Christmas House Tour 2018.

Come on in!  Welcome to my Christmas House Tour 2018.  A simple Christmas.  Kind of.

In my defence I really did try to make it a simple Christmas this year. I even went so far as to only dedicate 2 full days to decorating as opposed to 3 or 4. I wrote it on my calendar and everything.

As you can see from the restraint on my kitchen cabinets I went simple here. Simple wreaths, no adornment. Done.  But those cabinets have been decorated with those simple wreaths for years. It was the rest of the house I had to try to rein in.

I’m going to let you know I didn’t exactly accomplish my goal of simple Christmas decorating. As it turns out, simple involves restraint.  In just the past 24 hours I’ve ordered 14 things I don’t need off of Amazon, eaten 3/4s of a loaf of bread and let a friend know what I really think of his decorating.  So.  Clearly I’m not an accomplished restrainer.

I am that person who goes to an all you can eat buffet and even though I don’t want to, even though it’ll make me feel sick and it’s gross, I pile my plate with foods from 7 different nationalities because I don’t want to miss out on something good.  I’ve dipped eggrolls in beef gravy.  I’m an abomination.

So doing actual “simple” Christmas decorating was never going to happen and you should really give your head a shake if you thought it was going to.  I mean even believing that I might accomplish a simple Christmas well … , that just looks bad on you, not me.

Having said that, I did absolutely bring things down a  notch this year.  Just a bit.  Just so I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed by it all.

I’m sure you know what I mean. You love your house filled with Christmas decorations for the first week or two and then they slowly start to bug you.  Close in on you.

You develop Christmas Claustrophobia. 

So I didn’t put out a lot of the little things this year. Like the vintage ceramic salt and peppers.  Or the vintage elves that I really do love a lot and would actually look great on my new kitchen hardware cabinet now that I think of it.  Hmm.

Speaking of the new kitchen hardware cabinet – I love it even more decked out for the holidays.

That’s one real (the long needled pine) and one fake (straight from Ikea) garland on the top. I bought real pine rope and cut it in half.  One half is on the cabinet and the other half is in the backyard staying fresh.  When this one dries out in a couple of weeks I’ll replace it with the fresh stuff hibernating in the backyard.


The bottom shelf of the cabinet holds my kitchen appliances like my ice cream maker, Sous Vide Supreme machine and Kitchen Aid which look a bit messy, so I’ve attached a few tension rods to the cabinet and just threw some holiday print tea towels over them.  Later I’ll probably make linen curtains for it, or something out of vintage aprons.

ALERT!  As of the moment that I’m writing this post,  my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker is on sale for $200 on  (not sadly)  That is a great, GREAT deal.  It’s wayyyy less than half price.  It’s a really good ice cream maker because it has a compressor built into it.  That means it freezes the ice cream as it’s making it. (You don’t have a bowl you have to take out and store in the freezer)

You can see if it’s still on sale by clicking this link to it on Amazon here.

So that’s the kitchen. Not overly simple but not overly over the top either. I do not feel Christmas claustrophobia in this room.

Onto the dining room!  Walk this way ….

I did two things in the dining room to simplify the decorating this year.

  1. I didn’t put any ornaments on the tree.  Just greenery and some sparkly branches.
  2. I didn’t decorate the shelves other than two black, glittery reindeer.



If you want to go with the least amount of waste with your Christmas decorating, decorate with food.  Nuts, oranges, chocolates.  You can’t go wrong with the big 3.  They make any room look festive plus you don’t need to make room for storing them in your basement. You instead store them in your handy stomach.


Beautiful and delicious.  Unlike eggrolls dipped in gravy.

No ornaments on the tree meant less time to decorate it and it’ll mean less time to put it away.

Here’s where simple got hard.  For the past few years I’ve had a huge, massive garland on my portrait of Margaret. You can see it in this post from my Christmas House Tour of last year.  I had strung together 3 or 4 different fake garlands to make one ginormous garland, and then I wove gold leaves, beads and ornaments through it.

It did not scream simple.

So I had to take  a few garlands apart and dumb it down a bit.  Have you ever tried to untangle 4 swags of garland entangled with beads, lights and glitter?  It’s a shitshow.

Wanna see the foyer?

That’s pretty simple, right?

If you missed it the first time around, in the background, on the buffet, those are my DIY wax dipped amaryllis bulbs.  No water, no dirt, no nothing, and FUN to make.   Here’s how to make them.

When I went into this whole “simple Christmas” mindset my goal was to decorate only with candles, greenery and twinkle lights.  I’ve done fairly well with that resolve but it ended with my Christmas tree.  The real tree, not one of the fake ones in my house.

