This post is sponsored by Balsam Hill (who also sponsored the Hallmark movie I watched last night).

Go Balsam Hill.

I really wasn’t going to decorate for Christmas this year.

It’s just all been so overwhelming.

The move.  The remodel.  The painting.  The drywall dust.  The refrigerator holding court in the dining room.

I was going to push some boxes aside, brush off the dust and put up a small tree in a corner with a few ornaments and some gingerbread men.

Living room I’m looking at you.

In the marathon of Christmas—I hadn’t even left the starting gate.

Calmly, I announced my decision to my family.

They stared back at me in horror.


“Not decorate for Christmas?”


“Mooooooommmmmmm.  You have to.  You live for Christmas.  Are you kidding?  Is this a joke?”

They exchanged glances and side-eyes and eye rolls and then burst out in choruses of:

“We’ll help.”

“Don’t worry.”

“We got this, Mom.”

The living room became a beehive of activity.

Unpacking boxes and moving picture frames and unrolling the rug and putting the furniture in place and sweeping up the dust (again and again and again).

And then?

Together we put up the Christmas tree.

And now?

The living room looks like this.

Can you even?

Can you press pause and imagine this room FILLED TO THE TOP with moving boxes and assorted stuff and those beautiful wood floors COVERED WITH DUST.

I should have taken a before.

It would make you appreciate the entire scene even more.

And the best part?

I’m just getting started.

I’m painting the curtain rods white and adding more things to the bookshelves and figuring out what to put on top of them and reworking the seating a bit and adding a bench under the window and maybe adding a softer rug.

But for today?

There’s this wonderful, glorious, amazing, incredible little bit of Christmas wonder.

It sparkles and shines and glows.

Here are just a few of the ornaments that we added to the tree.

When I unpacked the boxes from Balsam Hill, the twins and I gave each one a standing ovation.

It’s like a convention of pretty ornaments got together and showed up at my house.

We hung gold sparkly ribbons from the tree and white and gold polka dot ribbons and tucked them all in the branches.

The Christmas music filled the room as we added the ornaments to the tree.

It was dark when we were finished.

The room was clean and the floors were swept and the pillows were fluffed.

Everything was ready for Christmas.

And in the still of the night, we turned out the lights and saw this.

Our tree.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I’m thankful for every sparkling light.

I’m thankful for clean floors and chairs to sit in and a mantel that’s ready for stockings.

I’m thankful for the glow that dances across the room

But most of all, I’m so thankful for a family….

….who wouldn’t let Christmas be tucked away in a corner. 🙂

A giant shout out to my friends at Balsam Hill who believe in Christmas as much as I do.

Here’s the shopping list for the Christmas in the room:

Christmas tree

Gold ornament set

(These are so glittery and beautiful and look like works of art and they come in different shades of silver and gold and platinum)

Fur tree skirt

And for Cyber Monday they are having a GIANT SALE with items up to 50% off.

You can see all the deals here.

My tree is happy to be hanging out with some of its favorite tree friends today.

Stop by and say hello.

French Country Cottage

Miss Mustard Seed

The Handmade Home

The Inspired Room

disclosure:  This post was written in collaboration with Balsam Hill.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for laura laura

    my grandson (10) and granddaughter (7) helped me set up the tree and decorate yesterday. as much as i love my tree and the decorations the memory of us working together is most precious. you have such a lovely way of expressing these heart sentiments . . .

  2. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    I'm so glad you (with your helpers) didn't put Christmas in a corner! (Christmas should never be put in the corner by itself!) That room is glorious! Besides you have the perfect window area for your tree and it's always good to have a room where you can escape renovations even if it's just for awhile. Happy week, friend! Cecilia

  3. Image for Ricki Jill Treleaven Ricki Jill Treleaven

    Beautiful tree (and living room!) and I love the gold and sparkle. You're making me feel bad because both girls left yesterday for college, and I told my husband: Maybe we shouldn't decorate this year since we're going to St. Kitts for Christmas, then I see YOUR GORGEOUS ROOM! ;P

  4. Image for colleen colleen

    One year we weren't hosting Christmas. *shock* So I wasn't going to pull everything from the barn to decorate for just Hubs' & me. He comes home from work one night with - I kid you not - Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. It was weeks before Christmas & someone had already dumped it, lights and all. Needless to say, Hubs won that battle, like always. I decorated and decorated and decorated. Just for the two of us. Now, looking back, not knowing he'd be gone in a short while, I'm SO glad I was able to make him happy that Christmas. xoxo

  5. Image for Sandra Warthen Sandra Warthen

    It is hard living in a home that is undergoing renovation. Isn't it wonderful to have this beautiful room to go to.! I have loved all of the pictures of your "new" home (I still can't get over the fact that you were able to buy your house back) I can't wait to see the kitchen. Your tree is beautiful.

