I grew up in McKinney, Texas.

It’s where I stood on tiptoe on the stairs and waited for Santa and worked at the Dairy Queen and randomly drove around in circles and cruised the “Gate” and drove around in a car with my friend’s name painted on the side.

Good times.

It was a tiny town then.

We had a buffet restaurant and an Eckerd’s drugs and a one-screen movie theater and acres and acres of countryside to visit when city life was too much.  Our downtown square was mostly empty with a few stores that sold shoes and outlet dresses and pies.


You should see the square now.

It hasn’t seen an outlet dress in a really long while.

Our square is fancy.

As in movie fancy.

As in I just went to a Christmas tree lighting with 200,000 people and the entire cast of Jingle Bell rock.

You can almost walk to downtown from my house.

There are more shops and restaurants and architectural salvage stores and bakeries and vintage stores than a town could even dream of.

I went downtown yesterday to shop.

I wasn’t even looking for anything.

It was a good hair day and I just wanted to walk around and window shop and get inspired and hum Christmas songs and see if Santa Claus was in town.  I went to one of my favorite shops, the Antique Company Mall.

I think it used to be a furniture store, but now it’s a two-story home for all that is good and right in the world of vintage.

The window displays alone are worth the trip.

There were fireplace mantels and chairs that Joanna Gaines used to decorate with and tables and chairs and bookcases and architectural salvage and I spent almost two hours walking around.

Just looking.

Just getting inspired.

And then.

I saw it.

A tiny, vintage, wooden jingle bell Christmas tree.

Can you even?

Just when I think I’ve seen everything in the world to decorate a home for Christmas, a jingle bell tree shows up.

I wish I had a forest of these.

Big jingle bell trees and little jingle bell trees and medium-size jingle bell trees all lined up on the mantel.

I think Santa put it there just for me.

Right there in the middle of a McKinney square.  Right there on the streets I’ve walked my whole life.  Right there where my old life of outlet dresses and pies met my new life of vintage shops and architectural salvage….

….this tiny tree jingled.

To remind me of all those Christmases that had gone before.

To celebrate the Christmas of today.

And to embrace all the Christmases that are yet to be.

May your day be merry and bright.

PS  I brought a few other tiny Christmas tree friends home with me, too.

I didn’t want the jingle bell tree to be lonely. 🙂

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  1. Image for Suzy Suzy

    Dear KariAnne, That little jingle bell tree is so sweet! As are the others in the pictures. Especially the one with the wood beads separating the leaves. I live in Sanger. It is about 45 minutes west of McKinney. I have spent many Saturdays walking that entire area. How have I missed this store??? I must find a Saturday really soon to go and visit! I can hardly wait!!!

  2. Image for Karen Karen

    That tree is adorable, it would go well with the wooden reindeer my uncle made me years ago. Treasure those moments and things in life that just make you "smile" Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!

  3. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Did you buy all 3 of the trees in the grouping? I LOVE the one with the beads and paper branches! The jingle bell tree is adorable too. Merry, merry!!!

  4. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I went to the Antique Company Mall's Facebook page, and it has KariAnne written ALL OVER IT! It looks so "you!" This jingle bell tree looks like something your family would hand-craft for Christmas presents.

  5. Image for Cristie A Morton Cristie A Morton

    Love your Blog... I only found you a couple of weeks ago.. I think your my New BFF! BUT SHHHHH don't tell my current BFF because she's has had that title for nearly 40 years! Hehe Love All those little trees.. Would love to visit Texas! I'm a Born & Raised Missouri girl. Merry Christmas!

  6. Image for Sherrie Sherrie

    I love your stories. So relatable. So real. I missed the simpler times of Christmases past… Most of all I miss my Mom . She went to her heavenly home in 2014. She loved Christmas. I love it too. But it’s just different. I have big trees and tiny trees all over my house, so I too would have snatched up that jingle bell 🌲. Merry Christmas to you!

  7. Image for Susan Susan

    KariAnne I have just finished reading your book and feel that you and I may be kindred spirits or sisters from different misters! This little Jingle Bell story reminds me that sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference! Keep up the good work.....I'm anxious to read your next book! Thanking God for you and your inspiring words!

  8. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Well, that's just adorable. But I couldn't help thinking when I saw it that it's something you might have come up with and made on yourself. All the trees are adorable. I would have bought each of them too. Also, I couldn't help thinking of you driving around with the kids telling them all sorts of growing up stories about 'this happened there' and 'that's where that happened' and 'this used to be that' etc. Anyway, that's what I would be doing!

  9. Image for Doreen Doreen

    You have been so blessed with the words and ability to make the tiniest little thing so nostalgic and such a tear jerker! You took me back to my childhood memories. Thank you for the walk into that magical wonderland. Merry Christmas

  10. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Oh, it's darling! I want one... or two....or better yet... an entire forest!! 🎄🎄🎄 Merry Christmas one and all... 😊

  11. Image for Teresa G Teresa G

    Too, too cute, Karianne. I’m feeling very sad that I live in a place that doesn’t have such a square with the perfect shops. So keep sharing as you always make my day! And I agree that the bead and leaves tree is gorgeous too. Must be a diy opportunity there I think.

