Holidays In a SH

young-gardenerDecember 2, 2010

Ok, now that it's officially December, I think it's safe to talk about holidays.

In your small home, what do you do to make things festive without being cramped? Do you find you don't do much decorating? How do you store your seasonal items so they are organized and handy?

I don't have a tree up/decorated yet this year since we're still making the ornaments. But, I'll see if I can find some pics from past years. In the past, we've had to move furniture around. Our living room is a pass through, with three small doorways and a fireplace, so adding a tree to the mix is a challenge.

This year, we have a tall cabinet in the room, so our tree is shoved in the corner. Last year, we went treeless since we were out of town most of November and December on the weekends.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your living room is lovely. I really like the tree between the two chairs, but I know how hard it is to get everything in the right place.

Last year I bought a tall, narrow tree. I bought it to go in the corner beside the fireplace but we are using the living room as dining room this year, so I'm not sure where I'll have room to put it.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love the mirrors over the fireplace.

Our living room is small and to put the tree in the corner we have to move an armchair, and even though it's a chair no one ever sits in, that still means we have to find a place to put the darn chair. So right when we're having the most guests and want the house to look it's best, we bring folks in and I'm sure they're wondering "Does she know that's a stupid place for a chair?".

In our last two houses, I would decorate the stair-rail, the foyer, etc. In our current house, it seems like too much visual clutter all in one view to do that, so most of the decor is the tree, switching out candles to holiday colors, etc.

I used to have three Rubbermaid totes full of Christmas. I am proud to say that I am down to one tote and two boot boxes.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 1:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, marti. We preferred it by the window. This year it's in a corner not shown in the pictures. We have a couch in front of the windows. Because we have a big cabinet in there this year, there's nowhere for the tree to go. The cabinet sits between the two chairs, opposite the couch. We don't like the setup (with tree or without), but we can't figure out another way to get it to fit. It just feels "off."

Leafy---I often wonder if my guests wonder things like that. I've always longed for a stair rail at Christmas time.

Here is the cabinet....taken two years ago.
This has now lived in three rooms of our house and is back to the living room.

We use totes, too. I'd like to find a better way to do the lights, though. I wrap them and stick them in the totes, but they don't fit efficiently.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if you got rid of that cabinet you'd have plenty of room for a tree!

I'll send you my address...

I quit putting up a tree in the mid 90's. One yr I put a small tree on the desk in the LR - that worked out nicely!

When I move to the new place I'm going to use ornament hangars, mobiles etc to put up decorations. I have a few special ones from over the yrs plus some new southwestern ones. Many from yrs ago will stay in the box (will probably sort out to send the kids).

a few candles (not lit;battery operated) and my nativity scenes will probably be it!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We re-arrange our living room to accommodate the tree. We always get a fresh tree- it's such a big part of Christmas for us. I hope to grow some of my own trees once we move to SC.

Speaking of that, we are going to finish off one end of the barn as a 'seasonal' living room for entertaining guests. At least once, I plan to get a huge tree for out there- 16' or so. The peak of the ceiling will be 26', so I know there's room! My mother's old place had a similar set-up, with a finished barn, and we had huge Christmas trees out there a couple times. Since it was only heated when in use, the trees lasted longer, too.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steph- I like the mobile idea! For lack of other places, I had them hanging from our dining room light last year. Sadly, DH would be happy to see my cabinet go. He doesn't find beauty in old pieces. Boo! ;)

flgargoyle- We're fresh people too! You can't beat it. Cutting down the tree was a big part of my childhood, and I miss it now that I'm in GA. You can only get leyland cypress here, and DH doesn't like them. SO, our "fresh" tree comes from lowes. Blah. The barn sounds like a dream. I can't wait to see it.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I get your meaning, Steph, about the cabinet coming to live at your house. It is a beautiful storage piece, but it is humongous.

I gave up on a real tree, and now I'm giving up on the 9' tree, which was the small diameter kind, Fraser fir style. I really liked it. Now we will have a very very small tree which I will put on the sun porch in Alabama, with a 42 foot string of LED rope lights on a dimmer, laid around the room on the floor. That porch is already full up with real greenery, my tropical plants wintering over, and if I put the little tree on a stool draped with white fleece, I think it will look pretty good. I will roll up the bamboo blind on the front wall, so folks can see it driving by. We have some traffic but not a lot.