  6. Image for sandi sandi

    KA---we moved from overseas after 43 yrs this summer---I feel w/you. Last night we put up a real tree for our grandson (who lives way across the US)----we had also decided not to do it---but kids have a WAY. We leave from home in TX tomorrow & I am rethinking whether or not to do it at our house (that still has boxes in the LR & also in a few other rooms. . . I love the pillows you have out---I am a "white" decorator so your room reaches the inner chambers of my heart. I love mostly how you put words together to form pictures---I see through your eyes & heart. Thank you for your painting!

  7. Image for Richella Parham Richella Parham

    Way to go, Wood elves! SO glad you ended up decorating, KariAnne! And kudos to Balsam Hill for providing just the right tools for you. I'd never heard of Balsam Hill except reading about them on a couple of blogs. This year my husband and I decided that we needed to switch to an artificial tree for our living room (cue all the protests from my kids). I ordered the Balsam Fir from Balsam Hill and I'm so glad I did! It really is the most real-looking artificial tree I've ever seen. Seeing that they sponsored you makes me happy about my decision! Now to get something to add that smell of fresh greenery. . . .

  8. Image for Terry Terry

    So glad the girls prevailed and rescued Christmas at your house sweet friend! You've convinced me, we gave up on our rather pathetic artificial tree last year, I'll head over and see what a really nice Christmas tree should look like, thanks to you, I can save Christmas too!

  9. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Beautiful! Happy Holidays. Tell me about the area rug in the new/old living room? For starters, what is it made of?

  10. Image for Michele (Finch Rest) Michele (Finch Rest)

    Your tree is stunning, and your family are rock stars just like momma. Just beautiful, KA. Hugs hugs hugs.

  11. Image for Kristi Mercer Kristi Mercer

    Awwwww, I LOVE that y'all worked together to create this beautiful, cozy space for the holidays! Our house is totally torn apart with renovation at the moment too, but it really helps to have at least one space that everyone can gather in without the dust and renovation chaos. Happy holidays my friend!

  12. Image for Marty Oravetz Marty Oravetz

    Oh it is so beautiful. I remember last year when we moved in the week before Christmas and I was rushing to push furniture around, hide boxes and put up a tree. mine was only a small 4' sitting on a table, but it was glorious too. I love your living room, it looks amazing.

  13. Image for cynthia cynthia

    Elegant and stunningly beautiful ! LOVE LOVE the pillows but I don't see a "link" for them. I assume they are something you already had. If they are by chance, available for purchase now will you please add the info? Thank you for all your inspiration....your home and spiritual well being !

  14. Image for Rose Rose

    Dear KarieAnne~ I understand what you kids were saying. One year I decided to go all adult with our tree ~ no kid ornaments. The ones they made in school and have been collecting all 20+ years for them. I was in a Christmas store and saw so many beautiful ornaments. I literally trimmed the tree in the store so I️ would know how many ornaments to purchase. I was so excited about my adult tree. I trimmed the tree with all the pretty ornaments I purchased. Then m younger daughter came home from school and said. “What happened to our tree”. I told her not to worry I boxed all her and er sisters ornaments in a pretty tin for them to use one day on there tree 🌲 She said “This is not the tree 🌲 I am use to Mom”. So the next day all the pretty ornaments came off the tree and their ornaments and special handmade ornaments went back. That was 15 years ago. I will always use all their special ornaments forever. Thanks for listening to my story. Much love, Rose 🎄❄️⛄️

  15. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    Hi Friend! It looks great and very festive!! I spy a wooden snow flake over your fireplace!!! Don't you just love it? I put mine up yesterday, but this year it's over our entertainment center. For the first time ever I did a neutral tree and gold/brass in the living room....I love it. I was getting tired of the same old red, green and blue I'd done in the past. Tonight I'll be working on the mantel and staircase. I love decorating for Christmas!!

