Unpacking the Christmas Boundaries

Unpacking the Christmas Boundaries

 
Red and white Christmas ribbon

Every year I have big plans for the holidays.

Big.

Really big.

Like planning to host a cookie party and decorating the front yard with a six foot nativity set that I saw someone build on Pinterest and making my own hot cocoa mix and greeting the kids getting off the bus with a cocoa bar on the back porch and designing my own Christmas cards and mailing out 267 out to some of my closest friends and hanging lighted snowflakes that play carols on the trees.

I usually start off strong.

Really strong.

I send out invitations for four parties and download the plans for the nativity set and try and plan out what we are all going to wear for the Christmas card and then somewhere between the ribbons and the caroling and the decorating….

 …..I lose a little steam.

And I end up wrapping gifts with newspaper at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Christmas decorating

This is what my dining room looks like right now.

And I didn’t even have the heart to show you the disaster that is my living room.  Boxes and boxes and boxes of Christmas joy just waiting to be unpacked.

And so it was that yesterday I stood in the middle of this wearing a bun with a pencil in the middle of it and a pair of yoga pants that have never seen a yoga class with a list a mile long and all those big plans….

….and put my purple toe-nailed foot down.

Red and white Christmas tree

Enough.

Ennnnnnnooooooouuuuuugggggggghhhhhhh.

This year was going to be different.

This year I’m going all old school and giving myself Christmas boundaries.

I raised my right hand (because my left one was holding a glittered stocking) and right then and there I promised myself the following five things to make this season a little less stressful.

Red and white Christmas decor

1.  I’m going to schedule one party

Yep.

Only one.

A potluck.

Nothing fancy.

Just friends and family getting together and singing carols and celebrating the joy of the season.

And it’s going to be my deadline to get the house ready for Christmas.  And I’m going to let whatever I’ve decorated by then be enough.

Red and white Christmas pillow

2.  I’m shopping more online

Usually I make a big production out of shopping.

Total aside:  Are you really surprised?

And I’m still going to have a fun shopping trip this year with a cute Christmas outfit and coffee and the mall bustling with people and Christmas music chiming, but most of my shopping I’m going to do online.

There are so many great deals and coupons and you can have it gift wrapped and send directly to the person’s house.  No shipping or waiting in line at the post office.

And its so much easier shopping in fluffy slippers.

Red and white Christmas ornament

3.  I’m going to play more Christmas music

I love Christmas music.

I want to rock around the Christmas tree and be home for Christmas and watch chestnuts roasting by and open fire and have joy for the world.

And sometimes I’m so busy and frenetic and frantic that I forget to turn up the volume.

I’ve already got it playing and it made those tubs in my dining room look so much more inviting.

Red and white Christmas ideas

4.  I’m wrapping gifts as they come

No more last-minute marathon wrapping sessions.

No more standing in aisle seven staring at empty shelves where the gift boxes and tissue paper used to be.

I’m wrapping them a couple at a time after I buy them and then using them to decorate around the house, too.

monogram ornament

5.  Remembering what is important

Less is more.

I’m telling myself this now.

Today.

On November 23.

Before it all slips away and I’m standing in front of my perfectly decorated Christmas mantle with my unwrapped gifts and my unsent Christmas cards and my nativity that only has a camel and scolding myself and my unrealistic expectations because I couldn’t get it all done….

….instead of taking a moment to breathe. 🙂

PS  Who’s with me?

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Comments

  1. I love love love your tree!! I just put up my decorations this weekend and can’t stop staring at them <3 Christmas is the best 🙂 You house looks amazing as usual!

  2. What a very thoughtful post. I am trying to do the same this year, enjoying the little things more and enjoying my dear friends and family. I am going to reread your blog entry if I lose my resolve! As an aside, your dining room looks like mine when all the Christmas boxes come up!

  3. I’m on board! I wish us luck. 🙂
    Btw, that little “w” ornament is adorable.

    • LOVE the W ornament too! Purchased or DIY?
      I’m with you….hoping to stick to it…I really want to enjoy Christmas and my family/friends this year

  4. You forgot to mention that attractive wrapping paper alternative to newspaper….aluminum foil! Used shiny side out, it really makes a statement! ;). So, yeah, I’m SO with you here – three cheers for Christmas boundaries!!!

  5. I am!! I am!! I am!! I am sooooo with you….. on my way out the door this am..I’m looking at my oh so cute mantle… allll decked out in it’s “Autumn” splendor.. and I did sigh…. BUT!!! It is time for the Main Event!!!! 🙂 … and I want it to be traditional…. and simple…. and I’m with you on shopping online in my slippers with my cup o joe’ in my right hand and my left hand up in the air making the same promises that you are !!!!!!! Thanks for this encouraging word Karianne!!!! Excited to see the finished product!!!!!!!!!