Also, this year will be pretty bare for so many families, that I do not want to be conspicuous.

If you like fresh greenery, how about trimming back some boxwood or other oily leafed bushes and jamming those little clippings into some green foam or chicken wire frame? I don't like Leyland cypress planted in the yard, and sure not in the house. Or, go find a Norfolk Island Pine, which is so symmetrical and lovely it is unreal. Then you can have it as a houseplant later. Down here, we also have a lot of holly and those are trimmed into a conical shape. Also, if you want a nice scent, find a potted and trimmed rosemary bush. I have lots of rosemary growing in myy flowerbeds.

I don't like to put many decorations around the house because it is so depressing to have to remove them after the holidays. Down here, some people take the ornaments off from Christmas and put on the Mardi Gras colors, purple, green, and gold.

What I do enjoy is all the glassware sparkling nice and clean, and I love the Swarovski crystal stars issued every year. I started giving those to my granddaughters and my grandnieces when we got married 4 years ago, so they will one day be able to decorate a small tree with them. That is my very favorite thing, and they can hang all year too.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, Moccasin, you are making me miss my Christmas dishes, which are out of reach in the storage unit. I don't do a lot of decorating (some years just the tree), but I sure am attatched do all the holiday dishes I've collected. I can't resist a pretty table.

What a sweet tradition you've started in your family!
My mother has always avoided the post-holiday slump by trading her Christmas decorations for winter ones (snowmen). The tree comes down, the Christmas dishes go away, and snowmen fill the home and the kitchen cabinets. It's funny, but fun.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"DH would be happy to see my cabinet go. He doesn't find beauty in old pieces."

then I'll send HIM my address... lol!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL @ Steph. That is a wonderful cabinet though.

Not sure if I am going to do Christmas this year. Was small decor last year on top of the gun cabinet and I really was happy with that. Kitten could not get up there yet. Now this is one of her favorite haunts. I am sure she would love for me to do Christmas so she can tear it all apart.

I did lights last year but will not be doing them this year. I left the porch curtains up at DH's request. They really do help to keep some of the snow off the porch and I love being able to go out and feed kittens in jammies and know I am not on display. Not that I really care.

I store my Christmas things under the bed in vintage suitcases. I have three of them, down from 6, and they hold all my inside Christmas. I also have three large suitcases for the outside lights and garlands. They really work well for this. Easy to haul out and put away.So much easier for me than totes. I still have a free hand to hold stair rail. I have to carry them up stairs to the garage loft for the outside things.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 11:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought myself my first full-size (ie:higher than me) tree for half off after Christmas about 10 years ago. First year I put it up and decorated it fully - lights, ornaments, candy canes, and tinsel. Second year I put it up and got the lights and ornaments on. Third year I got the lights on. Notice all the "I" pronouns in those statements. DH enjoyed sitting in the dark with the tree on, but not enough to actually help with it, and I got tired of doing all the work and having to beg for help to take it down. Then we took the dogs with us on a vacation - a week in a bed and breakfast. The boy dogs decided that the Christmas tree in the B and B was a good thing to pee on. Shocked me!

I have not put up our tree again. I kind of thought it would fit in the foyer if I did not put on the branches in the back. That first year we had barely moved in when Christmas came. The next summer, DH's dad went blind and we spent the next three years taking care of him as his health declined.

I have decorated the hearth, the top of the TV cabinet, the buffet, and put a wreath on the wall most years. Maybe my friend and I will do that together this year. I am afraid the tree will wait until my 9 and 11 year-old boy dogs have passed. Even then, I am not sure if there is anywhere to put it other than the foyer.

I did briefly consider putting it on the new kitchen island. The top could fit up the skylight! Santa could see it there.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 11:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A good decorating idea for our friends in the southern states is to use magnolia leaves and branches. We used to decorate our mantel with them. They are a deep, glossy green, and if you put the stems in glycerine for a while, the leaves turn red. If you know someone with a magnolia that needs a little trimming- they're free!

