Christmas House Tour 2019.

You’re here! I’ve been expecting you. You are my FAVOURITE kind of holiday visitor; you can’t give me your cold and you’re physically incapable of eating all of the snacks that I put out which I really want to keep all for myself.  Welcome virtual guests to my 2019 Christmas house tour.

Live Frasier Fir Christmas tree decorated with dried oranges and antique Christmas balls, in an antique metal pot.



If you’ve ever bought a cartload of food for a party, all of which is appealing to you, you know what I’m talking about.  You put the Ruffles & Dip out and begrudge every handful of chips that someone smashes into their mouth. 

Who am I kidding.  I buy the Ruffles & dip for the party and then don’t put them out when people come over rationalizing there’s already too much food.  But really I just don’t want them to eat any of my Ruffles & dip. I want them for me.

Although that could be just me, what with my interest in potato chips. Mind you, I feel the same way when someone eats the Italian blue cheese I put out, the cured meats or the specialty crackers. And the bacon wraps??? I never EVER put out all of the bacon wraps at a party. I hold several back in the freezer and when someone asks if there are any more bacon wraps I emphatically say NO to their face, while whispering “not for you there isn’t” under my breath as I walk away.

Like I said, you aren’t going to eat my chips or my bacon wraps so you’re welcome to take a look around and stay as long as you like.

Welcome to my house and its Christmas decorating for 2019. 

Christmas Decorating Ideas.

Large cement pigs head on white painted brick wall above an antique hardware cabinet topped with unique Christmas trees.

My collection of Christmas trees (most given to my by my friend Anj) on top of my hardware cabinet in the kitchen along with the famous white truck everyone loves.

Christmas tree on kitchen island with copper pots on shelves in the background.

On the island I have a live tree that’s significantly bigger than I thought it was when I bought it. The top has a bronze glass bird with a feather tail and the rest of the ornaments are a few from my collection of antique ornaments.

Antique hardware cabinet with Christmas trees on top and ironstone on shelving below.

If you have leftover greenery, put a few branches in bottles, jars or vases. You really don’t need to do anything other than stick them in there. Don’t worry about adding anything else. A few evergreen branches in a vase are casually elegant all on their own.

Amaryllis bulbs on marble kitchen island ready for waxing.

This was the day I was waxing my amaryllis bulbs.  You can read my full tutorial on how to make your own waxed amaryllis bulbs here.  I started them late this year so these won’t bloom until after Christmas. I’m also doing a bit of a trial this year, soaking half of my bulbs in water with fertilizer and the other half with no fertilizer. I’ll update my waxed amaryllis post with the results once I know them.

Blue Star range with red plaid towel hanging off the door and vintage red Christmas elves on the counter.

The filthy range of a Christmas cook.

White Martha Stewart pantry cabinets with simple wreaths hung from burlap ribbon on the doors.

I change things up every year for Christmas, but these wreathes are always here on my cabinet doors. The one thing I did change on the wreaths this year, was to attach 2 antique sleigh bells to each wreath.

Mounted stags head hangs on a wall over a white cabinet with small Christmas trees in antique crocks.

Yup, I know. You LOVE deer heads.  Yup, I know.  You HATE deer heads.  Moving onto the dining room …


Library dining room combo decorated for Christmas with garland, sheepskins and a live tree in a wicker basket.

I’ve had a tall white imitation tree in this corner for about a decade now. Possibly more.  I still love the white tree but let me tell you, an imitation, completely flocked tree will leave your house looking like you left a room full of puppies and feather pillows together for the day.  That flocking gets EVERYWHERE and seems, as far as I can tell, to literally jump off the tree.

Life sized antique oil painting of a woman, with a saddle and saddle stand in front.

Margaret watches over everything because she has nothing else to do on account of the fact that she’s a painting.  My saddle sits on my rickety saddle stand, with 2 baskets set in front. The baskets are filled with dry beans that I still have to shuck this winter.

Nelson bubble lamp over harvest table with ornate gold candelabras.

I’m also making sleigh bells to hang off of my doorknobs. I bought these antique bells years ago to do this, but never got around to it. This year I’m DOING it.  

