Friday, December 12, 2014

christmas tour 2014

I feel like there's no better way to celebrate my birthday than by showing off my truly underwhelming Christmas decorations. (That birthday thing was subtle, right? Ha.) (Also, not remotely true. I can think of a million better the top of my head: at a resort in the Caribbean, receiving a pet manatee, cuddling with my baby, and/or an all-expenses-paid shopping spree at Ulta.) (At least one of my dreams will come true today...)

Right, so, back to the topic at hand. Christmas decorations!! I always look forward to having the house decorated for Christmas, and this year was no exception. Now that we have Millie, everything is a first...and even though she's only four months old and probably couldn't care less about home decor (except for maybe the tree lights), it still felt a million times more special and exciting and magical decorating with her here. And when I think back to how hard the Christmas season was last year, how putting up our decorations made me, the joy and happiness of this year is even better. 

A lot of my decor stays pretty consistent from year to do my complaints, ha. Like there is STILL NO GOOD PLACE FOR A CHRISTMAS TREE. Every year. Every year. Every year I swear that if and when we ever buy another house, "good Christmas tree spot" is going to be at the TOP of the priority list. Don't nobody care if there are enough bedrooms for everyone or whether there are active termite colonies...I need a decent place for my tree!!! 

But let's start with something I do like: the mantel!! 

 I've already blabbed at length about our three stockings, so I won't repeat myself except to say ohmygoshwehaveTHREESTOCKINGS!!!!! The whole mantel area ended up looking a lot different this year than last year- a little simpler, I guess. Oh, also there are three stockings (plus Lola's). Vast improvement. I saw the idea for making blank canvases into 'presents' on Pinterest; it was the easiest three-second craft ever! I think they look fun. And although I loved having the big balls hanging last year, I really like having them up on the mantel and down in a basket- they are just so festive! Also, they are big balls...and the jokes never get old. 

To the right of the mantel area is a little chest that holds random junk important things.

It makes a perfect spot to put the nativity set. This year we have this little felt Jesse Tree thing that we make and add an ornament to each night. There's a little guide and we read the Bible story that accompanies the ornament, then we help Millie velcro the ornament to the tree. It's fun and I'm sure she's really getting a lot out of it. :) And it gives Matt and me a great opportunity to work on our gluing and coloring skills, so really, everybody wins.

My nativity used to belong to my grandparents. My Nana bought it on a trip to Israel and I am so thankful to have received it. The angel ornament was hand-crafted by yours truly in 1990. I gave it to Nana as a gift and she always kept it with the nativity- so now I do, too! Gotta remember my DIY roots, ya know...

So, back to the tree that has no good home and is impossible to photograph. Part of the 'impossible to photograph' problem is the placement of the tree (couches/walls/pianos impede being able to get a full-length shot), part of it is because despite the existence of probably 28903 tutorials on How to Set Your Camera to Get the Perfect Christmas Tree Picture...I just can't be bothered to actually read any of them, so my pictures all come out looking like crap. The lights are either washed out and invisible, or everything is too dark, or...whatever. Just know that the tree looks way more awesome in person. Even though it's in a bad spot.

We've been using beads on the tree since 2006, but on an 80% off, post-Christmas whim last year, I bought a couple strands of giaaaaant gold tinsel.

I regret nothing.

That tinsel was SO much easier to put up than a million strands of itty bitty beads- it seriously took about 2 seconds. And it's so festive and gaudy and delightful!! I only wish I'd bought about two more strands- I had to stretch things a little thin to make it get to the bottom. I'll be on the lookout for a couple more strands after Christmas ends this year! And now our gold tinsel totally contrasts with our silver sparkly star, but mixing your metals is a thing now, right? So we're good.

I love this ornament that my friend Catherine made last year- it's our house!

A lovely reminder of my brief fling with wood burning.

I didn't do much with the piano this year. I'm too lazy to un-decorate all the normal stuff, so I just added a few touches and called it a day (season?).

My beloved book trees...a few of them bit the dust in their storage containers over the last year, but this guy survived another year.

Totally normal to display your own Christmas card, right? Right.

 I have yet to find a satisfactory way to display my cards. I feel like I try something different every year and so far, nothing's been perfect. I'm really phoning it in this year- taping them up on the door. Wow. Special. And the tape will probably pull the paint off the doors when I take the cards down, so that will be a fun problem to tackle in January! Also, I took this picture last weekend, when we'd only received cards from the earliest birds. There are more now...taped up with equal precision and care, obviously.

My Christmas tree craft from a few years ago is on a bookshelf...I think they're so cute, plus they remind me of the 11,000 hours it took me to sew them. I'm such a gifted seamstress...

My decorating skillz didn't spill over to the rest of the house much this year. Normally I'll do a little something in the bedroom, kitchen, and bathrooms, but this year...naaaah. I found some older than dirt tinsel and draped it around Millie's changing table area and that's about it. Maybe when she's older we'll put a little tree in there or something, but for now...I mean, I feel like I just finished decorating her nursery for regular life about two seconds ago. It's cute enough. It needs no more sparkle or glitz to make it through the month. Ha.

Wanna know how old that tinsel is? Okay then. My roommate and I bought it to decorate our FRESHMAN DORM ROOM. Yeah. In 2001. This trusty tinsel has stood the test of time!

