Good Enough Christmas Decorating For When Life Isn’t Perfect. Because isn’t that Always?

simply easy christmas decorating

Welcome to our home! If you are new here from Chris at Just A Girl we are so glad you stopped by. If you are old here, then today I’m joining in a blogger Christmas tour of homes that will last all week. And I won’t pretend like I didn’t wait until the last minute to snap these photos. It was yesterday in the gloom when I had the house in order enough to hide the piles, decide that dog hair doesn’t show up in photos and take a few close ups.


After six years of writing a decorating blog while in a rental and paying off debt, this is our first Christmas in our new little farmhouse. In August we moved to the country on 12 acres to a little fixer-upper built in 1987.


fireplace before

Here’s what the fireplace looked like when we closed. I took the mantle down to paint but then, yesterday, as I was standing with 30 feet of heavy garland in my hand I realized I needed another surface for candles and greenery and I was so happy that I was too lazy to remove the two large screws that held up the corbels that supported the mantle back when I painted. I had painted over them and they were as secure as ever. Up went the mantel!

Christmas Mantel


In the pictures everything looks so calm and simple and cleared off. Which is something I long for.




But the truth is you only see what I show you.

I’m not showing you closeups of all of outlets sans covers, or the extension cord that our range is plugged into or the dolly that it is still sitting on. I’m not showing you the green pool or the telephone poles that run through our yard or the pink toilet in the boys bathroom that I’m guessing isn’t flushed. I’ve only hung three things on the wall because we knocked down walls and there will still be hammering and drywall dust this very week. So we are living lightly in this house right now.

So I’m mainly showing the parts that feel done and peaceful and put together.

Because when things aren’t perfect, which is always, you have to choose what you are going to focus on.

Actually, you GET to choose what you are going to focus on.


look closely, see the spots on the wall that aren’t gold? those are drywall repairs from doing work on the wall directly behind, fresh paint coming soon, hopefully! For now the gold dots say ‘look at me!’







When I turn around from snapping a photo of the Christmas tree, I see this. And that is normal. And that is okay. And isn’t that exactly how life is?

Christmas will still come. Ready or not.

weary world rejoices

I learned years ago that when decorating for Christmas starts to feel like a burden that’s a red flag.

A red flag that I’m grateful for because why in the world do I keep doing something that usually ushers in joy if it’s causing me a bunch of stress?

So I simplified my Christmas decorating.







The year I simplified and snapped photos for the blog, Better Homes & Gardens contacted us and our home with the simplest, humblest, most inexpensive Christmas decor is featured in this years Christmas Ideas Issue. 

I knew it all along but that feature became proof to me that even on a limited budget, even in a rental house, even without decking the halls to the point of exhaustion, you can still create beauty wherever you are. Because every imperfect home has a silver lining.


Decorating is like placing arrows around. “Look here. And now here.” And anything you don’t want to see you either don’t put an arrow pointing to it, or you simply put an arrow in front of it. And anything you want to accentuate, you make sure it has a big arrow.








Thank you so much for stopping by our imperfect, average home. Be sure to click over to the next tour, Cassie from Hi Sugarplum, here’s a picture from her beautiful home…


And Jen from Tatertots & Jello…


Thanks so much to Chris for hosting the Tour, be sure to stop by her house too…


Sidebar photo ChristmasHouseToursidebar_zps30afa66a.jpg
And you are invited to join us for the 5th annual Christmas Tour of Homes for anyone to link up to here at the blog next Monday and on instagram using the ridiculously long hashtag #idhtbptbbchristmas
(it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful Christmas)
tour of homes


{If I get questions in the comments I’ll add to the sources list}
Herringbone Cowhide & Other Rugs
Leather Chairs
Weary World Canvas
Grandfather Clock
Gold Dots
Baby it’s Cold Outside Pillow
Pom Wreath & Garland
Antlers & Painting the Fireplace
Furry Throw: HomeGoods
Need more Christmas inspiration?
Lindsay from White Buffalo Styling Co. started her Christmas tour today too!
white buffalo
related posts:
Chirstmas Giftwrap from our Better Homes & Gardens photo shoot
Last year’s rental house decorated for Christmas & featured in Better Homes & Gardens

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  1. I love simplified anything nowadays. Elaborate takes too much energy and stress!
    (I have that same tiny white nativity given to us by a former pastor from his parents’ home when they passed away. I think of them often during this season.)

  2. It may not be perfect, but it’s surely beautiful! And it’s real. I love that. Thanks for being a shining light, always pointing people to thankfulness for what they have instead of disgruntledness for what they have not. (Is disgruntledness a word? I don’t know, but if not it should be.)

    Love you, friend!

  3. looks pretty darn perfect to me! i love it all!