  6. Bailey wife @Irishman Acres :

    Me, me! I’m totally with you! Online shopping has already commenced and I already am *almost* half done! I too want to enjoy the season more instead of Rainmaning “must watch Christmas movies, must wrap presents, must make cookies, must buy buy buy….” Thanks for putting into words exactly what I’m feeling! ~Kim

  7. Raising my hand! I’m with you sister! Right on! …except, I’ve already scheduled four parties. Help me.

  8. I with you…and your house is very
    merry and bright! Love, love!! : )

  9. Great minds think alike! Over ten years ago I noticed friends looking frazzled at Christmas time and not so much enjoying. We want to do it all but it is not possible. I started a Cookie Exchange that was doable. There were 12 ladies who baked 12 different cookies. We brought along 12 cookies only. Everyone brought along their recipes on 12 recipe cards an I provided a hole punch and a 3 inch ring. You got to taste the cookies and if you liked the cookie enough to bake yourself at some time you took the recipe. Very easy. I A found myself eating way less cookies and really discussing the cookies with friends. A few years later we went with 24 ladies and now we have 36 ladies bringing along their 3 dozen cookies and recipe cards. I have many wonderful recipes for the cookies I really would like to bake.

  10. Amen! Taking a moment to breathe is right.
    I am totally with you. I do the same thing, I have these great ideas and many of them, but still end up putting out the last of the decorations a few days before Christmas.
    Shopping online is what I am doing more of this year too.
    Loved your post and the pretty red and white décor, especially love the cozy pix with the fireplace.
    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Betsy

  11. Me!! I’ve barely started and already have grand plans. I have to admit, I shopped online a lot last year…it was heavenly. Pretty low stress. The Christmas boxes come down from the attic Thursday night. I’ll be playing Christmas music loud as I deck the halls and trim the tree; fa la la la la! Have fun with your Christmas decorating, KariAnne!

  12. I am definitely with you! By the way I love that burlap ribbon with the buttons. Your red and white decor is beautiful!

  13. I’m with you!!! We all know what Christmas is really about, but it’s different when you exclaim for the first time (purple painted toes and all:) that you’ve had enough, and you truly begin to experience it. Happy Holiday’s friend! Btw…I adore your tree:)

  14. Thanks, I needed that!

  15. Such a great start. You probably could stop right where you are and go have a cup of hot cocoa on that beautiful neutral back porch of yours and call it done. But I know you won’t…to the delight of us, your readers. I too am trying to not let the season escape me. My goal…everything done by the end of the Thanksgiving week so I can just enjoy the season…we’ll see how that goes.
    Happy pre pre pre Thanksgiving!

  16. OMG, I belly laughed at this. I LOVE it because it is spot on!!

  17. I have Tons of Christmas decorations. Did I say Tons, in reality it’s more like TONS the Hubs reminds me as it all resides in the loft over “his” garage. Pfft! I have some I use, some I use to use and some I plan on using. I know, in the year of less is more I need to edit. I want to do all those things, but it never works out. Yes we have lots of Scrooges in the family. When my Dad was around, he LOVED Christmas. So I Jingle Bell Rock by myself. (the Hubs family was friends with Bobby Helms. Yep, the Jingle Bell Rocker himself).

  18. I’n in. I’m ALL in. Thanks for the support. Especially number 5. And your tree is gorgeous, indeed.
    Barb

  19. DITTO! I hear ya, sista!

  20. I couldn’t agree more! This Christmas will be greenery, a little sparkle and twinkle and much more music! Last week I received the Herb Alpert Christmas CD I’ve been meaning to replace for the longest time. My dad was a jazz trumpeter, and that album makes my ten year old self smile and cry at the same time. It was dad’s favorite, and needless to say, mine too.
    Happy decorating and celebrating, and most importantly relishing each fleeting moment…and turn up the volume!

  21. I’m with you! As a matter of fact…after I’ve minimally decorated the house…I’m donating the rest of my Christmas decor! I’ve had enough! It’s taking up way too much space, and so much I haven’t used in years! I really want to be able to enjoy this holiday season…use what I’ve got, or pass it on! 😉

  22. Sounds good, now let’s see if we can do it☺️ What’s your favorite on line shopping place? Whatever we do lets just make sure to make it count and enjoy it all. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  23. I’m with you! I have to admit though that part of my reason is a new puppy. She’s 3 months old and into everything. I picture my beloved decor with teeth marks and shudder. So my less is more decor will be up a little higher and I will be enjoying the holiday much, much more. Btw, your house is amazing!

  24. Count me in! Cross my heart and pinky swear!

    <3<3
    Lisa

  25. With you. With you. With you. I’ve made these changes already and it makes life around the holidays so much more enjoyable. And it seems like I actually get more done. Feeling unfrazzled. Of course there are no little people in the picture anymore, so that makes things easier. As well as much less fun.

  26. I’m trying to rein things in a bit this year. My kids aren’t little, we’ve had a very tough 4th quarter of this year and I want to be able to relax and enjoy the season. We never get to decorate much until a couple weeks before Christmas because my husband is not into being majorly festive for really long periods of time! He’s good for 3 weeks at best and by January 1 he’s itching to put it all away again. I’m hoping to have a very relaxed party at some point over the holidays. We’ll see if I can accomplish it without going nuts.