  16. Image for JC at the uncommon pearl JC at the uncommon pearl

    This is gorgeous in every way! Sweet help from family makes it even more special. I love the four chairs look and am hoping to do that in our living room someday after the oodles of other remodel projects on that list! I actually really like the bronze rods. It is just enough balance with the wood of the chair legs, in my little opinion. Your curtains are dreamy. I love the smocking! Are these original to the house? If not where did you find these beauties?

    1. Image for Karla Ritchey Karla Ritchey

      Hi you can call Karla Ritchey at Lady Butterbug Shoppe for the smocked curtains...I have them for sale in my shoppe. 972-529-8078.

  17. Image for Lisa Lisa

    It looks gorgeous!!! Aren't kids just the best?! I know how hard it is to move and renovate! We left our LA home after 16 years and headed to Nashville 2.5 years ago. It was stressful! But, Christmas magic has a way of making everything better! Looking so forward to seeing the evolution of your new (old) home!

  18. Image for Laurin M. Laurin M.

    I said the same thing one year when we lived in an apartment as we transitioned from one house to another. My kids thought I was nuts and said "Mom, NOOOOO, you LOVE Christmas" and they were older and not even living with us at the time. So I bought a 6 foot stick tree (that's what I call it) and decorated it and decorated the table and added a few Christmasy things to my little apartment. It did make me smile. I love how our kids also love this tradition.

  19. Image for Cindy Cindy

    What a wonderful family you have! Don't know where you get all the energy! When my two grand daughters are older, I hope they have as much excitement about decorating as I do, would love the help! Your room is beautiful! Btw, I like the contrast of the black curtain rods against all the white! I wouldn't paint them. Have a blessed week!

  20. Image for Lisa Lisa

    When u love Christmas - you find a way. I Just had a hip replacement 3 weeks ago, slowly moving around and I asked my husband to please set up the tree and bring me the decorations. it will take me all week doing a little bit at a time , am I smiling absolutely....we just work with what we can handle

  21. Image for Cindy Roth Cindy Roth

    It looks awesome! I see you brought your amazing burlap curtains from your previous home. And you remembered to put the tree skirt on! Did your brother make that cool wood snowflake over the fireplace?

  22. Image for jillian jillian

    whoa! beautiful...good for you and your children to make this lovely oasis during all the chaos. It makes a big difference in your day to be able to sit in here and reflect. Love it.

    1. Image for Karla Ritchey Karla Ritchey

      Hi Elaine, I sell the smocked burlap curtains at my shoppe called Lady Butterbug Shoppe in McKinney, TX. You can call me at 972-529-8078 to order the curtains. Thanks, Karla

  23. Image for Anne Anne

    Lovely. Did I miss the tree closeup of the ribbons? And I agree a softer rug, perhaps in hunter green. Amazing what you all accomplished !

  24. Image for Cindy Richter Cindy Richter

    Girl, you are the bomb. You are the Christmas wonder that shines and glows! From the sound of it, I cannot believe you (y'all) got that done! It looks awesome and what an accomplishment. I look forward to seeing the rest! Merry Christmas!

  25. Image for Monica Monica

    I wondered how long it would be before you caved😂😂😂 Your Christmas room looks so cozy and inviting!!!! Great job to you and your faithful "crew"!!

  26. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Okay....first...the room looks the most amazingest of amazing. Second...could you hear my "Noooooooooo!" all the way in Texas? It might have been loud enough. Along with the famous, "Reba don't cut your hair!" will forever live the "Karianne don't paint your curtain rods!". Of course, the vision in your head is always spot on and may look great, just like Reba with a little trim might be fab. Have a great day friend. Nancy

  27. Image for Lynn Lynn

    Beautiful! You are truly blessed. Quick question - where oh where did you get those drapes?? Everything looks perfect!

    1. Image for Karla Ritchey Karla Ritchey

      Hi Lynn, You can purchase these curtains at Lady Butterbug Shoppe in McKinney, TX or order by phone at 972-529-8078...ask for Karla.

  28. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I knew it!!! I knew those mini thistles would come to the rescue and help with the unboxing! What an amazing room and tree! Beautiful! And love the inspiration of those gorgeous ornaments.

  29. Image for Beth F Beth F

    I'm gobsmacked at how fast you put this new/old room together and it looks so festive! Can I add in my two cents about painting the curtain rods....don't! The darker wood adds that depth of color to the room it needs as well as matching the legs on the white chairs grounding them. It is truly lovely!

