We’re settling down from the excitement last night of our first big party in our house, readers, and we wanted to smother you with Christmas. Welcome to the Christmas tour of our house, with all of the little touches we’ve thrown in to cram the Christmas cheer down your throat as soon as you walk through the door.
Speaking of the door, let’s start outside and work our way in. This is how our house looks from the street:
As seen here, in our 2010 holiday picture:
In our new house, the two posts at the bottom of the steps are a lot shorter than the poles from our last place, so I had tons of ribbon leftover to use on other things. The garland from the railing is in two 9′ pieces, which were the perfect length to use for both sides of our railing on the porch. Unfortunately, the lights were in one string, and I couldn’t think of where to put them up, so they’re in a box in the basement for now.
We also put up the icicle lights, and we were one string short of completing the front of the house, so Dan zipped out to buy another one. Our house is three strings-of-lights wide, in case you were curious.
My biggest and newest outdoor decoration this year is my garland and ornament bundles along the retaining wall fence beside the driveway.
I bought really dirt cheap garland from Target (50′ for $10!!) and strung that along the fence, wrapping it around each post. It was the perfect length to go from the street to the side entrance fence, and still leave a bit leftover to string in front of the new section of fence across the driveway. I stapled the garland to the middle of each long section where it was hanging down, and then there it sat for about two weeks before I got my butt in gear to make the ornament bundles.
I bought GIANT ornaments at Costco (8 HUGE ornaments for $22, they came packaged in a giant tube, like Mentos), and a set of 50 red and silver standard sized ornaments. I had tons of red ribbon leftover from the porch railing, and essentially a full roll of the stuff from when I bought it 4 years ago (again, Costco is good for some things, and it’s definitely giant rolls of wired ribbon – 45′ for $11!!). The ornaments all came with hooks, so I secured them together and pinched the hooks closed with pliers, and cut lengths of ribbon for each ornament and tied them to the hooks. For each bundle, I used two large ornaments and three of the standard sized ones, and then knotted all their ribbons together. I tied each bundle to the post and then covered the knots with a big fluffy bow. Voila!
And just around the corner from the kitchen, at the side door entrance, we’ve included my favourite wreath of all time:
This is my Starbucks Christmas wreath, from the good ol’ days when they really decorated each store for Christmas, with elaborate decorations and little touches that made your heart happy. At the end of the season, they wouldn’t keep any of it, so every store got to decide what would happen to everything, and I got to take a bunch of it home. This wreath is equal parts ornaments and yarn balls, and it makes me happy.
Also just around the corner in the kitchen, you’ll find Dan’s childhood advent calendar, hanging next to my Starbucks Black Apron (it deserves capital letters).
And now let’s turn the corner and take in everything in the living room:
First, and most important, THE TREE:
We love having the great big window in the living room, so the whole neighbourhood gets to see our tree each night. It has to be a touch off-centre to account for the air vent in the floor, but the effect is still the same.
You’ll also notice the presents that are already under the tree. Dan and I are completely done shopping for each other and all of our presents are wrapped and under the tree. Also, this year every gift for each other is wrapped in reusable fabric drawstring bags (once again, here’s the link to the tutorial I used for anyone else interested in reducing their wrapping paper footprint). I’ve been plugging away on getting them done since September, and I just finished them two weeks ago. Craft accomplishment!
You might recall from one of our recent posts that we have a mantle in the living room now. Just this week, we added chairs to either side of the mantle to add extra seating for holiday gatherings, and to make it look a little more substantial.
The chairs came from Target (we really love a lot of their home decor stuff), and they were both the nicest looking chairs that went with out living room decor (and were the right size), and not expensive. The pillows are just a for-now solution -these are the pillows that normally live on the purple couch, but they migrated across the room to add a punch of colour. I’d like to have seasonal throw pillows that get swapped out, but throw pillows are expensive! Nice ones cost at least $40 each, and really more like $80. That’s ridiculous.
Above the mantle, we’ve got our blue paper trees (also from Starbucks), Christmas card bulletin board for displaying all the cards we receive in the mail, bubble-blowing Santa bear, our advent candle, a big glass jar for displaying cards from previous years, and of course, my teeny tiny advent garland socks. I made each and every one of them, and there’s a tiny treat inside each sock. They deserve their own picture:
The advent candle also deserves its own special mention. Look how cute it is!
And we’ve received two Christmas cards in the mail so far. Our cards went out at the beginning of this week and most people have received them by now. It’s not too late, readers! We want your card to be proudly on display in our living room.
And if you’re thinking “What’s the point in sending Christmas cards? You’ll just throw them out as soon as you open it”, you are WRONG! I keep all of my Christmas cards, and I use them as decoration. Observe, our 2010 and 2011 cards are strung up on ribbons and hanging from either side of the dining room entrance.
I used some of the leftover normal sized ornaments from my outdoor Christmas project as a centrepiece of festive Christmas spirit. Please excuse the coaster mess, this was taken first thing this morning before we have fully tidied up from our party last night.
In the dining room, we’re keeping it simple this year with my tinsel tabletop tree. My big-picture plan is to move the skinny tree that is currently in the living room into the dining room and tuck it into a corner. That would give us the opportunity to buy a really big beautiful front window display kind of tree. That might not happen for next year, but it’s coming. And then one day there will be a tree in every room. Happy sigh.
This one still needs some more love. This is the first tree that Dan bought for his old apartment, and we replaced it with the skinny tree at our old place because we had a teeny tiny living room. We just bought a set of decorations for it Target, and they’re a good solid base for adding more, but this tree currently has zero personality. We’ll start looking for blue, silver, and white ornaments to fill it out, but it’s OK for now.
In conclusion, we’re super excited to have our first Christmas in our new house, and I’m sure we’ll be adding more Christmas touches between now and the big day.