It truly is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! The holiday season here runs long compared to most families we know. If you’re a typical celebrant of the Christmas season, your tree may already be down. For us, however, the holiday season doesn’t end until after Epiphany- January 6th. El Dia de Los Reyes, or Three Kings Day, is a pretty big deal for most Spanish-speaking countries. Typically, children are encouraged to leave camel food (grass) in a shoe box as feed for the Magi’s camels. We don’t do that anymore since the Twinks are over it, age-wise. We do still read the story of the Three Wise Men and exchange gifts, though. Gift-giving for Reyes makes more sense, after all. That’s when Jesus was presented his gifts, right?
No matter what, or how you observe; you probably still decorate, somehow, during the winter season. Recently, we hosted a Christmas party at the crib. Most, if not all, of the attendees asked me about my decor more than once- even the guys! Of course, they knew the requirement of standing in our dining room to ooh and aah. That DIY needed to be appreciated, y’all. Some of them were more interested in the holiday decor, though. I suggested a blog post about where I got my stuff, and one of my friends said, “Like a virtual holiday home tour?”
You see, in the military, it’s traditional for the senior ranking members to host Holiday Home Tours of their houses on the installation. We’re all accustomed to it, and it provides inspiration on how to decorate for this (or next) year’s festivities.
So, while you may not celebrate until Epiphany like we do, I’m hoping I can inspire you for next year. And! You don’t have to get dressed up and schmooze at some boss lady’s crib in order to do it. Now’s the perfect time to head out to some of my favorite stores and catch their after-Christmas sales. Saving money and chilling at the same time? Win/win.
Why don’t we start in the spot where all the magic happens? Did Marvin Gaye’s, Let’s Get it On, just start playing in your head? No? Oh…nah, mine neither.
So…I like to cook and host with food. Which is, obviously, the reason why food blogging is a thing for me. My kitchen is purely functional during the holiday season and I’m not a fan of fussing with it too much. I try to avoid putting things in there that could be flammable, or will create too much clutter. A window wreath is all I have hanging over my kitchen sink. The eat-in dining room, on the other hand…that’s where things get poppin’.
Recently, we were in Ikea to purchase their Räcka curtain rods. Okay, we kept screwing up the size and amount of brackets we needed, so we were in Ikea three days straight. That wouldn’t have been such a big deal…if Ikea weren’t 45 minutes away. With the added holiday traffic, it made for some realllllly funky attitudes.
To complete the window treatment, I also picked up four of their white Vivan curtain panels. Since we wanted to butt the curtain rods up against the ceiling, I needed to extend the curtain panels by 4 inches. I cut one panel in fourths, lengthwise, and gathered them. Then I sewed them to the original hem of the solid panels. It gave the final curtain an airy, flounced look that was perfect for what I wanted in the dining nook.
While we were in Ikea, I noticed they had a candle chandelier that had the cutest holly garland intertwined. It had the hygge look I was wanting in my holiday decor. I loved the idea, however, I have a thing about setting candles aflame in a ceiling pendant. Not having thirty foot ceilings will do that to you. Thankfully, I already have a chandelier that looks like it has candles.
I added a garland of holly that I found at Hobby Lobby, and thought it looked right cozy! Now, if you know anything about Hobby Lobby, you know that all of their Christmas items are like, 99.9% off right now. That means it’s the perfect time to stock up for next year’s holiday season.
The wreaths that are hanging in the windows downstairs (six of them to be exact) are also from Ikea. Those almost caused a chick to get fired. Me and rude employees just don’t mix. I spoke with a manager, grabbed my six wreaths, and bounced before I caught a case. The Smycka 17″ spruce wreath is the perfect size for hanging in our windows. But they weren’t flocked like all the other greenery in our home. “Flock it!” I said. Hector asked me why I was cussing him out. I clarified, “I will flock it myself.”
I purchased this flocking material and, since I didn’t have to worry about lights and all, used it to achieve a light dusting of “snow”. Some buffalo plaid ribbon from a craft store velcroed to our blinds’ frames and our window decor was done.
It’s chilly here in Central Texas. Nowhere near as cold as we’re used to, being from the East Coast, but since we’ve acclimated, we feel it. One of my favorite memories of our time stationed in Germany was visiting the Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas markets. Our first stop at the market would be to a glühwein vendor to grab a steamy glass of the warm, mulled, red wine. I now make mine own version every winter, of course. Warming it in a crock-pot is my favorite way of welcoming every guest into our home. I serve the glühwein in these adorable Irish coffee mugs that I found at Crate and Barrel. Setting it all on tea towels with a Scandinavian design completes the set-up (and adds more hygge).
Being a food blogger, I can’t go without feeding people. S’mores cupcakes, chocolate-peppermint and vanilla-sea salt caramel macarons and truffles, and Trader Joes’ tea cookies are all a great way to say, “Come on in!” They’re also quick to prepare. These serving platters are from a continuously growing collection of mine. I find them at Marshall’s, Homegoods, or Ross stores all the time. White is a perfect addition to any table, as it’s timeless and fits most (if not all) themes. I didn’t pay more than ten bucks for any of these.
Because my living room-kitchen-dining area are all one big space, I try to keep the continuity of the decor. Three more of those Ikea wreaths hang in these windows which I DIY’ed right before my Solider came home from the Middle East. The curtain panels here aren’t gathered like the ones in the dining nook. Instead, they’re sleek and boxy to match the streamlined look of the living room.
