My Cottage Christmas

If you’re new to life{in}grace, welcome!  And especially if you’re from Nester’s Home Tour or Melissa’s Home Tour or  Sarah’s Tree Party!  Thanks for hosting, friends!  I just updated my about page and don’t miss my newly painted stri-ped bathroom!  Thanks for visiting!  Hope you find something that makes you smile!

I’m 42 years old and I’m pretty sure I’ve never decorated for Christmas tree the same way twice.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  Thankfully, I like to use simple, natural, easy- to-craft items.  Otherwise, I’d spend a fortune changing my mind every year.  I also never really ‘finish’ decorating.  I’ll be spray painting  pine cones and adding fresh greens until it’s time to take it  all down.  In a way, my Christmas decorating is a lot  like me—-it’s never really ready to meet the Christ child.

I love every last square inch of my new house even though I never meant to spend last year rebuilding.

There are  two problems with my house.   1.  I have no dining room   2. There’s no room for  a tree in the living room.

I get around those obstacles  by soupin’ up the mantel and moving my lemon tree (WHICH IS BLOOMING!) by the fireplace.

Rabbit trail:: I need to do a whole post on the amount of baby-ing we do to that lemon tree.  I almost got my mom one for Christmas but then I remembered that it would be the equivalent of giving her a small child to care for.  Okay, not that bad.  But our lemon tree is so baby-fied that we take her outside to sit in the sun when it’s nice  and then hem and haw about whether or not it’s gonna get too cold for her to stay out overnight.  We’re hoping for lemons by February.

Okay back to the tree.   SO,  that means that my *real* tree has to stake its claim in the eat-in kitchen.  It makes for happy dinners and a floor full of fir needles because someone brushes past it approximately every 3 seconds.


I wanted a tree that looked relaxed and cottage-y and natural.  My Christmas Pinterest boards helped me decide what I liked.  I used large starfish, pine cones, paper birds (template here), paper garland (inspiration Miss Mustard Seed), dried orange slice ornaments (Shannan gave me the idea),  newspaper print leaf garland and magnolia leaves (I don’t know where I saw it first), and my cowhide rug for a tree skirt (spotted under Nester’s tree last year!).  In my humble opinion, it needs something outrageous but I haven’t quite decided what.  I’m thinking giant paper antlers but I’m taking suggestions!

I poked little lights through the orange slices for effect and I made the banner garland out of book pages that I cut and stapled onto twine.

And there’s a few honest to goodness ornaments just to keep up appearances:)

And apparently, I can’t be suited when it comes to paper bird patterns.  I looked through eight million until I finally found this one on Martha’s site.  Of course, it’s the perfect shape.  I would expect nothing less from Martha.  Which I like to pronounce Mah-tha.  I made my girls make these today for ‘art’.  In other words, so I didn’t have to make anymore.


And I’m having fun this year with the packages.

I wrap them in white or brown paper and then look around for something to stick on them.

It’s all very exact and calculated—-branches, left over pom poms from the wreath project, burlap, or whatever else is in reach!

This one is my favorite so far.  I used this template for the antlers,  spray painted the paper gold, added some fresh greens and then wrapped it in twine.

I used the free printables here for the tag.


Now, here’s what I need to know from you.  Do you always decorate your tree the same or do you do it different every year?  If you always decorate it the same, do you know exactly how much money you have in your checking account right now.  That’s what I thought.  We can still be friends.  I’ll come change up your tree and you can balance my checkbook.  Deal?  (Actually, I love sentimental trees filled the same ornaments year after year but that’s not possible for me now, so I make the best of it :)))

Because I may in fact be insane, I decided to paint the bathroom last week.  I love how it turned out and you can read all about it here.

I added some fresh greens and a rosemary tree to make it even more festive for the season.

The girls and I also made a cute pom-pom wreath and then added a Christmas cactus and a pink poinsettia to this little vignette.

And one more thing.  Did you see the preserved boxwood wreaths at Lowe’s??  They’re already on clearance.

I LOVE them and have two hanging in the kitchen!

It’s beginning to be festive around these parts!

And since I now have a partial tear in my calf muscle and am gimpy, Grannie’s in the house, making fudge and all kinds of yummy treats.

And due to said injury, I won’t be putting a tree on the screened porch this year.  Which makes me very sad.

So, here’s the fun from last year!

Happy preparations dear friends!!!

