Decorating My House for the Holidays

white bowl-tree

As soon as we got home from Disney World a few days ago, we started decorating the house for the holidays. Out with the gold and orange from fall–in with the red and silver! There’s something so cheery about bright Christmas red, especially this time of year when it’s cold and bleak outside.

closeup mantel tree

I used to collect Santas, so I have lots of Santa figures sitting around the house, like these on the mantel.

christmas mantel

My 7-year old daughter Lily loves to decorate for Christmas, and she always has lots of suggestions. It was her idea to put wreaths in the square windows on either side of the fireplace this year. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!

corner chair-wreath

Look closely and you can see the snow falling outside the window.

wreath in window

Lily says, “Decorating is my favorite part of Christmas–except for opening presents, of course!” (Jake, my 14-year old, isn’t quite as enthusiastic about the decorating…or about getting his photo taken for the blog!)


Another idea she had: “Take a picture of me looking through the wreath!”

nativity scene

When I was growing up, my family didn’t really do the Christmas tree thing. They didn’t teach us to believe in Santa, either. Some years the Nativity was the only real decoration we had–at least until I got old enough to start decorating the house myself!

red bowl-silver ornaments

I’m a simple girl at heart, and so are my Christmas decorations, as you can see by my kitchen table centerpiece. Nothing fancy here. Just some silver ornaments in a red bowl.

Lily trimming the tree

I try not to be a perfectionist about the tree like I used to be. Now I let the kids do most of it themselves. (Okay, full disclosure: I moved some of the ornaments around when they were done, and they caught me doing it. Lily promptly moved everything back the way it was.)

Christmas ornaments

We always watch a Christmas movie while we decorate, and this year it was Holiday Inn. I really need to do a Movie Monday post about it someday. (Did you take the Christmas-Movie Quiz yet? How many of the houses did you recognize?)

Christmas tree

We still haven’t hung the lights outside, and Christmas is only a couple of weeks away. By the time I’m ready for Christmas, it’ll be Valentine’s Day…

toile chair-books-stockings

I love snowy days like this. All I want to do today is sit by the fire with some hot chocolate and read.

family rm-sofa-christmas

Connected to the family room is our kitchen. I love my snowman plates from Crate & Barrel, and my apothecary jar from Pier One:

apothecary jar-kitchenI actually bought this cute Santa cookie jar to give to someone else as a gift last Christmas, but I liked him so much, I ended up keeping him (don’t tell!):

santa cookie jar

Check out pics of my family room decorated with orange for fall and blue for summer if you want to see how it changed through the seasons.

wide shot fam rm with tree

UPDATE: My Hooked on Holiday House Tours blog party has begun. Come see my dining room–and how everyone else is decorating this year!

Hooked-on-Holiday-House-ToursThanks to the talented Amy of Living Locurto for designing this button for us. Feel free to add it to your blog if you’re participating!

Some other parties that you won’t want to miss:

If you’re hosting one, too, please leave a comment to let us know!

Annie at Firefly Hill took an old mattress spring from a crib, spray-painted it white, and turned it into a creative way to display family…
Welcome to my 2nd annual Hooked on Holiday House Tours, when bloggers from all over the world are invited to show us how they decorate…

See More


  1. E. George says

    Hi Julia everything looks bright and cheerful and Lily is absolutely beautiful. Love everything you have done so far I know I go around for days moving this here and moving that there typical females just can’t make up our minds. Fantastic…. Regards …. Esther from Sydney.

  2. says

    Your home looks so beautiful, warm from the chill outside and ready for Christmas. The silver and red truly are gorgeous together.
    Lily is adorable and I loved her sweet face decked in wreath style. My tree never is the same from day to day after our grands come over;) It is the girls who love the ornaments and seem to day dream around the trees. They KNOW exactly where everything looks the best. I have several small trees just for them to decorate and redecorate each time they come.
    I would love to hook up with your party on Friday.
    Many Christmas wishes for a lovely Holiday Season to you and your family!
    .-= Beth at Aunties´s last blog ..Merry Christmas from our home to yours! =-.