  30. Image for Maureen Ryan Maureen Ryan

    Granted, I've been sorta weepy this holiday season, but your post got me all choked up! It is so nice that the kids all worked together to make it happen. Terrific teamwork! Merry Christmas to all of you. The room is a stunner!

  31. Image for Chris Bannard Chris Bannard

    A very quick question for you - what is the diameter of the tree stand. Balsam Hill is unable to provide that information to me and I am trying to sort out whether the tree collar I have will work. And your living room is wonderful! Looking forward to see how you make your childhood home into your family home - what a journey!

  32. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    It looks wonderful -- and what's important the tree has a skirt. You remembered in all the chaos and confusion. For several years we've been bah humbugs -- no Christmas things up since our family did not come to our house during the holidays. Well, I just couldn't stand it any longer so now we have a little Balsam Hill tree and I'm getting a Nativity scene. I'm glad you put up the tree!! Sending hugs!!

  33. Image for Gina Gina

    Sounds like your Christmas decorating was a scene right out of our beloved Hallmark movies! So happy for you and your family this Christmas. God bless.

  34. Image for Holly S. Holly S.

    Beautiful! Also, do you mind telling me where you got the wooden snowflake above your mantle. It is gorgeous as well

  35. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    You didn't even point out your lovely mantle... yet! ;-) LOVE the ornaments hanging from it with the simple greenery garland!

  36. Image for Karla Ritchey Karla Ritchey

    Hi Karianne...I can see your lovely tree glistening in your window as I drive by your house. I am so glad to have you back in the hood!!! Merry Christmas!!! Karla

  37. Image for Lori Ellison Lori Ellison

    SPECTACULAR! Love all the gold with the burlap curtains! Enjoy the beauty of one room in the midst of the chaos!

  38. Image for Mary Mary

    Balsam Hill Christmas trees are the most realistic! I appreciate you as a Mom to have your family come together and help you. Beautiful tree with much love applied. You are doing a great job. This is the most beautiful tree I have seen on any blog. Wish it was in my house. Blessings, M

  39. Image for PJ PJ

    So pretty, KariAnne! I, too, am living in a "project house" that needs a ton of work. Just this week, I started scraping up the carpet (yes, carpet!) from the kitchen floor. This is the first Christmas we will have a real tree here. The past few years I could not bring myself to set up a tree in the chaos, so I just put lights on my Norfolk Island Pine houseplant and called it done. But this year, for whatever reason, I feel a need for a tree. Blessings to you and yours at this holiday season.

  40. Image for Susan Susan

    I love the smocked curtains and the curtain rods. Maybe live with the rods a while before painting them. They are striking and a nice counterbalance to the creams in the room. But then again I know what it’s like to have a vision in my head and it usually turns out great, .

  41. Image for laura nuss laura nuss

    Gorgeous & Simple. My decorations look a little tired and worn. But you know what is driving me insane... I have the yellow glow lights mixed with the white (kind of neon sign blue tint). #suburbanmomprobs Love Balsam Hill! Merry Christmas. Around our house we call you "miss thistlewood."

  42. Image for Anna Anna

    Absolutely gorgeous! The room, the tree, the family helping out. :-) One year, many years ago, my mom was in a slump. Hubby, kids and I went to visit my parents and there was only just the meager top of the fake Christmas tree with about 6 ornaments on it, all sort of stuffed in the corner on the floor behind a rather large chair. Needless to say, my boys were kind of "What? No Christmas tree?" Eventually when the cousins came and the fun began, the tree did sort of take a back seat. So that was a good thing ;-) I'm super happy to know that your family "got their game on" and helped make your home lovely and ready to celebrate Christmas. Yay!

  43. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Sooooooo love it! It's beautiful! Such wonderful help you have! Only one word describes it all: AMAZING! :D ❤

  44. Image for kathy kathy

    Beautiful!!! Your family will always remember this Christmas! You have wonderful children. My son who married this summer came home for Thanksgiving, picked out our tree, set it up, and decorated it. Aren't we proud of helpful children!

  45. Image for Mildred Mildred

    I want to inquire about the snowflake over the mantle. I love it! The living room looks beautiful, and yes, family is everything. What would we do without our children...and grandchildren who come along side us to help and encourage. Merry Christmas to you and yours....

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