Christmas Tour of Homes 2015

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I look forward to this tour each year because it reminds me of all the reasons I started blogging. I guess you could say it takes me back to the moments of inspiration that brought about this creative outlet. I would sit at my laptop and pour over The Nester’s posts about homemaking and decorating and I’d run to the craft store, the thrift store, or my basement storage and get creative in my home. It was her first Christmas Tour of Homes link-up eight years ago that got me thinking, how do I share my holiday house? I want in on the fun! Each year, I’d click through everyone else’s homes and “OOOoooh!” and “Ahhhh…” and think, “I really need to start blogging.” Well, it took me until January 2012 to start Sometimes Martha Always Mary and I’ve taken part in the Christmas Tour of Homes every year since!

Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasMy very first Christmas Tour of our Home, posted just a couple of days after I started this blog! Chock full of blurry pics, just for you!

Christmas Tour of Homes 2012

Christmas Tour of Homes 2013

Christmas Tour of Homes 2014

And here we are, my 5th annual Christmas Tour of Our Home, and I am so very happy I started this blog, and stuck with it, even after I’ve asked myself, “Why am doing this?” I love to write, I love to create, and I love sharing my ideas with others. As a busy mom of five, blogging has been the easiest way to do all three of these things. So, enjoy the tour and know: my family has decorated, cleaned, and straightened up to say, “Welcome to our home!” and, “Merry Christmas!” as if we were hosting the most fabulous of holiday parties. This is a special occasion that called for the tidiest and most beautiful house I could present, because you’re worth it.

Entryway CTOH15 smam

Simple and festive entryway. When guests come over, I would definitely add some candles to this table, and maybe a candy dish.

dining room CTOH15 smam

My mom and I found this adorable grouping of vases and votive holders on a hand made wooden tray at the cutest little shop in her town. I instantly fell in love with it, thinking about filling it with flowers from my garden in the spring and summer. Then I came up with the idea to fill the containers with Epsom salt and create little snow scenes in them. The tiny ones have little tea lights in them. It makes such a pretty everyday centerpiece for our dining room table.

dining room 2 CTOH15 smam

Don’t you just love the table cloth on my little round side table? My mom and I found it at the same little shop where we got the vases. It’s kind of difficult to make it out in a photo, but it’s evergreen branches and glass jars filled with peppermint candies. So whimsical! The feather tree was a sale purchase I made years ago. It’s a Martha Stewart for Macy’s product that I adore. Usually, I hang all of our most delicate ornaments on this tree, but this year, since our youngest is old enough to know better than to grab ornaments off the tree, I put all the delicate ornaments on our tree in the living room and hung some homemade ornaments mixed with store bought ornaments that all matched. I like it better this way, actually. See, when you try something new with your old stuff, sometimes you find new and better ways to beautify your home!

kitchen CTOH15 smam

I’m channeling my inner Ina Garten with the white lights on the kitchen island. I love a little glow from Christmas lights in the kitchen at night. Our kitchen is the hub. So much goes on here each day, so I like to really pull out all the stops when it comes to decorating it for the holidays.

kitchen table CTOH15 smam

Mugs and table cloth from Cath Kidston

kitchen shelves collage CTOH15 smam

Holiday dishes and glassware get used everyday at our house. The kids love picking out their plates and glasses for meals. We have thrift store finds purchased on Etsy, hand-me-downs from Grandmom, and Nutcrackers from World Market.

CTOH15 smam Kitchen shelves close up

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Holiday Scents are truly delicious. Orange Clove, Cranberry, and Iowa Pine come in a cute box set that includes hand soap, dish soap, and countertop spray. I personally think it’s the perfect hostess gift at a great price. And I love having plenty for myself too. I am convinced that the scents of cranberry and Iowa pine make we actually want to clean! This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I just love Mrs. Meyer’s!

CTOH15 smam Laundry Room

Yes, girl! I decorate my laundry room. Considering all the hours I log in there, it ought to be cute for Christmas! And our family enters and exits the house from the garage, which is just through the second laundry room door. And yes, girl. I keep my microwave in the laundry room. Why not? It takes up tons of counter space because it’s honkin’ big (we bought it twelve years ago when we got married) and we don’t really use it that much.

CTOH15 smam living room

Each year I try to change up a couple of things, just because I find decorating for Christmas to be so much fun. I look at it as an opportunity to share what I love to do with my husband, children, and anyone who comes to visit us at this time of year. I try to always have the fact that beautifying our Domestic Church for Christ’s Birthday is a way to give glory to God, at the heart of my decorating. In the process I find great joy and satisfaction. So each year, to keep things interesting for myself, I try to make little adjustments to how I decorate, where I place certain items, etc.

CTOH15 smam couch

I simply could not resist the Poinsettia pillows. They were on an end cap at Target just a week ago. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I say $12.99 on the price tag! Aren’t they gorgeous? I love a score like that, especially when I know I’ll be pulling those pillows out of storage every year at Christmastime.

CTOH15 smam creche under tree

We just added this precious Melissa and Doug nativity scene to our collection this year. Little One, our resident two and a half year old, absolutely loves to lay down on her belly on the floor and play with this set. And in typical Melissa and Doug fashion, everything fits right in the tray, so it’s easy to store.

CTOH15 smam view of whole tree

Over the years I have collected Christmas themed children’s books that I like to place around the living room in boxes and baskets to encourage the children to grab a book, snuggle up, and read. Sitting on the couch with the little ones is the very best way for me to stop and enjoy the season because let’s face it: there’s always something that needs doing. Sometimes we need to just be with our children. Reading a special Christmas book is the best way for me to be.

CTOH15 smam White Cabinet Living Room

This piece was a Craig’s List find that I still cannot believe we scored, even though it’s been in our home for years now. Every year I put our beautiful German nativity scene on the middle shelf, and each year my generous brother-in-law adds another piece to the collection. It truly is one of our most treasured possessions.

CTOH15 smam hearth

The heart of the home, our hearth, with a beautiful Madonna and Child painting given to us by our Uncle Steve on our wedding day. It serves as the perfect centerpiece to our home. The gold angels were a Pier 1 purchase last year. The prints on either side of the mirror are Hatch Prints from Etsy. Joy printHappy birthday, Baby Jesus print. They are so beautiful, aren’t they? Do yourself a favor and go check out the Hatch Prints shop on Etsy. You won’t be disappointed!

Thank you so much for stopping by! And thank you, as always, for being such a gracious hostess, Myquillyn! We love you dearly!

Merry Christmas!

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