December 21, 2013

Almost Christmas at Our House : Five Facts

It's almost Christmas.  So much to do!
Random Five Facts from our house at the holidays:

1.  I've never had a fake Christmas tree in my life.
A couple of weekends ago, Mitch went out on snowshoes on a bitter cold day with small children trailing behind him & got us a beautiful tree.
I told him I wanted a little one, and he delivered!  Our smallest, and my very favorite tree ever.
(I say that every year, so I'm told..  My idea of finding a perfect tree can be seen here.)
I made the twig star last year.

2.  The kids had their elementary concert last week. 
Lilly was thrilled to have her photo taken with two brothers after school.  (not really)
Mason & Eric had a semi-formal dance the next day.  They wore bow ties.

Beau (6)  •  Lilly (9)  •  Johnathan (11)

3.  We have lots of special Christmas ornaments from lots of special people. 
This ceramic bell is one of my favorites, made by my Great Grandma Stewart when I was three years old.

The star below is made from a Coca Cola can.  (I found a tutorial here.)

My mom made the copper star. 

4.   The antlers on our mantel are all shed antlers.  Most of them found here on our property over the years.  Mitch is good at finding sheds.  Once our dog, McGee, brought an algae covered antler out of the swamp and dropped it next to me in the garden.

5.  I barely decorated this year at all, and I'm loving the simplicity.  
Nature did a great job of decorating our winter wonderland with snow a couple of weeks ago. 
I've done away with most decorations that need to be stored & just kept one great big box for our tree ornaments, stockings , & a few special things. 
The rest are come & go - like the paper chain the kids made for counting down the days, or pine sprigs from outside.  Or already here - like my chalk board.  I've never felt less ready for Christmas, so I cleared my grocery list  & made myself a friendly reminder that I better get a move on. 
(The Chalkboard was also made by my mom quite a few years ago, and since repainted by me - we were chalkboard when chalkboard wasn't cool!)

I set our Christmas books on our coffee table.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a favorite at our house.
In my my piano bench, I found a vintage Christmas music book.
(It's actually for violin & orchestra, but it looks festive.  My mom made the bead board star, as well.)    

Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? 
Go all out, or keep it simple?

I finally whipped up a holiday photo & letter. 
Getting it ready to send & will share here too.
Almost Christmas!


  1. Just a small, pre-decorated artificial tree for us and a Christmas card display. I've never been a big fan of decorating, so simple is my mantra!

    Love all the handmade decorations from your mom -- she's very talented! xo

  2. Thats a classic "Mum (mom) I'm only doing this because I have to" look! I like it - and see it on my daughters face rather too often!

    The party was not for my birthday, but for a school friend of my wife - but I'll store the birthday wishes for next year!

    Cheers and hope you have a good Christmas week! Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. beautiful kids. i wonder what Lilly is thinking in those shots? the boys Beau & Johnathan are really smiling cute. your son Johnathan ... do you say that like John Nathan, Jon a thon or how? ( :

  4. I love your tree, and your beautiful ornaments. We don't do decorations or trees any more, because there's just the two of us old folks. I do buy presents, little edible treats, for the neighbors. And I bought a pretty wreath last weekend to decorate our porch. Not much, but if I had kids around... :-)

  5. Merry Christmas to you, too. Favorite decorations? Hmm .. lots of nativities of all shaped, materials and sizes. I resolved not to get any more and haven't for a few years but Dan's boss gave him an ornament with a special stand which is a nativity scene. I have lots of decorations up. YOu can see a few on my blog.

  6. I love Lilly's expression in the pictures with her brothers. I also like your Christmas tree. I guess our favorite decorations are the ornaments on our tree. Many of them are connected with things we've done together over the years. We give each other a 'special' ornament each year.

  7. Hi Amanda, Love seeing your decorations. I never had a fake tree until the past several years (after I got old)… ha….These days, it's much simpler for us --and we do have a pretty one…

    I am a 'lover' of Christmas ---and have TONS of memories/decorations.. I still decorate ALOT and love it. I wrote blogs ALL week showing some of my fav's (ornaments/angels, etc.)… You'll have to go back and read my Monday and Wednesday posts.

