Christmas back porch

Remember how I said I was not going to over commit this season?

Remember my list of five guidelines for a no-stress holiday?

I was this close.

This close.

I spent the first eight days of Christmas wrapping my gifts and ordering online and decorating with what I have and not over thinking everything and shaking my head no when I might have nodded it yes in the past.

Christmas was on track for smooth sailing this year.

coffee table back porch Christmas

Until I was shopping with the twins last week in the Christmas aisle trying to remember my guidelines and reminding myself I was there to buy gift wrap and not the wooden sign with the tiny reindeer and sleigh or the glitter snowflake pillow….

…..when we saw one of the twins’ teachers.

We chatted and said hello and I told her what an amazing teacher she was and how much the twins loved her.

And as I stood there holding two packages of wrapping paper and fourteen burlap tags…..

… happened.


Christmas stockings

I opened my mouth and planned another party.

It wasn’t intentional.

It just came out.

And before I knew it I was inviting her and all the twins’ teachers over for our tradition of having their favorite teachers over for Christmas brunch.

A tradition I started right there in the middle of aisle 14..

back porch Christmas

And now?

Now I’m decorating the back porch with visions of tiny sandwiches and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and a cheese platter shaped like reindeer and double layered brownies for dessert.

And a centerpiece.

A simple no-stress centerpiece for under $20.

But I couldn’t stop at one.

I shopped the house and Kirkland’s Christmas collection and created three.

And some moving pictures to go with each one to show how I created them.

Let’s discuss.

centerpiece 6

Option 1:  Ornament centerpiece

I started with basic white plates and bowls or you could use this serving piece.

Then I layered in ornaments and greens.

And finished it all off with a JOY sign.

And here’s the step by step on how I created it.

Don’t you just love a moving picture?

It’s not available online now, but I found the JOY sign at my local store (on sale).


Option 2:  Package centerpiece

To create this centerpiece I started by wrapping empty boxes with wrapping paper.

I stacked them on a wooden pedestal and added pom pom burlap ribbon.

Then I added a plaid deer sign (similar one here).

I might add some fresh greens, too if I choose this option.

The burlap pom pom ribbon isn’t available online any more, but I found mine in my local store (on sale).

And here’s the step-by-step on how I made it.

table centerpiece 4

Option 3:  Red and green Christmas

I started with a vintage cut-out I had of a church and carolers and Santa handing out gifts.

Then I added my favorite find this Christmas season, a Christmas candle display which I found at my local store.  I used battery operated candles to prevent all the waxy mess.

Then I layered in fresh greens and a Merry Christmas sign.

Here’s the step-by-step on how I created it.

And now I need your help.

If you were a teacher going to a brunch on the back porch of a farmhouse with white trees and snowflake pillows and presents and tiny sandwiches and brownies….

….which one would you choose?

Inquiring Christmas minds want to know. 🙂

disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Kirkland’s.  All opinions are my own.  Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    Oh I love all of the options! The Oh Deer sign is too cute! This is perfect timing...I'm working on my dining room table centerpiece right now. I'm thinking moss, silver, white, burlap...all the things I love. Happy party planning!

  2. Image for Peg Peg

    I can't decide...they're all so lovely!! Ok, focus!! Hmmm...I pick #3!!!. I think you had me at "vintage" and "candles"!! Love, love!!! : )

  3. Image for Teresa Teresa

    All are so much fun, beautiful and festive! I would choose the ornament centerpiece....probably because I have a plate fetish! :)

  4. Image for Marnie Marnie

    Love them all, but I sure do like that "JOY" sign. And the red and white stockings hanging on the ladder are too cute. Your house looks so festive and I enjoy seeing your creativity come to life.

  5. Image for April April

    I love them all but I'd go with #2, and add the greenery and bows you mentioned, because it will look great from all angles! Lucky teachers!!!

  6. Image for Sue Sue

    Well - truly you are gifted! but my personal favorite is the "Oh Deer" with the pompoms - (which I think are just fabulous!!!) Merry CHRISTmas and enjoy this time!

  7. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    I loved them all, but number 3 is probably my favorite - it has a little bit of whimsy and would work well on the porch! Thanks for the inspiration - I'm working on a centerpiece in my eat-in kitchen table this morning! I also loved your house tour and the story of Jingle the Elf!! Blessings to you, sweet friend!

  8. Image for michele michele

    i love #1...and 2&3... but 1 is my all time fave...look forward to seeing your posts everyday! keep them coming and enjoy the season!

