Christmas decorating with entertaining in mind

December 13, 2022




Since we are hosting three Christmas parties at our house this December, my first reaction was to go all out with the decorations this year, but then again, when we host parties I like to clear the surfaces to give people room to rest their glasses and just...room to spread out and breathe! I love a crowded party with noisy guests and clinking glasses, but there's that sweet spot that you've got to maintain where every guest can find a place to perch and rest their glass. Too many Christmas decorations won't let that happen. My house already has so much going on with an entire wall of bookcases, which can be visually overwhelming if I'm not careful, so what's a gal to do?

I felt I could go crazy with the tree and mantles, but everything else had to be kept fairly simple and free from clutter. The coffee and side tables are where guests need to rest their glasses between sips, and there's always cocktail napkins and appetizer plates so I kept those tables clear except for a few candles. The bar is set up with the drinks and glasses at party time, so that is never decorated. My kitchen is so busy in December that I'd be crazy to give up any counter space for seasonal decorations; the exception is the vase of flowers I keep next to my sink.  Keep it clear and think of the party night and how busy it will be, was my mantra. So I decorated, then edited, then edited again, each time distilling it down to what I finally felt was a festive and inviting home with twinkling lights and candle glow, but also plenty of elbow room.

Did I tell you that in early November I went to Crate and Barrel? Their Christmas decor was already up and it was all so beautiful and all I wanted to do was go home and throw out the contents of every Christmas box I owned and replace it all with some gorgeous Crate and Barrel loot. Well, that was never going to happen, but I was inspired to refresh my old stuff (the easy and inexpensive way) and I am very happy with how it turned out. I also planned to have, for the first time in my life, a designer tree. I had stars in my eyes and a dream in my heart--my tree would be utterly glamorous in white and gold with maybe a dash of lime green or hot pink, but when I started to decorate the tree it became clear early on that I would be unable to make that happen. I kept touching the old decorations from my and my husband's childhood, the ornaments we've collected from our travels, gifts from friends, and the funny things kids and now grandkids have made, and for each one I said, "Oh, but this one is really important and MUST be hung." Before I knew it, my minimalist designer tree dream was replaced by my old familiar heirloom tree. It really is gorgeous though and we have fun playing eye spy with an excited 5 year old and because I love all the memories so much, I don't think I'll ever have the courage to do a designer tree. How about you? Are you an heirloom tree person or a designer tree person? 



Carter and I made this button wreath! It's base is a wreath shaped piece of cardboard that I had saved from some kind of packaging. We covered it with glue and buttons, then spray painted it white. Next came spray glue and glitter. Honestly, it's just gorgeous. We have plans to make a few more because it came out so pretty.


Use old buttons of any color. You'll spray paint it and glitter it so the colors don't matter. This wooden tree base is from Michael's, half off I think it was $2.50. This was a big splurge for me as normally our crafts are created only from my overly endowed craft room. lol. When we knitters talk about yarn stash, I just bet you also have craft stash. Like me. Oh dear.








the hallway


the little buffet in the kitchen dining area

the family room mantle

Each stocking is filled with tiny candies, two MMs or two Good and Plentys, one for Carter and one for Papa, his best friend. It's the first thing Carter remembers to do when he comes for a visit.


I'll be back soon. I'm having a cookie exchange/luncheon on Friday and on Saturday we're hosting the drinks and appetizers part of our neighborhood progressive Christmas party. I hope to get some good pictures to share.  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Can you believe it's less than two weeks before Christmas? xo Kristen


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16 Comments

  1. Your houses look So Cute next to the snowman. Thanks for all the suggestions - especially the button wreath. Chloe

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    1. You'll have fun making button crafts next year!

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  2. This blog reminded me of spending Christmas with my aunt who love Christmas so much that there was not a surface that was not covered with Christmas stuff! My brother and I would have slip outside for occasional breaks no matter how cold because as much as I loved my aunt, it was just too difficult to be in that crowded space for too long. Maybe because of that early experience I don't go overboard for seasonal displays either. Your house looks very pretty, but three parties? I couldn't handle it!

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    1. I know that house! My mom did that in the 80s and 90s for some reason. After we all complained that we had to room to breath she started to calm down on the decorating! Oh, and those three parties are behind me and today I'm just sitting and knitting!

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  3. I absolutely love your decorations and the tree and its decorations. I don't feel that it is overly done just a lot to catch the eye many times.
    We also have a bucket of random buttons and my kids lived gluing them to paper. But randomly. It was fun for them and they were busy. Can't wait to hear of your parties!!!

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    1. Thank you so much! I've always loved any type of button craft, even randomly gluing on paper sounds good to me!

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  4. Your tree is lovely. We also decorate with our nostalgia items from childhood and friends and relatives. We have our grandmother'e cotton Santa Clause and a few crochet,quilted and knitted gifts from friends. Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Merry Christmas. .
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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    1. Hi gals! I'd sure love to see that cotton Santa. It sounds adorable! Merry Christmas

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  5. My birthday was yesterday and I am named for the Christmas Carol. My aunt started the tradition of a new ornament for us each year and my mother, MIL and I continued it and now my daughters so I have a HUGE collection of ornaments, even when the girls took their hundred each when the started their households. It takes a couple of days to get it decorated and then my Christmas village takes a day or two. Every possible

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    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, I'd LOVE to see all those ornaments! What a treasure!

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  6. Your house looks beautiful. The ornaments on the tree that have remained in the family are very special. No way to get rid of them for a "designer" tree. Well done, Kristen.

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  7. I'm also an heirloom tree girl all the way! My family wouldn't let me do it even if I wanted to!

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  8. Kristen, your home is lovely! I don’t have a designer tree but what I did do was put all of the very colorful ornaments in a big bowl on my table. The ornaments on the tree are neutral tones and this year I added some velvet bows that I’ve seen some home decor people do. This is where you could add a pop of color. The bowl of ornaments is so fun because we can really see the fun ornaments from over the years. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thank you! I love the idea of velvet ribbon and that's exactly what I had in mind when I thought I would add pops of color. I love your idea of a bowl of ornaments.

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  9. Kristin, your house looks so festive. Love the hallway. I used to have large Christmas parties, now I go for simple smaller ones. I usually do designer trees.
    The livingroom is all decked out for Christmas this year. I also decorated the Breakfast room and dining room. Enjoy your parties. Sounds like fun! Merry Christmas.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda. I'm with you re. small parties vs. large parties, but sometimes large parties happen! I've seen pictures of your festive home and love every inch of it!

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