The kids were not satisfied with just letting it sit there in the living room unadorned.
So, I dropped my to do list for the weekend and we set to work "decking the halls" albeit still somewhat slowly. I didn't call it good until yesterday when I put up the final touches to our apartment.
Our tree is mismatched and yet so lovely. We have our same old salt dough ornaments that I love and that my kids always forget aren't real cookies. All the fun splatter painted kid made ones. Candy canes about three years old. A few of ones I've made... It may not all match, but it's full of memories, just the way I like it.
And that got me thinking. Why not put photo memories all over the tree as well? I know photo ornaments aren't a new concept, but clipping just straight photos was something I hadn't done before. I just knew some black and white ones would go great with our black and white throw pillows.
So, I quickly went through our photo files and chose a little over two dozen pictures from the past year, starting with last Christmas.
There's the first day of school, missing two front teeth
a picture with each set of grandparents (we're blessed to have three), last year's Christmas concert,
Natalie's first bite of solids.
I think it's the perfect way to celebrate the close of another year and just might be the birth of a new standing tradition for our family. I can just imagine (or at least I hope!) our kids eagerly waiting to see which pictures make it to the tree each year.
It's also a great conversation piece for our small family and guests alike.
Plus, it's super inexpensive and easy. Just print and clip. My clothespins are painted and have a strip of scrapbook paper mod podged on them but that step is totally optional.
Our tree was too tall for our house, so we had to chop quite a bit off the bottom. That left us with lots of branches to make wreaths out of. See this tutorial for making a real wreath from a fake one. Super easy.
I have one in the kitchen too but didn't snap a picture yet...
As we decorated the rest of the house there was a blank wall that was bugging me. I moved our bedroom chair and pillows downstairs since the colors were more festive,
and then took down our blue bicycle canvas since it clashed. But that left a lot of white space.
So, I filled it up.
A sweet friend cut five inch tall numbers out of cardstock with her Cricut and I cut the large 25 out by hand. Then I taped it up with just scotch tape. Nothing too fancy, but makes a great impact. I had some glitter paper from Michaels so I cut it into a star, added some foam board scraps with hot glue to the back so it would pop a little.
The star moves over each day and is adhered with tape as well. I imagine the tape will wear out and will have to be replaced periodically, but that is easily done.
Simple, easy and it filled up that empty wall perfectly.
And now for my favorite part of our new Christmas decor this year: our new manger!
I bought a manger from Sliverz. They are a great etsy store that sells all sorts of wooden creations like this CTR shield, this cute cupcake, and of course this Christmas manger.
I loved this manger so much that I asked them if they would offer you all a discount. They said yes!
Now through the end of the year you can get 10% off your entire order at checkout! Simply enter HOLIDAY and you're good to go!
If you want to buy a manger, you can buy the kit (but it's a cinch to assemble since the bottom piece comes whole), or you can buy it assembled, painted and stained.
They said they would work with anyone who needs them to ship internationally, and if you live in northern Utah or southern Idaho you can enter the code: CACHE (they are based out of Cache Valley) to skip on shipping and pick it up from them directly.
If want to check out more wood project ideas they have a blog here.
So, you may have heard of this idea before, or you may already do this in your home.
The idea is simple. You have your children add a piece of straw for every act of service or kind deed. By the time Christmas comes, there will hopefully be a nice soft bed for baby Jesus to lay his head.
For our baby Jesus doll, I found this small baby doll at Walmart for $1. I removed the collar, hot glued the head back in, and then wrapped and glued a strip of white muslin around the doll. For the straw I cut up some raffia, since my husband and Owen have some alfalfa allergies.
Instead of painting or staining the manger and the star; I left the manger plain, and quickly glued some glitter paper onto the star.
It sits so lovely in a prominent place in front of our sunny window.
I wish I could post more about more Christmas stuff but this post is getting way too long.
I just ordered an Elf on the Shelf. Super excited!
I'm also wrapping up our book advents with some fun new books...we'll be recording a Christmas book to keep for us this time.
And I'm making a list of ideas of what to fill our advent box with, which I'm going to do slightly differently this year.
I'll have to share all of that with you later though.
And just a heads up, I have some great giveaways happening about every week for the next little while that are sure to brighten your holidays up even more. Look for the first one this weekend (it's a super fun one).
Hope you're enjoying the season!