Christmas Home Tour and $300 Giveaway: A Relatively Minimalist Holiday

If you look back at my older Christmas tours (which you can do here, here, and here), you’ll find a whole lot of color. Lots of red and green and also a whole mess of blue. So I don’t know quite what happened this year, but I ended up with fairly neutral, minimalist holiday decorations. I mean, at least minimalist for me.

There’s also not much that’s new this year (with some notable exceptions that won’t be in this tour, but will make their appearance next week instead); it’s a work with what you’ve got kind of Christmas tour! Which is good, because at this point I’ve got kind of a lot. I’m having a great time bringing it all out and remembering that it exists, though….for some reason this has been a pretty stress free holiday decorating season so far. I need to try to figure out why so I can duplicate it next year!

For the fourth year in a row, I’m participating in A Very Merry Christmas Home Tour, hosted by Carrie at Lovely, Etc. So make sure to stick around until the end of the post to visit all the other participating blogs and get your fill of Christmas decorating inspiration.

This dresser in the foyer is one of a few spaces that gets regular seasonal makeovers:

Christmas display in foyer

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I printed and framed the vintage sheet music last year. I had a post last week about how to make the cone trees; they’re a recurring element throughout the house this year. I have about a million of the little Christmas village buildings, but I’m never quite sure how to display them. This year I put a few in the terrarium, along with some fake snow and a couple of little moose from Michaels. The moose are as big as City Hall, which is probably terrifying for the villagers. But not as scary as the time the village was invaded by glittery dinosaurs.

Christmas village terrarium

The other night I lay awake fretting that I wasn’t going to have all my Christmas trees decorated in time for this tour to go up. Because there really aren’t any more important things going on in the world to worry about right now. Come to think of it, maybe the fact that we now have three Christmas trees to decorate (downstairs. The kids also have small ones in their bedrooms) explains why I’m itching for minimalism elsewhere in my Christmas decor.

Anyway, though, I did get the white tree done (and, at the very last second, we decorated our real tree in the den. I still have to check and see if the pictures turned out okay for that so I can show it to you). This is in our library right next to the foyer, so it tries to look like a respectable, vintage-inspired tree…until you look closer and notice all the dinosaurs.

The copper shelves in the kitchen also get changed out a lot with the seasons. I started out with some green glassware on here, but then I took it all down in favor of all white stuff (except for the vintage ornaments).

copper shelves decorated for Christmas


Christmas copper shelves

More cone trees! The matryoshka measuring cups were a Christmas gift from one of the kids a few years ago.

We set up a hot chocolate station on the Santa tray every year; we go through milk a lot faster when this is out, I’ve noticed:

hot chocolate tray

I make the mix from this super simple Martha Stewart recipe; I like it because it doesn’t include dry milk, which I never have around (and we prefer to use milk instead of water in the finished product anyway). A couple of things I like to keep on hand for hot chocolate making purposes: this adorable little two tablespoon scoop for measuring out the mix (I can’t find the plastic one we have anymore, but this one is nicer) and this four cup glass measuring cup for heating up the milk in the microwave.

On the kitchen table, there are even more cone trees….big ones!


I didn’t do much on the newly sorta finished covered porch, but the lights out there already look so Christmassy that I had to put something out there….so I went with this truck and cake stand, both Target finds last year:

My favorite room to decorate this year was the den.

Last year, we had just finished up the shelf in the corner when it was time for Christmas decorating, so I just kind of tossed some stuff on there at the last second. Not that this year’s shelf decorating is all that cohesive, but I had more fun with it anyway.

The violin case with ornaments is a repeat from last year. It may be a repeat every year, because I love it:

There are little Christmas vignettes tucked in all over the place. Like from our set of Rudolph figurines:

Mrs. Claus isn’t really from Rudolph, but I found her at the thrift store awhile back, and I though Santa needed some company. They’re pretty much the same scale, which makes them a perfect couple as far as figurines go:

And then nothing goes with Rudolph figurines quite as well as….manger scenes! So I have two here, both thrifted. This first one I found last year and was much amused to see that each piece was priced separately, in case you wanted to buy JUST Joseph for some reason. Also, Joseph was the most expensive even though Jesus is really the one with star billing in the story:

Last year I went very, very simple on the mantel. This year I did a bit more. After years of living with a row of big old Leyland Cypresses right outside my front door, it finally occurred to me to get out there with some scissors and clip some branches for the mantel.

