When I was sorting through the Christmas boxes in the attic….at the bottom of a red tub underneath the silver reindeer and the glittered birds’ nests….

…..I found a book called, Simplify Your Christmas:  100 Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays.

(total aside:  it seems a lot of title for a simplification discussion….but I digress).

I think my mother gave it to me one advent and profusely expressed my appreciation….and tucked it away at the bottom of a Christmas decorating tub…..

….never to be read.

Because….seriously….just between us….

…..simplifying Christmas was the furthest thing from my mind.

I….along with the four families who recently competed for the biggest light display ever on HGTV….subscribed to the theory….

….go big or go home.

But now….I’m older and 39 Christmas boxes wiser.

And my heart yearns for a little Christmas simplification.


The book had me at Chapter 1:  Remember what you once loved about the holidays.


What I once loved about the holidays….when I actually say it out loud….it seems silly….and obvious….and simple….

….but I haven’t enjoyed it in a very long time.

It’s wrapping gifts.

You see…I always wait until the last minute.  And then the stores are out of all the cute tags and I’m stuck with Scooby Doo or neon happy faces.

And then I run out of wrapping paper and boxes.

And I’m rushed.  And hurried.  And irritated.  And all the fun goes away.

So this year….I stocked up and bought the cutest reindeer tags with silver glitter and black and white polka dot paper and paper that looks like faux wood and rolls of craft paper and I’m making monogrammed jingle bell toppers.

And when I wrap a gift now….it’s all about the simple joy.

Thanks Chapter 1. 🙂

Here’s how to make your own jingle bell monogram.


Monogram Ornament:  Jingle Bell Style


jingle bells


needle nose pliers


Step 1:  Choose your jingle bells

I made my monogram with a smaller jingle bell that came in a package of 50 silver and gold jingle bells.

My monogram is silver….but gold is a good choice, too.


Step 2:  Begin threading the jingle bells

Start the monogram by threading one jingle bell with a piece of wire.

Using the pliers….loop it around and tie off.

One quick tip:  you want to make sure your wire is pliable enough to bend to tie around the jingle bells….but strong enough to hold its shape once the monogram is finished.


Step 3:  Thread the second jingle bell

Add a second jingle bell on the wire as shown.


Step 4:  Thread the wire back through the jingle bell

Important step alert.

You want to make sure that  you have the wire threaded back through the jingle bell a second time.

This holds the jingle bell in place and prevents it from moving.

Pull the wire tight and secure.


Step 5:  Complete the jingle bell strand

Repeat step 4 until you have a length of jingle bell wire.


Step 6:  Form your monogram

After you think your wire is long enough…shape your letter.

Print out a letter from the computer to use as your guide.

This allows you to adjust the length of your strand.

Once your letter is finished…tie off the end of the wire to the last jingle bell.


You could tie it on top of packages to be used as an ornament later.

It was so much fun to make….

….and to tie on top of a gift.

Chapter 1 was right.  It did simply my Christmas just a little.

Although….I think I like Chapter 3 much better….

…it’s called “Stop Trying to be Organized.” 🙂

PS  What about you?

What is your favorite thing about Christmas….and have you taken a moment to try it this year?

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


  1. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    Hopefully I will get one - after all it did come from one of those many advent bags and it has served its purpose well. Have a jingle bell day bring a little happiness into the lives of so many. Love you.

  2. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    How in the heck do you come up with these ideas?? Do you drink a special tea, close your eyes, and hum a merry tune until the idea strikes the brain waves? Very clever of you! Self help books are a real hoot a lot of times. They tell us what we already know - like no duh!! AND I love to wrap gifts! I like to make them special. Sometimes I use themes, I like coordinating paper - I'm a little anal about it. BTW, if it is a special concoction that you drink that helps you dream up these wonderful ideas, I'd like to know what it is :-)

  3. Image for Lisa G Montgomery Lisa G Montgomery

    I just adore you! I read that book one Christmas and basically thought the entire way through, "Well that just wouldn't be Christmas!" As a southern girl born and bred and my beloved grandmother's daughter, Christmas is not something you do, it's something you DOOOOOOOO! It's like big hair in the South. The higher the hair the closer to God. It's like the difference in putting on a little make-up and your entire face. You just don't know where to stop. It is the moment, the passion, the whole package. It's the diference between having a drink and getting stumbling down drunk. I AM DRUNK ON CHRISTMAS! I love it, my family loves it, and my grandchildren love it. By the was my husband once pulled our children off to the side and told them that he knew they didn't believe in Santa anymore but that their mother still did so please don't say anything to her about the big man in the red suit! They still play along! I believe it is when you make the whole experience an over the top event (by the way that is what my husband says my license plate should say OVER THE TOP or TADA) that is when you truly enjoy and give a gift of memories that will never be forgotten. I have always loved wrapping packages. I like each to be a work of art. I enjoy someone saying, "My, this is too pretty to open!" We have 3 trees in our house. The keeping room, library, and living room. I co-ordinate the wrapping for the colors of the room. Wrapping the beautiful presents becomes part of the gift of love. This year I bought shoe ornaments to tie in all of the girls bows. You see we have an Elmelda Marcos gene running through our veins and it is kind of a family joke about loving shoes. Christmas is a time of year to express yourself and bring joy to others. I would never judge someone who wanted to keep Christmas simple. But the family I have and our five grandchildren all have my blood running through their veins. We like to do things over the top. The only thing we keep simple in our house is the true meaning of Christmas. If you go through the season without putting a smile on someone else's face, making sure a less fortunate family has Christmas, donating warm hats, gloves, and socks to the homeless or just saying Merry Christmas to all you see, you've missed the point. Christmas is about THE GIFT. And no earthly gift can ever compare to that Heavenly one.