  9. Image for Mary Ferguson Mary Ferguson

    They are all great, but I do like #3. Don't feel bad, last Friday I was talking to my best friend and she said"you always decorate so beautifully and you never have any one over to see all the work you do. So, guess what ..... I ended up having a Christmas Open House this Sunday. I have kept it simple with about 10 friends. Just some great hord'oeuvers, wine and champagne. Will bake some cookies, make fudge and the Christmas Cake on Southern Living Magazine. So don't feel that you are the only one. Have a wonderful time and I am sure the teachers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Mary

  10. Image for kim kim

    Option #3! (But they are all so cute - hard to choose!) Merry Merry Christmas to you and your family!!! xoxox Kim

  11. Image for sydney85 sydney85

    You are so funny! I wish you lived next door to me. I would pick #3 as it has children in the scene and it compliments the teacher the best.

  12. Image for Liz Thomas Liz Thomas

    I like all three, probably go with #3, but you've come up with the neatest trick of all NO HANDS DECORATING!!!! Love it!!! Sure wish I could do that at my house!!! hehe....Have a wonderful brunch!!

  13. Image for Leona Leona

    As usual, cannot choose, but since I LOVE anything vintage ( including my hubby :) ) I will pick #3....what great ideas if I could only move as fast as your movies. XO

  14. Image for Dêbbie Dêbbie

    I love how you just got caught up in the moment and planned a party. Hospitality must be your spiritual gift. I like all but #1 is my favorite. I also love plates and it goes so well with the brunch idea. Merry Christmas, I enjoy your posts so much. Debbie

  15. Image for sandra sandra

    I think what you are doing for the teachers is well commended. They deserve something special, so kudos to you! I like the "Joy" display best for the occasion. As always, everything looks beautiful :). Merry Christmas!

  16. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    #3-Love how it blends everything together. #1 and 2 are also beautiful! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

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

    I will only tell you if you pinkie promise to let us know which one you chose!! I picked #3. The reason is you have Christ on the candles and one of my favorite Christmas songs -- Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. And I think that is so doggone sweet of you to invite the teachers over for brunch. Will you also let us know the menu. I wish I could come over and help but it's a little difficult to just pop on over. Big Hugs!!

  18. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    OH no, I have to pick? I love #1 because of its simplicity, but I think I'd choose #3. Love the church cutout sign with all the added elements. Adorable! Anyway, you're still keeping the season's only one party, right? ;-) Happy day, friend! Cecilia

  19. Image for Terri Terri

    Dreaming of moving as fast as your "Movie Clip" ...... Yep... Everything would be done!!! :) .... #3 is my pick ... although as always it's alll just gorgeous!!! AND... may I say... I had to compose myself to even write a comment!!!!!! YOU know you had me at "Remember when....... LOLOLOLOLOL... I actually busted out laughing AGAIN... what's new right????? Is that the only slip up so far???????? :)

  20. Image for Gabi Gabi

    Number 1 is definitely my favorite! Why overthink it, right? Love the simple display, the Joy sign and it leaves more room for people to place their drinks and plates of food. Of course the other options are lovely as well, but.... it's definitely the "Joy" sign which reminds me of the reason for the season- Christ's birth--what JOY!

  21. Image for Mindy Whipple Mindy Whipple

    After spending a fair amount of time working as a sub in the offices of our local middle school I think #1 JOY would be the feeling of any teachers honored! You have a beautiful heart to do this in the midst of all your busy times but what a blessing this will be for those teachers who get little honor.

  22. Image for Linda Linda

    Love them all. Have to pick #3, since it has the children. Then I would put the other 2 somewhere they would be seen, powder room, foyer, etc. They are so cheerful and bright, makes me smile looking at them. Happy Holidays!

  23. Image for Kimberly Kimberly

    Hard decision since I am a sucker for plaid, deer silhouettes, burlap and pom poms...but I have to go with #1. I love the simplicity and the juxtaposition of the geometric shapes with the greenery.

  24. Image for Kris Kris

    Breaking a promise to yourself in order to show appreciation to others doesn't seem like such a bad thing to me. :) I like #1 best, followed by #3. #2 is pretty, but I don't think it's as unique as the other two.

  25. Image for Jenn Jenn

    My favorite is #1, I like the other's too but think this goes best for a teachers brunch. Oh but that pompom ribbon...maybe you could incorporate that into the greenery in #1.

  26. Image for Cindy Jones Cindy Jones

    I like the packages best because they are multi-sided. The others are one sided more than one person would be looking at the back of the frame (JOY) or village scene. I would make the packages a little smaller so that place settings didn't seem crowded out by the centerpieces. They are all really cute. You could use the other two on a sideboard. Love the frosted C H R I S T M A S candles.

  27. Image for susan b susan b

    I like them all.......but I'm partial to #3. Can you please share the source for the "lamb of God" wrapping paper? Thanks :)

  28. Image for Shar Shar

    Love 1 & 3! Go with 1 if you are going to make yourself crazy cooking. It is sweet & simple. Somehow every year I end up hosting my book club brunch before Christmas. The first year, I made tons of food & cookies, etc. It was nuts & I was cranky. Now I do a breakfast casserole, a really easy fruit salad, 1 pan of bar cookies & a crockpot with meatballs in sauce (we have 20 people in book club.) Check out the Land O' Lakes website for some easy, festive cookie recipes.