  12. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Don't you just love when a town begins to grow up into a new happy place? I love all of those trees. But, then again, Christmas is my most favorite time of the year! Merry Christmas season to you, friend. And may each day bring new surprises.

  13. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    I see a forest of DIY jingle bell trees in your future... just sayin'! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  14. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    It sounds like your little town grew up while you were off conquering the blogging/decorating world and making a name for yourself!!!

  15. Image for Diane Moon Diane Moon

    It was such fun to meet you and welcome you back to McKinney as you shopped at Antique Company Mall yesterday. Come see us anytime you need a little vintage inspiration, some fun conversation, and to share some memories. Merry Christmas!

  16. Image for Glenda Glenda

    Love, love that little tree! And love McKinney! My Grandparents lived there.....many Christmases spent there when it was a sweet "little" town!!

  17. Image for D D

    I grew up in Collin County, Texas also. Moved to the Texas Panhandle when a sophomore in high school and then moved away from Texas when my husband got a job elsewhere. McKinney looks so much different now -- I recognize the old court house in the center of the square and that's about it. You can take the girl out of Texas but you can NEVER take Texas out of the girl!

  18. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I'm comforted by the fact that you assign "personality" to inanimate objects.....so do I. Love that little tree, and agree with other comments that say your talented family could make them. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  19. Image for jillian jillian

    Cute. Love the trees... favor the one with beads and paper leaves. I looked at the video of Mckinney, it looks like the perfect little town. I could live there if it had a Whole Foods, and less humidity in the summer :)


    Oh, KariAnne, that wooden jingle bell tree is so cute! I'm so glad it came home with you! It will grace your home for years! Enjoy!

  21. Image for kai kai

    Hi Karianne😊 Thank you for sharing. Your writings always make me smile, cry and laugh. Merry Christmas to you and your love ones!

  22. Image for Beth F Beth F

    It sounds like you are really enjoying your new home! And to have such wonderful stores where you can spend hours and hours wondering, pondering and dreaming! And...to have it only a stones throw from your house!! Lucky, lucky lady!!

  23. Image for shirley shirley

    I live in Rowlett at Lake Ray Hubbard, not far from McKinney. Had no clue you are from there. Yes it has grown as has all the little towns around here. I love the small towns. But I love your Blog better.

  24. Image for Niki Blake Niki Blake

    That is my FAV place to shop. My mom comes in town and this is where we go......even though Frisco has some great places!! I hope I run into you sometime! Enjoy your town!

  25. Image for Claudia Albertson Claudia Albertson

    The Hubs family has been friends with Bobby Helms and family for years. His niece went to school with Angel, as in 'My Special Angel'. They've been Jingle Bell Rockin' since the beginning! How cool is that Fraulein? LOL, I think I've managed to include his biggest hits. Love the little Jingle Bell Christmas tree...hmm I too see the forest!

  26. Image for Tonya Ortega Tonya Ortega

    I have followed you now for a few years and loved your old home. I love the new old home just as much though. Your staircase is to die for! When you mentioned moving to North Texas I wondered just how north you were. And then I read this post that you are in McKinney! We live in Farmersville and love our little small town. I grew up in Frisco and that town isn't so small anymore. Glad you are happy back at home. Wishing you all the best this Christmas season! Keep up the great stories and wonderful decorating ideas.

  27. Image for Charley Charley

    Wow, you really are a ROCK STAR! Move, renovate, and put out GREAT first-class, interesting blogs the entire time. AND keep the entire planning and moving a secret until the plan was completely in place. Oh, and to mention, get the current owners of your childhood home to sell. AND stay positive and upbeat and enjoy yourself along the way. Good role modeling for other women!

  28. Image for Shannon Shannon

    Your jingle bell tree story touched me somehow- maybe it’s my love of all things that jingle :) or jingle bells , or Christmas trees in any form- or all of the above! I was out today poking through neglected Christmas items at my favorite store- the poor Christmas treasures were just strewn about- some broken, some knocked over- it always makes me sad... but then... I spotted it lying on its side- MY VERY OWN JINGLE BELL TREE!! :) I grabbed that little tree and brought it home to join my other trees! So thank you for your story- I will always remember you when I pull out my very own jingle bell tree each year ! Have a wonderful New Year!

  29. Image for Sue S. Sue S.

    I can't believe you've moved back to McKinney! When we lived in Plano from 1994-1997, we used to drive out to McKinney because the old Victorian homes there were so charming. We stopped at the Dairy Queen for blizzards on hot summer days (maybe you waited on us). I took a quilt class at a fabric shop there just off the square. The downtown square had so much potential, but it looked pretty sad at the time (except for the courthouse). I've seen maps of McKinney since then, so I know it has grown and expanded well beyond the immediate downtown area. I'm delighted that the downtown has been revitalized and wish I could visit McKinney again. Once you get settled into your new/old house, I hope you'll take pictures of downtown McKinney as it is now and share them with your readers. Pictures of the old Victorian houses would be nice, too, especially if they inspire you in decorating your new house!

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