  3. says

    Your home looks stunning Julia – I just love it. And I love Lily’s ideas too! I can’t wait for the blog party – I have to get my camera out today and take some pictures. So jealous that you already have snow!
    .-= christy´s last blog ..Daddy’s Boots =-.

  4. says

    Julia, your home is just stunning! I love the mantel decor, and your daughter is sooo right about those square windows begging for wreaths! Your tree is so festive ~ can’t wait to see more of your home. I’ll be linking up with you Friday as I’ve got lots more pics to share ~ til then stop by and see my link with Rhoda’s party!

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

  5. says

    Oh Julia it is all so pretty and what a gorgeous little, I mean grown up girl. I can’t wait for your party tomorrow-well tonight. I am all ready and can not wait.
    I checked my following and re-subscribed.

  6. says

    Simple is the best way! Make it homey and welcoming! Our home is pretty simple for the holidays as well, but I feel it is warm and welcoming to all who enter!

    ~angela @ peonypatch
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Sounds of the Season =-.

  7. says

    Awww…. Lily is such a beautiful girl (just like her mama) :)

    Your living room looks lovely Julia! You can just feel the warmth and cheer. Lily’s idea of the wreaths in the windows was perfect. Your tree is beautiful too :)

    .-= rue´s last blog ..PB & J Cottage~ The First Christmas =-.

  8. says

    Looks gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! This year I really didn’t do much. It’s hard to feel in the mood to decorate when you live in a condo. I know, I know, no excuses … but I figure I’ll have plenty of years of decorating ahead so I don’t worry about it now unless I’m having a Holiday Party and this year I’m going out of town. :)
    .-= MissCaron´s last blog ..Welcome to Tarpon Run =-.

  9. says

    It is all just beautiful Julia…and letting the kids have input is the best isn’t it? Your daughter is following well in your design footsteps!
    Your home is always so pretty and never more so than at this time of year!
    I didn’t go all out like I have in years past but still enjoy it and seeing what others have done is always a treat!
    Thank you so much for sharing with us!
    .-= Susie Q´s last blog ..Christmas Comes To Rabbit Run Once Again… =-.

  10. says

    Oh I just love it Julia!!! It’s so inviting & I’m still crazy about your toile chairs!!! I went back to the other seasons to see them again & I just love them all. it seriously looks perfect in every season!

    Anyway, Lily is adorable & I’m guessing she got a lot of creative juices from her mom- that wreath pic is a framer.

    It cracked me up that she caught you rearranging her “work” and fixed it back. too cute.

    I can’t wait to join in the house tours on Friday!!!
    .-= Lauren Liess´s last blog ..Before & After: Our Entryway =-.

  11. KathyM says

    Your house is adorable! My daughter also loves the decorating part of the holiday. I had to restrain myself from moving the ornaments too! I know they would notice!
    I love the mirror above your mantel! Can you let me know where you purchased it?
    Happy Holidays!

    Kathy M

  12. says

    Julia, Your home looks so inviting, even though you claim it is simple…. Including children into the decorating mix always makes it more fun- your daughter looks adorable framed within that wreath! :- ) Your red bowl filled with the silver ornaments is classically beautiful. Sometimes, simple IS best.
    ~ Sue
    .-= Sue´s last blog ..Adding to the Holiday Decorating… =-.

  13. says

    So beautiful! I love your family room in every season, you have perfected the art of changing accessories to make it look brand new each time.
    I do believe that Christmas is the most special of all…your Lily is adorable, and her name suits her…like a sweet flower.
    I love your mantle, and am envious because mine is so narrow, nothing fits on it! I need a fireplace makeover…badly. I currently have a picture of mine on my blog, but now may have to take it down after looking at yours!
    .-= pat´s last blog ..MY CROOKED CHRISTMAS STAR =-.

  14. hookedonhouses says

    I bought that mirror at Bombay Co. right before they went under (R.I.P., Bombay Co). -Julia

  15. says

    What a fun post! Thanks for inviting us inside your home. I, too, tend to keep it simple when decorating for the holidays. Sometimes it is hard to do, though. So I rotate ornaments and the like each year. You have a beautiful, welcoming holiday home. Merry Christmas!
    .-= Karen Haberstro-Walls´s last blog ..There’s Gonna Be An Evolution…… =-.