And then I put some of my favorite Christmas things up here, like my little white elves:

….my brass sleigh and reindeer:

….and these white houses (from Target last year. Last year was a good Christmas year at Target):

Christmas home tour from Boxy Colonial

And just before I sat down to write this post, we decorated our tree in the den and I got a few photos. This is the anything goes tree: colored lights and every ornament the kids have ever made plus a few that have lasted since I was a kid. And ALL the lights. When we put the lights on, I spend a lot of time sternly telling Dave, “don’t forget: it needs to glow from within.”

And that’s it for my tour, but now go check out all the others, and don’t forget to enter to win $300 in PayPal cash!

Christmas Home Tour: lots of vintage, thrifted finds and neutral colors

Check out all the other tours below!

Casa Watkins Living * Lovely Etc. * Designing Vibes * Oh Everything Handmade * The Turquoise Home

Lehman Lane * Our House Now a Home * The Striped House * My Creative Days * Newly Woodwards

All Things With Purpose * House by Hoff * The Happy Housie * A House Full of Sunshine * Thrifty and Chic

This is Our Bliss * Boxy Colonial * Little Red Brick House * Green with Decor * Blue I Style

Sincerely Marie Designs * Up to Date Interiors * Southern State of Mind * A Fresh Squeezed Life * Meegan Makes

Wife in Progress * Place of My Taste * Restless Arrow * Bigger Than The Three of Us


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Christmas Home Tour and $300 Giveaway: A Relatively Minimalist Holiday — 36 Comments

  1. Such a fabulous tour Gretchen! And you family room gets me every time! It’s so so good! You have no idea how much I want that fireplace

  2. Glittery dinosaurs are back! (I’m lobbying for them to work other holidays besides Christmas.) The violin case ornaments need to be annual, yes they do.
    All of it looks wonderful, and the den tree does indeed glow from within. Just one question: why is the squirrel in the kitchen not wearing an ornament?

  3. Your fireplace is stunning. The violin case is my favorite holiday decor piece in this post. Lovely. I hate to break it to you but I lost count on how many trees you have, and I think that alone disqualifies you from being even a remote or ‘try to be’ minimalist. Hehe.. But- I get your point. I like the idea of spending less time decorating with less stuff. I think it often has a much bigger impact. I got really burned out on Christmas decor this year after seeing so many bloggers showcasing Christmas decor slipping in, way back in Oct. Really? yeah. I have to say it is SO refreshing to find bloggers that don’t constantly have to go buy new items in order to post their trophies. Re-purposing is wonderful and shopping your own house and stuff to use in new ways is even better. You achieved that in a most beautiful way with amazing holiday style.

    • Thanks so much. And ha–it’s true! Three trees does not equal minimalism. I don’t think I know how to do real minimalism :). You’ll never find me decorating for Christmas in October….this is about the earliest I can possibly do it, and only because I had a blog tour due!

    • Thanks, Cassie! I need to start keeping my eye out for a new one–this one’s on its last legs, and I can’t NOT have a white tree!

  4. So many fun things! I always love the dinosaur tree and those little elves. And I really love all the white on the kitchen shelves this year too. So festive! If you figure out what led to your stress-free decorating, let me know. I felt way too stressed this year – though I’m pretty sure my kids had a lot to do with that!

  5. Gretchen, I’m in love with your den! From the moody wall color, rug, art, adorable and sweet Christmas decor, and that colorful and gorgeous tree, it’s all just lovely and warm and happy feeling! Hope you enjoy it all!

  6. Every year I say I am also going to make a hot chocolate station and yet I still don’t have one! Maybe this is the year! I love, love, love your tree!

    • Thanks, Tara! The den is so colorful already that I kind of HAVE to keep the stuff I add for Christmas relatively low key. I’m not really good at low key, though, so it tends to get away from me 😉

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