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61 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    Edie-you crack me up. I can’t balance my checkbook. It never works for me. Thankfully my hubby is a wiz at that. Now about the tree, it’s never quite the same but we do use a lot of the same ornaments. We buy the kids a new ornament each year, once they have their own homes they will take them. I dream of a tree I could decorate with a theme or just how I like it but until then I just tuck in some special things I like here and there. My tree is never truly done either. I will add to it right up to Christmas.

    • Ruth says:

      P.S. Your tree looks gorgeous. I do confess that my shopping is done. I picked up the last of it today, wIth the exception of a couple of stocking goodies. Don’t hate me but with exception of the giant gift we got my parents it is all wrapped and under the tree. I love what you’ve done with your packages.
      Ruth

  • Christie says:

    I love it, Edie. Whenever we make paper snowflakes, I always think I’ll be able to easily throw them away instead, thus eliminating the need to store more ornaments. But it is hard to throw away some paper pretties! Yours are fabulous.

  • Christy says:

    Your tree is gorgeous! Nothing I do is ever the same twice, and my tree is no exception. This year a friend of mine helped me decorate it, and it’s full of burlap, red dot, and green & red striped bows, ALL of our ornaments, and nutcrackers. It’s very cute, and makes me think of my littles. I wish I could keep up with my checkbook!
    Merry Christmas!

  • Nope. Can’t say we ever do the same tree round ’bout these parts. That would require a heap o’ memory space I just don’t seem to want to commit to, well, remembering! We too rain down thousands of needles (seems like hourly), as our tree is brilliantly placed between the table in our eat in kitchen and our main entrance and exit for the house.
    Been awhile since I visited here…you’re as welcoming, witty, and winsome as ever. Been a dry spell at the computer for this farm girl, both readin’ and writin’. Thanks for inviting me (us) into your cozy kitchen and letting us breathe deep of your fragrant tree!

  • Tomi says:

    My mom’s name is Mah-tha Ann….. :) made me smile when you spelled out the true and correct pronunciation of it! Heehee!

    • Southern Gal says:

      All the Martha’s around here are called Mah-tha. The one that gets me is one of my sister’s dear friend’s name – Sharon. Her mama calls her Shay-run. I can’t see Sharon without saying Shay-run in my mind.

  • I love the spirit by which you decorate Edie! You just make me smile…really big!!!
    We have a very traditional tree…which I jazzed up with some torn and washed fabric garland. I love it. I wanted to add some paper medallions to the tree, but I don’t have anyone to assign the task to…or even an art class. Though wouldn’t it be fun to gather with gals at an art class? We also have 2 other trees….none of which were taken from their protective sleeves this year. I have enough ornaments to decorate 5 different trees….and if I keep making things….that number could grow. And by the way…who balances the check book anymore? :D We used to travel a lot in December and keeping a thirsty tree in water was a challenge…hence the faux trees. I’m missing those wonderful smelling needles. Maybe next year. What kind of tree did you get? I don’t think I recognize the variety.

  • Kim B. says:

    Beautiful, just like everything else in your gorgeous house….including you!! Love it!!

  • Barbie says:

    Your tree is gorgeous! I really love it!

  • FunkySteph says:

    Hi Eddie,
    Your tree is absolutely fabulous!!! I do a different tree every year… My son chose the new colors and I try to influence him so we can also reuse a lot of what we have already. I plan with some good friends for next year to organise tree decoration exchange… to reduce the spending a bit more… I used to do my tree in one day and then never touch it anymore, but because I do most of my shopping online lately, I tend to add decorations as they come through the mail… I don’t like to do my accounting around Xmas as I know, even if I try to be careful, I tend to spend too much around this particular time of the year…
    I am not a huge crafting person… but this year I crafted my son’s Advent calendar full of inspiration I found around the web…
    Take Care.
    Steph

  • Carin says:

    I would seriously love to completely change our tree every year, but my other half would have a fit, so no, it’s never completely new. It’s a bit like our house. I stick to the same kind of colour scheme, but try to add a little something new to it every year so it’s not quite the same.

