I’m pressing pause on the Christmas festivities here for one hot minute to CELEBRATE YOU.

I could not let the sun set on Christmas Eve without wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases.


I cannot ever even begin to express the gift that you are to me.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Thank you for showing up.

Thank you for always being there when I needed you the most.

This blog and the thistlewood brand has grown so much this year and it is all because of YOU.

And so I’m signing off for now until after Christmas and leaving you with a story.

Because truth?

What would this holiday be without a really good story about the true meaning of the season?

Every Christmas Eve all the littles (and not so littles) in our family gather together and put on their version of the Christmas story for the rest of us.

We should sell tickets.

There’s Mary and Joseph and shepherds in gold glitter caps and wise men carrying baskets of assorted kitchen supplies and angels with wings and more barnyard animals than you can count.

This year the angels trumpeted so loud the sheep had to cover his ears.

The wise men got impatient with their gifts of myrrh, incense and dish towels that they almost showed up before the baby was born.

No one could control the donkey and he ran around braying and pushing his donkey ears off to grin at the audience.

And one lone sheep went all renegade and brought the house down.

As I sat there watching the Christmas story unfold, I thought about the past few years.


It’s been a challenging one.

So much good.  So many amazing things.  So many incredibly awesome opportunities.

And so many times when I melted down in the middle of my living room from the overwhelmingness of it all.

We sold our farmhouse.

We bought the house I grew up in and put a mirror back in place.

We started remodeling the house.

We chose a paint color.

We faced illness in our family.

We struggled with obligations that we tried so hard to meet.

And I wish.

That I wish.

That I wish.

I could tell you I handled it all with grace and dignity and poise and joy.

But I didn’t.

Not. Even. Close.

Simple gold and silver glass displayed for the holidays

There are days I wanted to scream from all the responsibility.

I knew I should be happy.

I saw all the blessings that swirled around me.

I tried to count them and tell myself this was an incredible journey and remind myself how lucky I was every minute of every day.

But all I wanted to do was go back to bed.

And pull the covers over my head.

And hide from all the responsibility.

And then along came last Christmas Eve.

The living room was full.  It was piled to the brim with my family and my husband’s family.  All the littles and the bigs coming together to celebrate the reason for the season and the birth of an amazing savior.  There were rooms full of people watching football and rooms full of people playing cards and rooms full of people eating coconut shrimp and cheese dip and opening presents and laughing and talking and doing cartwheels in the middle of the room.

The house was bursting at the seams with joy.

Christmas wall decor on a black chalkboard wall

And as the lights grew low and the night was almost over, we gathered here to watch the annual Christmas play.

Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and the wise men and the shepherds and the renegade sheep.

As I looked around at all these faces that I hold so near and dear reflected in the sparkling lights from the tree, I felt my heart catch.

Our lives had come full circle.  It had been a challenging couple of years.  We had worked and planned and packed and moved and traveled so far and tried so hard and every morning we’d get up and start all over again.  It was hard.  It was stressful.  It was overwhelming.

And I realized right then and there as I watched the angels singing and dancing around a tiny baby Jesus and blasting out the heavenly chorus through a vintage horn covered in ribbons and holly….

….that I would do it all again.

I would relive every step of the journey for this.


This moment.

This time.

This family.

Merry Christmas friends

(I think it’s going to be a good one).

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


  1. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Merry Christmas, dear friend... God has been good to all of us, even when it doesn't look that way in our finite minds. He is a good Father, an amazing Savior, and a wonderful Comforter! "Who Would Have Dreamed" (Youtube it... Sovereign Grace song)

  2. Image for PJ PJ

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, KariAnne! You are a light in so many lives. Wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with health and happiness.

  3. Image for Alenejewell Alenejewell

    KariAnne you make everything look so easy. Best of all you just made humility, sorrow and life's unexpectedness turn to joy and overwhelming happiness. Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year

  4. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Yes those challenges make the journey worthwhile....my great Aunt told me when I was a teenager that there would be valleys and there would be mountains, but the view from the top of the mountains would be worth it. So here is hoping you have many mountain top views in the future year. I am thankful I saw all your milkglass on your blog and decided to follow you...it has been many years now and I am so glad I did! Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family!🥰

  5. Image for Barb Barb

    Thank you, so much for that sweet story. We all need that reminder to count our blessings and remember the real reason for this magical season. I think this time of year, all of us women feel overwhelmed by it all, feeling we have to have everything perfect. I appreciate you, and your blog so much. May God bless you and your family this Christmas and the New Year! ❤️

  6. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Par for the course, a lovely, lovely 'Christmas' story. What a wonderful way to end the year and to remind us of the meaning of Christmas. Thank - you, dear friend, for my favorite blog that I eagerly await to read each and every morning.!! It's a delightful treat!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours... 🎄🎁🤶🌲🎅❄️☃️🦌🙏

  7. Image for Eve Eve

    I think the reason your blog is so poplar is that you are not afraid to show you are human. We all have our bad days and our good days. Sometimes the bad ones out-number the good.. But we put one step ahead of the other and carry one. Things always seem to work out in the long run. Wishing you and yours a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas. May your New Year bring Peace, Joy, Love and Good Health!

