Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Over the River and Through the Woods

To Grandmother's house we go!

I used to think that song was written about my grandparents' house.  When I was little and we still lived in St. Louis, we would literally drive over the river (a few, but especially the Illinois River as you come into Peoria) and through the woods (my grandparents live in a heavily wooded area, great for exploring!) to get there.

My grandma does Christmas and Christmas decorating better than anyone I know.  Her house just oozes with the holiday spirit!  When I was there two weekends ago, I asked if I could take some pictures and share with you all some of my favorite tableaux she creates and recreates every year and she said yes. I hope one day my home can look and feel like the holidays the way my grandparents' home does and more importantly, I hope you enjoy this Christmas-themed house tour!

First up, the family Christmas tree.  This thin profile tree is crammed full of ornaments collected over the years.  I helped trim it this year and learned that some of the ornaments date back to my great-grandma's tree (my grandpa's mother)!  This tree is in the family room off of the kitchen and is in view whether you are watching a movie (like Citizen Kane) or visiting with friends and family stop by.  Best of all, you can see it from the driveway as you pull in thanks to the large windows that can be seen behind the tree.

Next, the side table in the family room.  This has always been a place to display pictures of family and friends, but at Christmas time my grandma replaces some of the pictures with Christmas cards for that year or the previous year.  I think this is a great way to display photo Christmas cards and has the ability to make any corner, like this one, special and festive.  The photos are guarded with a trusty Nutcracker and flanked by some red and green candles brought out for the season.

Next up, the dining room.  This room is one of my favorites in the home, perhaps because of all the great food, conversation, friendship and love that has been shared there over the years.  The buffet table features a gold nativity scene, lamp shades she switches out just for the holidays, and gold and green accents everywhere.  I especially love the unique gold nativity scene and the star of Bethlehem behind it!  That stack of china plates in the corner was for the Oyster Stew that didn't happen due to snow, but they are Twelve Days of Christmas china, brought out especially for this time of year!

Also in the dining room is her chandelier, ready and trimmed for Christmas with garland, gold beads, and porcelain ornaments.  Also, notice the cheery wreath and snowy painting on the far right wall.  She even puts up holiday art for the season!  By the way, you can see a close-up shot of some of these ornaments in this post.

Here is another example of holiday art that comes out just for Christmas time.  Also, notice the stoic little Santa Claus hiding under the side table in the corner.  There are little touches and details everywhere!

In the front hall between the dining room and formal living room, my grandma has a basket of Christmas books she leaves out for guests and especially her grandchildren.  I recognize some of the titles as Christmas time favorites from when I was growing up and this basket is perfectly positioned for any reader, young or old, who wants to sit by the fire and read a Christmas story.

Speaking of fires, if the weather is cold enough, they almost always have a fire going in the fire place when family and friends come to visit.  My picture came out a bit blurry which makes it harder to see the details on the mantle place but it is trimmed with garland, green lights, gold beads, ornaments and red and green candles.  I love that instead of hanging stockings by the chimney with car, she has hung gold rimmed ornaments that feature Christmas scenes!

Finally, the pièce de résistance: the large Christmas tree.  This tree is trimmed more simply than the one in the family room.  It features gold and red ornaments, gold ribbon and white lights.  That's it.  But when you have a beautiful tree centered in a large bay window for all the neighbors to see, that is all you need!

So there you have it, my grandparents' home come Christmas time.  Thank you Grandma and Papa for sharing your home with me!  

Readers, what was your favorite part of their holiday decor?  Any themes or decor you would love to see in your own home?  Perhaps you too have a grandparent or parent who decorates to the nines for the holidays?  Let's hear it!


  1. I love the basket with cards in it. Thats what my mom does too!

  2. I love Christmas cards too! It became a ritual for me when I would come home from college to sit down at my parents' house and read through all the cards they had gotten that year.

    I was just telling J yesterday how its sad we only send cards in the mail to our friends and family come Christmas time. I love getting mail so I wish the letter-writing and letter-receiving would last all year!


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