I’m just going to keep it holiday-real here.

I do not have it together this Christmas.

Not even close.

Not even for one minute.

Not for one single second.

I’m trying so hard.  Really.  Truly.  I’m playing Christmas music and planning Christmas parties and trying to find the ugliest Christmas sweater on this planet.  I have Christmas boxes waiting to be opened and stockings waiting to be hung and strings of twinkly lights in search of a tree and a staircase that’s covered in magnolia leaves.

But that’s as far as I’ve gotten.  The rest of the house is either full of moving boxes and furniture packed to the ceiling or full of almost-completed renovations.

I’m dusting instead of Christmas decorating.

So today to celebrate all the decorating that is to come, I’m sharing my very favorite tree.  It was in my family room last year—the last Christmas we celebrated at the farmhouse.  It’s simple and uncomplicated and handmade.

Just a few of my favorite Christmas things. 🙂


Here is the tree in all its farmhouse glory.

It sits on the side of the family room with the chalkboard I found by the side of the road and the star of Chapter 7 in So Close to Amazing.  There are wood snowflakes tucked into the days of the week and the occasional chalk snowflake drawn by an elf.

Most of the ornaments on the tree are handmade.

This is a close up of some of the ornaments on the tree.

My sister made the wood block photo ornament for me years ago when the twins were little.  I clipped vintage bingo cards to the tree along with vintage numbers and letters from long ago Christmas projects.

I bought the chalkboard ornaments and scrapbook paper ornaments a while ago, but they are easy to make yourself.

Here’s the DIY for the spring snowflake and my sister just made the yarn and snowflake garland this year.



This book paper garland is so easy to make.

You can find the DIY tutorial here.

The vintage Noel garland was purchased years ago and the DIY for the joyful birds that clip on the branches can be found here.



The star at the top of the tree?

It’s made from my father’s old maps and was a gift from my sister for Christmas last year.

You can read the story here.



The tree has a tree skirt, but I also added a vintage toolbox in front of it for a little more texture.

It’s the perfect place to stack packages.

And handmade ornaments like this one that my other sister made this Christmas.



My cup is overflowing and I’m so grateful for so many things.

I’m grateful for all of you for reading and inspiring and creating and believing and making this world a better place.

But most of all?

I’m grateful for healthy elves and hand-drawn snowflakes and handmade ornaments and sweet smiles and hot chocolate mustaches.

And new houses and new beginnings and all the Christmases yet to come. 🙂

PS  And now—I’m so honored and full of joy to be guest posting this week with an amazing group of bloggers sharing their family rooms all decked out for the holidays.

If you are looking for decorating ideas—they have extra.

Be sure and stop by the links below for even more Christmas inspiration.

Ella Claire | Rooms for Rent | Shades of Blue Interiors | Love Grows Wild

French Country Cottage | City Farmhouse | Kindred Vintage | Jeanne Oliver

Jennifer Rizzo | Craftberry Bush | Miss Mustard Seed | My Sweet Savannah

Nesting with Grace | Dear Lillie | Julie Blanner | Liz Marie Blog

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


  1. Image for Richella Parham Richella Parham

    Darling KariAnne, that tree was really wonderful. One of things I like best about it is that it's mostly homemade. . . I prefer the sentimental at Christmas (well, nearly all the time, but especially at Christmas). Isn't it amazing to think that was your last tree in the farmhouse? But who could have known that you'd be back in your own childhood home for this Christmas?? What fun awaits you! Well, I'll tell you who could have known--only God, from whom all blessings flow. So you're right to be thankful. Thank you for setting the example. And happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Image for Beth Minger Beth Minger

    Karianne, Please DO NOT stress out over Christmas. You have been through a lot and do not need any more STRESS! We moved five years ago - three miles to a house I love but it still took me 4 and a half years to even drive by the old house!!💔 There will be many more Christmases just hug yourself - all your loved ones and give yourselves the gift of TIME to adjust to the new situation!😍

  3. Image for Marcella ryan Marcella ryan

    Hi Karianne. Thank you for bringing holiday magic to my home at this very stressful time. I’m inspired by your daily messages and am confident that I will get through this one like I always do. Your tree is perfection!! Do you know where you got the two wooden white trees that sit on the tray next to your tree? They are gorgeous. Have a wonderful holiday and thanks for inspiring your readers.

  4. Image for elizabeth@pinecones and acorns blog elizabeth@pinecones and acorns blog

    I was curious how you could have a house under remodel and boxes everywhere but still be posting a tree. I love, love your honesty. It is what makes you my favorite blogger. Life is a crazy thing some days and at this time of thanksgiving you are so blessed with your family, friends, house and more. Everything will get done that is supposed to get done. God has plans for you and I think one if them is to teach us each day how to live in Grace. I love your favorite tree and all of the stories about the ornaments!