  4. Where is the throw pillow that says “Baby it’s cold outside” from. I

  5. It’s listed in the sources xo

  6. Hi there..I’ve not been following long maybe a few months, found you through my dearest friend Carmellas blog. I haven’t yet commented on anything so I wanted to take a minute to tell you what an inspiration you have been. Also I absolutely love love love how that natural wood mantel looks against the white brick! Perfect! Somehow by changing the brick to white, you transformed the mantel. I know you might have had other plans in mind for the mantel but I hope you don’t change a thing. ;)

  7. While so many blog homes are beautifully decorated at Christmas, your home is one of the only ones that doesn’t leave me feeling anxious. Just the fact that you reference unfleshed toilets, cracks me up! Maybe part of the reason is that I follow your every post, so your decor already feels homey to me? Regardless, I will like up with our super-imperfectly decorated-by-little-boys Christmas tree and my half decorated mantel. I keep forgetting to do the other half and I will probably just never get to it. I think it may be time to pare down our decor too. Can you just come to my house and clear out the clutter? I’ll make coffee and bake cookies…. hahahahahA lol.

  8. Thank you so much for keeping it REAL!! You summed it up decorating for the holidays perfectly. It should not be a burden and can still be beautiful without going over the top. I’m also glad you pointed out the not so perfect areas – Most blogs are so “picture perfect” all the time, the reality isn’t always shown. Have a merry one!

  9. Adore your honesty! This post is refreshing and something we can all relate to. Creating a home is a process and it will have some very unattractive moments. It’s living through these moments that make a house a home.

  10. I’m so in love with the scarf on the clock look…it’s awesome!

  11. I always love how you put things together!!!! I love watching the progress on your home, it looks amazing. I am totally digging the beads.

  12. Very nicely done! But I have to tell you, I LOVE the gold dots on the wall behind the couch and think you should keep them like that! Very unique and eye catching!

  13. Please, please, PLEASE talk to me about your clock!

  14. Oh hooray! I was hoping there would be a Christmas tour link up and was sad to not see any mention of one. I so enjoyed being part of it last year. :) I gained so many ideas for Christmas decorating from everyone else!

    Every time you post a picture of your fireplace, I want to paint our brick one so badly . . . now more than ever! It looks so beautiful. :)

  15. I love decorating for the holiday season and most years its easy but some years its hard to get myself in the mood because I’m busy. But once everything is up I’m so much happier!

  16. Everything looks so cozy and beautiful!!! Funny how our home is decorated in every color of the rainbow, and yours with gorgeous neutrals…yet I love them both equally! I need two houses so I can have one of each, and just go back and forth. :) Or I’ll just come hang at your house for awhile…deal? thanks for linking me…fun to share this tour with you!

    • agreed! your pink candles on the mantel kill me, it’s everything in me not to go out and get all colored ornaments and candles today. I love it so much!

  17. Simply lovely. I took notice of that “red flag” when I started to think about Christmas décor this year…and scaled wayyyy back. I especially love our tree…not just real but LIVE! Smaller, easier to trim, and going to be planted after the holiday.

  18. Love, love, love it. It is beautiful!! I love the wood mantle against the white brick – a perfect backdrop for that lovely greenery. Thanks for sharing the real stuff too :)

  19. Thanks for keeping things real – sometimes, when you see all these beautiful homes with all their perfect decorations you feel like a such a failure! (or at least I do) So glad to be reminded that all we see is what people want you to see and that their home isn’t perfect either ! Good reminder for all of us!

  20. Thank you for being AUTHENTIC and GENUINE! Such a breath of fresh air…

  21. I love how your style is evolving but still so uniquely you. Most of all I love your message and the inspiration I always get from visiting your blog. Thanks!

  22. I love everything you’ve done! It’s genius, the black, white, brown/gold and greenery. So calming and elegant blended with earthy. Ha! That’s a lot of words to explain simple, but somehow you’ve evoked it. I’m really enjoying the journey of your new home.

  23. Jessica Hughes says

    Thank you for sharing your home. You are such a real person :)

    You are a person I would love to meet someday and chat about life!

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  24. Thank you. I needed this post. Your house is so beautiful to me mainly because of your “realness.”

  25. Love your home for the holidays! And love that “baby its cold outside” pillow!

  26. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! I get such inspiration from your decorating. I just ordered the pillow (cuz I’ve been know to sing that phrase quite often:) and I’m seriously considering the dots. And the star! I. Need. That. Star. Is this something that you purchased a while ago? I went on Joss and Main and don’t see anything like this. I know this site changes all the time.

  27. Thank you, thank you for being so real! I follow your blog and this is one of the reasons why.

    Happy Holidays!!

  28. Where did you get your furry throws! I want!!

  29. Love the simple! It’s beautiful , welcoming and cozy. I also love that you mentioned what mess or mistakes there is in your home. It’s exhausting trying for perfection, thanks for giving us all a little leeway. :)

  30. I love it! It’s beautiful, simple and classic. :)

  31. I like the idea of pointing “arrows” to where you want the focus to be rather than worrying about perfection everywhere. I am learning to live with the imperfect and not stress if every little detail is not in place. Thanks for keeping it real.

  32. I love that the mantle came home for Christmas! And its neat that you can take it down when you want.

  33. It looks beautiful and real, which is wonderful. may God shower you and your family with continued blessings now and always.

