It's no secret that we love the holiday season. Whether we're enjoying the festive atmosphere of the Old Town tree lighting and Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend parade, or just a relaxing stroll around town taking in the Christmas decorations that adorn the houses, Christmas in our neighborhood is a special and enjoyable time of year.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to live in such a wonderful place, so we always want to make sure we're doing our part to make the city's festive decor just a little bit more Christmassy. 

Sometimes it's a bit more challenging with a house that's only 15 feet wide. We need to do the most that we can without making the house look too tacky. This means that giant inflatables hanging from the rooftop and elaborate displays of computer controlled twinkling lights set to the thumping sounds of modern Christmas music are not on the table (much to Alex's dismay). 

Instead, we take a more subtle approach to Christmas decor, both inside and out, and attempt to present a festive face that's both enjoyable to passers by and guests, and sensitive to the age and aesthetic of our home.

Last year we went with simple boxwood wreaths from our front windows and I absolutely loved the look. As luck would have it, Trader Joe's (of all places) had some great boxwood wreaths this year for just $9.95 each.

I snapped them up as soon as I saw them, and I'm glad I did. They were gone the next time we went back to the store. 

Beyond our subtle exterior decor, we've applied our favorite items to the interior of our home. We placed our tree in the space between the first and second parlors as we've done in nearly every year.

Our tree is covered with blown glass ornaments we've collected over the years from many of our favorite places and vacations. This year we were happy to hang those ornaments we accumulated from the year, such as this one that we picked up during our trip to Rothenburg, Germany.


Atop the fireplace mantle I made three matching floral arrangements using leftover tree clippings, some gold painted pinecones we had leftover from last year's decorations, a few glitter ball ornaments, and some ribbon wrapped around square vases. They were "free" decorations that only took a few minutes to put together and look absolutely great on the mantel!

For us, presents are as much for decor as they are for unwrapping, so this year I went with a soft and muted wrapping paper scheme with color coordinated bows and ribbon. It makes for a longer wrapping process, but it all sure looks great under the tree!

If you want to embark on a similar wrapping journey, take it from me, an experienced wrapper, it all goes much better with a glass of wine nearby.

We're not the only one that likes the tree and wrapping paper. Mr. Mel can always be seen lurking around the tree, looking for a ribbon to chew or some sap water to drink. It's his favorite time of the year.

Our dining room fireplace may not be a working fireplace (yet), but we still treat it as any good mantle should be treated by hanging our long and skinny felt stockings.

I incorporated the antique bugle I purchased last year in the wreath I hung over the mirror above the fireplace and love how it turned out. 

Rather than spread all of our various ornaments and decor all over the house, we were selective and just placed just a few of our many papier-mâché people in the dining room to watch over the gifts.

We carried our Christmas decorations into the kitchen, where we take advantage of the cool greys and whites with mercury glass candle holders and ornaments.

For a second year we added a second smaller tree at the back of the house in the sun porch. We didn't have one back there until just last year, but we really like how soft and festive it makes the room look.

For a long time we used traditional toppers on our tree, but now that I've seen the light of using beautiful bows, I think it will be the new tradition in our home for at least a few years.

This year wasn't quite so over the top for us since we didn't have the lofty expectations associated with hosting a home tour, so we decided to take it a little easier and go with our favorite decor. I think we appreciate it all just a little bit more now, and we'll really appreciate it when it comes time to take it all down and we have a bit less work to do. 

We hope you enjoyed he glimpse into this year's Christmas decor. How are you handling the decorations in your home? Are you going all out, more subtle, or no decorations at all this year? 

Comments 11


12/20/2013 at 3:33 PM

Beautiful!!! I think I finally have the inspiration I need to finish my house and put all the storage bins away!


Excellent! Glad to be of some (minor) assistance. Alt smile

12/20/2013 at 6:50 PM

You really have a knack for decorating beautifully. I love how warm and glowing everything looks!


Thank You, Jessica! That's the look we're going for, glowing and warm.

12/22/2013 at 1:41 PM

Beautiful as always, and I love the picture of Mel. So satisfied.


I think it's one of my all time favorite photos I've taken. Perfect timing.

12/23/2013 at 10:06 AM

I always enjoy seeing your Christmas decor (and your house in general). I absolutely love the boxwood wreaths. I wish we had something similar available here, but Cornwall is fairly small (50K population), and the only natural wreaths I saw were pine or cedar mixes, looked dried-up, and were insanely expensive (like 50$).

I have also fallen in love with the idea of using large bows at the top of the tree. For me, I'm really not religious anymore, so I didn't want a star or an angel, which leaves very few remaining options. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post where I'll be showing off my tree (I may do the post in the next few hours).

Also, now that I'm heavily into upholstery, I had asked my boss about your chair (since it has such an unusual setup), and the way that you had it upholstered is how it should be. Just webbing, a bit of a pad, and an optional loose seat cushion.


Thank you so much for checking on the methods we used to apply the webbing. It always makes us feel great when we learn we've handled something the right way after debating how to do it for so long. It's quite fulfilling, especially with an heirloom piece (which we have so few of).

I saw your nutcracker post and love the new guy. He looks like a great addition to your collection. We saw so many amazing ones in Germany but didn't end up buying any.

Threadbndr (Karla)
12/23/2013 at 1:41 PM

I'm really doing a minimal amount of decorating this year. I'm not hosting anyone, so just the little table top tree in the window and a wreath on the door.

I'm so crazy busy at work any more that I just don't have the time to shlep everything up out of the basement.

In the after Christmas sales, though, I'm looking for a couple of tiny trees to use on my mantle in the future - tall, skinny ones that are not lit. And lots of the miniature glass balls.


I love the after Christmas sales. If you plan it out right you can pretty much decorate your whole house the next year for 75%-90% off! We're definitely going to be hunting in the end of season sections of our stores.

12/23/2013 at 4:45 PM

I like Christmas so much because during this holiday all the houses and streets become so amazing and beautiful that it is difficult to imagine what other holiday can be so fancy! The atmosphere of happiness and joy surrounds you everywhere!

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