I really wanted to do the tree with just  lights on it but then I remembered the dried oranges from last year and I just had to use them again because I love them.

I was stunned and amazed when I opened the bag I stored them in and they still smelled like orange. They’re darker than they were last year but they still look great.

Here’s how to make those dried orange slices for your tree.

And then there were the candles that I made last year. These are NOT the thing for you to make if you like everything straight and perfect because no matter what you do these flip and flop.  At least they do on a real tree.  They might not on a fake tree.

The last room in the tour is coming up, the living room.

First of all, I’m not a big pom pom fan but I bought this pom pom blanket because it was SO soft. Again, I’d normally  have some sort of official Christmas doodad on the end table but went with a few sprigs of pine.


The only thing that hurts my heart more than a homeless kitten is a flatscreen over a fireplace.  But for now that’s the only place to put it.  I’ve tried it other places and it just looks so messy.

The living room is in transition right now so it’s not at its best but hopefully it’ll all get straightened out with a new couch and furniture placement n the New Year.

The chair.  It’s my spot. I can see outside with the windows open and if I just swivel around a bit I’m staring right into the fire.  It’s. My. Spot.


Directly across from my spot is this.  The spot that I have so far refused to stick a chair into because it would make the room feel squished.  I may break down one day and have a chair there but for now I like looking at this view.  My rickety saddle stand and old saddle.

Like I mentioned earlier, decorate with food. I’ve already gone through an entire bowl of these mixed nuts in the shell this season (see aforementioned issue with restraint).  So I guess my decorating style this really really boiled down to candles, greenery and food.

O.K., and the odd Christmas tchotchke.

O.K.  Tour’s over.

To put it all in perspective, take a walk with me through my house.

Everyone put your shoes back on and get out.  I have some vintage elves to find.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


Christmas House Tour 2018.


  1. Bijou in Venice says:

    I love going through new houses or open houses, especially yours, to get fresh ideas to use in my own home. I was in a home recently that was being visited by a decorator and her client. The decorator said that TVs over a fireplace were the worst idea that anyone has ever come up with. They are just placed too high for comfort and can lead to neck and shoulder problems. I’m not sure where your saddle is in relation to “your” chair, but thre seems to be enough room above the saddle vignette to put your TV, assuming it’s visible and not too far away from “your” chair. Just a thought, and it might just do the trick. Anyway, your home is beautiful, and you must feel a great sense of pleasure every time you come home. My very best wishes for a happy comfortable New Year 2019.

  2. Jacquie Gariano says:

    Dear Karen,
    As you see I’m still catching. I loved every bit of your house. It is so beautiful, festive and warm. I’m an “over the top” decorator for Christmas. Every room, yes even the bathrooms have something in them. Wreaths on every door inside and out. I have 9 (I think that’s all) tees. Each with a different focus. The “kids” (now grown up, mostly) have their own tree that they decorate with orniaments they have had since they were kids. I do sneak some new ones in each year. My daughter does the yard with all kinds of pieces including a green and red dragon that glows red. Our neighbors love to see what is new each year. So I guess you could we show the Christmas spirit and some excess every year. But we enjoy it all so much.
    Hope you had the Christmas you wanted and enjoyed your lovely home to the utmost.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, I did my very best to relax for a few days! I love Christmas too but man, I do NOT love the 9 hour job of taking it all down and putting it away in my tiny basement! ~ karen

  3. TONI CLORAN says:


  4. Beth says:

    You could do a frame on the TV and use a USB stick to display art on it.

  5. Shelagh Ryan says:

    I love the dried oranges! I have a garland of vines across my stone chimney that is there year round to which I add seasonal ” stuff” …. dried oranges …perfect!

    The wine might have been to blame…anyway it wasn’t quite the success that I had envisioned.

    I thought the oranges might smell REALLY good if I sprinkled some ground cloves on them while they were drying.

    They don’t and the cloves turned black…..they look like they have mold!

    I thought they might dry faster if I use cookie racks……the acid reacted with the metal and the oranges also have big black stripes!

    So I can’t decide whether oranges dressed up in vintage prison garb or speckled with mold is more attractive.

    I did follow your tip about the discount rack for the oranges so at least it didn’t cost too much!

    Your house is lovely all year round, the Christmas decorations just enhance it!
    Merry Christmas.

    I was out shopping yesterday for stocking stuffers and saw Idris on the cover of a magazine and thought of you!

    Sigh, back to another round of orange drying.

  6. Sigrid Olsen says:

    I love all of this…except I am not so crazy about the kitchen cabinet you just got. It seems to make that area a bit more crowded. I also have a narrow kitchen and would fill every square space if I could. I do think that cabinet is a beauty. However, I think I liked your kitchen the other way. I loved the rolling pins on that wall.