Oh! There is one more thing! My favorite picture frame door art came back to the front door for season 3!

I made a tutorial for this, too!
That's pretty much it for Christmas 2014. Nothing too spectacular, but enough sparkle and shininess to make the house feel festive and fun! I'm trying to enjoy the decorations a little extra this year- next year we'll have a one-year-old, and I hear they're notorious for destroying everything, so we'll probably have to do an amended version of decorating. But that's okay. I'll take sweet Millie over red and green whatever anytime.

Have a wonderful weekend! If you're extra bored, feel free to check out my Christmas decor tours from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. (Actually, I just looked at 2010 and it was pretty awful. I can pretty much guarantee you're not bored enough to want to see that, unless you want to see a progression in my Mantel Decorating Skills...because they REALLY sucked back then!!)


  1. Yay Christmas decorations! Yay for your birthday! (I'm still tired, that's all I got.)

  2. Happy Birthday, Erika!! I hope you have a special day!


  3. I've already said on IG how much I adore your mantle! So perfect. Just knew you couldn't go without a "big balls" comment! You're the 12 year old boy, by the way. You're Christmas card fills my heart with joy. I don't think you could wear a bigger smile if you tried.

  4. Love the mantel decor as well as the front door! And happy birthday!! :)

  5. Oh and Happy Birthday!!!!!! Hope your day is amazing and filled with love from Matt and Millie!

  6. Happy Birthday!!

    I love your book trees and your picture frame wreath!

  7. I think your tree is beautiful, even if it's not in a location you would prefer! :) Also, I am loving your mantle with three stockings. God is good!


    There now that that's out of the way... "'good Christmas tree spot' is going to be at the TOP of the priority list"... yes, yes, and Amen. I swore I'd never buy a house without an open, two story living room, and here I am with eight foot ceilings and a tree shoved in the corner AGAIN. When will I learn to prioritize the tree correctly on the house buying list?

  9. I love it all! And I second your "Christmas tree spot" requirement. We never even thought of that when we built our house..and I feel like there is no great spot for a tree. Oh well. I love my house enough to stay..but every year at Christmas I'm mad that we didn't built a fun little picture window area for our tree in the living room.

  10. Happy birthday! We don't have the best place for a Christmas tree either. It's kind of right in the middle of the living room. At least we all see it :)

  11. Happy birthday! May at least one of your dreams come true! (the best one, obvi).

    I really love that nativity scene. Also, your card is adoooooorable.

  12. HBD! Love the Xmas decorations and your Christmas card is too cute. Hope you have lots of fun things planned for this weekend.

  13. I can't believe I don't have strands of tinsel!! Totally will be on the lookout for that post-Christmas. Oh, and tree-placement was definitely high in our minds when we moved in this summer. We set up furniture specifically with the tree in mind, so I think buying a house for a good tree spot is definitely logical and probably necessary!

  14. LOVE! You are on it girl! Your nativity scene is so unqiue, really love it!

  15. Happy Birthday girl!! I love the Christmas decorations - especially those book trees, and you're Christmas card is PERFECT. P.S. You better be looking for a Fisher Price Nativity on Clearance after Christmas this year... Millie is going to be all up in that stuff this time next year! :)

  16. Happy Happy Happy Birthday!!!

    I am totally making that picture frame ornament wreath for next year because I am tired of my wreath. Also, I'm totally stealing that present canvas to put on top of my piano because there is a bare spot there, I have an empty canvas downstairs, and it will only take about three seconds. Win-win!

    And hands down, you win the most adorable Christmas Card ever. Love it!!!

  17. I loved getting your Christmas card!!

  18. First things first, seeing your family Christmas card totally brought tears to my eyes :) I am so happy for you and your new family!!

    The next most important thing obviously is how did you keep those big balls (I laugh in my head just typing that!) in place on the mantel?? Seems like they would roll around.

  19. I always love your Christmas tour -- thank you for sharing! :-) There is something to be said for simple, minimal decorations; I've come to appreciate them way more than the elaborately decorated homes. I know for a fact that the amount of Christmas decorations in a house is NOT an accurate measure of how much love and Christmas spirit is in that home. Plus, do I need to even point out that we minimalists will be done taking down our decor LONG before the over-achievers?? Just sayin'... Also, I would LOVE, seriously love, one of those house ornaments. Does your friend Catherine make them to sell? Does she have an Etsy shop or anything??? Really, I need one on my tree!!!

  20. I love everything! You did a great job! I especially love that you added a little sparkle to Millie's room! :)

  21. Love all of it- so unique and so you!!

  22. HEY! It is not ok to have a whole post with only a picture of a picture of Millie!

    (I love the decor, though! And I sympathize with the lack of space for a Christmas tree.)

  23. Very pretty! I am stopping by from Kelly's Korner. If you get a chance, stop by #36!

  24. Beautiful! Did you make the book tree?

  25. Happy birthday! Love ur Christmas card and the decor on ur door.

  26. Your decorations are super cute, and there are so many! We have always had tinsel on our tree and I do think it makes such a difference. I really like the giant star on your mantle and really, who doesn't laugh at big balls? haha.


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