Photos from our Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas Photo Shoot in our Rental House

easy christmas ideas

In October of 2012 I received an email from an Editor at Meredith Publications about possibly shooting our house for the 2013 issue of Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine…. A DREAM!

They also asked me not to show photos on my blog of my Christmas decor before the shoot…. A NIGHTMARE!

So here are all of the photos I was dying to show you last year…

The crew of three, Brie (the same photographer who came the year before for the DIY shoot, her sidekick, Pat, and Nicole a Meredith art director) came on Janurary 15th so we didn’t have to keep our Christmas decor up that much longer. But I did switch out our Christmas tree for a fresh, more simple feeling tree.

I really wanted the article to be an encouragement that we can decorate for Christmas simply, naturally, and inexpensively with a lean towards handmade. Even in a rental house.

Mostly I’m going to show photos that I took before during and after so here we go!

easy christmas ideas  easy christmas ideas

Here’s how it looked in real life before they came…

bhg christmas ideas

Here’s how it looked in the magazine, I’m always surprised how the coloring is off, but I’m still thrilled with the feature.

DSC_0300 2



DIY pom wreath

DIY pom wreath



lots of easy Christmas ideas! Natrual, handmade Christmas

World’s most simply decorated tree:

2 strands of C9 lights (that’s it TWO strands!!)

2 strands of finger knitted garland (handmade, here’s more info)

1 strand of pom pom yarn

about a dozen copper ornaments

a bunch of paper snowflakes I made with my boys over the past few years

The beautiful live tree was gifted to us from some friends, the Hill family who grow old fashioned Christmas trees on their land in Hendersonville, NC. They are trees that aren’t severely shaped into a perfect Dr. Seuss triangle. They have natural spaces and are beautifully quirky.


Here’s everything that was used on the tree. I think it’s less than $50 worth of stuff.



I made it a point, after I removed our decorations, to pile them all on a table and take a picture. This is it. THIS is pretty much all of our decor besides our trees and some greenery that my mom and I cut from a local park.

lots of simple Christmas ideas!


pom pom garland from West Elm


This is our store bought live tree that our family used before the shoot it’s too tight, there are no spaces. Now I’m spoiled and only want an old fashioned tree.

lots of easy Christmas ideas!


Two EASY and free ways to decorate: cut greenery from a park and put it in containers you already own & use your own winter scarves and wrap them around items in your home that are already on display.

lots of easy Christmas ideas!

white ceramic boots: Z Gallerie

wreath : Hershey is my Baby

canvas: Lindsay Letters


our bed, before ironing



right before the tree swap

lots of simple Christmas ideas!

my office, $85 thrifted dresser, $15 yard sale table for a desk, $20 white tree from a yard sale


Here’s the amount of decor I used after it was packed up. Four bins (one had my pretend gifts so I could use them again this year & show how I wrapped them here at the blog–coming next week) The bag holds my wreaths.


Sweet little tree.

lots of easy Christmas ideas!





As the BHG people were walking out the front door the boys and dog were already taking over.

easy christmas ideas


prepping the bed


better homes & gardens christmas ideas Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 7.54.59 AM

It was SUCH fun getting the house ready and seeing the photos in the magazine. Our tree even made the table of contents!

better homes and gardens christmas ideas

You can order it here. You can download it immediately here, all of our local stores sold out way back in October.


 A little secret to how I make run-of-the-mill gifts feel custom

Closeups & Ideas for Giftwrap from the photo shoot

Our home this year: Our first Christmas in our little farmhouse: Good Enough Decorating for when Life isn’t Perfect. Because isn’t that Always?

Monday the 16th, its YOUR turn to join in the tour, we’ll have a link up here and an instagram hashtag (any ideas?) for the 5th annual Christmas Tour of Homes

tour of homes

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  1. Your Christmas decor in the magazine was so beautiful. As I kept pulling out more and more bins of decorations this year, I reminded of your pictures and how simpler can really look even more beautiful!

  2. So beautiful, so simple, so fresh & clean – love it! And thanks for keeping it real with the last shot – that was the best. I do want to mention that I’m sure it’s probably different in different parts of the country but where I live (NY state) it’s illegal to cut or remove anything from a state or county park so just be careful ;). Thanks for sharing all the ‘behind the scenes’!

  3. Hi Nester, so glad I grabbed this edition when I saw it back in the fall. You have (like always) inspired me to KISS it this Christmas with my decorations. Love your style girl. And best wishes with new house! My hubby is envious of your property!

  4. Hi, love the article/pictures! Say, could you please share where you found all the disco balls?
    I’ve read your blog for years and try to buy with purpose, although sometimes that doesn’t work out so well, oops! :)) And I also have let go of some of the perfection, like a crooked picture frame! Used to drive me crazy….
    Hope you enjoy the first Christmas in your new home!!

  5. LOVE your second tree. My brother in law is a Christmas tree farmer and we always go to his farm and get his “rejects”! That is the only kind of tree I would have!

  6. It’s all divine, simply divine. I love every drop of it!

  7. i went to bed thinking about this beautiful post & how beautiful everything looks. But then I thought how wonderful for you…to be able to share this, right now in this moment of your life, in this season when you’re totally remodeling your new house while in the middle of the holidays when you don’t have time to do every.single.thing. it’s all about timining, isn’t it? God’s timing.

  8. I LOVE how perfectly imperfect your bed is “made”!!! The mismatch sheets, the “crawl back in now” ever so inviting turned down sheets. Ahhhh I love! In all your bedding collecting journeys, do you happen to remember where the sheets and star burst shams are from!? I am a sucker for a good source list!

  9. So amazingly beautiful! Congrats on the mag spread, it is so well deserved! You never cease to surprise me with your talent for helping us see the beauty in simplicity! Bravo!

  10. What a great feature! I seriously love all your Christmas decor, I wish I could just pick it up and transplant it in my own home!

  11. Absolutely fabulous!!
    Who knew pompoms could be so fun in so many different ways?!
    Love the photo of the ceramic boots, Lindsey’s art, and the wreath. [my heart!]

    You inspire me to be more free with my own creativity and quit second-guessing myself. Haha….boy would make my husband happy. :) He and one of my friends say I think to much!! LOL!
    Congratulations on a great photoshoot…magazine splash…and for being faithful to yourself.

  12. I love every space in your house! You’re just incredibly talented. I was wondering how you mounted all of those white platters and plates? I adore old dishes and I think that’s exactly what I want to do but I worry about destroying the wall. Thanks so much and congratulations

    • I just used metal plate hangers, you can buy them at Target, Hobby Lobby and on Amazon, just make a little nail hole in your wall–that’s what walls are for! xo

  13. Your home is beautiful! I saw that you got your tree from Hendersonville. We lived there for four years after we were married. My husband is from there. Now are enjoying coastal living. :) Merry

  14. I loved all your Christmas decor last year…especially that tree, WOW!!! Belated congrats on the spread. :) Wherever did you find those textured copper ornaments? They are beautiful!

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