  • Your last question made me literally laugh out loud. Yes, our tree is the same every year… (except this year when we are moving into a new place at the end of next week and there is currently no tree or wrapped gifts– cutting it close to Christmas! ack!)… And yes also in knowing how much is in our checking account. :)

  • paige says:

    it most certainly is fabulous!!!!!!
    merry christmas my friend
    xoxo

  • Southern Gal says:

    My tree is mostly always the same. (We buy our children an ornament a year from birth to 18 years old with the intention that they will take them with them when they marry and have their own tree. My daughter has been married three years and most of her ornaments are still on my tree. If she comes over and sees one is missing, she’ll find the ornament and put it on the tree herself. Moral of the story: buy ornaments for your children that YOU love and then you’re set.) But this year for the first time in probably 20-something years, I made a major mantel change and I love it.

    Yes, my checkbook is balanced to the penny every month. ;) Come shake up my tree and I’ll shake up your checkbook.

  • Lori H says:

    We decorate our tree the same.every.year. My husband is not big on change at Christmas time :) Left to myself, I would be more creative and mix it up…but who wants to be left to themselves at Christmas? So we continue with the traditions…

  • megan carver says:

    The tree is gorgeous! Also, love the color you went with the mirror over the fireplace! :)

  • Missy says:

    Your tree is just lovely! Ours is never the same twice. However, I have many a paper angel, clothes pin reindeer, etc that my children made & always grace our tree. I grew up with a Victorian Christmas tree that my mom painstakingly created every ornament for. It was gorgeous, but it made me sad that nothing I crafted ever ranked a spot on the perfect tree(I came out of the womb with a hot glue gun in hand. :) I still plug it in every morning before I make my coffee.) I too am shifting and spray painting and crafting til it is time to take down the tree. I call it creative ADD. And I also hear you on the needles. I have a very happy chocolate lab with a wagging tail who takes out an ornament or two & leaves a sprinkling of needles each time he walks by the tree. Merry Christmas!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Your tree is beautiful!! Love the packages, too. I’d probably cry when people ripped open the beautiful wrappings!

  • I have the same treasured ornaments each year … collected from our travels around the world. And I have no idea how much money is in our checking account. :)

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  • My tree never looks the same from year to year either. But yours is so pretty this year you might want to do a repeat next Christmas! I love the book page garland and the dried orange slices. They might have to make an appearance on my own tree someday!

  • Lindsay says:

    Edie, I love your beautiful relaxed style and it looks so wonderful on the tree. I cannot get over that antler wrapped package…that is gorgeous! I love it :) I’ve got to get to wrapping and I might have to copy that idea!

  • Leanne says:

    I love to mix it up year to year as well…made easier by having 3 trees! This year just made the simple addition of a new colour…sometimes that’s all it takes to make old…new! :) love my trees. Your’s is so pretty. I have the same glittery deers…$1…wasn’t that fantastic!?

  • Scottie says:

    I love your tree! Ours is the same each year and I still use the felt ornaments I made when our boys were in the “tasting” everything stage. For years I added a nice new ornament, but after almost 50 years of marriage we are downsizing everything. For the last few years Ive allowed our only granddaughter to choose ornaments from the tree for her collection and put them in a box in the attic. Since she is 8 this year, she will choose 8 ornaments….and I know exactly how much money is in my checking account!

  • I have the same Evolving Tree Decor affliction. I feel sort of bad when people talk about hauling out all their “sentimental” ornaments every year while I’m out picking up sticks in the yard and hanging house numbers and wonky stencils!

    And YES to poking the lights through the oranges!!

  • Alison F. says:

    I love it! And the mirror looks so great in the soft, creamy coral. Like the inside of a shell! So great with the starfish on the tree! Merry, merry!

  • Gina says:

    It’s beautiful. There’s just something special about a real tree in your home. We used to decorate with the same ornaments every year adding homemade ones and an eclectic mix every year but now that my children have left the nest I have simplified mine. This year’s tree is a mix of vintage ornaments, red beads and white metal snowflakes. :) Your presents are lovely too!! They match your tree perfectly. :)

  • annie says:

    GIRL! You nailed it. My tree is the same every year…and my check book is balanced! TOO FUNNY!!!!!!!

    You can come decorate my tree any time you want! I would like to specifically request the book paper garland along with the book paper birds. BUt. It must have cranberries too. This was my first year stringing those…and I have to say, my son now looks for cranberries on other’s trees too. I LOVE IT. Can we say….TRADITION?!?!?!?!! I LOVE ME SOME TRADITION!!!!