Christmas decorating with hanging garland from the ceiling and live pine branches.

I mean, I took these photos a week or so ago and the bells are still sitting exactly there on the dining room table, but I’m fairly sure I’m going to do them this year. I think. Once I’ve watched all the Hallmark movies, I will do them.

View down a hallway with antique pine floors to a live Christmas tree at the end.

For the season I took up all the Turkish scatter rugs I had running down this area because I really like how the floors look leading up to the tree at the back in its wicker basket.

Vintage wood skiis propped against a white wall with an organic brass lamp in front and a modern glass bowl of nuts.

My living room that still hasn’t been done over has one peaceful corner. This is it.

The rest of the room is a mishmashdisaster.

Two vintage oil portraits in gold frames, side by side over modern white lacquer buffet with lush Christmas garland with red berries.

First thing in the New Year I’m going to round up all my interior designer friends to ask them why I can’t get my house to feel Christmas cozy during the rest of the year. I mean there has to be something we can do to make our homes feel like they do at Christmas without resorting to leaving our lights and garland up.

I know it has to do with lighting and layering. But I want EXPERT advice. I’ll pass it on of course, once I get answers.


Antique pink and blue indent, Belgian Christmas ornament.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have antique Christmas ornaments which I’ve been collecting for years and years. Many of them were broken in the great tree toppling of 2005. One of my readers heard about it and gave me a box of her antique ornaments which she didn’t use. The two most noticeable ones are the 2 big balls on the tree below. One light blue and one light pink.

And of course there are dried orange slices. You can read about how to make them here. I made them 3 years ago and they’re still perfect. As they age they get darker but they’re still beautiful and look like stained glass when they’re in front of a light.

Also new this year is the massive antique pot that I have my tree in. I bought it at a flea market this fall knowing this is probably the only thing I’m going to use it for.  But I HAD to have it for one reason.  The old riveted repair on the bottom of it.

Very large antique copper pot with rivet repair on the bottom.

That one thing is what sold me on this pot.  That and the patina.

Front room of historic cottage decorated for Christmas with crystal chandelier, tulip table and caned armchair.

Back to that thing I do where I hoard and hide party food. Of course it only stays hidden for a week before it shows up in my back fat. 

But I’m not alone in that, right? Do you do it too?

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


Christmas House Tour 2019.


  1. Katrina says:

    Beautiful home. Margaret looks thinner in the mirror than she does in the Painting. How interesting. Bet she likes that idea. LOL
    Thank you for sharing

  2. Elaine says:

    Your home is so lovely … filled with character and your personality. I used to follow a few decor blogs but it got to the point where they all looked alike and I couldn’t tell one from the other. Your home is unique and (this is going to sound weird) but it has an “honesty” to it. For example, I can tell the pots are used and aren’t just sitting out for show and I had to smile when I saw your (unfolded) kitchen towel draped over the handle on your range. I love the entire house but I think my favorite room is the kitchen!

    Thanks, Karen, for all you do for us, Merry Christmas and all the best for 2020!

  3. Emily says:

    Thanks for all the work that goes into decorating your house for the holidays so I can enjoy it. I see Walmart now has little old trucks hauling little Christmas trees. I am pretty sure they stole the idea from you.

    Happy Christmas Karen.

  4. Mary says:

    Fantastic! Some of your best work. I’ve always wanted to know how to make my house look christmassy year round too. Anxious to hear what the pros have to say.

  5. Kimberly says:

    The repair on the bottom of the pot: all the feels. 😍😍❤️❤️❤️

    Your home is beautiful. I need to make orange ornaments tomorrow

  6. Marcia says:

    Ack! In my post above I said to use bulldog clips to attach the towel to the oven door handle. I always confuse bulldog clips with binder clips. I meant binder clips…the ones with the wire handles that flip back. Sorry about that!

  7. Marcia says:

    So elegant! I love the antique ornaments, the trees, and of course, now I’m wondering if I can find a charming vintage white toy truck. Love it all. I love your range. I came up with a trick for keeping the towel on the oven handle. Martha Stewart wanted me to attach velcro to the top and bottom of my towel so it would be a towel roll around the handle. No one has time for that. I took two bulldog clips, overlapped the top and bottom of the towel and put a clip on each side. Voila! The towel stays on the handle! I think I’ve out Martha’d Martha Stewart. Merry Christmas and definitely don’t out the chip and dip out.