  34. Oh I think your decorations are perfect!!! I love the simplicity of them and love your house!

  35. Wow, thank you so much for the little feature :) It blew me away to see! And I can’t tell you how much I love your simple, but GORGEOUS home and Christmas decor. It is truly lovely and inspired.

  36. Debbie Byrd says

    You never cease to amaze me, delight my senses, and make me feel inspired!! Thank you so much for sharing your gift of styling….along with your genuineness, with all of us.

  37. I love how your style has evolved over the years from plaid and toile fabrics to the neutrals, it’s so calming. I’m curious how you deal with the drywall dust? I am also living with a reno and haven’t put anything decorative up because of the dust. Do tell.

    • most of our dust ended two weeks ago so I tried to keep nothing really out in the open rooms except for furniture and pillows, and lamps. Now it’s just spot sanding for the drywall and my husband holds the shopvac right up to it or uses the shopvac attachment when he sands. Hoping it’s a minimum now!

  38. I am so inspired by your attitude toward decorating! It takes a load of pressure off my shoulders. You are truly a blessing!! Also, your house looks so wonderful, simple, and I love how authentic it always feels.

    Can’t wait to join the link party next week!

  39. so happy for you. first christmas in your very own beautiful home.
    (i have the same little tiny white nativity ;)

  40. Your article was my inspiration for decorating this year. I had another idea in mind, that probably would have meant spending money, but when I read the article, I decided to do what you did and go shopping on my house. I was surprised at what I came up with! I’ve hardly bought anything for it! Your comment that if it’s wintery then it’s Christmasy really helped! Thanks for the beautiful article !

  41. LOVE it all + we are so happy for your sweet family + your new home! It’s fantabulous, just like you. ;}

  42. I actually thought about you a lot this weekend, because we hosted our first ever (in our 17 year marriage) dinner party at our house for 14 of our kid’s friends and parents.
    I started to regret the decision, and get carried away with Pinterest-approved decorations, but then I scaled back and took your advice “shopped the house”. It actually ended up beautiful. I had cleaned all week and fretted about how bad we needed fresh paint, our crappy laminate countertops, and a “gallery” on the very blank two story den wall. You know what, though?
    Several of the guest went on and on about how pretty everything was and well decorated. One sweet friend said, “your house is absolutely beautiful” :) and my heart grew three sizes…
    I also took your advice and said “Yes, please” when people offered to bring food. That was the best “nest party advice” ever! Thanks!

  43. Your mantle area is just beautiful!! So glad you discovered the corbels! The cozy scarf on the elegant clock makes my day…so fun : )

  44. I absolutely love the random gold dots on the wall- did you use a stencil and acrylics gold paint or what?I am so going to do that in my daughter(s) powder room! Its a great way to place the dots on the damaged spots on a wall or to make you not look at the damaged spots…anywho, I’m so going to do it after the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Thank you for the truth in this post. Christmas feels incredibly stressful to me this year, and I truly need to let go of some expectations and simplify ;-)

    Your house is beautiful. I know from experience how very difficult it is to focus on the beauty when you’re in the middle of a remodeling project that stretches on forever, but you’ve come so very far already!

  46. I just love your blog and your realness. Christmas is about so much more than worrying and fussing over decorations but I love decorating and enjoying the season too – so I love the balance you have. Its refreshing. Have a Merry Christmas!!

  47. I love it all– especially the gold polka dots. :)
    This year I was just feeling SO OVERWHELMED by my jobs and the travel we do for the holidays that I just decided we’d have a garland with a few ornaments instead of a tree. Then my husband picked out his favorite piece of Christmas decor from our stash, and I picked out mine, and that is it! No fuss, and a 10 minute clean up when the holiday is over.

  48. Carrie Cotton says

    Last year we moved into our partially remodeled new to us home on December 15th. Come Christmas we had a tree up and lots of mess! This year it’s been so fun to decorate a bit more and cover up with garland the still unfinished window ledges and doorways! :) I love your “arrow” idea as it’s taking MUCH longer then we planned to finish remodeling. You’ve made my mind start to think what I’ll be doing after Christmas :)

  49. Your home looks warm, inviting and very Christmas-y. A long time ago, when I was dreading an event that I had to hold in my home because I still had rooms unpainted and floors without rugs, you gave me some suggestions as to what I could do. It was your final command to me that has stuck with me all of these years, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”. Christmas decorating this year will be hit and miss for me because of obligations to my father-in-law who is extremely ill. I want to decorate minimally, kind of just adding Christmas touches to things I keep out everyday. My husband (who is a MAJOR perfectionist) refuses, telling me that we can get it all done. I’m going to show him this post so he can see how beautiful “minimal” is. I’m getting ready to do our master bedroom and I’ve started out with a beautifully simple ivory coverlet and sham set (he groaned), and the rest of the room will fall into the same creamy. ivory, neutral, simple color way. It will be restful and inviting…but not perfect and that is fine with me.
    Merry 1st Christmas to you and your family in your new home!

  50. Beautiful! Would love to know where you found the silver stand holding the oranges, nuts, and greens. I’ve been looking for one just like it! Thanks!

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