    Your decorations are lovely!

  27. I’m soooooo with you! I was just panicking about my to-do list and made myself stop.it. Going to turn on the Christmas music now 🙂 xoxo!!

  28. Exactly what I did last year. I just hit that wall and said” This is it.. ” I gave decorations to everyone ( most of my handmade things to my boys.) I didn’t put up my village totally. I only did 3 trees instead of 6 and I cut back parties to 2. This year I am even going smaller. I am doing a lot of my shopping on line also. You can get the same deals and why put up with the mobs. Here in the south, it is hard to get all excited some years when it is 80 and you are sweating. Today it is 36 though so I have some hope. A couple years I put the air on real cold and made a fire. CRAZY. I don’t decorate until after Turkey day because my husband loves Thanksgiving. I have made all my goodies ahead of time this year. The day after I will be busy. Lets get back to what the holiday is about. The Holiday is about Heaven. God Bless your family and friends.

  29. Robin Stephens :

    Both hands up: I surrender and in praise! So much more to life than the set-too-high standards we put on ourselves. I’m all in. Great post.

  30. Yessss! Good girl. I spent two years looking for the perfect garland…you know the one, not too cheap looking, twinkle lights, just the right amount of glitter on the leaves- to wrap the support beam from my kitchen to my family room in. Two years. It was such a big thing for me. And this year, I pulled it out and went “huh. Why was this a life and death thing?”

    So here’s to simplifying! I am using a 3 ft wide roll of white paper as my table runner for Thanksgiving, so I can throw it away after the big meal and then roll out another length for my Christmas table cloth. Don’t worry. I’ll still use my china to eat off of. But once that’s washed, I’ll put it all in a drawer I have cleared out and get rid of the boxes it’s been living in since I got married 21 yrs ago. Simpler. Yay.

    What is your favorite Chirstmas song/ album?
    Mine is “Sleigh Ride” by the Boston Pops and the Ottmar Liebart’s Flamenco guitar album “Poets and Angels”. But the whole season starts off with “Joy to the World” by Julie Andrews. Not one spring of tinsel until Julie sings.

    Have a jolly day,
    The Other Marian

  31. Hi KariAnne! Great post! I’ve already started my shopping in hopes of getting it done and wrapped early. My tree is out, but not decorated-I’ve never had the tree out this early on-ever! I have plans to decorate this weekend. I want to spend time baking and getting with friends more this season instead of the usual chaos. So I’m in!

    ps. Thanks for showing your bins! I’ve got some too!

  32. I’m in! Love your plans!

  33. I am so with you!!! All the craziness and gift buying is not what the season is suppose to be about. Let’s not forget “the reason for the season” as they say. One more thing that might make your life easier is ordering your stamps (the Post Office has Charlie Brown Christmas stamps this year) from usps.com and having them delivered to you. No lines and the PO will come and pick up your ready to ship packages. (Yes, I did work for the PO for 32 and a half years before taking early retirement and really hate the term snail mail!) I think they will deliver free shipping boxes too. Hope this helps. I’m all about shopping on line too, (love coming home to packages at the door) but we should support local business too.

  34. I’m definitely with you, Karianne! I am in a quiet and simple mood this Christmas…I want to cut the stress and enjoy more! Your home is beautiful!

  35. Absolutely! I agree with you. We just moved into a 1300 sq foot home. Before we moved I gave away 90percent of our Christmas decorations to a dear friend. As I get older….I am thinking about more simple decorating. I have one tub of Christmas decorations that have lots of sentimental value to me. There is no perfect way to decorate your home…or buying the perfect present with the perfect wrapping paper and having a perfect Christmas dinner. How stressful is that?? Enjoy your Christmas traditions and remember HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

  36. Oh, m’gosh…and I thought I had it tough unpacking three totes…you poor dear! Yes, I do think you need to do yourself the favour of simplifying this holiday season…I don’t know how you’ve done it all of these years without completely losing the plot! One party is more than enough…shopping online is sooooooo much easier…and you don’t need every space filled with Christmas cheer. By scaling back a bit, you’ll have more time to enjoy the moments the holidays are meant to create, I think. I am wishing you all the very best in this, KariAnne…goodness knows you have your work cut out for you!

    P.S. 267 Christmas cards???? WHOA! I think my hand would fall off! 🙂

  37. I am usually The Christmas Queen, but for some reason this year I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything, so thank you for the permission to just do what I can this time around!

    Wrapping is my Waterloo….I stubbornly insist on having a theme ( which I agonize over for months), and extravagant toppers (which are sometimes more expensive than the gift they adorn), and I always feel like I have to outdo the year before, and it’s gotten quite stressful. ( And that’s all on me, I do it to myself) This year I may just close my eyes, pull out the first three rolls of paper I put my hands on and a bag of bows and just go with that.

    The first few years we were married, I’d switch off; one year, pull out all the stops, the next year I’d keep it very simple…. I’d only decorate the mantel and just put up one tree and a wreath on the front door.

    It may be time to go back to that!