We don’t have cable tv in our home. I know, I know- quelle horreur! It’s okay, really. We’re all surviving our deprivation surprisingly well. Since we don’t indulge in copious amounts of tv watching, we spend a lot of time in our living room. I, honestly, feel like it’s an extension of our bedrooms, so I love to add oversized, down-filled pillows to our “Hector-sized” couches.
No lie, these seats are three feet deep! For my 6’4″ husband, they are a perfect fit. For everyone else, they make you feel like a little kid in Alice in Wonderland. They are perfect for snuggling and big, poofy pillows are must for a good snug-fest. Pottery Barn had these buffalo plaid pillow covers on sale last week, and they frequently go on sale throughout the year. They also offer a 15% military discount, so it’s always worth a stop in to check out what’s on special.
The sweater pillows are the Kungskalla cushions from Ikea. While my pillow covers are mostly from Pottery Barn, my inserts are the down-filled Fjädrar, from Ikea. For the quality and price, I prefer these pillow inserts (even though they smell like wet dog out of the dryer).
Our girl child recently read a book on Queen Mary I, of England, and discovered pomanders. These decorative oranges, which originated in France, are a simple, inexpensive way to decorate and perfume your space. We made a girl’s craft night of it and created a few to set atop some inexpensive greenery I picked up at our grocery store. Add some scented pine cones, cinnamon sticks, and decorative lanterns; and you have the perfect coffee table centerpiece!
The other couch is chockfull of more fluffy pillows from PB, too.
Tell me that’s not the cutest! I picked up three, or four, of these throw blankets from Kirkland’s when they had them on sale for ten bucks apiece. The sale price, plus the fact that Kirkland’s lets you stack discounts, like a military discount or coupons; brought these babies down to five bucks. I love to offer them to guests when we sit around our fire pit on cold evenings.
Ikea strikes again on my “thermostat wall”. Yes, there is a thermostat on this wall. I’m sure you can guess where it is. These large, square picture frames are from Ikea and the prints are some of the favorite places we’ve visited. Of course, every home needs some “smell good” so I hit up Bath and Body Works during their annual candle sale and shamed myself. Hector helped, though.
I love our faux-vintage record player for entertainment during parties. It’s on top of the media console I built a few years ago. I added some flocked garland and a cute, little reindeer I picked up at Marshall’s last year. The nutcracker I bought as just a plain, wooden figure. I painted it to look like a soldier from Tchaikovsky’s ballet. I figured, since I haven’t seen it yet, I can fake it prettily.
Our entry way has to be my next favorite place- it’s so warm and inviting. My goal, when people enter our home for the first time, is for them to immediately feel warmth and love. Growing up in the home that I grew up in, that wasn’t a common reaction. We’ve lined our banister with more flocked garland (we’re probably going to give ourselves asthma with all this flocking); as well as knitted, monogrammed stockings from Target. Pottery Barn pillows make another appearance on our bench.
You know those people who always get their Christmas cards out? On time? Every. Single. Year? I’m not one of those people. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever sent a Christmas card out as an adult. Maybe twice. Tops. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy receiving them. I hang our Christmas cards right next to our entry table. So, if you’re one of my amazing holiday card senders- keep it up! You’re the only salvation for our entryway decor!
While the kitchen is the most-utilized room in our home, our formal dining room is my favorite- hands down. I think it’s because most of our blood, sweat, and tears were shed in here. Remember how the holiday season started over here? Yep! That DIY was pretty legit. Every time any one of the four of us walks by this room, though, it makes it all worthwhile. This buffet and hutch used to be a boring cream and oak color. We refinished it and changed the hardware, and now it’s fresh and modern.
The hutch is home to a family of zinc reindeer (that are on sale RIGHT NOW!!). The rustic jingle bells I found at Kirkland’s. Our sign is from Hobby Lobby and the flocked garland seals the deal. I added some fairy lights that I found at Crate and Barrel and stood back to bask in its glory. Moving along.
These ceramic houses from Crate and Barrel seem to be all the rage these days. I’ve found similar items at Target. Throw a flocked garland around it, toss some cinnamon-scented pinecones on top and your little village is ready to party!
We host a LOT of Soldiers at our parties. Many of those Soldiers like to unwind with an adult beverage. This ten foot sideboard was a labor of love in the truest sense. We needed a piece of furniture large enough to compliment our twenty foot wall, and storage for my blog props was becoming an issue. We killed two birds with one very large, HEAVY, stone.
This year’s tree is the family’s favorite tree of all time. In year’s past one person, or another, didn’t care for the chosen tree. Mine was Christmas Tree version 2010. Whoville. Need I say more? But this year’s tree has everyone in the family falling in love with buffalo plaid and flocking. King of Christmas is the leader in artificial Christmas trees. This unlit seven and a half footer is on sale on their site right now. It’s extremely life-like and easy to set up, as well. The various ornaments are from Kirkland’s and Hobby Lobby; as well as some we picked up on our many travels. Our tree collar (on sale) came from Crate and Barrel and saved me the drama of coordinating a tree skirt!
Finally, the pièce de résistance (hey France? Why you got three different types of “E’s”?): the table. Everyone knows the table is the heart of a home. This was another project in our DIY from hell. It used to be the same blah cream and oak as the the hutch and buffet. We stained and painted it to revive it and I couldn’t be happier when I look at it.
Here’s another angle of it. I really do love it.
Well! Thanks for joining me in a walk around my holiday home! I hope you take away a bunch of fantastic ideas for next year’s decor- or, if you’re like me, set up in time for the Three Wise Men and their camels.
Pin this post for shopping trips and pick up those great sale items! Let me know which, if any, room was your favorite!
Hugs and Holiday Greetings,