Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 + a Dash of Perspective

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Remember the time you walked through your house with a camera just to have proof that the place was tidy for 5 whole minutes?

Or maybe that’s just me.

Apparently, I got a little snap-happy with my camera while photographing our Christmas decor, so I’m sharing even more details of our home all decked out. (You can see last week’s Part One and find a full list of sources too.)

So what the hey. This is probably the only time of year our house is truly spick and span after a cleaning rampage to prepare for holiday guests, so might as well document it with the camera, right?

Jenny, the sweet gal behind the keyboard at Evolution of Style, asked me to join in for her 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes, and I’m never one to turn down a good holiday party (especially if “ugly” sweaters are involved).

I hope you came prepared with your jingle bell clad red cable knit. 😉

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

I have to confess to you. We’re not big gift givers in our house, at least not the kind you can buy in a store.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

We’re more the quality time spending, make memories together type of people.

When I was growing up, my parents worked hard to give my brother and I amazing presents to open on Christmas morning. We loved getting the huge surprises that I know, now that I’m a parent myself, couldn’t have been easy to provide without a chunk of financial planning.


Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Once I grew up and Robert and I got married though, the big Christmas presents weren’t possible for us. I love finding the perfect gift and wowing someone I love with the exact item I knew they wanted.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

But just four years ago, I was making a beginning level teacher’s salary, funding a lot of my own classroom’s supplies, and Robert was finishing his degree on the GI Bill while we lived in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment.

Money was tight, and we were just barely making ends meet. We decided for our very first Christmas, it was not worth going deeper into debt to fund big presents for ourselves and our family.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

When Olivia came along a little over a year later, the finances got even tighter. I was scared. Really scared. And it took a lot for us to swallow our pride. My parents were so gracious to open up their home to us and let our new little family move in with them.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Don’t get me wrong; I was extremely thankful. But I felt like a failure. Robert felt like failure. I was 25 years-old, with a teaching career, a husband, and a newborn, and had to live with my parents. But I prayed so hard through all of it and knew God had a plan as long as we trusted Him.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Our second Christmas together, Robert and I again, made the decision to forgo giving presents, and squeaked out just enough to buy a couple little things for Olivia and handwrite cards of appreciation for our parents.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Exactly 1 year later, after feeling the lowest of low, after the struggle of balancing my teaching job and being a new mom, after testing my faith like never before, it all made sense.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

In that one year, I discovered that it was an amazing blessing to have my parents around in those sleepless newborn nights (and days). In that one year, Robert not only graduated from college on the GI Bill, but made the Dean’s List and President’s List multiple times.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | window chalkboard

In that one year, Robert and I both got new jobs and became debt free. In that one year, we bought a house! This house.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | window chalkboard

In December 2013, we unlocked the door to our very first home that we could finally call ours. And the other proverbial doors just kept opening from there.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

And in looking back, I know every single bit of those blessings came from Robert and I holding hands together each night and praying for a way through the tough times. We owe so much to my parents (and his) and to trusting God’s plan.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | entryway

In the beginning of it all, when I felt like an utter failure, something amazing happened. And that failure shaped so much of what is now our success so that we (hopefully) can help others.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | entryway with wagon bench

And you know what? This Christmas, even though we now have the financial wiggle room to afford buying presents for ourselves and our family, we’ll still be keeping it light on the gift giving.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | tablescape

Because if we had to choose between going to the mall for a day to shop for a present for our family or actually spending the TIME that day to be with them, we’re going to choose the quality time.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | tablescape

I love decorating our house with our thrifty finds and DIYed decor because it makes us even more excited to share it with the ones we love.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

A table with candlelight just makes you want to grab another glass of wine and hold hands and talk awhile longer.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com | tablescape

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

A place setting made just for a friend lets them know you’re excited to have them there.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

A cozy living room makes you want to snuggle up with someone and settle in for a movie night.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

And while we’ll certainly DIY gifts for our family, like we often do, as our way of telling them we love them, we’re not going to be shoving our way through the holiday sales lines to show them we care.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

I really hope that doesn’t come off as sounding “bah humbug”, but really…is that what Christmas is supposed to be about? Bustling around, stressed to the max, swamped in holiday traffic just to wrap up things under the tree that will one day end up at the local thrift store? (Believe me, I see it there all the time.)

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

If you’re breaking your neck to make Christmas perfect, stop. Right now.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Because the perfect Christmas can be as simple as giving a handwritten letter to someone who needs to know they’re loved.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

The perfect Christmas is as simple as pulling a little one on your lap to read a story.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

The perfect Christmas is as simple as acknowledging what it’s supposed to be about in the first place: love.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

And if you’re the Christmas loving bunch like we are, you don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on decor to make it special. Surround yourself with what makes you happy, with what tells your story, not what you feel pressured to buy.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Spread joy, be the light, and be giving of your time.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

And if you feel called to be giving of your wallet, give it to those who need it most of all.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

Because if it weren’t for the people who were giving of their own time and money when we needed it, I don’t know where we’d be.

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com

I hope so much that your Christmas this year is full of love and light with beautiful moments that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

If you want to check out the entire 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes from the beginning, you can see the full list below. And if you have your own holiday home decor to share, we’ll be hosting a big link party on December 15th!

Merry Christmas, sweet friends!