    • Marcia says:

      ****Oh…sorry…I always confuse Binder Clips with Bulldo Clips. I use Binder clips. The ones with the wire handles that flip back.

  8. Sherri says:

    I love the way you’ve decorated for Christmas 2019! Tell me the secret of drying your orange slices enough so I don’t end up with a maggot farm. Yep’ that happened!

  9. Theda says:

    Everything is just BEAUTIFUL! That old, beat up, white truck is my favorite!!

    Merry Christmas!

  10. Lynell Graw says:

    Karen love your blog! Your home is beautiful. From one Canadian girl to another I wish you a very merry Christmas and happy new year. Ps I hide treats too, especially from my husband. Lol

  11. Jen says:

    Your house looks just wonderful! Your decorating is getting more assured all the time. The good thing about being a virtual visitor is that I can keep coming back without calling ahead at unseasonable hours to admire it and you won’t mind!

  12. Linda J Howes-Smyth says:

    Very cool. Like in a dream.

  13. Yay, thanks Karen for replying so promptly at this busy time. I’m going out now to purchase the oranges. Have a lovely Christmas. A bit different here, much of Australia is burning and we had our hottest day on record here yesterday. Our thoughts are with the fireys.
    PS, Totally rendered my giant brick wall after your encouraging post. Very happy. Where can I share the pics?

  14. LeAnn Lindsay says:

    Have you ever gotten your amaryllis bulbs to bloom the next year? I’ve tried several times and failed miserably. No blooms, just leaves.

  15. Alena says:

    When I read “On the island I have a live tree…” I immediately thought (even though I was looking at the pic of the island) that you actually have another house on an island off the Washington coast – I don’t know how that thought came to my bed. And what not a house on Barbados but in the Pacific North West – perhaps because I saw a House Hunters episode from Tacoma the other day?

    I do like deer heads. Is yours from Christie’s?

    I don’t have a Christmas tree this year (because of a blind dog and not enough space and moving anything confuses the dog) but I still felt the need of a live Christmas tree. So I cut down a weeping nootka that I planted myself almost 10 years ago and that grew absolutely gigantic and huge and furry (very unlike the one I pictured, with a limb here and there, very minimalist). I did not realize how huge it was (and heavy) until it was on the ground. I cut off the top 6 feet and we stood it up in the office behind my cube. I think this is the first time there is a live Christmas tree at work.

  16. Marilyn Meagher says:

    Looks beautiful!

  17. Cynthia says:

    Hi Karen, your trees look so beautiful in their fantastic containers! How do you do it? I would like to put mine in an old Medalta crock, but wonder how to brace it ( I wouldn’t want a great tree toppling of 2019 😜). Any suggestions ?

  18. Tricia Rose says:

    Your exuberant decorations even brought a thin smile to the lips of this grinch Karen! I must ask though why you need to wax your amaryllis bulbs. Are they… hairy?

  19. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Way back in the dimness of time (the 50’s) my grandma used to stuff dates with firm butter cream icing then roll them in icing sugar… we loved them! Now the thought makes my teeth hurt but good memories of Christmas’s past. 😍 Thank you for that and for all you do. 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

  20. Audrey Ogilvie says:

    Karen, your house looks warm, welcoming and pretty spectacular. Ours doesn’t! Months of tearing off part of a roof and rebuilding a chimney, building a fence has meant utter chaos. I am fixated on your kitchen floor. Ours is the same and we yearn for that high gloss. What is the secret? Happy Christmas to you and your family.

  21. Eileen says:

    I would hoard the treats except I haven’t MADE them yet and guests are coming this afternoon and oh sh…t that’s why I’m here reading the blog. To make me feel good about the fact that I have done nothing to make my house look holiday. oh, wait. I picked up some scraps of branches from the hardware store’s tree sale area. That counts, right?
    Wonderful holidays to all and yes, let’s roar the ’20s!!