  • RobinG says:

    Always the same–my kids are big on tradition–it has to be the same! I bought new stockings for my 3 teenagers this year, and they about had a fit. Needless to say, they will keep their old ridiculous stockings with the stuffed bear head at the top. Ugh!

  • Kate says:

    That is a lovely tree, Edie! Your home is my favorite…so inspirational. We use the same ornaments every year…mostly because they’re all so sentimental and I couldn’t imagine not seeing them for a year. We do have a second tree that is decorated with traditional Swedish ornaments. Maybe I just need a 3rd tree…ha!

  • Love it all!! I never decorate the same, I have the same stuff and ALWAYS add and subtract, but it never goes on the same way. When I make something, I never glue it because I know I will want different next year! Funny you should mention the checking account, I just had this conversation with my sister yesterday! I haven’t balanced my checkbook in 15 yrs (maybe more) !!! Did I just say that out loud!! I have a “ball park” idea tho ;)
    xoxo

  • Amy Avery says:

    I love your tree Edie! Your entire home is so fabulously decorated for the holidays and is so very glamorous. I think of your house as a really stylish lady who likes to wear fun animal prints and lots of bling. The shades of paint you use on the frames and walls and chairs are like her make-up pallette. I love Miss Mantel Mirror’s new shade of coral lipstick. It’s so fresh and funky and very glam! She looks all ready for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve partys. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  • martha says:

    Oh Edie, I am fairly new to your blog and have wondered how old you are…..I have felt like I could be your mom and guess what? I am 62, so I could be your mom…that makes me smile. Love your serious & deep side and love,love,love the fun side. As you can imagine my tree has changed a lot over the years. We got a fake tree a few years ago, my children were mortified, but it was so much easier. Now I have 6 grandchildren to decorate for, and I love dragging out the old stuff and adding new things too. My kids all have real trees (good for them) and it is fun to see what they do to them. My daughter teaches kindergarten and her decorating style is a lot like yours, she changes things up every year and has her children do fun, funky things for the tree. I look forward to reading your blog everyday and you never disappoint.

  • Julie Ann Blevins says:

    Hi Edie. You never fail to surprise me! I love your mirror….it already looked good but you sure “kicked it up a notch”. I loved your non-traditional thanksgiving colors! I love your tree and all your decor. It all goes together so uniquely!!! What about angel wings for the top of your beautiful tree? I saw a pair on one of the blogs that I can’t wait to do. I always have decorated differently every year too. I even decorated last year with ostrich eggs on my tree. I am ten years older than you and it is wearing me out. I tried to keep everything timeless this year and I am thinking I am going to make sure to label my stuff before I put it away! :) I painted my bedroom and now I have a sultry bedroom too! The dark walls actually did make the room feel bigger…and cozier. You have inspired me so much this year!!! Thanks for being your creative little self! Merry Christmas, Edie! xxx ooo

  • Julie says:

    LOL!! The answer to your last two questions: yes and yes :)

    Merry Christmas!!!

  • 1) Your home is always full of life and joy. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    2) Even though I’m a believer in reusing what you have, I’m also a believer in mixing things up and so no I don’t decorate my tree exactly the same every year and at the very least I usually get a second or third tree to have fun with!

    3) I do not balance my checkbook. Ever. #fail

  • Stacy says:

    Your home and tree are so pretty! We, however, use the same decorations year to year. The majority of our ornaments are from my childhood and from my 3 children. It runs the gammet- from kindergarten graduation tassels to the handprint angels. From Radko pretties to clothespin reindeer. It’s crazy, unorganized and really pretty. Just in a different way from yours! I’m trying to convince my husband that next year I should have TWO trees- one for our regular ornaments and one for me to decorate however I want. I’ll keep on him after I show him YOUR tree! :) Merry Christmas!

  • Your home and tree are beautiful. Love the bathroom stripes. I use mostly the same decorations but always add a few new ones and change up the style each year. And we don’t balance our cheque book.

  • Ann T. says:

    I am new to your blog, and loved seeing your Christmas decor. I use the same ornaments every year, but always add a few new ones to the collection. I don’t think of the tree as lacking in any way on that account. I have had some of my ornaments for many, many years, and they are old friends. I remember when and where I bought each one, and what was happening in my life at the time. That said, I bought some colored balls to add this year to sort of unify the tree, because it is a mixture of colors, materials and styles, but there simply wasn’t room, and I returned them to the store. And, yes, I keep careful track of my finances on Quicken, even entering every credit card receipt. I’m proud of it, as I am a Virgo.

