11 Dec Christmas Home Tour 2015 | Stress-Free Decorating
I am not handling stress well this year. We don’t have time for anything these days, much less decorating the house for Christmas. Even though I didn’t think it would happen, the house got decorated anyway! And it was probably the quickest, most stress-free holiday decorating we’ve ever done. Come on in for our Christmas home tour, and I’ll let you know how I managed to do it!
I told Ed and the kids that I wasn’t going to do much as far as decorating the house for Christmas this year. Between a longer-than-usual wedding season, holiday shopping, homework, and extra dance competition rehearsals, we just didn’t have time for anything else. We’d put up our family Christmas tree, but that would probably be it.
I wasn’t going to buy anything new. I wasn’t going to put up all the trees (we have more than one!). I wasn’t going to add the stress of decorating to my already too long to-do list. So we got down the boxes, and I just started pulling stuff out.
Then something funny happened.
As I started placing things around the house, I realized I was enjoying it. We put the Christmas music on, and talked about Christmas memories we had forgotten as we pulled out each item. I looked around, and the house was decorated, and it looked great! It just kind of happened, and I realized that it wasn’t stressful because I didn’t LET it be stressful.
It was a complete epiphany for me, and I’m going to share some tips that will hopefully help you with stress-free decorating in your own home!
#1: Get a Professional.
I don’t have time for crafts these days, so I knew I would be skipping all those do-it-yourself tutorials on Pinterest this year. I love to make a statement with our front doors, especially since we have client meetings in our home. It’s the first thing everyone sees when they come over! So instead of spending time shopping for wreaths or worse, foraging in my backyard for materials, I ordered wreaths from my favorite florist.
When I saw that Everbloom Designs had an online store, my mind was made up! I placed the order from my desk and let her do what she does best. She has a much better eye than I do for styling and arranging flowers and natural elements. I ordered two wreaths for my entry doors and gave her carte blanche to create something for them. I was thrilled when they were delivered!
Aren’t they beautiful? I’m not sure what I will do with them when the holidays are over, but I’ve decided these will be permanent fixtures on my door! I moved my Ikea lanterns from the inside stairs to the outdoor steps, and Ed quickly stapled up a lighted garland. My pumpkin and fall flowers are still going strong, so it was super easy!
In our foyer, I exchanged the complicated lit garland that lined the banister for something much easier. A simple garland, no lights, and long white bows. I just loop the ribbon around a small grapevine wreath and tie it to the newell posts. The whole thing probably took less than 10 minutes!
We struggled with the decision to put up our 12-foot tree. The lights on last year’s version had gone out, and we didn’t want to string new lights. But there’s just something so wonderful about walking into the house and being greeted by this monster of a tree, so we broke down and bought a new one. Besides, it’s the only tree you can see from the street.
We call this tree the “ball tree, ” because we only decorate it with glass ball ornaments. But also because “ball tree” is just funny! Because of its sheer size, it’s not the most fun tree to decorate. But Ed and I poured some drinks and did it together. I didn’t find out until last night that he (purposely!) left a box of ball ornaments in the garage that didn’t make it to the tree. No one would know, and it made the job faster! They also came in handy for the next tip…
3. Use What You Have
I’m not gonna lie. I love shopping for Christmas decorations. I can spend hours on the decorating isles just planning out a whole new display. But I knew I wouldn’t have time for that this year, so I made a decision to use only what we already have this year.
To change things up, I made myself use everything in a different way than I have in previous years. This collection of trees ended up here because I literally took them out of the box and set them here. I loved how they all looked together, so they stayed! Decorating time: 30 seconds.
Next to the foyer is my office and “library” (I love it when the kids come up with cute names for everything). This room has our home’s only mantel, and I usually spend hours, if not days, getting it just right. Not this year. I just threw up a garland and hung our stockings. I ordered this starburst mirror last month for our master bedroom, but I set it here when it arrived, and I think it may stay here instead!
I pulled the silver julep cups from the bar right next to the fireplace and stuck some clippings in them. A trio of paper trees finishes the look!
Anyone who knows me knows that I have to have a bar. In my office. It’s one of my favorite parts of the house! I did break my no shopping rule with these little bottle brush trees, though. It wasn’t my fault! We were at Wal-Mart picking up our new 12-foot tree, and I had to do something while we waited for them to bring it out. They were a whopping $1 each, so I don’t feel bad at all.
Besides, they look super cute nestled in the dried flower crown that we used for Jessie’s Sweet 16 shoot!
