As first time homeowners, my husband, Kyle and I were very excited to decorate our home this past weekend for Christmas. We also had a lot more space to deal with than we've been used to compared to our tiny Seattle apartments we've had in the past, so we were looking to keep things special yet simple this year.
Christmas Tree - We are purists when it comes to our Christmas Tree. I grew up going to a U-Cut farm every year as a family tradition, and Kyle did as well, so we plan on keeping it that way for years to come. My mom actually grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the Puget Sound, so I have memories from my early childhood going out to the farm to help trim the trees with my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles weeks before the Christmas season to prepare the trees. Here are some snapshots from our Christmas tree adventure this year:
Kyle and I always get a pretty large tree and make it the focal point of the room (there are no Charlie Brown trees in this house!). The past two years we've gone out to Bacon's Family Christmas Tree Farm (pictured above), and we've been happy with the selection in terms of the number of trees and and size options, and we've always been happy with the customer service. If you get a Christmas tree, I would recommend getting your bang for your buck, and make a day of it! Take the family, get some (usually free) cocoa or cider, and maybe some snacks for the kids. Bring the family dog and take your time finding that perfect tree. If you plan on going to get a U-Cut tree, check out these tips from Bacon's Christmas Tree Farm.
In terms of Christmas decorations, we keep it pretty sentimental in our house. I of course appreciate finely decorated trees with themes, but I really love seeing all of our ornaments from our childhood and first few years of marriage on our tree. Looking back to see ornaments that family or friends made makes our tree feel that much more special. To add a bit of sparkle, we use some simple gold ball ornaments from Target, and we stuck with the rustic theme for our Christmas star using a copper looking star that lights up, also from Target.
Christmas Wreath - This is the first year we've gotten a wreath, mostly because the enterance to our apartments in the past were always inside, so the needles would make a mess of our hallway. But, being new homeowners, we can have a wreath on our door and just sweep up any needles. Plus, these large wreaths are only $15 at Costco - you can't beat that! We got the wreath hanger at Fred Meyer for $5. Not a bad way to add some Chirstmas cheer to your front door! In fact, you could make this an easy gift for friends or family, and spruce it up with a simple red bow.
Mantle Garland - This is my biggest piece of advice if you are a new homeowner and need to add some decorations to your stash for Christmas - check out Michales! We got this awesome garland that includes apples, berries, and pine cones for 50% off of $30, for a total of only $15 for this garland. I added the white lights, a simple white strand for only $2 at Lowes. I actually saw a very similar garland at Pier One for the full $30, which made me feel even better about the value of this purchase.
This was an easy way for us to make a big impact in our living room without breaking the bank. It's great to walk into a store weeks before Christmas, and see so many awesome details to help you decorate your home. I saw all sorts of 30 - 50% off signs in the store, you've got to check it out!
Nativity Set - My parents-in-law got me this very special Willow Tree Nativity Set as a Christmas gift, in intallments over a period of several years. It's a special, gentle reminder why we celebrate Christmas. We really love having it in our dining room this year, and I think we'll continue to display it here in the future. My grandma made the poinsettia runner underneath the nativity.
Christmas Tablescape - This was another new addition for our home this year, which was also a great deal thanks to Michaels. I got small cinnamon scented pinecones for $2.50 with some little berries and cinnamon sticks included, three candles that ranged from $1.50 - 3.50 for the different sizes, and the plate for $5. If you had a cool plate at home to use, you could just add the pinecones (maybe you have some in your own front yard?) and candles, and there you go! Instant sparkle for your dining room or living room.
Mistletoe - I am a little cheesy, and I've gotten Kyle a little bit of mistletoe every year for Christmas since we started dating. It's inexpensive (I think this was $3 at Albertsons) and is a fun way to celebrate our love at home.
So, there you have it, my friends! Overall, our theme at OurSoundHome was to keep it simple and stick to the the rustic - berry theme that will carry over year to year. We have plenty of projects up our sleeves for the upcoming year, so we would rather dedicate less time and money now, while still keeping things festive and special at home. Have any of you added any new decorations to your Christmas stash this year? Have you found a special, simple way to celebrate Christmas at home?