My wife also makes wreaths out of rosemary. It grows year-round here in FL, so we always have an abundance.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Christmas 2004 I was renting a long-vacant house on the river, after I sold MoccasinLanding. Lovely little 2 bedroom house which we think was a Sears kit house. I had a wonderful year there, and had a 9 foot tall skinny tree that fit nicely in a corner of the living room. Only boaters passing by could see it, for the house was about 500 feet from the road.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What an interesting thread, thank you! I am enjoying all the comments and pictures. young-gardener, my DH doesn't appreciate old things like I do, either. You'd think after 20 odd years it would have rubbed off on him a bit. You can add me to your 'send to' list. :o)
flgargoyle, your barn sounds wonderful. It kind of reminds me of the movie 'White Christmas' in the old inn. Sooo beautiful. I'd love to see pics when you are done.

It's funny. I never really thought that my 'problem' was due to living in a smaller house. I've always had trouble finding room for my Christmas stuff, and always just thought I had too much of it. ;oP Turns out, I just need a bigger house!

I LOVE Christmas. I don't know if it's just nostalgic for me, or what it represents, or just hopes and dreams or what, but it is something I've always thrown myself into. I love old ornaments, and old decorations (surprise, surprise) and have a hard time walking by vintage ornaments in a second hand store. We always have a 'real' tree too. I think my kids would refuse to participate if we went any other way.
This year, with our two new large doggie beds in the bay window I don't know where we'll put a tree. It's not something I thought of in the reno and now I'm feeling a bit distressed. We have used other spaces in the past, but now with no walls to put it in front of, I'm not sure what to do. Hopefully I can work something out.


Here's an old pic of a Christmas past.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 9:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is from Christmas 2008. Last year the tree area was filled with piles of IKEA cabinet boxes, and we haven't gotten the tree up yet this year (Tomorrow, I swear!).

Putting up the tree does involve a shuffle. The jukebox normally sits in that corner and it has to go to the other side of the house and hang out in the living room. The two green chairs against the windows normally form a seating area in front of the jukebox. The beauty of having a modern glass house is that it begs you to do away with clutter. So, thankfully, there isn't a lot of stuff around that has to be shuffled off temporarily.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jakabedy, please post what you did with your IKEA cabs! And you can make that a new thread.....because there are a lot of us who have an interest in the IKEA ethic.

I love the way your house looks as viewed from the outside. That all white light look is my favorite. I like the ornaments to carry the color.

Chatting on this thread is inspiring me to do something better when we get to Alabama next week. I envision the tree as viewed from the outdoors also. Very very nice look.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jakabedy, it looks beautiful from outside!! You have wonderful windows; I don't think they would be very practical up here. I am more than a wee bit jealous! I'm sorry I don't know if you live in a warm place or one with cold winters. I often wonder what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a place where it's warm all year 'round.

I think it's nice to think of the view from the outside, especially if you don't have a lot of outside lights on.
My MIL was commenting yesterday how much she loves looking out of her apartment window and seeing all the lovely lights in the neighborhood.

Here's another shot of one of our Christmases from outside. My boys used to hang a bunch of lights randomly in our window, just because it looked so pretty from outside. It is so neat when the lights are reflected off the snow.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 12:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is very pretty, Missy. We are not warm all year round in Alabama, but you might think so! I think it was 1997 that it snowed last time in Mobile. It would seem mild to you I suppose. I'm told that it is 28 degrees there tonight, which is what we call a "hard freeze." But it usually warms up the next day, so deadly freezes are few and far between.

However, that said, last year we had the longest cold spell in our history, with two weeks below freezing weather, and it decimated my tropical garden. I thought for sure all my bananas and canna lilies and elephant ears were killed, but not so....they were slow, but they did come back. I was hoping we'd have better luck this year, but if tonight is any sign, we may have another year like the last.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 1:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had a 900 sq ft cottage. A tree would have taken up way to much room in the "great room", but this room had a large window looking out to the front porch. That is where the tree would go! Outside but in perfect view from the inside! I don't have a pic of that but here's one of the mantle.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very pretty mantle, rafor! The little trees on either side of the FP are awfully cute, too!

I am hoping to get a tree this coming weekend. We'll just have to make room for it. :o)

ML, hopefully you aren't as cold as you were last year. I remember you posting about how you lost so many plants. :o(

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shades- What a great idea with the suitcases! I'll have to remember that. It's hard to get my arms around our big totes.

Flgargoyle- Great ideas! I'll have to get out my clippers and walk the neighborhood after dark. LOL! Rosemary would make the house smell great, and magnolias are so elegant when cut.

