Hello friends!  I apologize for my light posting schedule this past few weeks.  Sometimes life hands you a few clues that it is time to slow down, savor the moment and focus on the bigger picture.  So that is what we have been doing.  This year we skipped our holiday countdown tradition and made our own memories with no agenda... and it was freeing.


And if I am being completely open and honest, after becoming a little overwhelmed with all of the endlessly beautiful and inspirational blog-land holiday home tours, I decided to take my time with our decor and piece together small updates and projects each day vs. binge decorating and causing myself to fall apart at the seams.

{Let it Snow project shared here}

So it may have taken me a little lot longer, but we LOVE how cozy and warm our holiday decor is and made sure to inject a lot of family touches that have meaning and intention.


Things were a bit different for us this year as we have been rearranging everything on the upper level to prepare for kitchen/living room demolition day.  With that, we have completely taken over the entire lower level as our primary living space while also adding a few touches of the holiday season.  It was a bit chaotic for awhile there, but so very worth it!  And I am not the type to pack things up two days after Christmas, our decor will most likely stay out until the first or second week in January.


Any of the decorating that has taken place, was done with a lot of hands.  Little hands in fact!  The boys owned majority of their playroom decorating, they insisted on having a special tree for all of our family favorite ornaments.  How could I say no to that?  I always feel a tear form when we pull out our "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments, especially ones that date back to over thirty years ago. #sappy


I made the skirt for their new tree out of some inexpensive fabric and hot glued pom trim around the edge.  Ten minutes and no sewing required is a win in my holiday decorating book!


Across the way I hung the print I ordered last year from the Caravan shop and paired it with a paper chain the boy's made.

Above the entertainment center, I updated the previous "o" with our faux berry wreath.  It was the wreath we used on the front door last year, however, a dear friend gifted us a fresh boxwood wreath  for our door this year, while the berry wreath looks right at home in the playroom.


Let's chat cocoa stations.  We made one last year and loved it so much, that we added one to the play room this year.



It is the first place the kids head to after school each day and this has been by far the biggest hit of the entire holiday season.  They are old enough to make everything on their own, but my middle guy declared himself the cocoa barista.  He even told me he wants to open a cocoa shop when he grows older.  Ambitious fella!  The kids are not the only fans of this little setup, I love that I have quick access to a cup of hot cider mid-day.  I don't see this hot spot going away any time soon.  {free cocoa printable source here}


Just like everything else, the setup was easy peasy and consists of a Keurig, mugs, packets and pods, jars of toppings and straws cut to size.


Adorable mugs found at Caribou Coffee here and here.


Rounding the corner is our family room.  Our over-sized brown leather sectional was moved up to the garage and swapped out for our smaller version from upstairs.  The rug and table were moved down as well.  The switch gave us enough room for our fresh cut Christmas tree!



We also brought down a handful of the frames that were previously hung in our living area upstairs.  I am going to blame my camera lens on their crooked appearance... I am sure it has nothing to do with our measuring or the two younger boys that love to jump on the sofa.


The frames were filled with the two gold foil pieces I made last week, along with holiday photo prints taken over the past few years.


For the pillows, I selected the softest, coziest covers I had on hand.  We do a lot of snuggling during winter months, and comfort is far more important than pretty.  The pretty came in via the florals.  Y'all know my winter sanity saver is to keep a small bundle of fresh flowers in the home, once again I went with super long lasting carnations and paired them with a bundle of holiday greens.  The remainder of the greens landed on top of one of the photo frames and in a vase with some artificial holiday stems.


Of course, the tree is the star of the show!  Each year we head to the same nursery to select a fresh cut tree, and I can never get enough of the aroma that fills our entire home!

Again, simple was the theme throughout, and the tree was no exception.  Just a variety of gold and colored bulbs to compliment the colors used throughout the rest of the lower level.  I did break down and purchase a few new frosted bulbs as they added a really pretty softness while also balancing out the bolder glitter and glossy options.



The mantle is covered in more freshly cut garland, lights and white poinsettias.



I stayed up and wrapped ALL of the gifts for friends and family last night!  Whew!  Feels SO much better to have it all done!

The tree may be the star of the show, but my wrapping counter is my absolute favorite spot in the entire house right now!


Right inside the closet is where majority of the magic is stored year round....


This year I dug out my favorite tags, a roll of tape and extra rolls of ribbon to keep on the counter throughout the month of December.  This keeps the kidlets out of my wrapping closet, as this year they were in charge of wrapping the items they picked out for others.


I already have pens, markers and scissors stored on the hanging rods full time, so the addition of a tiered basket (which I already owned), gave me the handiest (and most festive) wrapping space around!


The moment I spotted Lindsay Letter's new Christmas line, I knew that her Peppermint Moss canvas would feel right at home in my studio.


Every time that I round the corner to my space, my heart does a little dance.  You can bet your booty that this Christmas art will stay up year round!  I couldn't love it more, it completely compliments my style.


Both cabinet doors received a little wreath treatment, and a cloche was filled to the brim with mini-ornaments.


Feeling inspired by the pretty glass box on Grace's desk, I borrowed ours (which was previously holding sunglasses in our now non-existent entryway) and simplified the items being stored on my desk.


Also, my desk faces the Christmas tree and mantle, making it the best seat in the house!

The gorgeous gold garland I made last year for our dining room storage hutch, was strung over our built-in bench this year.


Wrapping things up with another garland project; this one was hung over the stairs to our lower level.  With the help of mini clothespins, it holds pictures of my most favorite people!  Another stack of cards came in today that I can't wait to clip up!


Another project that might stay around for a few extra weeks...

Whew!  I guess we know what happens when I don't post for a few days!  Post overload! 

And don't be fooled by any of the pretty you spot in these photos... I have piles of laundry that are starting to smell, stacks of papers to be filed and I just can't seem to stay caught up on dishes and dust.... but we are making the most of the holiday magic and I hope you all are able to find time to do the same.  With the chaos that is taking place on our main floor, creating a holiday ready haven in our lower level has been well worth the efforts. 

My kid's will be home from school for the next two weeks and we have some holiday traveling planned (minimal hosting for us this year), but I still plan on popping in with a few quick posts.

Merry Christmas everyone!



If you would like to see many of the same decor items used in different ways, check out my 2013 holiday home tour here.
 
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