  8. Image for Gail Cunningham Gail Cunningham

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is so very true of all of our lives: we would do it all over again, every single morning, to be with those we hold near and dear...with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. ...and now I have to get back to that marvelous easy pie recipe you shared at Thanksgiving that I loved making and eating! Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours.

  9. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Loved reading this...I often prayed for you through those challenges, so thank you for sharing this. Thankful that you listened closely to your heart and your Father's heart and jumped back home with family. Know you are missed here, but so thankful that technology allows us to remain close to those we love from a distance. Keep writing. Keep sharing. Keep being all that you have been created to be. And capture those renegade family play members in new roles again this year. Whispering thank you with you. Merriest of Christmases, sweet friend. ❤️

  10. Image for Carol Carol

    Merry Christmas Karianne. Thanks for making my days special, not just during Christmas!!! Enjoy the festivities today and the memories made for tomorrow. God bless and Merry CHRISTmas!!! Carol

  11. Image for Revonda Stordahl Revonda Stordahl

    Your blog brings me joy and inspiration every time. Thanks for being you and for sharing your stories! I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a joyful New Year.

  12. Image for Connie Connie

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! I have always enjoyed your blog and your beautiful stories. I don't know how you do it all and I would have plenty of meltdowns. Enjoy the holiday season and be happy!

  13. Image for Jw Jw

    My year has been a tough one, and there were times of tears and screaming at God. On this journey, I’ve found strength and determination I didn’t know I had. Every trial has a hidden lesson inside and I hope and pray that I learn it well enough that it’s not repeated! May you find peace and joy this Christmas. Thank you for sharing bits of your life on your blog. I always look forward to reading it.

  14. Image for Donnie Donnie

    KariAnne, well said. Merry Christmas. You make a big difference to me and I am sure, many others. I find myself retelling something you said, or something you did or made and then try to describe how I know the originator - blogger does not cover the heart you share - friend seem so presumptuous- we’ve never met, and yet through your words, yes we have. Thank you, you make a difference. And, again, Merry Christmas. 🎄

  15. Image for Toni Toni

    Oh, oh, oh, is there any chance you could post a video of your family re-enactment of the nativity story? That would be so special. God bless and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  16. Image for K K

    Sometimes life is hard. There are seasons in life that are very hard. Thank you for your vulnerability. Praying for eyes to see the hope of our broken world.

  17. Image for Linda Linda

    Merry Christmas to you and to your sweet family and to your cute dog ! May our Lord bless you abundantly in the New Year

  18. Image for Patti Patti

    The wise men do know! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for all the wonderful stories that you share. You have a way of sharing that is so uplifting. .

  19. Image for Marty Marty

    Selling a beloved home, moving children away from friends and uprooting your whole life is reason enough to be stressed. Add in illness, remodeling a house, getting children all set in new schools with new friends and you growing your business and writing a book and - well I am exhausted already and the list is only partly done. This has been a Stressed and Blessed year all in one. I wish you the very best, most wonderful Christmas you have ever had. God Bless.

  20. Image for Elaine Cunningham Elaine Cunningham

    Karianne, thank you for sharing your life and heart with us! We are all richer for “knowing” you and your family. I’m sorry we never met when we both lived in Kentucky. Feliz Navidad 🎄

  21. Image for Sara Sara

    Merry Christmas, KariAnne. I count you among my blessings. Thank your for your beautiful vision and style. Your blog is a gift all year long.

  22. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and thank you for all the wonderful things you have shared with me.

  23. Image for Carol Carol

    Holiday Blessings to you & your family, KariAnne! Your blog and the journey it represents, is a true & inspiring gift to all of us. If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough, so YOU GO GIRL!!! Cheers!!

  24. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Thank you for the sentiment and keeping us all in your heart because YOU are definitely in ours, us readers out here. New to the blog readers, and us that have been with you for years 🥰❤️ Thank you for your gifts you share daily!!! Much love and Merry Christmas. 🎄. May 2020 bring even more love and joy in your life!!

  25. Image for CathyAnn CathyAnn

    What a poignant true story on Christmas Eve! Thanks yo YOU for inviting us all into you world, for the best stories, unending inspiration and optimism. A very Merry Christmas and safe and healthy New year. May the best part of last year be the worst of next year.

  26. Image for Lucy Lucy

    I surely don’t know what I could add to the comments of others; your blog is a gift to each of us—it offers so much, but mostly, it inspires us to embrace the daily blessings we have all been given— Thank you so much, and a VERY Merry Christmas to you and yours. You are a treasure.

  27. Image for Jenn Jenn

    This might be my favorite post ever! I love the honesty in it! Life can be so full at times, and sometimes what we wish for is more responsibility and work than we ever imagined! Thank you for sharing your heart and for sharing Truth!! The Merriest Christmas to you! You have encouraged me and rooted me on this year far more than you realize. You are a treasure!

  28. Image for Sheri Sheri

    I agree with so many others. You add joy to the days that are great and the days that are hard! We are all gonna go through them all. Praise Him who died that we may have life. Merry Christmas to you and thanks always for allowing your gift to lift us all up!

