Red and white Christmas

When I unpacked the ornaments decorate the tree in the bedroom, there among the fancy velvet ho ho ho and the glitter stars and the monogrammed wood cutouts….

….I found an ornament someone gave us the year we got married.

It’s a simple clear circle without a lot of fanfare.

Just two doves and a heart and the words “Our First Christmas Together.”

Years later 37 boxes of Christmas decorations live in our upstairs attic and I would trade every single one for this ornament.  I can remember when it hung on a tree with only a box of shiny red ornaments and a little ribbon to keep it company.

I’ve never forgotten that tree.

And not just for that beautiful ornament hanging from its branches.

Here’s one of my favorite stories the second time around….

….because that’s the way the cookie crumbles. 🙂

Red and white Christmas ribbon

The first Christmas we spent together, we were newly married and living in an old farmhouse that had seen better days.

And all we had to our name was some wedding china and a few pieces of furniture our family had given us.  Living on love without anything left over for Christmas decorations.

To save money, we went to a neighbor’s farm and cut down a tree.

It was kind of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree….there were big branches missing and it kind of leaned and looked like at any moment…..

….without the slightest bit of provocation….it would topple over.

But I didn’t care.

I loved it.

Red and white Christmas decor

It was my first Christmas tree and I cut ribbons and made them into bows and tucked pine cones in it and hung those shiny red ornaments on every branch.

And then….for the finishing touch….the icing on my Charlie Brown tree….

….I baked dozens of gingerbread men.

They weren’t very fancy ginger people.

And they looked more like ginger blobs then men….but I decorated them with great gusto and Christmas cheer and hung them everywhere.

o holy night

I hung them on the tree with ribbons.

I hung them in the windows and doors and from the back of chairs and cupboards.

It seemed that every inch of that old farmhouse was covered with grinning….bright-eyed…..bow-tie wearing….

….gingerbread men.

Red and white Christmas tree

An entire farmhouse decorated from almost nothing.

I was so proud.

So all about myself and my budget Christmas decorations.

Gingerbread men made a house look like a million dollar decorator stopped by.  Who knew?

Red and white Christmas finial

It wasn’t until later that my husband called me into the kitchen.

“Why did you make the gingerbread men with only one leg?” he asked in a puzzled voice.

We both turned to the smiling bedazzled gingerbread man hanging in the window.

 Red and white Christmas mantel

I just shrugged.

It must have broken when I hung him up there,” I said with a smile.  ”But at least he’s cute.”

We smiled at each other and our little one-legged gingerbread man in our little farmhouse festooned with homemade Christmas decorations.

Decorated with love.

I was so busy over the next week….wrapping and drinking hot chocolate and window shopping and watching “Prancer” on television….

….that I forgot all about the gingerbread man with the missing leg.

Red and white Christmas ideas


Until I saw another one on the tree…..

…..missing part of his head.

And another one….missing part of his arm.

And then…..I heard one as it dropped to the ground…..

….completely chewed to pieces.

Red and white Christmas pillow


And jumped on a chair.

Wildly hopping around and hands waving and yelling for my husband to immediately get every gingerbread man out of our farmhouse….as far away as possible.

Because those half-eaten gingerbread men were no accident.

It seems we had plenty of friends….

….friends of the furry four-legged whiskered variety that were enjoying Christmas at the farmhouse, too.

Red and white Christmas ornament

I don’t think I really ever recovered.

As a matter of fact….I’m positive.

Because when I unpacked those 37 boxes of Christmas decorations…..full of ornaments and garland and trees and mistletoe…..I double checked one more time…..just to be sure…..

…..that there was not a gingerbread man in sight. :)

o holy night nativity





We’re here!

We’re done!

It’s day 12 of the 12 days of Christmas and I’m so happy that you joined us along the way.

And now for some more Christmas inspiration from some of my favorite people.

Click on the links below to take you to the projects.

Inspired by charm thumbnail

Inspired by Charm

Christmas Shelfie



Miniature Card Catalog Storage Box



Christmas Home Tour

funky junk

Funky Junk Interiors

Stencil Project and Giveaway

shanty 2 chic

Shanty 2 Chic

Ornament Hangers

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


  1. Image for Beverly Beverly

    This always makes me giggle. I baked gingerbread men our second Christmas, and a gray four-legged creature ate mine, too. But, the gray four-legged creature was my tiny toy poodle, Mimi.♥ We are sharing seasonal posts on Pink Saturday the remainder of the year. You should come share and enjoy.