  38. Repeat after me: “Gift bags are my friends”.

  39. Love, love, love, the look, absolutely perfect in every way!

  40. Each year is different for us depending on my calendar, who will be here and will we be here? I can get so engrossed with the creativity and fun AND obligation (self-imposed) to decorate, I leave out 2 0f the most important things of all..partnering with my husband to prepare our family’s hearts for Advent. And for my family and I to enjoy each other. Thanks for the reminder.

  41. Kari Anne I love your 5 step plan for a happy Christmas season and I am so with you!!!!! I need a deadline for decorating, and shop online and wrap as they come, otherwise it starts to become a burden instead of a joy. And there are enough things in this world to steal our joy – the expectations that we put on ourselves shan’t be one of them this year!!! Thanks for this post, a wonderful reminder!!!! Now go enjoy your beautiful home and family. Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving!

  42. Thank you so much….it was like me talking to myself. I put the music on, (and White Christmas has to be on when I decorate too), my fluffy slippers aren’t so fluffy anymore but my tubs of decorations don’t look so overwhelming anymore, and I’m throwing away all the lists and starting over with your advice. Breathe…and remember what is important …loving the season, loving each other and celebrating our Savior’s birthday ….I secretly think I’m your 237th BFF 🙂

  43. Wise woman indeed! I know you love the Lord, and understand the True meaning of Christmas, so it all makes sense. Slow down, enjoy the process, take time for the little things, because they are really the “big” things. You are on track! Btw, everything looks gorgeous! Did you make your pillows?

  44. Now you have announced your “No Stress Christmas Plans” to the world, the world will anxiously await a complete
    report of how it worked in real life. All joking aside “That Road” really gets paved over and over this time of year by all of us. Back in the old days (I’m 89) not a smidgen bit of Christmas appeared until after Thanksgiving..of course no Black Friday. Life was just as busy..more so due to the lack of all the helper gadgets. Somehow miracles happened..all got done, lot’s of carols at the front doors, and on the RADIO, packages wrapped,cookies made,and memories made.So keep to your declaration and just enjoy. Jere Oh there was no online shopping..just a clothesline.

  45. Boundaries are good, boundaries are necessary and boundaries can bring peace. I’m 100% with you! Wanting to make sure everyone has a good time makes you happy. I know it does. But having boundaries will ensure you can relax and enjoy yourself along with everyone else. And I can’t leave without mentioning the magnificent tree and adorable pillows and all the red, red, red…all of it is absolutely gorgeous, festive and very, very merry!

  46. Like you and many of your readers, simplicity is the plan and love the idea of online shopping. I went to pick up a few things a couple weeks ago at a big box store and can already feel the difference as I walked the aisles, yikes! I too have boxes of Xmas decor and I now only bring out my most treasured pieces to enjoy, and plan to share stories with my granddaughter as we decorate about her dad and uncle, as I place some of the ornaments they had made back in elementary school, some looking tattered but my sons look for them every year and my own nostalgic ornament I made when I was in Kindergarten over 55 years ago, a Xmas bell painted pink with a dash of glitter made from an cut up egg carton. Your pics of your little nest are lovely and your plans..PERFECT!

  47. You’ve done a beautiful job!!!!! And I agree with you. Too much is too much!

  48. I’m with you 100%! It gives you time to breath it all in…and not miss anything. I love the Holidays!

  49. Amen, I’m with you. But I must say, your dining room is the most splendid mess! So color coordinated – just joyful to behold. I’m putting more emphasis on who I get to spend time with and less about what they will see – it’s all about the togetherness!

  50. You AMAZE me. You’ve nailed it! I have been struck with an autoimmune disease and EVERYTHING has been affected by it. I do not have the energy anymore for big productions. This year I will have to replace my Christmas tree as my last one was destroyed by my daughter’s dog deciding to pee on it and shorting out the whole lower row of lights and the cats also seemed to be drawn to the tree and really had a go at it….So, this year, I’m going through my old ornaments and getting rid of the ones that just never end up on the tree any more. I have so many special vintage ornaments why hang on to ratty paper ones and broken ones made by the kids 30 years ago????? I won’t commence my decorating till the day after Thanksgiving. I have almost completed all my shopping. Started back in August picking up special items on line and have been feverishly crocheting all the grandkids a blanket so they can wrap that around themselves if grandma can’t be there. My daughters will get their blankets throughout the year but each one will get something from me that I’ve hand made. If there’s going to be a party it will definitely be pot luck and served on paper plates. You can’t enjoy a party if all you’re doing is cooking and cleaning for days. This mamma wants to enjoy the Christ in Christmas this year! Huge Christmas dinner last year that required 4 tables being set up, cooked for a week, best china and my dirigold and beautiful glasses, and you know what? They’d have been just as happy without all the fancy stuff. Keep it simple. Remember Christmas started in a stable not a mansion. 🙂 Love you sweet lady!