Moccasin- What a lovely lake home! I bet the boaters enjoyed your tree. The little bird caught my eye; I just picked up a few at Michaels last night. I was TRYING not to buy decorations (ours are in storage); boy, is that hard!!

Prairie and Jaka- Your windows were MEANT for trees! I understanding the feeling of being swept up in Christmas. I inherited a love for it from my father. Christmas plates, glasses, movies, music, decorations, linens, you name it. I love it even more if it's old!

Rafor- That's brilliant! I wish I had a porch for an outdoor tree. In fact, I just wish I had a porch, period. I love them.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Young gardener. That is exactly why I like the suitcases so much. It is hard for me to carry the totes. And the hard sided suitcases protect your things nicely. And for us fit under the bed since we have an old high up bed.

Every ones Christmas pictures look so nice. Was thinking maybe some of my favorite things in the secretary cabinet to see but kitty can not get to. I do not think my nativity will fit in there but I might try it. Maybe inside the gun cabinet on the center shelves. Got my thinking cap on now. All your gorgeous pictures have inspired me.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The tree is finally up. It sure does move slowly when you make the ornaments!

I'll post two.

My camera died before I could take a shot of the placement of the tree this year. If I can find the charger, I'll replace the battery and update later.

Here is a link that might be useful: post on this year's Christmas decor...or lack thereof

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Young-gardener it all looks lovely.That pile of shells on the beach is amazing.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 11:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very pretty, young-gardener. :) Your beach shot (from your blog) is fantastic. I haven't been to the ocean for so long ... makes me a bit homesick.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the softness of the shells and other ornaments on your tree, young-gardener. What a great gentle decor you have.

So far, no tree up for us. I will be shopping for one this weekend though. Just a small one, real though. And it will go on our sun porch. A couple of LED rope light strings laid on the floor tracing through all the tropical flower pots, with this tree sitting in the middle on a footstool. I think.

I've already raised the bamboo shade to expose the sun porch from the street side and even without any Christmas ornaments, all that lush greenery looks pretty darn good.
I like to shop at stores/businesses which NEED my business so I plan to get the tree from Laura Kay's Nursery here in Mobile. Nice folks. Haven't seen them in over 2 months now.

Peace, everyone.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, everyone.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Better late than never? I just got around to taking a picture of the swag my wife made for our back door. The greens were free at Home Depot! The sleigh bells are a very old set- 1880 or so. They have a stud on the back, and a clip like a cotter pin to hold them on. The harness has a double layer to keep the studs from chafing the horses. In later years, they were simply riveted on. It's a very large set, and has a loud, deep jingle. Still need to get a picture of the tree.......

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are so nice. I love the sound of real sleigh bells.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nancy in MI said, "I did briefly consider putting it on the new kitchen island. The top could fit up the skylight! Santa could see it there."

I just reread parts of this thread, and remembered what Genevieve Gorder (HGTV "Dear Genevieve" show)


Now if you really like to be different, that would do it.

Sorry that I've been so silent of late, but I've had the worst cold in many a year, coughing and honking, and feeling awful. But maybe I've turned the corner for the new year.

Happy New Year, hope it brings good tidings to everyone.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 7:35PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What do you consider a 'big' home?
If under 2000sq ft is considered a "small"...
Mise en place
I give you a link to an NPR article about the above...
Okay, how about tea on Monday this week? :)
How is everyone? How was your weekend? I don't know...
Tiny House Forum?
I like this forum- but I sometimes think that we could...
upper shelves in kitchen
Ok I am having someone make me some upper shelves in...
Sponsored Products
MU Flour Sack Cotton Towels (Set of 3)
Chooty and Co. Towers Ash Slub Round Lined Tree Skirt - TS511003
$53.00 | Hayneedle
"Emilia" Frame 3" x 4"
$350.00 | Horchow
Traditional Standing Red Suit Santa Holding Presents and Gift Bag
Cast Iron Menorah - Black - Josh Owen
$100.00 | HORNE
"Leland" Square Frame - GOLD PEARL
$100.00 | Horchow
Vietri Set of Four Rosso Vecchio Dot Oval Bowls
$139.50 | FRONTGATE
'This House' Wineglass
$7.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™