The Stockings Were Hung :: Decking The Halls

One of my favorite days of the year is what most Americans refer to as, "Black Friday". Oh no, you won't find me out shopping - you couldn't pay me enough to get out in that chaos - but you will find me  packing away all of the fall blankets, pillows, pumpkins, and Thanksgiving turkeys, and pulling out our Christmas decor. I look forward to the day after Turkey Day because it's our tradition to start Decking the Halls with Christmas cheer!


You might recall that I went on a mission to simplify this fall, and that included my autumn decorations. I can't tell you how much more I enjoyed the decor this year in it's simplified state. Instead of screaming "HELLO FALL!", it was like a gentle "Welcome Autumn". I loved using natural elements to express the changing of the seasons - dried wheat, brightly colored mums, and (of course) pumpkins in every size, shape, and color.

Photobucket   Photobucket

With that first simplified season under my belt, I am now looking to Christmas and trying to visualize a simpler version of holly and jolly. I already did quite a bit of purging last year, but I know that there will be more bags of holiday decor sent to our local charity once I start pulling out all the boxes. I've been hunting around for inspiration on Pinterest to gather ideas for simplified decorating, and here's what I've found so far...


1. What I love about the front door decor in this picture is the simple wreath hung by a red satin ribbon. Note to self, put red satin ribbon on my shopping list. I have always used a basic (fresh) pine wreath for our front door, but I usually try to stick some sort of bow on it and it always gets smashed between the front door and the glass storm door. With the plain ribbon hangar, you get the color without the smashing - love it!

2. We don't have a mantle (but it's on my wish list, along with the fireplace to go with it), but if we did, this is how I would want to decorate it. As it is, I'm envisioning something similar to this look - red berries (we have a bush out front that will provide those), white candles, simple greenery - spread throughout the house.

3. I love the idea behind these simple pillows and even I, with my lack of crafty talent, wouldn't be afraid to try a little stenciling on some plain cotton fabric. It's such a great way to spread subtle Christmas cheer throughout the house, without an in-your-face red and green bonanza. You could use the title of your favorite Christmas hymn (i.e. "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World"), or you could throw in a little Bing Crosby "White Christmas" or "Deck the Halls" for some variety. The possibilities are endless. Note to self, add plain cotton fabric, black fabric paint, stencils, and brush to your shopping list.

4. Part of my goal of simplifying is to clean out closets and hidden spaces around our house. As Jules found out last month, those places seem to breed rolls of wrapping paper and gift sacks, and my office closet is no different. Here's the best part - I just purchased more wrapping paper at my local Hallmark Holiday Open House. Why? Because I'm a sucker. But no more. I have a new plan that I'll put into place as soon as I work my way through the rolls that are now taking up space in my closet - one roll of white butcher paper. That's it. No more plethora of birthday, baby, wedding, and Christmas paper taking up space in my storage areas, just a simple roll of white paper that can be used for any occasion with an appropriate ribbon to signify the celebration.

While I clearly plan to make some changes to my "normal" Christmas decorating, there are some aspects that I plan on keeping, like my lit Christmas card garland over the door between the dining room and the library...


While some folks want a tree out of Better Homes and Gardens, I'll stick with my tree full of ornaments that actually mean something - reminders of fun vacations, places we have lived, and special occasions. This year we've already purchased one such reminder, a glass Darth Vader to mark that 2011 was the year "Vader" came into the family. Our collection of ornaments falls into the "Traditions" category that I talked about a couple of weeks ago - things that are special to us (and only us), and that are reminders of fun times in the past.


And while I keep the old, I intend to mix them in with some new simplified traditions and ideas. I will always hang our Christmas stockings, but they might be hung in a different location. I want the house to be aglow with candles and twinkle lights, but I also want it to be simple and clean. My goal this year is to find a comfortable balance between Holly and Jolly and remembering the real Reason for the Season. That may mean setting out one less nativity set (at last count I had five), but if the set has special meaning or brings a memory to mind (like our coconut set from Papua, Indonesia), then I'll be content. 

What plans do you have for simplifying your holidays? Do you go all out with your decorations or are you a "less is more" kind of decorator? Any plans for doing something different this year? If you missed the first four parts of this series, you can find them HERE.


  1. I like it! And I'm sure I speak for the majority of the lurkers out there...in the bloging shadows...

  2. We're simplifying for Christmas too.

    I absolutely love some of your ideas. Especially the white paper idea. I've never really figured out a method to store all my wrapping paper in an organized way (that doesn't take up WAY too much space!). I think I might do the same thing once I use up all the paper I've bought on sale over the years... Yep. I'm a sucker too!

  3. I am always a less is more type of person when it comes to seasonal decorating. We're traveling over the holidays so we're just putting up my small 'deployment' tree this year. Simple, simple, simple. :)

  4. Oh I love the things you pinned from Pinterest. So classy and cute. I love the idea of simplifying and I love Vader! Too fun!
    Have a great day Carrie!!

  5. You post such inspiring stuff. I know where the holiday stuff is....now to get it out = )

  6. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that wrapping paper idea!! Genius!!!

  7. Thanks for stepping out of the shadows, Peter! ;-)

    @Erika - Simplifying is always a good thing! What IS it about wrapping paper that sucks us in so easily?!

    @Joy - thanks for stopping by! I picked up a little something for your Christmas tree the other day - I'm pretty sure you're going to love it and laugh! ;-)

    @Irish - You're so sweet! Glad it encourages you - have fun!

  8. I want the Darth ornament for the same reason. :) I'll have to troll Target--I'm going there today, no surprise--and see if I can find that ornament!


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