    Karen

  51. You are the best….decorator, writer, you name it! You always make me laugh. A year ago this week my sweetie (husband) and I downsized to a 960 sq. ft. bungalow. It meant paring down big time. I donated quite a bit of my Christmas decor but I did keep the things that mattered…….the ceramic tree I painted for my Mom in 1973, a tinsel tree my favorite boss in the world gave me…..things that I could look at and know exactly who they were from. I love my paired down decorations. Living in a small house it still looks festive. I’m enjoying a less hectic holiday preparation. Did you get the link I sent you about your pie? Happy Thanksgiving.

  52. My new motto! I am there! You go girl! Btw, the bedroom is lovely!! Just stay in there and forget the rest, it will bring you much joy!
    Sherry

  53. I’m all about wrapping gifts as they come in. It’s much easier in the long run!

  54. Oh! No! I don’t even start until after Thanksgiving! I’m going to have to hurry just to catch up with you, so that I CAN slow down and enjoy the season. I having been pretending that it’s still a looooooooooooooong way off. Now I have to hustle my bustle and get my jolly on! Thanks for the wake-up call. BTW, what you have already done is beautiful!

  55. You are right! And the decorating you have done so far exceeds what many people do. I’m in the “have way more Christmas stuff than I use” club, so maybe it’s time to donate some. I am very curious to know where you keep all of your Christmas décor – if I had any more, I would have to add a room to my house or construct an outbuilding! Have a great Thanksgiving, and thanks to YOU for a fun-to-read and beautifully-photographed blog.

  56. Bless you, bless you! I needed this today….as I look at 19 tubs of décor and literally can’t wait for my Thanksgiving guests to leave so I can decorate on Friday for Christmas. Ugh – that is not heart I want to have. I don’t look at ideas on pinterest…heaven help me if I did. I vow to ENJOY Thanksgiving, sleep in and just enjoy being with my 11 and 14 year old as they decide how they want to decorate this year. It’s the first year in our home and I am OK if we don’t decorate the banister, put the tree in the family room and not the picture window…go with the flow is my husband’s motto and I need to adopt it! Might even find some old fashioned “tinsel” and throw it on my tree – that was my granny’s favorite part and I can still imagine her literally TOSSING it onto the tree in sheer joy! Was her tree magazine-worthy? Probably not, but I will never forget how much FUN she made everything!

  57. Your post made me laugh so much Karianne. I buy presents all year round. I have written some cards & yesterday swapped family presents .( One year we had so much snow that we didn’t get presents from my sister till February! )BUT do not be impressed I will still think I have lost a week in December as usual. Your tree & pops of red here & there looks lovely. I love that you have boxes scattered & say that you are in a mess. We tend to think that it is effortless for you bloggers! Here in England we tend to put trees up later & we are more into cakes than cookies. Love the sound of the cookie swap in one of your readers commentsthough. Wish you all a Happy Christmas & a scaled down stress free Christmas. Always make sure you have time to paint your toenails purple!!!

  58. I’M with you, that’s who! We will be gone for a week during Christmas, so I’ve already put up my tree and stockings and some miscellaneous Christmas cheer, but that is ALL I am going to do… NOTHING else… NO hustling and bustling…and did ALL of my shopping on Veteran’s Day. So now, as soon as the turkey is put away on Thursday, all I’m going to do is ENJOY the holidays! (but I still need to wrap presents, and the office is coming over for lunch the first week of December, and I still haven’t picked the photos for the Christmas card) No matter how much we plan, there’s still the holiday bustle – but it’s worth it! 🙂

  59. You are so far ahead of me and everything in your home looks so festive and bright! I’m truly doing less this year and planning to enjoy more time with family without stressing.♥

  60. It looks great Karianne! I’m not decorating for Christmas this year, I’m decorating for the winter season instead. Snowflakes, snow skis, blankets, etc, think hot cocoa at the ski lodge kind of thing. I’ll probably bust out the stockings but that’s about it. I decided that Winter is much longer than the holidays and I’d rather have something I can look at all season long. Keeping it simple around here this year with aqua and a touch of red. When did you take down your drop cloth canopy curtains?

  61. Love your home just as is…thanks for the reminder to all of us to keep it simple.

    This year I went back to Thanksgiving cards and I love that I have one less thing on my plate.
    I’m also starting to greatly reduce my cards and donate what I would purchase to a local senior center…seniors crave this old tradition but it is such a costly process for so many of them.

    Our family does almost 100% charity. We only exchange between our children and us as spouses. No grandkids yet. Several years ago when the list of great nieces and nephews was outgrowing our nieces and nephews I made the suggestion that we take the time at Christmas to celebrate being all here together and focus on our time rather than endless hours opening gift after gift where the kids could not even remember who gave them what. Each family picks their charity. It has worked out wonderfully. The first year we did this my boys who were then middle school and just starting high school commented it was great to just spend time with their cousins that they don’t see as often. Sure has helped bring the meaning of “all is calm” to our home each holiday.

  62. May I just say from the get go that I just love you and your blog! Most days you make me cry a little but I love you anyway! #2 sounds great. Want an afternoon with the Hubby. Even if we don’t buy a thing. I turned on the Christmas music this past weekend. Made house work a little better. It took me to 33 married Christmas to learn less is more. Enjoy your kids. Mine are all gone and when you look back you want to remember them, not the decorations.