  2. Image for Graham Graham

    But I bet your house smelled great! I too baked gingerbread men our first Christmas and the fragrance lingered till we moved out 6 months later. Love your posts, if I can't live near my sister, you're my next choice!

  3. Image for Gee Gee

    Giggling behind my hand!! I remember our first Christmas in our new home... We made gingerbread men, the non edible kind. With applesauce and LOADS of cinnamon. They got soggy in the Florida humidity! Wah, wah, wah!!! LUV the red and whit bedroom. Beautiful!

  4. Image for Beverly Elaine Beverly Elaine

    My goodness! You made me teary eyed remembering our early Christmases. What a wonderful reminder of those years when a lack of finances produced a wealth of love, good cheer and great memories. But don't think for a minute all that stuff distracted me from the chairs in your bedroom! Holy smokes! I'll send you my address so you can ship those right on over. I'm totally coveting those chairs. C O V E T

  5. Image for Naomi Naomi

    LOL! Recently, I had problems with those four legged/furry little creatures. I was surprised, because I live in a brand new home. I would tell my friends, they would laugh and say "They're only field mice. You live near the woods and they come in from the cold." Where's the sympathy??" I would wonder, but say "They can't share my space!!!" Am thankful for Pest Control people. I'm so loving your bedroom. The fireplace is so nostalgic. It reminds me of grandma's house.

  6. Image for Pinky at Designs by Pinky Pinky at Designs by Pinky

    I LOVE THAT tree!!!!!!!!!!!! OMGoodness, it is gorgeus!! Could you, pretty please with a cherry on top, do a post JUST about that tree!! Lots of pics and details....please???? Loved the story as it brought back memories. Our first Christmas we were martried only one month and living with Joe's parents. I don't even remember that Christmas. BUT, the next year we were in a tiny apartment, no money but had a tiny baby of our own! Thanks for bringing back the memories. XO

  7. Image for Christine Christine

    KariAnne, I liked this story even recycled. It's such a sweet, and funny memory! I love looking at all your decorations. Chris

  8. Image for Karen W Karen W

    Such a funny story! It reminds me of when I decided, several decades ago, to dehydrate orange and apple slices to hang on our tree. No furry animals showed up in our house during the holidays to nibble on our ornaments. No, they waited in our attic and feasted on the fruit throughout the rest of the winter and spring. When we were bringing down the Christmas decorations the following year, they had chewed massive holes in the boxes and, well, it wasn't a very pleasant sight that greeted us when we opened up the boxes!

  9. Image for Sonya B. Sonya B.

    When my children were very young we would string popcorn and once I made gingerbread for the tree,too. My gingerbread men were so heavy they kept falling off the tree and breaking so I haven't tried it again but they sure are cute. Enjoy reading your blog very much. MERRY CHRISTMAS from Texas!

  10. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Story telling at its finest!! Now, you MUST share some details...those Merry Christmas blocks, that sweet button ribbon, that chalkboard sign and those amazing pillows?? Sources, PLEASE!

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

    OMG!! This is soooo weird. We were so poor and we had a little one and we could only afford one car so I stayed home and baked. That first Christmas I baked so many cookies -- they were going to be our gifts to everyone. So I had all of these coffee cans that I would store the cookies in the enclosed back porch of our rental. We were going to go to my mom and dad's for Christmas and take lots of cookies to the family there. The rest of the cookies in the coffee cans stayed in our rental. When we got back there were no cookies left -- Every plastic lid had a big hole chewed out. Did I mention that we lived across from a dump? Yes! We didn't have mice -- we had rats!! I shudder when I think of it. There were so many stories associated with our early days -- it sure makes me appreciate everything we have. But through it all we had love.

  12. Image for Kim Parker Kim Parker

    Awesomeness! Everyone needs furry four legged friends from time to time to keep things interesting! Love your blog Kari Anne!

  13. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    Aren't those first Christmas' the best! We had so little, but love was so big. One year I baked gingerbread men and hung them on my kitchen tree. I noticed legs and arms gone on the men at the bottom of the tree... just as far up as our dog Disney could reach!

  14. Image for Abi Nix Abi Nix

    Your blog and the Gingerbread Christmas story is just adorable! I am glad I stumbled upon your website (via Pinterest) and I am now a follower. Merry Christmas!

  15. Image for Linda Linda

    Beautiful bedroom! Really beautiful Karianne. Always on the watch for little friends here too. Living in an old farmhouse where it gets cold outside and across the road from a farmer's field does have its draw backs. Merry Christmas! Linda

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