Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Come on in!

Little disclaimer: This post might be way boring to some of y’all, and that’s OK… Decorating’s not everyone’s thing, I get it :) 

For the rest of y’all… I love decorating for Christmas and I love going into people’s homes around Christmas time to see their home’s all dressed up too! I think homes decorated for Christmas give you a little glimpse into that family and their traditions and history. I just love it. But, the downer is, a lot of people who are dear to me live so far away that we often don’t get to cozy up in our homes together this time of year. So, I am having a Holiday Open House… Blog style. So come on in and have a look around! (I know, some of y’all are just amazed at how much corniness I have already included in this post… ahem, Kelly…)

The living room. I love having the tree up. The house smells sweeter and all the lights just make everything so much cozier.

I also love pulling out the ornaments, especially the sentimental ones.

Kelly gave us this when I was super pregnant with Ellie, starting the tradition of giving their nieces and nephews an ornament each year.

And this one, to celebrate the arrival of sweet little Will just a few days before Christmas last year.

Oh, and this one :) Eric gave this to me our first year married. We joke about it. I think his taste has changed a bit since then. But it is oh so sweet and sentimental :)

I love these stockings. My mom made them for us last year as a Christmas gift. 

Eric's mom sent us this sweet nativity set this year which has seen a lot of play. Just today I found the whole gang loaded up in Ellie's wagon taking a little ride. She has loved playing with it! I love how hand-made it looks.

Some Christmas pillows. Mamma made the tree ones for us this year. 

Into the dining room. A blessing of a tiny home- you can decorate every nook and cranny!

I'm that person who makes her husband take all the extra trimmings from all the other Christmas tree sales from home depot that night (think I learned that from you mom :) And Eric is the husband who wears gloves to pick out the tree, not because it's super cold but because it gives him a better grip on the trees when he's pounding them out to check their shape, and who doesn't even think twice about loading up the back of the car with the fallen branches.

This is where our Christmas cards live. Another one of my favorite parts of Christmas!

The center piece. Minus the advent candles...

And our Advent calendar. This was my big project this year. I wanted to have something to use to countdown Christmas as well as incorporate a little daily devotional and fun family activity. So, I got this idea from my sweet friend Ellen. Each day there is a little ornament that is in each pocket. They all symbolize something. I debated doing all "Christian" ornaments (e.g. Joseph, Mary, star, etc.), but ended up also incorporated some other Christmas items like the candy cane and gingerbread man. There is some really neat symbolism behind most of the things we see at Christmas. I thought this would be good because as we are out and about, we could talk about this as we see these things. 

Each day, we read a verse, talk about the symbolism of the ornament, and then do something together as a family, either something fun or something that reaches out to others. This year, some of the stuff is over Ellie's head, but the whole point is to make Christmas about the coming of Christ, and this focuses our attention on this each day as we anticipate being another day closer. I think Eric and I get something out of it to. Just being in the scriptures and talking about the symbolism of all things pointing back to God's sacrificial gift for us all.

My friend Ellen and I (mostly Ellen I should say)  typed up a devotional to go with each of the ornaments. I would be glad to e-mail it to anyone if interested (just let me know in the comments). It could be used alone without a tree or anything.
Here is a sample of one of the days readings:

The Christmas tree
“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” John 6:47

Christmas trees are an evergreen, which means it’s leaves are green all year long. This reminds us of the hope that we have in Christ. It’s needles point up which reminds us that our hope is not in this world but in the one to come. It also reminds us of the tree that was used to make the cross that Jesus would one day die on for each of us. But, just as the Christmas tree is cut down, it is later erected and made beautiful when we put them up in our home. In the same way, Christ died, yet he was raised from the dead and reigns victoriously!

Lord, thank you are our hope. Thank you that You were willing to come to earth as a baby and later die for each of us. Thank you for the gift of salvation that is ours in You alone.

Read: The Legend of the Christmas Tree, The Three Trees
Activity: Get and put up our tree! Enjoy falling asleep each night to the glow of your own tree in your room!

I hope this season, regardless of the fun things we may do, that we keep our hearts quiet (there's the kicker) and looking to Christ. Speaking of Him and anticipating the day when will be with Him. 

An after thought before I share...
*** This is just a little bit of what we're doing this year, and it is so not for everyone. For example, last year, I barely "did" Christmas. I was super pregnant  back aching, husband gone the whole month due to coaching, and had a 6 day old baby on Christmas day. So, life is full of seasons. There are times when certain things work and are possible, and times when they just don't make the priority list. Please don't do what I do so, so much and compare your life to someone else's. Remember, we're often comparing our "behind the scenes" with some one's "hi-light reels" (no, I'm not that witty, I saw it on Pinterest, of course) So, this is just what I like to do, so I do it. You might not, so don't :) Just some thoughts coming from a (slowly)  recovering comparison-a-holic. (Yes, I did make that one up, sadly.) If this paragraph seems irrelevant or confusing, sorry!


Ellen said...

Beautiful! I love being in your home, Em, because it always feels so cozy and inviting. You definitely have the gift of hospitality! And, I LOVE the calender - it turned out so gorgeous and I love your special touch on the ornaments. What you said at the end about seasons really spoke to me. I'm definitely in one of those right now and am slowly learning to give myself grace and that I cannot do it all. Thanks for the reminder. Miss you so much!

Sarah Robins said...

I agree with Ellen--so cozy, welcoming, and festive! Your house is always so cheerful! I would love to have those Christmas devotionals if you wouldn't mind sending to me. The advent calendar is wonderful.

DavidandSteff said...

Your home looks beautiful! Love all the details. Warm and home-y. Btw, you are not the only one who gets all the scraps cut from the trees :) While at the market, I had the guys pack up all the stuff they had laying around so that I could take it home! haha. They just laughed at me and siad it helped them out!

I love the meanings with each advent calendar ornament! Send it to me ;)

Thanks for the little discloser/reminder/encourage at the end. I have to constantly remind myself that it's okay to not being able to do all my ideas this year.

Laura Rowe [twirl] said...

I love your home so much! I'd love for you to email those readings! Your calendar is simply amazing. What a gift you're giving your family!

Matt and Kristen said...

Love the decor!! Beautiful! Love your calendar. We found verses to pray each day of December, but would love to see what all you have. Would you email it to me if you have time khoward04@gmail.com. By the way.. someone has a birthday coming up!

N Muchnick said...

Your home is absolutely beautiful and so cheerful! And I love all of your craftiness! I would love it if you could send me an email of the advent devotionals....nmuchnick@gmail.com Thanks so much!

Jill Jones said...

Emily, love the decorating and the calendar is awesome! Could you email me the devotionals? Jilljjones@gmail.com. Thanks!