  63. I agree with you totally…….let’s do it!

  64. Absolutely! I’m so guilty of all of those, especially waiting until the last minute to wrap gifts. I always wish I had one more day to get everything done. This year, I’m following your game plan!

  65. I turned that corner a few years ago. It is so much nicer. I am working on my sister who puts up 10 xmas trees & has cookie parties, caroling parties & soup parties. I now decline most of her parties to stay away from the madness. I do take yoga & it will teach you to breath! Merry Christmas enjoy the silence of your thoughts. It is wonderful !

  66. Well, I’m with you and I am raising my nose up in agreement — I’d lift one of my hands but both hands are sticky and gooey with the no-churn caramel apple pie ice cream I’m making. Your house is all warm and inviting and I love the touch of reds with the whites?? Did you decorate the pantry for me?? Oh!! I didn’t tell you I was coming for a visit? I could have sworn I did, so don’t bother sending me a Christmas card — you can just give me a Christmas hug. Just don’t worry, I won’t be any trouble at all. I’ll just bring my inflatable cot and I’ll be comfy cozy with all your white plates. If I need some light I’ll just borrow your light umbrella unless you need it for taking photographs 🙁 I’ll even get up Christmas morning and make you coffee 🙂 Don’t fret and before you know it Christmas will be here and gone. Big hugs — Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  67. I am SO with you, girlfriend!! A week ago I was already stressing about Christmas, and December, in general. The second weekend in Dec., daughter #2 is having her boyfriend up from another state for a few days. One week later, daughter #1 is flying in from NYC, boyfriend in tow. THIS IS THE CHRISTMAS OF THE BOYFRIEND. Anyway, the FIRST weekend of Dec., Friday we’re traveling 3 hours one way to see daughter #2’s concert, then back that night; Saturday, Sunday School party; Sunday – SUNDAY, hosting a deacon/wife luncheon and helping with a baby shower. After all the regular church stuff . . . Yep. I’m thinking what doesn’t get decorated before December 4 will just be undecorated! LOL! On the bright side, the side of the family that is so large is drawing names this year!!!! Whew!! 😉

  68. Ginger in Texas :

    You must have read my mind! I feel the same way about the holidays this year! I have never ever dressed up in Christmas attire, with a special coffee or a special friend, just to peruse the mall and do a little holiday shopping. I want to do that … even if I don’t buy one little gift (which I probably will)! Gift giving is one of my favorite things in life. I enjoy reading your blog … I actually love ‘reading’ your blog! Not just looking at the photos (which, by the way, I absolutely love! Can’t get enough photos). But, home tour photos with no words just don’t interest me anymore. I need a friend like you in my town! You are great! Please keep writing … taking photos … posting photos … wearing red lipstick! You are a wonderful part of my day when I get to slip away with my homemade salted caramel vanilla latte and sit in front of my big screen computer (thanks to my hubby) and ‘read’ your posts and gaze at your wonderful photos. I have got to figure out the periscope app (I am so very computer techno challenged), so that I can enjoy your videos, too! Merry Christmas from Texas! I hope you have the most stress free, relaxing, enjoyable holidays ever!

  69. Your house looks absolutely beautiful, merry and bright. Isn’t it interesting that we put so much pressure on ourselves. I don’t decorate until the 1st December and this year I bought a big potted fir tree to use every year. I forgot to measure, so I just hope it fits under the fireplace mantle.
    For anyone who decides to wrap as you go, have a list, unlike me, who wrapped everything early one year and then couldn’t remember what or who they were for and had to rip a little hole in them to see.
    Our Christmas here in Australia is usually very hot and we eat out in the shade of the veranda to try and stay cool but we still manage to stuff ourselves with a hot Christmas dinner as well as cold salads and seafood.
    Have a Very Merry Christmas xx

  70. Duh!! Or how about putting little gift cards on as you go! Dumb bunny here worked a long night shift and posted sleep-deprived before she read it through.

  71. I LOVE the red pillows with the white snowflake and the pillow with the Merry Christmas To You All! Tell me you just got them this year and where…please, please, please! I love the way you have decorated your house. Christmas doesn’t come to ours until the day after Thanksgiving, plus we’re hosing at our house this year. No Black Friday for me, as I stay home and decorate and decorate. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family, Karianne!

  72. Hi Karianne, what a spot-on post. Old habits die hard-lol. Good luck with your “scaling-back” efforts.

    Your holiday decor in your master bedroom is glorious. I love all the pretty red and white and the pillows look like something I not only could make… but would make (smile).

    Gorgeous tree too and what a collection of fun ornaments.

    Happy holidays.

  73. I’m with you KariAnne on 1-5 and then some. I also want to tell you that I have been looking for a boot tray and a while back I saw the same tray in Walmart that you used for your DIY project. I didn’t buy the tray that day because I didn’t like the black plastic look and thought I could find something, reasonably priced if I kept looking. I’m glad I held out because I just bought the tray and hammered spray paint today and can’t wait to fix up a little “Christmas/muddy shoes” corner by my back door kitchen. Thanks for your creative idea and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  74. Falalalala! Singing right along with you!