  • Andrea says:

    Edie……I love your tree….. ours is typically the same or very similar each year. It is eclectic…with ornaments that our children have made throughout the years (they love these the most)….as well as picture ornaments (typcially from the years Christmas card) and my “pretties”…….but we love it…..and it’s one of our traditions to put it up together.

    I love how your home looks the same, but with a holiday touch! so beautiful.

    Please share how you care for your Christmas cactus….it looks so pretty….mine hasn’t bloomed yet and I have tried to follow the whole ignore it and it will bloom theory…but nothing so far!

    Happy Holidays!

  • Anne says:

    I found your blog from Sarah’s tree party and oh my word, I LOVE your home! I think your tree is beautiful, and while I’ve never decorated a tree the same way twice, I do know how much is in my checking account. ;)

  • Your home is beautiful! I love your eclectic mix of color and cottage! It is a perfect comfortable but modern twist!

  • Your family room is one of my favorites!! And, those stripes, and of course, the tree!! I could go on…it was so much fun peeking into your home, thanks for sharing the tour! I’ve always wanted a lemon tree, and am used to babying things, people, dogs, so maybe I’ll go for it! :)

  • your home is so beautiful and so full of warmth and character! it was fun seeing you in BHG! ;)

  • Katie says:

    I love your decorating. I’m excited to check out the rest of your posts about your home.

  • michele says:

    Your smoochie horsey bust in the kitchen is in Arielle’s room here. I’m pretty sure if we went shopping together our carts would hold identical items.

    Love you, and your house is dreamy – like you.

    xomichele

  • First of all, I love your fireplace – it’s beautiful! Love the brick. Second – and completely NOT Christmas related – I’m so glad to hear about that lemon tree! I have wanted one for a couple of years, but my husband keeps telling me that I’m crazy and it will take too much work to keep it alive (I am notorious for having a black thumb). He’ll be happy to hear that he was right! :) Hope you get your lemons!! Merry Christmas!

  • andrea says:

    You know, Edie, I think you’re wrong. Your home IS the same year after year. It’s the same in that it’s gorgeous, and so welcoming and just plain lovely. When I imagine what your home is really like in person (ie in real life, vs pictures on a blog), the words that pop into mind are comfort and safe. Like a cozy blanket.
    ps I am one of those that pretty much decorates the same year after year, adding tweaks here and there. It makes for boring blog posts come Christmas =) I do not, however, know how much is in the bank account. I do profess, that when I owned my veterinary practice, I was much more particular about balancing everything to the penny, but now that I’m free and footloose, I’ve let a few anal-nilities slide.

  • I love the little orange slices! Someday I’ll have to make some of those and some of the cinnamon dough candy cane ornaments that we used to make as children. I think the smell of those are forever imprinted on my mind!

  • Mindy says:

    HI! So glad to have found you through the christmas tour of homes!! I will be back.
    Your home is beautiful! LOVE the bunting around your tree.

  • I loved your tour and that tree is beautiful! You gave me some ideas that I would love to use next year! I let my kids put the decorations on the tree all by themselves this year. The tree is not going to win any awards but it was done with a lot of love. Have a Merry Christmas!
    -Shelley

  • I’m so with you on the lemon tree!
    I completely baby our basil plant…since we live in Chicago with very little winter sunlight! I can’t believe it’s still growing – okay, it looks a bit like Charlie Brown’s basil plant – but it’s alive.

    Love your birds and paper garland.

    This year we did very (cheap) and rustic gift wrap and simple burlap for a tree skirt.
    And, I love it!

  • Rona says:

    I’m stopping by from the Nester’s 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes today. Your home is so comfortable and festive.
    I love all of your personal touches.
    Merry Christmas!

  • missy says:

    Our tree is never the same. I do have a ‘base’ of ornaments that I love, but some years I use them in different little vignettes around the house.
    We have a nursery, and one of our friends had a lemon tree that we kept in our greenhouse every winter. That sucker was HUGE! It was a great undertaking to move it back and forth. A couple of years ago it didn’t make it through the winter. It was a sad day after all of the effort everyone had been putting into keeping it alive. I really want to get one for us, but my husband tells me I am crazy…

  • Alex says:

    I love the mirror that you hung your pom pom wreath over. Would you mind sharing where you found it?

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