Decking the Halls

There is a lot of Christmas happening at our apartment.  There’s so much more we could do but I don’t want to overdo it.  After all, this is only our second Christmas while living together (it’s our sixth Christmas ever) so we don’t have a ton of knickknacks.  We haven’t even gotten to buy stockings yet!  How embarrassing, but we should get them next weekend.

Being this is our first married Christmas, it’s going to be special regardless of what we do around this place but I still wanted to share all of the little details we’ve gotten around to.

When you arrive at our apartment, you’re greeted by a lovely wreath I made last year.  I bought a fake wreath on sale last year, wrapped a red plaid ribbon around it and tucking in some white poinsettia flowers.  It was a quick DIY project and the best part is that we get to use it every year.  To attach it to the door, I just used a command strip hook.  This way, there won’t be any damage to the front door.

When you walk into the living room, you’ll probably noticed that we updated our glass lamps from our Fall decor.  The lamps are now filled with faux holly and red berries.  Last year, we decided to fill them with small ornaments but every time we would lift the lamps, they would fall out.  It got old real quick.  This time, we went down a similar route as our fall decor since the faux leaves never fell out (so far, the holly has been well behaved and hasn’t given us any problems).  I debated poinsettias but decided that the holly would fill the lamps better.

We also added small lanterns (the ROTERA Lantern from IKEA) next to each lamp.  Each lantern has a battery operated tea light in it.  I’ve used regular tea lights before and the lamp gets crazy hot.  Our apartment will be much safer this way and it’s not like we’re missing any light from it.

Behind the couch is a little house I painted red, white and green for Christmas.  It’s actually meant for Halloween but I think it looks just fine for Christmas.  We have four mini penguins living in there, but I’m sure you expected that.  Next to the house is our snow owl – the same one from our fall decor.  The white feathers keep her/him (not sure what it is) winter appropriate so s/he gets to hang out with us while the red owl gets stored away.

On our coffee table, we have an apothecary jar filled with blue, green, and silver round ornaments that we weren’t planning on using on the tree this year.  This is so easy to do and it adds such a nice little pop of color.  We actually used the same jar we used at our wedding for our guestbook (I mentioned the plan back here but I haven’t gotten to show the final product yet – but I promise to do so soon!).  I’m not sure if it’s because the ornaments are shiny but seeing it makes me smile.

Regardless of what kind of tree we have, it seems like there are always 2 ornaments that we can’t hang because of their weight.  Even the branches at the top of our tree, no matter how strong they are, make me nervous.  Rather than risk breaking them Joe and I decided to just set them on our TV stand. They’ll be safe there, at least until we get the cats… then I’ll probably have to move them.

On the other side of the TV stand are two wooden snowmen.  These are actually my favorite Christmas decorations.  When I was in elementary school, I felt bad that the janitors never got cards for the holidays or cupcakes for birthdays so on Valentine’s Day, I gave the two janitors cards.  I became friends with one of the janitors, Mr. Bill (he was almost like a grandfather to me).  For Halloween, Mr. Bill would give me a small gourd with a spooky scene on it and for Thanksgiving, I would return the gourd and he would update the top.  One year for thanksgiving, he gave me these two snowmen that he had made and decorated himself.  It was such a sweet gesture and my family displayed them each year after.  Over the years, some of the arms have broken off but they’re still very special to me.  I smile every time I see them and they serve as a constant reminder that if you show a little kindness to someone, they’ll probably return it back to you.

Yes, I even added Christmas in our bathroom.  While we were on our honeymoon, our lucky bamboo stalks, well, they weren’t very lucky.  I tried to revive them but it was a lost cause.  In an effort to add more color to the bathroom, I moved our succulent plant from the kitchen to the bathroom.  Placing it in a penguin candy dish was just enough to make it festive.  It’s always warm in the bathroom so so far it’s doing well.  We also have an angel in there.  That’s actually always there (Joe’s mom had given it to me as a souvenir from their anniversary trip this summer) so that was simple.

Speaking of window ledges, in the kitchen we have some decorations as well.  On the window ledge, we have a penguin mug (of course).  We don’t actually use it, but it does look cute.  On the other side are our two kissing pups.  They have magnets in their nose so they always lock together which is nice.  They are super cute.

Up high, next to our kitchen hen, is a little ceramic bag that has an image of Santa Claus.  Typically, we have one of our white lanterns there but since they’re not in our living room, it was a little bare up there.  I think it’s meant to give as a gift bag, but it adds a nice little touch up there.

On our buffet, we have two large hurricanes that have red berries wrapped around a gold candle.  It’s a very simple decoration.  I debated adding some Epsom salt to raise the candle but haven’t gotten around to it (and doubt that I will).  So far, they look great without it.  Maybe next year I’ll try it to change everything up.

The festiveness continues into our dining area.  On our dining table is a glass bowl filled with silver ornaments, acorns, and some trimmings from our tree.  It’s resting on a white table runner and adds a little something special in there.  Even without the pieces of the tree, it’s really pretty and definitely something I can keep up until New Year’s Eve.

That’s pretty much everything.  There are a few other elements – one of which I’ll discuss tomorrow (I am very excited to talk about it, by the way) and another I’ll probably talk about next week.  It was just too cold this weekend to snap pictures!  Now that all of the decor is done, I can finally get around to ordering Christmas presents for Joe.

Have you guys finished decorating your places yet?  Any projects you’re especially proud of or something you make sure to do every year?  Were there any projects you wish you could have tried but haven’t gotten around to?  Do you think this season goes by too quickly or is it just me??

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  • Ainhoa

    Can you believe we still haven’t decorated anything? Your place looks great! I love the dining table centerpiece.

    • Kristen

      Thanks! The centerpiece was very easy to do. (And there’s still plenty of time to decorate! I’m trying to keep myself from buying Christmas things).

  • Christine @ Casa-de-Christine

    Love the decorations. This is my favourite time of year! The snowmen are very sweet and obviously sentimental which makes the best kind of decor! We got our decorating done last weekend with a few extra touches added over last week. I love having it all up. I agree though- this season goes by FAR too fast. I am still scrambling to find time to finish Christmas gifts!

  • littlehousebigheart

    I love your dining room centerpiece!

    We’re almost done decorating! I’ve just got to make our stockings (which I’m planning on doing tonight).

  • Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication

    I’m pretty much done decorating. I have one last project to finish this week, but I plan on using it after Christmas too, so it’s not too big of a deal that I’m not done. I’m actually sad that I’ll have to take down the decorations after Christmas because they make our white walled townhouse look cozy!

  • Amanda

    You decorate so much more than I do! Everything looks so festive. I put up a Christmas tree and one strand of lights around the dining room doorway, but that is about it… I hate trying to clean everything up after Christmas. I’m a lazy decorator!

  • Caitlin @ Hardly Housewives

    I didn’t know that you were in Staten Island! That’s where my grandparents live. Every year growing up, we used to drive past the OUTRAGEOUS Christmas decorated houses…I think the Advance does specials on where to go and what to expect. Possibly a bit quieter these days because of the recession (seriously the cost of electricity must be out of control), but still worth checking out.

    • Kristen

      What a small world! My husband grew up here, his family is all still here and even my mom’s family lives here (she grew up here as well but now they live in NJ). I’ll have to get a copy of the Advance to see which houses they recommend! We’re probably going to go next week to check it all out. It’s such a fun tradition!

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