  16. Shannon says

    Oh! Decorating the tree and watching Holiday Inn is one of our traditions too! I love the red and silver! Your tree is beautiful!

  17. Cathryn says

    Lovely Decorations! Lily is a real cutie, too.

    Question: Where did you get the white/cream compote dish you show in the first pic of this post? (I have been looking everywhere for something like this.)

    May I also suggest “Christmas in Connecticut” for the Movie Monday house reviews? An older rom-com, starring Barbara Stanwick, with great locations. Her NYC apartment is very stylish with today’s popular decor motifs. Hope you like the movie!

  18. hookedonhouses says

    The little “quilt squares” are the default for those who don’t have a photo for their avatar. I thought they were prettier than having that gray silhouette guy that some blogs use. -Julia :-)

  19. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    Everything looks great, Julia! I love your tree! Your daughter is what my grandmother used to call “a pip”! I think you have a potential stylist there, and secretly I said “good for her” where you said she moved everything back the way it was!

  20. says

    What a cheerful Holiday Home! I especially love your stockings…Pete and I found some acceptable substitutes for this year, but we have yet to settle on our “forever” stockings…The red with the silver makes it look pulled together, but you can still tell there are chilluns running around which really makes a house feel homey around Christmas time, Merry Merry to you and yours!
    .-= Bailey´s last blog ..Giving Thanks for Caroline and Keating’s Beautiful Wedding =-.

  21. greenie says

    Looks like you have a budding designer in the family! :-) Love the wreaths in the windows.
    My brother and I always privately joke with each other over the way our parents decorate their tree. We swear they use a ruler to measure the space between each ornament. (Not really, but you get my meaning). It always looks so dull and uniform, like a soldier standing at attention–poor little tree… I like more randomness. Looks more organic.

  22. says

    Hi Julia,
    I love how you totally change your colors for the season, I think I’ve told you before but it’s brilliant! I think your Christmas card needs to be Lily looking through the wreath…LOL!

    .-= LeAnn´s last blog ..PLEASE VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE DOOR!! =-.

  23. says

    Your house looks lovely, Julia! And that pic of your little girl looking through the wreath is so precious!
    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas- Beth.
    .-= beth´s last blog ..Feeling festive =-.

  24. says

    I love your red and white/silver theme! I haven’t had time yet to do any decorating and I’ve already given away the one poinsettia I had brought home for the kitchen table. A friend was visiting and I couldn’t resist giving it to her before she left :)
    .-= Tamara´s last blog ..Cast Your Burden…… =-.

  25. Jeanne says

    Your home looks warm and cozy and inviting for the holidays. Just beautiful. Love your blog, you inspire me greatly…have you ever considered dong a movie house post on the house from Fatal Atrraction. The big old one that Dan and Beth Gallagher moved to in the suburbs. I always thought that was an interesting house…

  26. Kathy :) says

    Wonderful job Julia…..and that little elf in the wreath PRICELESS !!!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours…..

    All the best,
    xo Kathy :)

    ps I can’t wait to check out Paula Deen’s home LOVE her and I adore those buffalo check curtains of hers !!!

  27. says

    Your house looks beautiful Julia and your daughter is such a cutie! Our tree looks much better this year now that my little one is tall enough to reach the middle….it’s been bottom heavy with ornaments for the past few years. :-)
    .-= Morning T´s last blog ..Like it or not? =-.

  28. Norma says

    Hi Julia,

    I just love all the pictures that you put in. The one of Lily looks soo great of her looking through the wreath, I just love that idea. Your home looks so nice and comfy and warm for the holidays, so Christmasy Thanks for posting all the pictures. Have a Wonderful Holiday.

  29. says

    Julia, your home is gorgeous!!! It looks so welcoming. :) I love the way your daughter thought to put the wreaths in the windows. She is such a little cutie. It about drove me nuts when my oldest wanted to hang stuff on the tree…I almost needed a drink or something. 😉 I am going to try my hardest to get some pictures taken this afternoon and try to link up tomorrow morning for your party. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has up their sleeves. :)
    .-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..The Great Ornament Debate =-.

