Holiday House Tour

I always walk through the stores at holiday time, gazing longingly at all the pretties, but I rarely do much decorating beyond trimming the tree. Usually I see so many things that I like, I get overwhelmed with what to do with them and how to make them work together that I just avoid it altogether and go buy boots and skinny jeans!

But not this year!!!

This year Target offered to help me decorate, and I used some of these decorating tips to achieve the holiday decor of my dreams! I am SO SO SO excited about how it all turned out. What started out as a mantel project ended up as a house-wide decorating extravaganza!

So please, won’t you come in!

This is our front entrance. Every time I walk into my house, I just smile. It’s especially pretty at night when the candles are lit.


I already had that swag, and I love using it every year. Often I place it on my mantel, but this year I decided to make it work for this space. The mirror, tree, and candles are all from Target this season. I got the idea to put the cake plate under the gold hurricane candle holder from one of the photos on the Target website. I would have bought a larger size, but they don’t make one, and I really needed some height on that end. This worked out nicely!

gold hurricane candle holders

I’m obsessed with those glittery trees. I originally had this with the another smaller one in the family room. It pained me to move it away from there, but I needed something in here too. I had to hold myself back from buying a dozen of them in different sizes for every room in my house!

glittery trees

Usually I use a lot of red in my decorating, but this year for some reason I was feeling the elegant metallics and woodsy greens. I carried that color scheme through into the living room and family rooms, but I deviated a bit on the banister in our foyer. I found this bow pre-made at A.C. Moore and loved it to much, I bought ribbon and beads to match. The green garland is old, probably purchased at Target many years ago!



This sled sits in the corner of our foyer. I usually use it outside on the porch, but this year I thought I’d set it inside for a change. I bought this years ago at a local shop.

decorative sled

Here’s a peek into my living room from the foyer.

living room

And this is my fancy tree in our formal living room. Not that anything in this house is particularly formal, lol. But this room is mine. It’s where I sit to get away from the noise of the TV and where my friends and I sip coffee in the late afternoons while the kids play. I let my daughter help me decorate this tree this year, but I have the final say where the ornaments go! I’ve been collecting glittery silver and gold ornaments for a few years, and it’s finally filling out! This year I found this awesome gold/silver ribbon that I love, and I picked up the tree skirt and star on top at Target.

formal christmas tree

Now, won’t you come through the kitchen and into my family room! I added a few Christmassy touches in the kitchen. Here is my Command Center (the bookcase was purchased at Target, and I have a whole post on how I organized my command center if anyone is interested.) For the season, I added a few older Christmas decorations on top and a candle in the middle.

command center christmas

And this is the window over the kitchen sink. The advent calendar is holding Hershey kisses for each of the kids every day.

window sill

For years I’ve had portraits of my kids over my mantel. These portraits are my pride and joy. Each was done by a professional photographer when my kids were 18 months old, and I had them put on canvas and professionally framed. Each one is a bit different, which makes them even more special to me. So when a friend suggested that I remove them and hang a mirror there instead, I balked. Here is a photo from 2 Christmases ago.



But after struggling to decorate around them for so many years, I finally decided that it was time to reconsider my stance on the portraits. I went in search of a big mirror instead. After visiting a few stores, I finally found what I wanted at Lowe’s.

In the meantime, we decided to repaint our family room a blueish/greenish/gray. Take a look!

fam room blue

A few days and a couple dozen Target trips later, this is what I came up with!


christmas decorating

The JOY letters are “vintage Target” — I bought them for my mantel last year on Black Friday, and I definitely wanted to incorporate them into the design this year.

JOY Mantel Decor

The candlestick holders, LED candles, and decorative trees are currently available at Target, as are the plates hung above.

Christmas mantel

Here is a full-length shot of the fireplace.


The hydrangeas on the floor are old, old, old. They actually came with us from our previous house. I had them in my dining room on the window sill, and I was going to use them on my mantel, and then I discovered the candlesticks. I set the hydrangeas on the floor “just for a second” while I arranged the candlesticks on the mantel, and then when I backed up, I decided they looked sorta cool down there! What do you think?

Here’s a closeup of the plates and trees. I will change out the plates seasonally.

closeup mantel

I was having too much fun to stop with the mantel. Plus I bought so many different things for the mantel, trying to figure out what looked right together, that I ended up decorating a few other areas with the “leftovers”!

I was inspired by the groupings Target pictures on their website. I love how they don’t JUST show their products, they also show how to display and group them. This was SO helpful to me. I created this little grouping of angels and trees.


This is our entertainment center which USED to house our TV. Long story. Well, actually, it’s short. My family decided it was time to upgrade our TV, and it doesn’t fit inside the cabinet anymore. Although there is a lot of wasted space inside there now, it’s too pretty to get rid of so we are just keeping it as extra storage for now.

entertainment center decor

This is where I often set up my lighted village houses, but I have no energy for that this year. I thought this was fresh and fun. The trees are from Target this season, as is the candle on the left. I thought that was such a cool hurricane. (You MUST read my story about The One That Got Away. Total hoot!)