  29. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    I'm going with the first one. I love that you can make a stack of dishes look so festive and elegant! I'm in the same boat as you...I wasn't even going to put up the tree this year because it's just my husband and I, but got a text last night that my little brother and his girlfriend want to stay with us over the holiday....well I'm overjoyed and have a list a mile long...the tree must go up, stockings hung, festive cheer and guest robes and, and...I love it all and love that I have a reason to do it.

  30. Image for Sherrie Sherrie

    The packages with the "oh, deer" sign in my favorite because it's so simple to make. Anything involving wrapping a package is within reach of most novice crafters, and uses things we are likely to have at home. Win, win! In fact, all of these ideas use things readily available to most homes. Aren't you thoughtful to think of that? Blessings to you this Christmas! Sherrie

  31. Image for Sherry Myers Sherry Myers

    I love them all. But I especially love the fresh simplicity of the first one. You inspire! Your teachers will feel honored no matter which centerpiece you use.

  32. Image for Pamela Bauche Pamela Bauche

    I love all three. I especially like the joy and oh deer signs and of course the pedestal, since I have a thing for using pedestals. I just think you are going to have to use all three of them. You have a real talent for this, so it should be easy to find a home for each one.

  33. Image for Wendy Johnson Wendy Johnson

    I would love them all but forced to pick then #1. I want to add that I love your white ladder. I have an old ladder that I have been trying to decide about painting and yours is the first I have seen painted.Mine will be making the switch. Also I think you did stick to your no stress , you don't sound stressed you sound like you were born to decorate.

  34. Image for Trina @ afewmineradjustments Trina @ afewmineradjustments

    So glad you asked, since I am a teacher and a blogger alike....I love the first one with the white dishes and the ornaments. I, in fact, had something very similar set up on my side table with milk glass and red ornaments as I type this. Yep...that one is my favorite. Good luck with your party!

  35. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    I love them all, but #1 is my favorite. Merry Christmas to you and yours! And thank you for the wonderful blog. :)

  36. Image for Jennifer Ross Jennifer Ross

    It's a tie between 1 and 3. Number 1 is romantic and girly and 3 has the kids...have to go with girly. I love all things romantic. Love your ideas! Jennifer

  37. Image for Carmen Lea Carmen Lea

    This teacher loves all of them but #1 is my fave. LOL reading how you invented a new "tradition". Lucky teachers!

  38. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    Love them all, but oh those white dishes! You've inspired me to try something other than my usual hurricane, with white pillar candle and fresh cranberries..... I love your red and white look- every photo is beautiful!

  39. Image for Velia Velia

    Once again your creativity inspires others. All three designs are festive and which ever you decide on will be perfect in your home. Your graciousness on hosting a brunch for your daughter's teachers is commendable. As a mother of an educator I know that educators are under appreciated and over worked and your kindness will be appreciated by them. Have an enjoyable time...

  40. Image for Amy Amy

    I love #1 the best! I just may steal your idea. :) I really like the white bowls with red ornaments and the greenery. So simple and cheerful!

  41. Image for Susan Susan

    Okay I'm just going to say it....I'm so jealous of you!!! Apparently, I cant even wrap a gift without hurting my self!! Tuesday morning I cut my finger with a new pair of Costco scissors and needed 6 stitches and a Tetnus shot....Boo :( That put a hold on my Christmas wrapping ,plus I'm not trusted to wield scissors anymore :)

  42. Image for Marie from The Interior Frugalista Marie from The Interior Frugalista

    #3 is so fitting with the children. Even though it's carolers in front of a church, it reminded me of children playing in front of an old school house. Whichever one you choose, all three are beautiful and I'm sure they will be delighted none-the-less. What a nice thing to do with and for your kids!

  43. Image for Shirley Mann Shirley Mann

    I love the red and white wrapping paper with the names of Jesus. Where did you purchase that . I want to purchase some. After all it is what we are celebrating. All three are beautiful.

  44. Image for Sue Sue

    Love all these ideas, KariAnne, but my favourite is #1 - I am still totally in love with decorating white crockery. I especially love the moving pictures. What a FAB idea in place of a tutorial. I suspect I won't be the only blogger wanting to steal it ;-) Have a fabulous festive break. Sue x

  45. Image for lynn lynn

    Number 1 all the way! The red baubles in the white bowls are so clean and classic. And kudos for giving your daughters' teachers the love they deserve.

  46. Image for Julie Julie

    I love the red cut out, but I'm a sucker for things like that, all your ideas are beautiful. I've put a glass bowl filled with red and silver ornaments in the middle of our dining table about an hour ago and I think I'm good to go!

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