My mother-in-law brought me these vintage Merry Christmas glasses, and they filled the spot where my julep cups were perfectly! I can’t wait to serve cocktails in these this year!
I’m almost ashamed to admit that those straws have been there since last Christmas. Oops.
Here’s a look at the other side of the room, where I spend 80% of my days. I added a cozy Santa to my shelves, but that’s all.
This is my view from my desk. This tree is hard to photograph, but it’s probably my favorite! I wanted an all-white tree, but it was a little girly for Ed. So we decided to put it in my office instead, so I get to look at it all day. I almost didn’t decorate it. It really looks great on its own, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t stand not putting out my collection of white (and gold) ornaments!
#4: Use Cleaning Up as an Excuse to Decorate (or Decorating as an Excuse to Clean Up!).
As you pass through the foyer and into our family room, you might notice this little bar that’s tucked under our stairs (yes, another bar! We have them everywhere, like Christmas trees). The counter is usually piled with keys, sunglasses, lipstick, and anything else that comes out of the pockets when parents and teenagers come home.
I needed a place to put our extra Christmas wine glasses, and the bar made too much sense not to use! So I cleaned up the extra items that needed to be put away anyway, and placed the glasses on the counter. This little white tree is perfect for this spot, and it goes back into the box already decorated like this. I literally pulled it out and plugged it in. Oh, and I added some Jack Daniels napkins from our trip to the Jack Daniels distillery earlier this year as a tree skirt. Ed likes his Jack!
The Family Room is where most of our living happens, and it’s usually a mess. Between homework, shoes, and Nerf darts, I can’t keep this room clean! But those things kind of ruin the Christmas vibe, so I’m being extra faithful about keeping it picked up.
The Christmas items on the shelves were just things we have collected over the years that I couldn’t find a place for. Most of these things haven’t even been displayed in the past few years, and were just “extras.” I found spots for them among the books and collectibles. I had been wanting to rearrange these shelves for awhile, and the holidays gave me the excuse I needed!
The Family Tree is the one thing we knew would go up no matter what! This is the tree that all the kids’ gifts go under, and it’s in this room that we celebrate Christmas morning. Luckily, the kids always love decorating this tree, so we had lots of help!
This tree doesn’t really have a theme, other than being a hodgepodge of all the ornaments we’ve collected over the years. All the kids’ handmade ornaments from school go here, and we always get an ornament when we travel. So this tree is full of memories, and I love it for that!
The antler topper is new. But only because I was already at Pier 1 for something else.
#5: Use Plants and Greenery as Decorations
We all have a couple houseplants around, so use them! Green is a popular Christmas color, and most plants are already green! I put this Christmas cactus in a white pot and moved it to the coffee table. I have a few trees and boxwood shrubs in the back that donated their branches for a few well-placed clippings. It’s free, and you don’t have to go anywhere!
Side note: This canvas of my kiddos is in need of being updated (it’s about 4 years old now), but I still love it so much!
Remember those extra balls that Ed was trying to hide from me? I put them in a shell-shaped bowl, and voila! Instant Christmas decor. I used a few more scattered around shelves and surfaces.
#6: Display your Christmas Photos (and/or Christmas cards).
This may be my favorite part of our Christmas decorations this year. But hey, I’m a photographer. What do you expect? The twine, stars, and mini clothespins were already here, displaying photos that we put up for Jessie’s Sweet 16 party (yes, it was almost 4 months ago!). I just swapped out the photos for ones from our Christmas photo shoot. After adding a few small wreaths and mini Christmas trees, it was done! And I love it so much.
#6: Use Your Christmas Dishes as Decorations.
One of my new favorite things about Christmas is getting out our holiday china and glasses. They were a gift from my mother-in-law last year, and I had almost forgotten how beautiful they are! You only get to use festive place settings like this once a year, so get it out and display it! I grouped together some plates, bowls, and wine glasses on a tray, added a few candles, and my Christmas centerpiece is done! Until Christmas dinner. Then I’ll have to figure something else out. Oops.
I set this deer here while trying to find a place for him, then decided that I liked him there just fine!
Lastly, I set up a small coffee/hot chocolate tray on our kitchen island. I filled in the spaces with some oranges that I put in Alex’s lunch every morning.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little Christmas home tour! And I hope I’ve shared something that will make your holiday decorating a little easier. As it turns out, decorating my house this year was fun, and actually relieved some of the stress I had been feeling!