The candles and tray in the middle, I already had. And those angels are one of my favorite Christmas decorations. They were a gift from my mom when we visited Williamsburg a few years ago.

Here’s a full photo of our tree at night. This is our “kids’ tree” — the live one that we cut down together, and the kids decorate with their ornament collections.

oh christmas tree

I absolutely LOVE how everything turned out!

Oh. One more thing. I bought this tray for the entertainment center, and when it didn’t work for me there, I spontaneously placed it under this my hurricane lamp on our kitchen table. I already had the wreath around the bottom, but it sort of got lost in the dark of the table. Now on the silver tray, it really pops! I was thinking of switching to a red candle, or adding some red berries around the white one . . . I guess decorating is never done!!!


And yes, we have the creepy elf. My daughter moves it from place to place. Cuz ain’t nobody else got time for that!

I’ve had so much fun with this project. I love adding new pieces to my holiday decorations and changing up my spaces each year. I think the most dramatic difference (other than the paint, of course!) was the addition of the mirror over my fireplace. That freed me up to do more with the mantel.

The last frontier is my dining room. I’m hosting 22 family members for Christmas dinner on the 29th so I want to come up with pretty table settings. I will have the table in my kitchen for the kids and the dining room table and another portable table in the living room for the adults. I’m going to start working on that project next!

How about you?? Are you decorated yet? What is your biggest holiday decorating challenge?

If you posted a holiday house tour, leave a link in the comments and I’ll try to come by and visit!

As a Target Inner Circle Member, I was provided with a gift card to put towards my holiday decorating and to facilitate this post. Of course, I also spent much of my own time and resources on this project, and I’m so delighted with how it turned out, I couldn’t wait to share!

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34 thoughts on “Holiday House Tour

  1. I love your mantle! It’s very happy. 🙂 I always struggle with decorating for Christmas. I try not to let it make me grumpy. I just fought with my stair rail garland for most of the day yesterday. Lights didn’t work, back and forth to get different ones, new ones, yada, yada, yada. The end product is pretty but whew. I used to always do fresh fruit on my mantle. I remember seeing that in Williamsburg years ago and it’s nice to add some fresh greenery and then just toss it all after Christmas. Last year I tried to recreate a Pottery Barn catalog mantle. It was very asymmetrical and I could never quite get it right. I like the idea of sticking with symmetry. It’s what I like and it soothes me… 🙂 I have a mirror with a wreath, and candles right now. It’s waiting for some fresh greenery. Simple.

  2. Love your new look! I have a friend who is a great decorator and for at least a year I couldn’t quite put my finger on why her house always looked so nice and fresh and clean and pulled together and *then* I figured it out. She doesn’t have small knicknacks or small pictures. When she puts something up she goes big and those items are well placed and well thought out.

    I feel the same way when I look at your new living room…the big mirror really commands that space and sets the tone. It will be wonderfully flexible for you as you move from season to season. Good for you and I love it! Thank goodness for Pinterest, right ? I really hate that I am not a born and bred decorator but having a place with lots of pictures to study has really helped me figure out my sense out of style AND how to accomplish that style.

  3. Your new mantle looks great. I appreciate your love of the children’s portraits, but think this looks so much more interesting. Where did you move the portraits?!

  4. Love your decorations– and I think your mantel looks AMAZING! The mirror and plates really kick it up a notch– the portraits can find a place elsewhere ; )

    Seriously, I never comment, but I had to compliment the mantel. LOVE the plates, too.

  5. It looks beautiful! I love the entertainment center arrangement…simple and peaceful! We all need more of that especially this time of year.

  6. WOW, you have just totally changed my decorating mind. I was going to decorate minimally this year as I haven’t started yet, Thanksgiving was so late, we spent Thanksgiving weekend away (my normal decorating weekend) & I WASN’T feeling the fever–scratch all of that! I am pulling out my totes this afternoon! THANK YOU!!

  7. I hope you chose to hang their pictures elsewhere! But honestly, I love the look of the mirror, I always have as I think it definitely opens up a room! Love that you have a tree for your kids to decorate!

  8. Red berries would look great in the hurricane around the candle on the kitchen table!
    Also, I love the color you painted your living room! What color is it?

  9. It all looks lovely! I have the same problem with my mantel. I always wanted to do something fabulous, but much like the pictures of your children you did not want to move, my husband has a clock from his great grandfather that can’t be moved, so I have to decorate around it, ba ha! Although I do have a mirror above my mantel too.

  10. I love the decor it looks spectacular! Quick question about the entertainment center, I love the look of it and would like to try and find something similar. Would you share what brand it is?

      1. Actually, no, those are from Pottery Barn! My new curtains in the fam room (not pictured in this post) are Target, but the floral ones in the Living Room in this post were from Pottery Barn. 🙂

  11. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this site are truly awesome for people
    experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  12. Love it all!! My favorite touches are the ribbon around the tree, the sled in the foyer and the beautiful garland and color around your railing… great job 🙂

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