    Merry Christmas.

  8. i really like the hand-made decorations. very cool. i have one wreath that my mother-in-law made for us years ago that i bring out and hang.

  9. I was a go all out for decades, now there is no tree (living or artificial) inside (4 naughty cats) but some very simple decorations, outdoors the Olive Tree has taken the decoration honours now . We've Santa's and they are my favourite decorations. Talented Mom, talented Daughter, and your children are so gorgeous!

  10. I love your tree. It's so nicely decorated.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  11. Hi Amanda, I came by to wish you happy holidays. I love your decorations with "history." We are traveling between the mountains and the city, so mine are nonexistent except for lovely candles which I light early in the evening. Enjoy the children - they're the meaning of Christmas.

  12. You are so young, girl! :) And, it looks like y'all are ready to celebrate!

  13. Merry Christmas, Amanda! I hope you and your family have a joyous celebration.

    I love the chalk board; very fun.

    When we were little it was tradition to cut a tree down and have a live Christmas tree. Mom got tired of all the needles in the carpet and the "fire danger."

    Unique or rustic ornaments add a personal touch to the tree. Growing up we made a lot of ornaments. I think it was a great way for Mom to entertain her little elves on cold snowy days. I love glitter!

    I have a few festive decorations out, but didn't pull out my Christmas Village or set up a tree. I have done very little holiday baking. It has taken me a little while to get in the Christmas mood. Sounds like we are going to spend Christmas Day in Motorcycle City with J's family.

  14. Merry Christmas, Amanda! I hope you and your family have a joyous holiday celebration!

  15. I love all your decorations! Yes, I like to keep things simple too. The photo of your kids is so cute! One of my kids is home and the other is coming today. That's the best part about Christmas for me now - having my kids home.

    Blessed Christmas wishes to you and your lovely family.

  16. I absolutely love your decorating style and got a giggle at the kid pics (love that age - they try so hard to be challenging ... they get much better at it as they get older - but it's all good).

    So glad I stopped back and Nancy's 5 Random and came across your blog.

    Happy Holidays!

  17. I love your decorating style! The little tree is so cute and is just perfect. I like all your ornaments, too. Your kids are getting so big! Lilly is so pretty and I love her cute outfit. I wish I could find some shed antlers around here. I'd be so excited! I love how yours look on the mantel with those adorable stockings. Love it all! :)

  18. This is the most wonderful christmas post I have seen this the simplicity ,the beautiful chair,the antlers…all of it! And your children are very adorable and Lily looks gorgeous in her dress! A Wonderful and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  19. I seem to go through stages .... one year I decorate like crazy, the next I keep it simple!
    This year is simple.
    I love your tree! It IS perfect!
    I love that chalkboard and I have to add that I have a crush on that chippy chair!!!!
    Merry Christmas!
    diane @ aug's blog

  20. Very nice post and beautiful family. Love the antlers! Merry Merry to you and yours! Aloha and Peace be with you!

  21. I so love your mantle and simple Christmas decorating style!… they're so cozy and personal. I hope your family had a wonderful holiday!

  22. Do you have the antlers anchored down with something so they don't come down with the weight of the stockings? I love that idea, and it would look great in our home with the antlers we have that aren't big enough to mount!

    1. Hi Jennifer!
      We do not have our antlers anchored down, I just use our weightier ones on the mantel and they hold our empty stockings fine during the holiday season. Once Santa comes and fills them though, they all sit on the floor in front of the hearth.. they wouldn't stand a chance hanging. Your question made me think and gave me the idea. You can get copper plumbing straps (a bag of 10 of them for just over a dollar!) like these: Since the top of our mantel is usually out of view or decorated, tapping small holes in wouldn't hurt anything. I'm not sure if they come large enough for the circumference of all antlers, but the same principal could be applied with a small leather strap, etc.
      Thanks for the question! Happy Holidays!