  7. Jennifer Kirksey says:

    I LOVE your home tour and everything you do! Absolutely stunning and Thank YOU for sharing your design tips, home and everything in between!

    Merry Christmas Karen and yes…I would drive from Texas to get those Cane Chairs too and your new kitchen hardware cabinet

  8. Idaho Girl says:

    I’ve been struggling to get in a Christmas frame of mind this year (not sure why), so seeing your beautiful decor helped. I only discovered your blog earlier this year, so thanks for including the link for last year because I was just about to go looking for it! I can’t decide if I want you to quit including pictures of your kitchen hardware cabinet – I love seeing it, but am overcome with jealousy every time I see it. I’ve seen so many picture of different rooms in your house, I loved the video so I could see how they all fit together. Merry Christmas, Karen!

  9. Benjamin says:

    Really Beautiful Karen. As always, you inspire me with your skills. So this year I decided to take a page from ‘doing stuff’ and tried my hand at making my own Christmas wreath. Hope your holidays are fab, just like you !!

    • Karen says:

      Cute! I hope that’s not over your bed though. I put a Christmas decoration over my bed last year and I haven’t had sex since. Sorry, what I meant to say was a bug fell off of it onto my pillow. ~ karen!

  10. Jackie says:

    OMG – Karen – You have outdone yourself once again. It is all beautiful. I love every thing about it. Your kitchen cabinet looks like it has always been there – good job. And I’ll be seeing you right after Christmas. I’ll need a vacation by then. How’s a 2 week visit sound to you? I won’t bring too much stuff with me or take up too much space. Promise.

  11. Mary says:

    Beautiful as usual.
    I breathe easier when Christmas decor is kept simple. How do you keep all of your garlands in place? Mine are forever slipping off and out of place. I always worry they will crash down breaking everything in their path!
    I will definitely be drying oranges this week-end to put on my kitchen greenery.
    I love all of your decorating ideas!

    • Karen says:

      I’m not sure how I keep the garlands in place, lol. On top of mirrors and picture frames, I have tiny finishing nails to hold them in place, but everywhere else they tend to just stay put. ~ karen!

  12. amanda says:

    So beautiful! Thank you for another year of amazing ideas, motivation, and being the funniest person in the blogosphere! You add wonderful-ness to the world, something we need so badly. Keep on keepin’ on Karen! Here’s my Jack helping with the decorating….

  13. Sarah says:

    Hi Karen! Restraint is not my middle name! My sister ordered a light kit with plastic bulbs that stick into holes for a ceramic Christmas tree in her room and we have extra. We talked just now and decided with the extra to make a gingerbread house and a Christmas scene to go with it from yours truly! How can you have a miniature gingerbread house without gingerbread people, snow and possibly Santa, his sled, reindeer and more snow? I have Christmas decorating issues!

    • Karen says:

      I don’t think you have issues, it all just seems logical to me. I’ll be kind of disappointed if you don’t figure out a way to make it appear as though the sleigh and Santa are suspended, flying above the gingerbread house. ;) ~ karen!

      • Sarah Padron says:

        I was thinking that as well!! I was thinking fishing wire potentially and also have holly jolly Christmas in the background!

  14. Deb says:

    It is STUNNING!!!

  15. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Your home is warm and cozy with just the right touches. If you feel you’ve gone a bit over the top you could always cut the pompoms off of the throw and it will have minimalist fringe!

  16. Denise says:

    Your home is overflowing with hygge. So comforting and cozy. Wishing you happy holidays and a new year filled with peace and contentment.

  17. Christi says:

    All the greenery is very inspiring. I googled “DIY pine garland” and found this video … which is a tad disingenuous because they say “handmade” when they are CLEARLY using a machine thingy to twine wire around the greenery! Still, I’ll probably attempt a small length by hand.

  18. Kristi says:

    Chocolates as decoration?? Why, that’s about as logistically safe as decorating with twelve pets in the family (not including the two-leggers)! Even HIDDEN, my stash keeps disappearing…

    Our tree has ONLY lights on it, some of the nativities are on display IN the box, and anything round, sparkly, or light enough to knock around or carry off remains packed away. I love all my rescues but they’re complete jerks. I have to put branches back on the tree every morning as it is! Simple is BEAUTIFUL because I can love everyone instead of stressing over the destruction ❤️

  19. sheryl powell says:

    I believe that new kitchen cabinet piece is the most stunning furniture piece I’ve ever seen. It is perfect.

  20. Marcia says:

    I love every single room. Just elegant, gorgeous, and oh so restrained!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marcia. I’ll probably go so over the top next year that you can’t even walk through a room without knocking something over, but for now … I like it this way. ;) ~ karen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Art of Doing Stuff