12.12.2011

Welcome To Our Home {Christmas 2011}

I don't know about you, but I love being (virtually) invited into someones home to sneak around their Christmas-y nooks and crannies, and the blogs that host these tours are just delightful. If you're interested in seeing how I changed things up this year, you can check out my 2009 Home Tour, as well and the 2010 special. I've added a few things, removed a few things, and generally continue to tweak as the season progresses, but that's what turning a house into a home is all about, isn't it? So, come on in and welcome to our Christmas home 2011!

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A new addition to the traditional greenery this year are the two (FREE) Charlie Brown trees that we picked up at the Christmas tree farm this year. They always have a stack of them for people to take, so I came home with two and the view of sticking one on either side of the door. I love the way they turned out!

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Once you make your way into the house, this is what greets you. You might notice a few changes, including a new wall color and couch, as well as simplified wall art - all part of my quest to embrace simplicity.

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New candle holders on the coffee table this year and less clutter overall - I'm loving it!

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I simplified our ornament collection this year, choosing to keep only the ornaments that truly meant something to us, instead of every ornament ever received or purchased. I can honestly stand in front of our tree now and tell you a story about each and every ornament - and let me tell you, that's a lot of fun!

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{LEFT} This ornament belonged to my great grandmother {RIGHT} Starting with the Swedish Chef and moving clockwise - a lifelong love of The Muppet Show, a plate of Indonesian "food", a Peruvian alpaca, a buoy from Rockport, MA, sea turtle from Kakaban Island, Indonesia, carved giraffe from Tanzania, hand-worked leather from Rakops, Botswana, and finally - Koala bears from the San Diego Zoo. The tree is filled with memories from all of our many travels, and we love it!

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Looking from the living room into the dining room, which brings me straight to my Jim Shore Nativity set...

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I was {this close} to not unpacking my Jim Shore Nativity. I had set out the special coconut Nativity from Indonesia, and the childhood remembrance set, but I thought that anything more than two this year might just put me over the edge. However, at the last minute I relented and stuck the J.S. set on top of my hutch (where the candles were last year). What made me change my mind? I saw that there was a perfect spot to put two of my Ikea mini-trees which gave it a whole new feel.

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Looking into the library from the dining room...the only thing different this year is that there are fewer Christmas decorations and a Pinterest-inspired centerpiece.

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This post is getting a bit long, need to powder your nose or wash your hands? No tour would be complete without showing you the bit of Christmas color in our guest bathroom. Now on to the master bedroom!

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In darkness...except for the new garlands over the windows - even bedrooms need some Christmas cheer!

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And let there be light...and Christmas quilts!

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The quilt on the back of the couch (you might recognize it as the one that used to be in our living room before the Ektorp took over) was the quilt that I grew up using at Christmas. It's really beautiful, but sadly, it's only a twin. The quilt on our bed was acquired last year after my mother made it for she and my dad, only to decide that she didn't want it. Too bad - but we love it!

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The photo of the Biltmore was taken by my brother, who, in addition to taking amazing photographs of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is also the official photographer for Biltmore House. This particular print shows the house illuminated for Christmas. It's beautiful anytime, but with the lights, it's even more festive.

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We'll end here - on the Nativity set from my childhood - about 25 years old now (I think Mom gave it to me when I was about 5). The center of the Nativity - Christ Jesus - is, after all, The Reason for the Season. Let us never forget that, nor what He came to Earth to do - die on a cross and take our sins upon Him so that we might have the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven with him. Truly the greatest Gift of all.

Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting!

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