  5. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    So pretty and very country looking. I love the book pages garland and the chalkboard ornaments. Thanks for sharing it with us. Beautiful

  6. Image for Janice Janice

    Such a beautiful and special tree! I love the star made from Mark's maps. I cannot wait to see your touches at the Presley-Wood house. So glad you all are back in McKinney.

  7. Image for Leila Jane Leila Jane

    Karianne, I love seeing that tree again from last year. It's worthy of a repeat performance. We're all lucky that you are blogging AT ALL with your very recent move and renovations. I KNOW that unpacking and setting up a house from scratch takes time as I did it myself 16 times while a military wife. You'll get there! Meantime, enjoy your Thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing more about this new chapter in your life as it unfolds! Love to you and your family.

  8. Image for Cindy Richter Cindy Richter

    I've seen so many wonderful trees this year already and when I looked at yours, before I even read a word, a sense of peace and comfort came over me. Then when I read how meaningful it was it made it even prettier if that could actually happen. I am so thrilled you are back in Texas. God has a perfect plan and I look forward to seeing it unfold. Don't worry about how the house looks either! If you want some help...let me know! ;)

  9. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Beautiful, Karianne, simply beautiful! I know how it will go - you'll be all stressed that you're not being inspired in your new house, and one morning, maybe after that second cup of coffee, WHAM! Inspiration will strike and you'll be mixing-and-matching, dancing-and-prancing all the way to Hobby Lobby!! Love you, girlfriend!

  10. Image for Kris Kris

    I will join the chorus and say ... don't stress about Christmas. Making things pretty is nice, but we both know there is more to this season than glitter and glamour. Have fun, which for you means doing some decorating, but be realistic about your time and energy level. Sometimes good enough is good enough!

  11. Image for Celeste at Penultimate Home Celeste at Penultimate Home

    I really love that your tree is a collection of meaningful decorations gathered throughout the years. While I'd enjoy completely re-decorating a tree every year (my wallet wouldn't), my favorite part of the tree is all the memories from unpacking the old ornaments. Like looking for the green, glass pickle every Christmas Eve morning or telling the meaning behind the chrismons I stitched 30 years ago. I hope when you finally get a chance to decorate this year, that pulling out these familiar pieces will bring you sweet, memories and a feeling of home.

  12. Image for Gina Gina

    That tree has you written all over it! Just love! And what a nice group of bloggers. Make this a special simple Christmas. No stress. Just love of family and friends.

  13. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love that tree! And I'm sure when the Hallmark movies get into full chocolate is steaming on the stove...and the cooler temperatures find you in McKinney....that those sweet thistles will help you open the magic of those boxes and the Christmas spirit will once again amazingly flow down those stairs and into every nook and cranny. It will be incredible. And I can't wait to see it all unfold! Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friend!

  14. Image for Debbie - Mountain Mama Debbie - Mountain Mama

    OMG clearly I missed something during my crazy busy wedding season when I missed a bunch of MOVED???????????? What??????????? From that amazing house????????? Ok I have to go back to the archives and see what's happening here!!!! Happy Thanksgiving, Kari Anne!!

  15. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Well, let me just say... I think it is a wonderful blogging community that knows you are in the midst of a huge life change, and yet they still invite and welcome you to a blog tour where they are happy that you are sharing parts of your past tours. I love it! And it is a reflection of the grace of God in these women's lives! Hugs, KariAnne! Praying for you!

  16. Image for Pat Metzer Pat Metzer

    Absolutely perfect and ahhhmazing, thanks for your heartfelt posts. The joy always shines through in your words. xo Pat

  17. Image for Michelle Michelle

    So sorry I'm late to the party...I don't know why I'm not receiving new posts in my in-box but I signed up again and, hopefully, that will work. Your tree is lovely and I count it as one of my favorites too! I think I told you about my Norwegian friend Laila who grew up in a 200 year-old farmhouse in Norway. She said every year her dad would trek out to the nearby woods in search of the perfect Christmas tree,. He'd announce when he arrived back home dragging it behind him, "Dette er det fineste treet vi noen gang har hatt," which means "This is the finest tree we have ever had." She said it was usually the ugliest tree they'd ever seen but her sisters and she didn't want to hurt his feelings by telling him so because he was so proud. And now she thinks about those sweet memories every year as she's decorating her own fineste Christmas treet. Sweet story.

  18. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Wait until the grandskids are grown, then you will know how Christmas can be lonesome and trees don't matter...

  19. Image for Natalie Natalie

    Love the tree and the décor........what a light, airy feel! I have had the same tree decorations for years now, and I would like to try something different. You are inspiring me :)!

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