried hydrangeas with the German tradition pickle to honor my fathers German heritage. We have feather ornaments to honor my grandmothers who are no longer with us, along with angels to keep the family here in spirit. Fake Christmas wreaths are hung in the windows and there are berries and twigs on top of the paintings in the living room. There are little details in this room to make this room a winter wonderland.

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LIBRARY

In the library, we have our movable, electric fireplace from Costco and our Library Tree. This tree has no traditional ornaments, instead it has antique glasses on it since my parents are in the eye business and my great grandfathers leather pocket book collection. There are pencils hung like crystals and to honor the house’s history, we have the old apartments keys that we found in the house when it was a boarding house. At one time, there were 16 apartments in the home, so there are a lot of keys!  Under the tree are our favorite books from our childhood, a small village on top of the tv cabinet, and a tree made of books in front of the fireplace.

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DINING ROOM

This is another room that went through a complete renovation for the House Tour. It is also the room that took the most amount of time to decorate, but has the most thought put into it. At 4am the night before the House Tour, this room was filled with boxes and random decorations on the dining room. But at 10am the day of the House Tour, this room wowed everyone!

There was once again garland put up around the ceiling, but what makes this room unique is that in the garland we have the ornaments my grandmother gave my brother and I the last 22 years before she passed away. This way we can keep her here in spirit during the holiday season. On the two Christmas trees in the dinning room, it has red ornaments, but also old red ornaments from the dollar store, wrapped with black electrical tape and a button to look like Santa’s Suit! The buttons are personal, because they are from my other grandmothers button tin. Everyone has a button tin from their mother and grandmother, and this was a wonderful way to be able to use them.

My mother has been collecting Santa’s for many, many years and put them on display each year. She can tell you a story and something personal about each Santa. They are not just bought randomly, but have a special memory or thought to each of them. Most of them are antiques and are a hundred years old.

The dining room table is set for a formal Christmas dinner. On one of our HomeGoods trip to shop for the Tour, we found red Kate Spade dishes. Last time I checked, they were still there and really added to the Christmas theme! We used my late grandmothers red silverware to add another pop of red to the table. We kept the dining room table decor to a minimum, just garland and little trees in the center. The chairs have Santa hats on them to add to the Santa theme!

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KITCHEN

Christmas Eve is my birthday, which can sometimes be overshadowed by Christmas. My parents have always done a wonderful job in keeping my birthday separate from Christmas and its own special day. The rest of the house is decorated for Christmas, but the kitchen is my birthday party room!

The tree in here is decorated with a dozen real roses and hints of pink! The table is set with my moms pink dishes we use every year just on my birthday. The table cloth is as old as me and is used every year. We eat cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve, so how cool is this cake topper my mom found antiquing one day?? Everyone thought it was a real cake!

On the kitchen cabinets, after some scrolling on Pinterest, I took my some of my moms Pottery Barn wreaths, got some red ribbon and hung them on the kitchen cabinets. This was the easiest craft I have ever done, but it really added to the room! We had guests opening our cabinets trying to see how we did it! All it took was a safety pin to keep the piece of ribbon together and two pieces of scotch tape to tape it to the inside of the cabinet door. img_3199img_3200img_3202

THE BACKYARD

The guests exited the back door after the tour and the tour was not over there!
My dad spent HOURS and many nights working on the backyard. Again, with a craft from Pinterest, my dad ordered blow up penguins online and attached them to Styrofoam to look like penguins on ice in our pool. We had people waiting on line to just see the penguins!

We had the fireplace burning, a table set up outside ready for chili and some snowballs made out of Styrofoam making it a winter wonderland! During the day the wind picked up so the penguins would start floating around the pool, which looked even cuter!

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ORGANIZING TIPS

One of the most helpful parts about decorating for Christmas on a time crunch was how I put away Christmas last year. Each room had it’s own storage box that was clearly labeled what was inside of it. There was three boxes full of just dinning room decor and other boxes just of living room decor. That way, when we were working on the living room we only had to bring up one box and knew exactly what was in it.

Each year we have multiple trees in our house and without organizing, decorating them can be tricky! For our Beach Tree, we had one box labeled “Beach Tree” and all of its ornaments and decor was in the box. So when I was decorating this tree after work at 2am one night, I did not have to go searching for ornaments or our seashell garland, everything was right there.

To take organizing a step further because I have Christmas OCD, I got clear ziplock bags that had ornaments organized by type and color. All of the silver angels, the crystals, each specific garland was put in a clear ziplock storage bag and of course labeled. When my mom was looking for something, she had all of them in one bag instead wasting time searching for them.

 

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