  29. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    Sweet friend, wishing you and all your family an amazing holiday season. You are one of a kind and I’m so grateful to be your friend. Seven years ago when I started reading your blog, I never would have know if he inspired and motivated by you. Thank you!! Xoxo

  30. Image for Carolyn Brown Carolyn Brown

    So often we look at the challenges in our lives as a negative. But if we can remember nothing else, there is always the positive within what we view as negative. During our most challenging times we feel the Lord the most. Our challenges allow us to practice our faith, even if it is only a muster seed that we can garner up at the time. He strengthens us and builds character in us. He gives us those challenges not just for ourselves, but for those he will put in our paths to witness too, not always in word ,but in deed. May God continue to challenge you to be the best that you can be and may you continue to bring joy to others in just being who you are and doing what you were meant to do. May you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday.

  31. Image for Sandra Vigil Sandra Vigil

    Merry Christmas 🎁& A very Happy New Year!! I look forward to the wonderful stories you will share with us in 2020!! Lord bless you and yours.

  32. Image for Dianne Miley Dianne Miley

    Oh, KariAnne, thank you for your honesty. I can so relate. Merry, Merry Christmas to you and your family. 🎄🎄🎄♥️♥️♥️ PS - No one expects you to be perfect. None of us are. And you’re pretty darn close anyway. 😉

  33. Image for Francean Gospodarek Francean Gospodarek

    KariAnne, you bring joy and light to each and every one of your subscribers and I thank you! Of late, I am enjoying your YouTube tutorials. Please continue to inspire us in 2020.

  34. Image for glenda glenda

    Every day is a gift. That is why we call it the "present." Grateful for you every day! Merry Christmas to you and yours. We look forward to seeing next year with 20/20 vision. The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make His face to shine on you. And give you peace.

  35. Image for glena glena

    i can totally relate to your 2019 challenges. its heart aches. its brief joys. the bigness of Gods heart to allow us to under go these trials to grow in His Love.. to reach out to him in our need. to be reminded that He is with us. our life is about Him- always- first commandment. thankfulness and glory to our Heavenly Creator God Merry Christmas to you and family

  36. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    That's because your heart is first for God, KariAnne.! A heart that loves the Lord loves others deeply. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Be blessed. I pray that 2020 will be your best year yet, and that you will succeed in all you do for the glory of God and for all whom you touch throughout the year..

  37. Image for Donna Donna

    I subscribe to several blogs but yours is the one I look forward to everyday and the one I like the very best. Thank you for your stories, your humour and your incredible decorating and photography skills. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  38. Image for Helen Helen

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. God has gifted you with so many talents and abilities! I appreciate you sharing those with all your internet followers! Continue to stay true to your own path.

  39. Image for Darlene Darlene

    Merry Christmas KariAnne to you and all your family. Best wishes for the coming year. It has been a challenging year for me as well lost two family members, a new knee and a return to the hospital for an infection. But I am so thankful for a loving family, beautiful grown grandchildren and God’s blessings on our family. You make such sense when you bring reality of real life into your stories. Blessings and continue to be the lovely person you are. Looking forward to more real life in the new Year!

  40. Image for Sally Brown Sally Brown

    Thanks to Karianne and all of you who left such wonderful comments. Wish we could all meet and share in person... I know I would love having all as friends!

  41. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Thanks for your transparency, Karieanne. We see how God has blessed you and how hard you work to keep it all together. I really never thought about how stressful your life must be at times, because of all your success and the responsibility that comes with that. However, I have to disagree with you. I think you do handle it with dignity, grace, poise and joy! We see that in the way you express yourself in your writing, your photographs, your honesty, and the love so evident in your family. You, my friend, are allowed to have a moment now and then, to cover your head and hide under the covers for a few minutes. You bring so much joy to others. I hope you realize what a blessing your are to so many!

  42. Image for Deborah Deborah

    You deserve the best Christmas ever! I'm so glad you had an amazing and lovely one! What a sweet story and wonderful reenactment of the Christmas story! And thanks for sharing your struggles too. You always make everything look amazingly easy and it seems you never would have hard days. I don't wish hard times for you AT ALL, but I am grateful for your perseverance and your inspiration to keep embracing the good and celebrating life and each amazing day!

  43. Image for Dee Turk Dee Turk

    Dearest KariAnne, I had no idea! No idea whatsoever that you felt overwhelmed from all that was on your plate and all the changes that transpired, and all of life that can definitely bring its challenges. You are always so upbeat, thank you for sharing this vulnerability with us. If anything, it's made me appreciate and love you even more.. You are truly amazing, and I don't use that lightly, you are so gifted and talented but it's not because you don't work at it you do and you work so hard and so diligently and provide so much information and creativity that sometimes my mind is blown by the wellspring in which you bring it forth! So thank you for always being you, bouncy, red lipsticked, perfectly wonderful, amazingly vulnerable you! I praise the Lord on account of you KariAnne. God bless you and your loved ones always XO

  44. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I've been off the "net" since family arrived, but LOVED this post. I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and wish you all the best for 2020!

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