  75. I’m with you. Only I’m cutting back even more. I have a new mantra IT IS ENOUGH.
    Wish me luck, I’ll check in to see how you are doing.
    *Smiles*

  76. Do you know what is scary you crawled in to my head and stole my thoughts and wrote them down here that is scary.

  77. I always have these BIG plans for a perfect Christmas. Then I find myself so stressed out I wouldn’t know a perfect Christmas if Rudolph bit me on the rump. So lower key and manageable sounds like the new perfection to me. Let’s do it!

  78. Love the first picture of the dining room best. Made me cackle ’cause, yeah Girl, I’m right there wit cha.
    I finished home #1 today. 3 more to go and two magazine shoots but ….wait…. that’s an answer to pray… remember? So I stopped and sat in front of my client’s gorgeous roaring fire and listened to Bing croon White Christmas… and I counted my many blessings. You are one of the them by the way. smooch
    And Merry Christmas.

  79. As in everything,,,,,,,,less is more.
    Love your ideas.
    Smiles

  80. Thank you for reminding me to not have such high expectations for the holidays that I find myself stressing. I too have decided that perhaps this will be the year that I will set deadlines and what is completed will have to be enough. Can’t wait to see the rest of your home decked out for the holidays, it looks lovely already.

  81. “Yoga pants that have never seen a yoga class”. Haha!! Love it and right there with you :). And I love the idea of wrapping gifts as they come in the door. I too am one of those last minute wrappers and it would be so nice to decorate with them under the tree. Great post as always KariAnne!

  82. Eleanor Schoolar :

    Your home is lovely!!! I have way too much Christmas decor but I use different things each year so hard to get rid of any. Can you tell me where you got the church cut outs on the mantel. I have a set of carolers that need those as a background really bad!!!

  83. Girl, I’m with you on the online ordering. I figured this out about three or four years ago. As my boys say they like something, I add it on my Amazon wish list. I order a couple of gifts a month starting in September so it’s not a huge financial outlay all at once.

    I’m also with you about paring down the decorations. I have my few things that I’m married to, like my Shiny Brite Sparkletown houses and churches. Last year, we donated a bunch of decorations after last Christmas – I kept my Shiny Brite Sparkletown Houses and Churches because they are important to me. I’m all about greenery that I can bring in for the holidays and get rid of after New Year’s. Keep it simple!

  84. Good ideas, Ms. Karianne. Stick to it! Ha, ha. Enjoy

  85. Lynnette Martin :

    I’m with ya sister! We hosted a Halloween party, put the 6-7 totes away, sanded the stairway railing, fireplace mantle & wall. This made a sawdust explosion on two floors! We hired the husbands brother to paint because it was evident that I had bit off more than I could chew! I’m still cleaning sawdust, but I’m pretty much ready for Thankgiving. One holiday at a time… The new environment gives me a little zip of excitement for Christmas. I love the excitement of the decorating process much better than painting, so a little stress reduction already. All of us mom’s are on that learning curve, not quite satisfied & someday our daughters will be trying to imitate the holidays we created for them. All is good, enjoy true spirit of the season with family & friends near.

  86. I’m with you on the gift part but I flunked. It’s all in disarray and what did I do when I hid it all in my closet?? I did order most on line but sniff…I’m just getting it now some months later. But the Benefit lip glosses and Philosophy Christmas bath soap and full size glosses (4 in a pack–perfect for my four gals) have arrived. The guys’ book on duct tape uses? I bought. Just have to buy duct tape to go with it.
    So will you help wrap? Please?????

  87. Chuckling to myself. Sure, I’m in. Only I know the real truth…I can’t resist the lure of ribbons and glitter and paint and glue guns. Besides, I am still honoring fall. And I won’t drag the red bins down until after the Turkey is gone. Online shopping? Pfft that I can commit to – unconditionally, all year long and twice on Tuesdays!

  88. My thoughts exactly! Thanks for reigning me in before I even realized I needed help!! It helps my crazy heart to know I’m not alone in my over-doing/over-planning…

  89. Wow, so many comments! You really hit it right on KariAnne. We do this to ourselves really, so it is good to have permission from a Chrisrmas GURU to ease up! We make a trip over the mountains to drop off Christmas gifts in the fall before the driving gets too treacherous and this forces us to shop early. When that is done, it allows us to have a simple Christmas with friends and our Church family. So meaningful.

  90. If your photos are this year; you are way ahead of the game and it is beautiful.
    I’m so lucky I have an Elf that comes and wraps a ton of lights around all the shrubs, the porch and puts up the Christmas tree. If he has time he sets up the train and the Christmas village. I just have to decorate the tree and bake cookies. I hope this continues for many years.
    The kids have been sending me links to their gifts for years so all I have to do is wrap and put them under the tree.
    But I do miss little ones jumping out of their skin with excited opening the advent calendar and counting down until Christmas. Enjoy the moments.