    Your home is lovely and always looks cozy! If I could find a frame, I would paint me a ‘Margaret’ !

  23. Nicole says:

    For the first time in 3 years, I didn’t manage the Christmas Pledge, and looking at your photos (and my wreck of a house), I remember why it’s a brilliant idea. Lesson learned, universe! Lesson learned!

    When I get home, I’m going to rip a couple branches off the pine tree outside and stick ’em in a vase just so I can say I decorated a little (I have the wreath on the door, if that counts, which it doesn’t, since I only took it down from last year in October – and even then, it was just inside where we hang our coats!).

    Happy Holidays, Karen!

  24. Karen says:

    Your home is lovely as I knew it would be! Love all of it including the deer. I covet your truck tho. I bought a large bag of potpourri just because it included a red truck. Yours is the Cadillac of trucks I must say. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

  25. Patti says:

    I, for one, love that deer! I decorate mine seasonally! And u don’t need any interior designer for help. You are so great at doing the mix! So warm and comfortable! Merry Christmas!

  26. JeanFB says:

    Hands down, my favorite Christmas House tour of the year! Love, love, love your style. Thanks for letting us into your home. And for bringing me to a Christmas party where I finally stuck to my diet!

  27. celestial says:

    You don’t need to consult an interior design person; your house exudes Christmas. It is as unique and individual as you are and it isn’t dripping with the latest fad Xmas doodads (thank goodness). Thank you for inspiring us all.

  28. Mary W says:

    ADORE your simple trees and the space included. It’s easier to see the beautiful ornaments. The irony of the deer head was not lost and brought a smile even though I don’t like them. My neighbor would be very proud – he hung a white lighted deer upside down, by one leg and then put a strand of red lights puddling underneath. North Florida is quite the hunters paradise. He has no kids and of course I thought it was horrible, but still I smiled and assume he has huge Christmas balls, if you get the drift. (I do buy and then hide the dates!) Merry Christmas!

  29. Su says:

    Lovely. Just lovely. Thanks for sharing with us today and all the days you post.
    It’s a joy to read your blog

    Merry Christmas!

  30. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for the tour! And the laughs of course 😂. Your house is amazing, especially now…and I might have mentioned I’m not a fan of …well…you know….this time of year 😳. You make it look like it should be like, old fashioned and cosy and tasteful😉.
    Thanks for your blog, your Instagram and everything you do to make us laugh and dream. Have a wonderful, happy healthy holiday season with your family and friends and best wishes for the New Year! And the 20’s. We get to live through the 20’s…..we should all try to make them roaring again! 😜😍

  31. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful as always Karen. You always manage to out-do yourself! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

  32. Katt Hunsaker says:

    As per all of your posts, I see nothing but your fabulous floors. So happy you were brave enough to do that. Decorations are stunning and I would like to borrow that rickety saddle tree for my foyer :)

    • Karen says:

      The saddle stand has a funny story behind it. When I found out my house was going to be featured in The New York Times, I had one day to get it ready before their photographer Donna Griffith showed up. I called my friend Amos at about 6 o’clock at night in a fit and begged him to come over and build it for me because I was running out of time. I’d had a picture of a similar saddle stand on my computer for years and always wanted to make it for my saddle. So he built it in about an hour while I got the rest of the house ready. I really should add some bracing to it so it isn’t so rickity, lol. ~ karen!

  33. Your house is beautiful and inspiring. After seeing your house I feel that I can finish mine. I hung my sleigh bells off the dining room chandelier this year. Have a Merry Christmas!

  34. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Gorrrrrgeous!! Looks so cozy and warm.
    Merry Christmas, Karen.

  35. Cindy Courtney says:

    I don’t hoard party food. I eat the treats as I am making them.

    Loved this post. Your house is beautiful all year round.

  36. Sandy says:

    Beautiful and welcoming. Love it!

  37. Everything looks lovely, especially the deer head although it is lacking a red nose. I assume you bring that out when there are children visiting :) We’ve been putting oranges on the tree for a couple of years now. They look beautiful and it’s kinda nice not to have to pack them away at the end of the season. Merry Christmas!

