Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Happy December! I am so excited that it's "the most wonderful time of the year", although it's hard to believe Christmastime is already here. Seriously, where has 2010 gone?! The Walker household is running a bit behind on our decorating this year since we were in Wichita for the long Thanksgiving weekend, but I'm excited to finally post about all of our old and new decor.

First up is my favorite part of Christmas, the real tree. As I mentioned last year, no matter how hard I try I just can't give up on the real Christmas tree. I think it's in my blood and no matter how many times Caton and I talk about "getting a fake tree for next year", I just don't see it happening. Ever. I just love having a real tree way too much to give it up, despite the common complaints: it's freezing cold when you pick it out, you have to buy one each and every year, the needles get all over everything (we are STILL finding them around the house from last years tree), and you have to remember to water it regularly (definitely not my strong point). But it's worth it. It's a small price to pay for all of the positives you get out of it: it's so much fun to searching for the perfect tree with my Love, it makes the house feel so cozy and seasonal, it smells AMAZING (!) every time we walk through the house, and well, it's tradition. It's been a tradition for me every single year of my life and now it's a tradition for Caton and me to carry on and (someday) share with our children. I know lots of people who have fake trees and just swear by them, and that's awesome, but for me, I wouldn't trade anything for all of those special memories attached to real Christmas trees! Here is our tree this year, with the addition of a few more lights and a few more ornaments to make it extra pretty.

I tried a new gift-wrapping technique this year found on (non-other than) Pinterest. Here is the link to this adorable example that I fell in love with! I was super-excited when I found the brown paper, which can sometimes be expensive at craft stores or Target) at Dollar Tree for - you guessed it - $1.00 per role in their shipping section. A friend of mine said she tried this last year and had a horrible time getting the tape to stick, so I went ahead and also purchased the $1.00 per role packaging tape and it has worked perfectly so far! I just made letter stencils, then used some Christmas-themed craft paper I got on sale at JoAnn's last week and went to work on gift-tagging each item with the recipients initial. I LOVE how they have turned out so far!

Next up is our house decorations. Last year we moved in to our rental house the day after Thanksgiving, so we were a bit rushed with unpacking and getting settled while also trying to get our house Christmas-ready so we could enjoy the holiday. Here (and here) is a refresher of how we decorated the house in 2010, using only the decorations we had from our apartment-living days. Wow, was it a shock to go from decorating a tiny apartment to filling up an entire house, but we wanted to work with what we had and avoid buying anything new until the after-Christmas sales, so we made it work! As you can see in the photo above, I bought garland to spruce up the mantle and also used a strand of red LED lights I purchased on clearance last year. I love how it turned out!

Our entry-way table receive a little lovin' this year as well. I moved my (tiny) garland that was placed on the mantle last year and instead placed it on this table, where it fits much better. I brought out my adorable "cowboy snowmen" to liven up the table and also added a fun new piece above. You may remember my Happy Holidays sign from this post last February. My MIL and I found these adorable handmade Christmas signs at our favorite thrift store in Wichita and I have been so anxious to use them for over 10 months!

My hubby was kind enough to hang this sign for me over the weekend while I finished up my first Christmas Pinterest project of the season - a holiday card holder. I found the idea from this Pinterest post and knew instantly that I could use my three-hook sign to make my own version. I am one of those people who saves every special note, card, invitation, photo, etc, so it's no surprise that I have an entire bin (or in this case, a gift-wrapped looking bin - seen on the left hand side of the table) to house every Christmas card we have every received as Mr & Mrs Walker, and probably before. I love this adorable idea because it allows us to admire each photo or card all season long. I simply found some ribbon on sale at Michaels, cut them the same length and tied them onto the hooks. Easy-peasy. Then I grabbed one of our small holiday bowls to hold the rest of the clothes pens and a Sharpie ( I use it to write the year on the back of the card if it isn't already printed). Less than five minutes later we had this (my Aunt Molly, and her family, and my friend Mary Beth, and her hubby, are the first two cards we've received this year!).

The Dining Room is decorated pretty much the same as last year, with the addition of my amazing blue runner (found on clearance for $10 at Crate & Barrel - amazing!) and the relocation of my other cute western figures on the buffet.

The Family Room now houses the adorable Santa bowl (Caton's favorite decoration we own) with ornaments as well as our newest decoration. My amazing Aunt Susie gave (GAVE!) us an old Plaza Lights banner she had. *Sidenote - I have been wanting to collect these as long as I can remember, but haven't gotten around to researching/purchasing any of them. When Susie sent me a message on Facebook saying she had one if I wanted it I literally jumped up and down while I was sending her a comment back, and then I went to pick it up the very next night. Super excited doesn't even begin to describe it. It's perfect in our Family Room, which has a super-long wall that is hard to fill/decorate, and we just smile every time we walk into the room. Love Love Love!

And last, but not least, is our outside decor. We went on an Christmas-clearance-spending-spree last year after Christmas, so I have been waiting many months to finally decorate our house with lights. It took us a couple weeks (and learning the hard way to not take advantage of the 50 degree weather in early December) and some frozen fingers and toes, but we (and when I say "we" I mostly mean Caton!) finally got them up on the house and couldn't be more excited. I love them and think the lit up Christmas tree in the front window is adorable! Don't mind the security light over the garage. We still want to get some lights on the bushes, so I'll update the photos after we get the new lights up this weekend.

Well, that wraps up the holiday decorations at Casa de Walker... for now. I still have a few Pinterest projects I want to tackle this weekend, so stay tuned for those updates. We could not be more excited to spend Christmas Eve and Day with the Fagan family and enjoy our tree and decorations all month long!