  91. Oh I am so with you! Less is best this Christmas Season. Being together with family and friends is my top priority even if I buy everyone the same robe in different colors or I only get one tree decorated. Blessings to you sweet lady.

  92. I’ve gone over to the easy button side years ago. I put my tree (artificial pre-lit) up when my grandkids are coming over and let them have at it. The three year old doesn’t cover much territory but the nine year old balances that out. I’ve devised a lighting plan that is all installed at ground level (after the year my husband nearly fell off the ladder trying to string lights). Instead of dozens of fussy christmas cookies in tins that nobody really needs, I make pumpkin bread loaves that freeze well and everybody loves. Our christmas card is via email to most of our list and snail mail to the non-social media. Shopping is pretty easy as my daughter-in-law emails out the kids wish/need list frequently with links to actual items. We ask for gifts of charity in our name for us. As for christmas crafts, I try to do something with the grandkids … for thanksgiving we made turkey cupcakes … cupcakes frosted to look like turkeys. I used this pin https://www.pinterest.com/pin/236227942932325919/ and they actually look like the photo!
    In other words, like you, I only do what really gives me joy and pick the easier option on everything else…

  93. I am totally with you. I love your post and IMHO your home already looks gorgeous! I am also in the same boat with a 1/2 complete ‘Christmas Planner’ and countless projects in various states of completion in my workshop and studio. I also started a new quilt a couple of weeks ago so every day I am fighting the urge to go down and spend hours working on it instead of the holiday prep I should really be doing. Add to all of it a new business/website and I am feeling the pressure. Thanks for making it okay for me to back off the throttle and keep it simple…

  94. Every year I vow to have it all wrapped before Christmas Eve, but I end up going to bed sooo late that I need a nap Chritmas day after the presents are opened!

  95. Amen sister. My husband just called from the post office about what kind of Christmas stamps I wanted and I started hyperventilating!! Time to relax and remember what the season is really about!

  96. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time, because I had already made a similar promise to myself and needed a gentle reminder to reinforce my promise. My plan is to actually enjoy Christmas this year with my family and with a Santa sized sack of good memories . Look forward to your after Christmas post to see how well it went. Now time for me to start on that decorating. Merry Christmas! Jill

  97. Well said Karianne. I don’t make cocoa for kids on a bus but I do take one day to drive around town with cocoa for the Salvation Army people and the Lions Club guys that sell Christmas trees in town. No stress or big deal, I buy the cocoa at the 7-11. I don’t make my own nativity set, our Jesus is missing a hand and one of the beasts is cracked – maybe I should though! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  98. I used to live by some neighbors (who were older) and they said they didn’t know why they put up a Christmas tree. I couldn’t understand. When I had a big house, I put one in every room and decorated to the hilt. Now I am in my early sixties, the grandsons are grown and I find it hard to decorate. It is a chore! I feel like my neighbors once did. I have 12 totes and barely use from 3 of them. It is like the picture of what I’d like to do (at Halloween) with all the lavish decorations, and what I actually do–set out one pumpkin!!!

  99. Our children are adults and very hard to buy for, but at our 60th anniversary party they told us that they wanted a “rock” with their name on it, so we made the drive in October and ordered them and around Dec. 19th we will make the drive again and on Christmas we will drive the pickup loaded with over 400lbs of decorated rock and make two of them happy. The other one is an Eagle collector and we got him a huge one to put out by his front door. I am so glad to have this done because I found out today that I will be having my big toe fused and a neuroma removed and other repair work done to my foot on Dec. 4. I am so glad that most of the shopping is done and I will have most of the decorating done. I had a lady laugh at me Sunday at church, but I was advised by a gift shoppe owner years ago that the best gifts are purchased early and I do agree.

    I am so glad you are going to enjoy your family, listen to more Carols and enjoy the season.

    May His Blessings be upon your wonderful family and I will enjoy your beautiful blogs from my easy chair.

  100. I’m with you! I had surgery on Monday before Thanksgiving! I did the mad rush to get the fall decorations all out and the wash done and the pantry full for my special diet after surgery, and got the turkey and sides for husband to cook for him and daughter. I was home before Thanksgiving and I made sure the table was set just right for his serving of his dinner . I set me a place too and I siped my broth while my hubby and daughter enjoyed their meal and I siped my diet cranberry juice in my wine glass and I was so content. I decided I would carve out time each day to decorate what I can and ask for help when needing to move or lift anything, and it will come together. Christmas boundaries are good for it is not the decorations but the declared time to be there in the moment with the people I love that matter most of all!

  101. I read your opening outloud to my husband…and we roared hysterically—been there done that—-Great post and I’m with you, I’m decorating for me—and using what and when the notion strikes me. Family, Friends, Fun ….that will be our plans. Thanks for saying it’s okay, lol, Sandi

  102. I have anew one. This year I’m decorating with intent! As in I will not throw everything but the kitchen sink into the decorating mayhem! Good luck, and enjoy the season!!

  103. Thank you for this post. I do this every year and I have these great plans of everything I am going to do and I never get it all done. Glad to know I am not the only one.