Christmas in the Midst of our Mess


A few years ago the house we were renting was photographed for a Christmas issue of one of my favorite magazines. It was three weeks after Christmas day and I had a completely different tree than the one we had at Christmas. Before they even walked out of my house after the shoot was over, our boys were fighting on the sofa. The very next day I stared down at the biggest project of my life that was due eight weeks later.

Even beautiful Christmas features don’t tell the whole story. They are purely there for our inspiration–which I am always grateful for–that’s their purpose.

Christmas welcome

But that’s not the only purpose of this online space. We are a community of imperfectionists. We know the secret that real life is messy and we aren’t embarrassed of that. So here’s our real house right now in December in the midst of the imperfect because we all know that’s where life actually happens.


This year Christmas is coming while we are finishing up phase two of our kitchen. This is sixteen months into our total kitchen renovation–we are paying cash as we go, and I’m so happy we are finally getting tile!


Tile is happy and fun and I’m so excited about it.

Of course, just because you see someone doing some upgrades on their house doesn’t mean life is perfectly dreamy. My husband has been looking for a job that suits him for a while. It’s been something we’ve quietly been working through while I write about paint colors and barn renovations.

I bet you have fun things going on, and also some hard stuff too. Everyone does.




simple Christmas


plate wall

We’ve already hosted one Christmas gathering, we have another tomorrow and another on Christmas Eve. Having an undone house has never stopped us from inviting people into the mess. I hope it doesn’t stop you either!

Cheesiest video EVER, but I’ve loved this song for years. I need the reminder to stop and simply Let it be Christmas. Even in the midst of everything else…


Click here to be inspired by beautiful imperfect homes this Christmas.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I can’t help but believe that when all is said and done, one of the legacies you’ll leave to a watching world is grace in action, dear Nester.

    You’re right. Life is hard and it doesn’t get easier just because it’s the holidays. Sometimes our energies have to go beyond the state of our homes. And that’s as it should be.

    This year? Lights at the windows, lots of lights on the tree. Some fresh snipped holly here and there … and a couple of candles burning. That’s it.

    And it’s all good.

    Comfort and joy to you and your family.

  2. Joanne Boulter says

    I really love your blog! Thank you for hosting the linky party. XX Jo

  3. Yes I CAN relate!

  4. Your home is GORGEOUS even in the midst of imperfections. Thank you for having the ability (and grace as commented above) to find beauty in the everyday messes. It says something about your heart. It is so easy to grumble and see the messy. I am thankful that you remind us to have arrows that point to the pretty. Thank you for also sharing about your husband’s work and your sons fighting. We all have those days but we forget behind pretty pictures that we are all fighting the same fights in life. You are a true treasure here on the internet and I am so thankful you are faithful to sharing your voice here.

  5. “I bet you have fun things going on, and also some hard stuff too. Everyone does.” I want to go have a good cry right there. Crying helps me cope. Thank you for the realness I find every time I come here.

  6. your home is full of love and coziness! so beautiful and who wants perfection?!?! not me!

  7. I love you Nester. You don’t know how I look forward to reading your blog and having you be “real” about your life. No one has a “perfect” life and I know lots of people who waste their time trying to pretend they do. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming into my house regularly and keeping it real for me as well as making me thankful that I have the home and family I have. I have also stolen your “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” and use it at least daily.

  8. This is a point my hubby recently made in his sermon: life continues to be what it is even during Christmas. It can be so hard not to get bogged down in the projects, the stuff behind the pretty curtains of decor. Keep smiling, Nester! Don’t let the mess detract from the purpose of this season, in all its facets :-)

  9. I love how you always open up your home to guests – even when you are renovating. Your house looks simply lovely. And, it looks like Phase 2 is coming along nicely. I’m so happy for you that you’re going to end up with an awesome kitchen space! Merry Christmas!

  10. Oh, that tile is lovely!

  11. I will never tire of your imperfectionist manifesto. Thank you, thank you – for always being honest about the beauty AND the mess … and how we never have one without the other.

    {P.S. That shiny tile is GORGEOUS!}

  12. I really appreciate you, Nester. Thank you so much for your lovely writing.

  13. Your blog is such a peaceful, cozy place. I bet your home feels the same.
    I love all the various lettering you do. My one and only craft skill is calligraphy, and there are so many fun things to do with it – and you’ve given me more ideas!
    Thank you for sharing your gentle, caring, and hopeful outlook on life and home. It matters.

  14. This might be my fav Christmas house tour ever–if only because it’s not perfectly polished but just a real snapshot of life in your home right now. Thanks for always sharing honestly! And it’s beautiful! :) Love that print above your fireplace.

  15. Tears. We are going through a reno in the family room and other more serious hard times this Christmas. As I lay here sick in bed and view all of the Christmas tours I was just beginning to question the vanity of the blog world. You redeemed it. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  16. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home. It is gorgeous and real. It is also very peaceful.

    Do you mind sharing where you got the sign “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”? I love it….actually I love everything in your home! Our tastes are quite similar.

  17. nailed it.
    and yes, there’s plenty of cheese in that video. ;)

  18. The kitchen is looking so beautiful! The tile…ah! I bet you are so excited to see it coming together. Give your stove another pet for me.

  19. this post is why people love you.
    you are relatable. never stop sharing the imperfect…the mess behind the beauty.

    i’ve said it countless times…working with you was wonderful. you are professional but personal.
    it’s HARD not to get too caught up in this blog world…you’ve balanced it well as far as i can tell from a distance. :)
    wishing you the merriest christmas ever.

  20. ps. i am literally dying to know where the dutch door leads to. is that a butler’s pantry you’ve created? did i miss the post where you gave deets?

  21. Would you share the source for the towel “They broke bread in their homes … ” I couldn’t find it on Linsay Letters. Thanks, Nester. Loved this article.

  22. ..reading ‘The Nesting Place’ now, borrowed from a friend. Thank you for sharing your gifts w/ us ! Can I ask where you’ve shopped for your slipcovers in the book ?

  23. M-
    love the kitchen tile/grout! saw it on instagram and now trying to find other shots on your site…..
    Due to house flood(eve of son’s wedding – boo), renovating kitchen (yay!) with white cabinets, white/gray marble and white handmade subway tile and trying to vary the whites a bit but not too much….and nervous but wanting to maybe use light gray grout – can you tell me your color grout? I’m hesitant that it would stand out too much and have a take-over-the kitchen pattern, but, with all white might look great.
    thank you!!
    Susan (from your Lowes visit in SouthEnd)

  24. Would love to win and will probably end of giving away. Love to give ALLLLLLLLLLLLL the time. Love to all!
    Blessings always!

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.