  30. Laura says

    Could you please show us a closer picture of those reindeer in the last picture. I have another house movie suggestion “Penelope.” I love your blog!

  31. hookedonhouses says

    I just e-mailed you a close-up of the reindeer. If for some reason you don’t get it or can’t open the file, let me know. -Julia

  32. says

    I love seeing how you’ve changed this room through the seasons – and a small part of me really regrets that I didn’t plan more along these lines when selecting major items for our living room. But in any case, your home looks beautiful and I’m glad you’re getting such lovely feedback here!
    Lily is certainly showing very early talent – the wreath in the square window looks like it belongs in a Pottery Barn book 😉

  33. says

    Christmas greetings from N Ireland. Love all the touches of red.

    I have just blogged about the red holiday decor I have added to my kitchen – first Christmas in my newly madeover kitchen :)

    Especially love the baubles in the apothecary jar.

    I see you have a nativity set – I am sure you are REALLY busy, but just to let you know I will be hosting a Christmas Nativity Set carnival on my blog on 21 December.

  34. says

    Hi Julia. It’s refreshing to hear someone say they like simple decorating! Your Christmas decor is beautiful, and so is your daughter. I’m looking forward to your “Hooked on Holiday House Tours” party again this year! ~Arleen
    .-= Arleen @ Seasons for All ´s last blog ..Favorite Christmas Decor =-.

  35. Kayjay says

    Wow! Your house is beautiful and so is your daughter!!! When can you come to my house and make is ready for the holidays? Please, pretty please……

  36. Nita Hiltner says

    Hey, we are kitchen twins! My kitchen cabinets are white, black countertops and I have a black and white toile valance above the sink.

  37. says

    Your house is absolutely darling. Can I move in? I love your holiday decor. LOVE IT!!!! Thank you so much for this sweet blog. I always get sucked in whenever I visit.
    .-= Maria Hanson´s last blog ..2009 Christmas Decor =-.

  38. Paula says

    Your home looks warm & inviting! And I LOVE the Santa cookie jar gift that you decided to keep… I think I would have kept it, too.

  39. Claire says

    Hi Julia,

    Are your stocking holders from Target? I remember seeing them a few years ago, actually bought, then returned them in favor of candlestick holders…seeing yours I’m sorry I didn’t keep them. Did you purchase yours recently, maybe there is hope I can still purchase them….

    • hookedonhouses says

      I think they were! I bought them years ago, though, so I’m not sure you could find them there again. Sorry! -Julia

  40. says

    Your home is just beautiful. I adore the cutie in the wreath. May many wonderful Christmas memories be made within its walls.

    I am so sorry that I was not able to join your party. I was in the midst of finals and my house didn’t get decorated until today.

    Our home is having an old fashioned handmade Christmas this year. I hope you will stop by.
    .-= Laura Ingalls Gunn´s last blog ..It’s beginning to look alot like Christmas…. =-.

  41. says

    Your home is like something from a magazine, so pretty! Love the holiday touches mixed with your lovely everyday decor! Merry Christmas!

  42. says

    I love your house. And you are lucky that you have a child who wants to help with the decorating. I live in a family of all boys & no one helps me. But then, that can be good also. Just more work for me. I love how Lily recommended the wreaths in the square windows. They look perfect.
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Oh Christmas Tree! =-.

    • hookedonhouses says

      I special-ordered it years ago from a store that is sadly no longer in business. I do love the toile! -Julia :-)

  43. says

    so beautiful! I am stopping in from Nester’s Place. To see my tour click on the ‘Christmas 2009′ Tag on in the left sidebar!

  44. says

    I LOVE the simplicity of putting up my trees when I want to. I light a Christmas Pine candle to get the aroma of a real tree. I lOVE the size of my trees and know how they will fit in my room each year. I am all for a fake tree! I love real trees, but the simplicity of a fake tree is just to great! Celebrating Christmas isn’t about rather your tree is real or not.

  45. says

    Your pictures are BEAUTIFUL! I love your decor! You have done a great job!
    My last comment might have gone in the wrong post (sorry).
    Merry Christmas to you! Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures!
    Christmas Hugs!
    Love, Brenda