    • Karen says:

      OH! I pack mine away! I’ve kept these particular ones for 3 year. And yes I do have a red nose! Although I always feel like it’s a bit humiliating for the deer and sometimes I can’t bring myself to put it on, lol. ~ karen!

      • Carol Odenweller says:

        I can understand not wanting to humiliate the deer by adding the nose. My question though is, what is his name? Surely he must have one. I would not be able to pass through the room without talking to him. Maybe that’s just me though. Maybe? Beautiful house and great ideas.

  38. Carol says:

    Beautiful, beautiful Karen….and so true about the lights and garland creating a cozy magical warmth….really looking forward to a post on recreating that with layering and lighting when it comes down….merry Christmas l

  39. Lesley says:

    Not so much a party food hoarder, as a party food buyer, eater, re-buyer. Last night for dinner I had the stuffed mushroom appetizers and all the chocolates that I bought for Christmas Day :(

  40. Mary Ellen Doyle-Birchenough says:

    Your home is lovely.

  41. Maura says:

    You aced it again Karen, it all looks stunning! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and serenity and health for 2020.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Maura. It’s currently a disaster as I’m in the middle of doing a bunch of stuff (as I do) but hopefully it’ll be cleaned up again before everyone shows up here Christmas Eve, lol. ~ karen!

  42. Grammy says:

    Karen, you are the only person ever to hoard party food for yourself. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it…

    As always, your Christmas home is beautiful. Thanks for the tour. You’re lucky I didn’t really walk through in person, though, because I would have to lay your tree on it’s side I order to steal that fabulous pot. And things would turn ugly at that point.

    Merry Christmas!

  43. It all looks great but can you tell us how to preserve those orange slices…. They are brilliant, never seen them on a tree before. Thanks Linda, The Potterage Melbourne Australia

  44. Tina says:

    I’m excited to see what you’ll do with the sleigh bells. Last year I had some bronze bells and wire and I kind of wired them into circles, thinking I could fashion fresh pine around them as wreaths but first I decided I wanted to live with them a bit, you know, to see if I really liked them. And I did! I hadn’t finished them until after Xmas but I hung one on the back door and one on the front door and I decided I liked them so much, just as is, that I left them up all year.

    And please, I’m so excited to see how the amaryllis bulbs turn out. I’ll do them for next year to give to all my friends!

    And I have something I need to ask you so I’m going to try to email you. Please let me know if you don’t get it. Thanks!

  45. Julie Anne says:

    That white truck. I had to stop to pause on it, prior to you even mentioning it. What is the history?

    Everything about your house is fabulous.

    • Karen says:

      No specific history of the truck to me, other than I bought it at a flea market about 5 or 6 years ago. I saw it and just had to buy it, which felt weird to be a grown woman buying a toy truck. But now I understand there’s something about that truck, because everyone who sees it loves it. ~ karen!

  46. Cathy R says:

    You don’t have an ounce of back fat. Or front fat for that matter.
    You do have a gorgeous home though.

  47. Susan says:

    Karen, your home looks lovely. There are two different ornaments that remind me of my childhood- the large pine cones and the one with the fuscia band and indentation. Happy memories of trying to convince my Dad to put the tree up so we could decorate it. I hope someone with your eye for style rescued the ornaments and they are decorating a tree as I write this. Boa Natal from Portugal.

  48. Kelly says:

    Merry, Merry Christmas Karen!! I love reading your blog, touring your home, and so enjoy your sense of humor! Thank you for allowing me to visit and to laugh with you!!
    Keep doing what you do!!

    Warm wishes for a terrific Christmas and a fun, growth and laughter filled 2020!!

    Thank you again!!

  49. Linda in Illinois says:

    So beautiful. I love it all. Nice job merry Christmas Karen.

  50. Beautiful!

    And OF COURSE I hoard party food! The Medjool dates I bought for “guests” are shoved way back in the cupboard and will actually only be shared with my five year old grandson who also adores them, gives the best hugs and thinks I am the coolest Grandma ever.

    Most likely we’ll sneak off somewhere on the farm and enjoy them together while telling funny stories and talking about pirates, Darth Vader and Spiderman vs. Batman. ; )

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