  4. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Well, evidentally I'm one of t.h.o.s.e.........wrapping is my least favorite thing to do! I love buying the gift...but not the wrapping. Maybe because I always leave it for the last minute, and am rushed. Have to try a new tactic this year....wrap a couple each day! I do know I need gift tags though....where do you come up with these ideas? ;)

  5. Image for Christina Christina

    Love this idea- will definitely be trying it out :) I really love gift wrapping too- and trying to make each gift look special -I was reading a decorating magazine recently and they did a tour of this amazing house which had a gift wrapping room! sigh - alas for me it's the living room floor- of course you're so right about getting good supplies early - I laughed out loud when you mentioned the Scooby Doo tags

  6. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Now those jingle bells are so cute! And I love the idea of using them on gifts. A great way to personalize gifts, the grandkids would really get a kick out of them. My favourite thing about Christmas is watching the family unwrap their gifts, I love giving and seeing the looks on their faces. I also love decorating, even though this year I didn't do much of it. Debbie :)

  7. Image for SheilaG @ Plum Doodles SheilaG @ Plum Doodles

    Love the jingle bell monogram, Karianne. Wrapping presents is my least favorite thing. Would you like to come to my house for a wrapping party? I'll feed you Christmas yummies and you can wrap to your heart's content. :)

  8. Image for Regina Regina

    When I was a teenager, I was THE GIFTWRAPPER. I took great pride in my lovely corners and bow selections. This is the FIRST year in several (thanks to a surprise snow and ice event!) that I've actually had wrapped gifts under the tree long enough to enjoy them. I forsook generic bows long ago, when I realized that they do not pack well when taking several to family functions. I started picking up wired ribbon, garland, curly ribbon, and misc. small ornaments to decorate with - and I LOVE YOUR IDEA!! So cute - and who wouldn't love to take that home, after opening the gift, and hang it on their tree? Gotta find that book - simple IS better. I was going to simplify my decorations this year . .. but each box just called out to me . . . ;)

  9. Image for Shannon Shannon

    You did it!!! You picked one of my favorite things about Christmas!!! It's not the wrapping, the bows, ornaments, presents,simple decorations or grande decorations...(even though I do love all of that)'s the bells!!! I love the bells!! I have bells of all sizes and colors....I can never turn down a bell. I love to listen to the sound of bells...hand bells, church bells, sleigh bells.... There is always a little magic in the ringing of bells. Thank you for this project.... I'm off to make some ringing monogram present toppers. I can't wait to hear the bells on Christmas Day....

  10. Image for Colleen P Colleen P

    Super cute! My favorite wrapping paper this year is the simple brown craft paper with a plaid bow. done. and done. love it.

  11. Image for Colleen P Colleen P

    I had to leave another comment on the wrapping note...I wrap like a 3rd grader (no offense to 3rd graders who rock at wrapping) husband wraps like Martha Steward...I'm in awe of his skills.

  12. Image for Rachel Paxton Rachel Paxton

    What I want to know, Karianne, is how you can pin those on for Christmas day so you can jingle jangle all day long... ;) Thanks for sharing your fabulous creativity, friend! xoxo, Rachel

  13. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    My favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas tree lights at night. Shining in the dark while I sit on the couch listening to carols, snuggled under a blanket, reading a book to my littlest one. SHe hasn't gotten to grown up yet for this.

  14. Image for Tauni Tauni

    Oh my. I have the hardest time visiting because every time I do I am sucked in forever! I sure wish I had even an ounce of your incredible talent. As it stands, I will just be so incredibly grateful to collaborate with you upon occasion. It's always a good reminder for me to try just a little bit harder. xoxo

  15. Image for May May

    I would definitely feel like I had made it to Santa's Nice List if I found a package specially wrapped by you under my tree! Too many machine made plasticized ribbon product bows lie under my tree!

  16. Image for Heather Heather

    Look at your "jingle bell" self!! These are just so cute and fun! I'm hearing a little "Jingle Bell Rock…star" playing in my head right now. ;) Love ya friend! Heather

  17. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Great jingly ornament!!!…and congrats to the winners!…oh and we love Scooby Doo in this family…I drag out the Scooby stocking of my son's every year…He "loves" it…; ) .. so maybe I need to run and get those Scooby tags!

  18. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    Simple is where it's at for me. Anything that steals Christmas joy is OUT... especially with my knee cap surgeries! What I love about Christmas... Christmas Eve Service... ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHT... and snow! It's snowing right now!!!!

  19. Image for Brenda Brenda

    Love the monogram!!! If you are from the south a monogramed anything is a requirement! Lol Do you recall what gauge wire you used? I am wire challenged when I walk into a craft store and see rows of different gauged wire.

  20. Image for Daniela Daniela

    Love this idea! Would love to have you link up at Link'n Blogs link party. :) xo Daniela Put A Bird On It

  21. Image for crystal shoes for babies crystal shoes for babies

    Greetings from Colorado! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good site!

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