One of my favorite times of the year is here. Besides being Christmas, I was married this month to my wonderful husband and we honeymooned in a gorgeous Swiss Chalet style bed and breakfast in Washington. All of those beautiful memories and just the joy of the Christmas season celebrating Christ spins a whole beautiful tapestry around the month of December.

To add to that, all of my favorite bloggers come out with their Christmas home tours and Pinterest is awash in gorgeousness. Then I look up from my computer screen and realize that my reality is not quite so pristine. A new baby, a small budget, four other busy children, and small spaces make decorating a challenge. Not to mention dirt…because I live in the country…and there is SOOOO much dirt.

But, I desire my home to be a welcoming refuge, a beautiful retreat, a restful space for my loved ones. I want my home to reflect the wonder and beauty of the Christmas season even in this crazy season of motherhood. So this year, as I decorate, I am decorating simply. I thought perhaps some of you might be in a season of crazy like I am. So, do you want to join me? I warn you, it probably isn’t Pinterest worthy! And, especially since it is rainy, a lot of my pictures are not that great. But, onward!

Here is how I am decorating simply:

  1. Books- Of course this one has to be first! Do you have books? Of course you do! Go round and collect all your books with colored spines of red, green, or gold or whatever color you are decorating with this year. Arrange them in pretty piles either standing or laying down and ta-da! Add some other Christmas decor if you have it or are so inclined. Decorating done. You could also set out your children’s Christmas books decoratively too.
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I picked more brown toned reds here as it looked nice with the handmade chess board.
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Jane Austen is always in style.

2. Use what you have in new ways- Try to think of things that you have that could be used in a new way. I also gain inspiration from those beautiful blogs and Pinterest. For example, I saw this lovely post at Local Milk. All of the copper used there reminded me that I have a copper mixing bowl my grandfather gave to me (mine has patina!). Now, I am using it as a table centerpiece. We went out this morning for a walk and I picked some greenery/flowers (cough…cough…weeds). It looks lovely. This was my inspiration although hers is so much lovelier. And I have this really rustic wooden drawer from the garage that I am using as a creche this year. Nevermind the outside says “pipe fittings”. It looks lovely and a candle beside it covers up “pipe fittings”.  In the picture above, my white pitcher from my kitchen is holding those lovely bell branches. I used a red kitchen dishtowel with some washcloths and soap to make a pretty arrangement for the bathroom. Add a pretty candle if you have one and your bathroom is lovely.

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3. Use the outdoors- Find branches, twigs, pinecones, etc. from your yard, neighbors, friends, relatives, or anything where else that is legal. Spread nature’s beauty around your house! If you purchased a live Christmas tree- don’t throw away the bottom branches you cut off to fit in your stand or the top you cut off for the star. You could make a wreath or a swag with those. If nothing else remember Mr. Willowby. Read the book and you could make a mini tree with a cheese star and delight your children.

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These would have been lovely for more color in my flower (cough…weed) arrangement. But, alas, these are not toddler approved.

4. Make it- Obviously! Have you seen those wood spiral advent candle holders circulating around the web last year? I loved those and thought it was such a beautiful idea. So, my husband and I made our own version and it is just SO beautiful. And it is even more special because we made it ourselves. My husband made the wood pieces and I lightly burned the lines in. Each day we add a candle and Mary and Joseph travel further along. We light the candle at night and listen to sections of Handal’s Messiah, read the Bible, and sing a Christmas carol. On Christmas morning, all 25 of the candles are lit plus two lovely red new taper candles I save for Christmas morning.  Mary and Joseph are replaced with a cross and baby Jesus in a manger. We read the Christmas story and sing more Christmas carols. So, if you are really inspired by something, try and see if you could make it yourself.

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5. Decorate for your children too- The beauty and wonder of the Christmas season just intoxicates children. Around here last weekend, my husband and I laughed until our sides ached at the joy, chaos, and sheer noise of our children busily decorating our house. It looks like this-

A. Daddy finds all our Christmas boxes B. All of the children grab as many boxes as they can and run upstairs with them C. They hurriedly open their boxes and dump the content on the floor D. Exclamations are issued- Oh how pretty! Is this me when I was a baby? What does this ornament say? Can I sleep with this? I love this one! Let’s put this here! OHHH, it’s baby Jesus! Is this an alligator or a crocodile? Whose ornament is this? Can I have a cookie?  E. Did you see the bell branches above? Ringing and dancing are next. F. Go back downstairs for more boxes. G. Repeat C-G

Decorating is for more than just you and the company that comes to your house. Decorating for children is even more important. What does your house say about the meaning of Christmas? I strive to make ours reflect the beauty and glory of God becoming man in precious baby- the birth of Christ. Our manger is a huge way we show this for our children. My husband made it out of scrap wood and it looks rough to remind us of the humble birth. But baby Jesus is wrapped in a beautiful green cloth to remind us of who He is- King of Heaven.

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You can tell our children had fun helping with the bead garland.

6. Ribbon- It makes everything nicer. Use what you have to add little touches of Christmas. A very pretty and economical ribbon that is not ribbon at all is Hug Snug Seam Binding. One roll has 100 yards on it and just looks lovely. It comes in so many colors too.

7. Use public domain art- A lot of famous artwork is in the public domain. That means that you can print it legally. The best place to find high resolution art for printing is Wiki Art. This picture is from Rembrandt.

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8. When you do purchase something, try to purchase items that are timeless and of high quality- This is pretty much what it says. I would also add making sure the items be wonder inspiring. Like this (except I haven’t put it up yet):

 

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This is something you don’t see on Pinterest- a picture of a box. Well, a picture of good intentions.

So, decorating simply this year and making my home inviting to my family and friends was such a joy. I used what I had and did not spend anything. Our Christmas is unique just like our home. And although you won’t see any of this in a home decorating magazine, it makes Christmas more special for my children and makes it more cozy for everyone as we celebrate the birth of our glorious Savior.

I hope your Christmas is equally as special for you.

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