Christmas Home Tour 2015 Part 2 | blesserhouse.com
                               12/1  Evolution of Style Dixie Delights

12/9  Primitive and Proper

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52 Comments

  1. Your home is absolutely gorgeous Lauren! I love everything, especially that typewriter all decorated for Christmas! Everything is so warm and cozy.

  2. Lauren, your home is so lovely. You have incorporated so many beautiful details and touches, and I adore how you do Christmas! And your personal story makes me love it all even more. Enjoy your blessed Christmas home and thanks for sharing a part of your heart and your tour!

  3. Lauren,
    I truly understand where you are coming from. I was home for 12 yrs raising our 3 boys, and had to make Christmas gifts for our loved ones. But I loved the look on there faces it was a special time.
    They all put in what they had need of a scarf or hat crochet or knitted by me. One year I made kitchen curtains for my mother in love , because she wanted red gingham curtains & Couldnot find what she wanted .
    Blessings to you & your family??

    1. That is so wonderful, Miriam! It looks like a lot of us have gone through that struggle at some point, probably more than most of us care to admit. It does certainly shape you and helps you focus on what’s important. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. You have a beautiful family, beautiful home and a beautiful soul, it shines so bright… Yes, when we go through hard times it makes us appreciate everything more. Lord knows, we’ve been there. My hubs went to college on the GI bill during the day, worked full time at night, and had his Army Reserves once a month. We never saw him, poor man! I was working too, and my Mom kept our kids for us. I don’t know how we would have made it without her help. But we got through it and our two sons have made us proud.

    If I may ask, would you say a prayer for me? I must have surgery Dec.17th and before knowing that, all I was worried about was getting my decorating done and what would I fix for Christmas dinner. Now I have other things on my mind….

    1. I will absolutely pray for you, Denise! Anytime! Thank you so much for sharing your story too! It’s truly is the struggle that makes you appreciate what you have.

  5. Thank you for sharing your simple Christmas and what it is really all about. This year will be a “first” for us to do things more simple. I’ve explained to family and friends that we are cleaning out, organizing, and de-cluttering. That we are going to live a more simple life in order to have time to slow down and enjoy our lives with our family. That we want to live like God intended us to live – to love Him, to love others and for our lives to bring glory to Him. I haven’t missed the mall shopping one bit this year! Merry Christmas!

    1. That is absolutely wonderful, Beth. I love that perspective. Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas too!

  6. I enjoy looking at your entire home over and over again! Every nook and cranny is truly special! So glad to share this holiday home tour with you and your marvelous home! I am sure your Christmas will be extra-special for everyone!

  7. Your story reminds me of how when we were young with a baby and needed to temporarily borrow from my parents …we paid them back. Your home is beautiful. I love the Coke bottle tray and your message. Especially the idea of a hand written letter. I think I will stop and settle down and write some letters of love this Christmas.

    Merry Christmas,
    Mary Ann

    1. I’m betting a lot of us new parents had to borrow from our own parents at some point. Thank goodness for mommies and daddies who are there for us when times get tough. 🙂 Thank you so much for the love, Mary Ann. I am so happy to hear it touched you in some way. Merry Christmas!

  8. Whenever I see your grandmother (Olivia’s GG) playing on the floor with her as they did this weekend, I am so thankful that they got to spend so much time together back in your “salad days” (which I didn’t know was a Shakespearean term until I looked it up just now) when GG kept Olivia while we all went to work. We loved having you all and wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world. You don’t remember when you guys were really little, money was tight and we made homemade gifts for everyone, too. I think that’s where you got your DIY bug.

    1. I didn’t know that was a Shakespearean term! That guy Will, he was a sharp one. 😉 Okay, anyways I wouldn’t trade those days for anything either. Actually, some days I think, “I need my mommy.” We had it good. Haha! I know Olivia loved every bit of it (and GG) too. I don’t at all remember the money being tight thing. I remember making ornaments with you at the kitchen table one year though and thinking how fun it was. I guess that’s what started the crafty thing. I’m glad it all worked out though. Robert and I owe so much to you guys. Love you!

  9. Lauren, what a beautiful home tour and story! I can really relate to your story! God hears and answers are prayers for sure–sometimes not as soon as we would like or in the way we would like but always in the way that will be best for us (meaning sometimes our faith will be tested so it has the chance to stretch and grow). You’ve created such a beautiful home for your family and friends to enjoy…what a great gift to them!:-)

  10. Beautiful home tour Lauren! I too love the story and the sentiment. We’ve been there too. Struggled to have any kind of Christmas at all. One year we didn’t even have a tree because we couldn’t spend the money on one. It is about spending time together and doing fun things with the family. For the last several years we’ve been trying to instill “the arts” in our children and Christmas is the perfect time to go see organ concerts at church, choirs in town, and plays at the Children’s Theatre. Merry Christmas Lauren!

    1. Thank you, Nancy! The financial struggles are definitely tough, but I wouldn’t trade the lessons we learned from ours at all. There are so many positives that can come from the negative, scary situations. It truly makes you appreciate what you have. I totally agree about the arts! We’re just getting into that this year with our daughter too. Hope you and your family have a great Christmas!

  11. love your home- that mantle gets me every time! and olivia’s room is precious- that tree and those wings and lights! love it all!
    but mostly, i love your perspective. christmas is about spending time with people we love…. it’s not about the presents. it’s not about how much money you can spend…. it’s just about letting people know you love them, and that you care enough to give them what you can. great post and tour, lauren!

    1. Thank you so much, Cassie! And I couldn’t agree more. By the way, LOVED the little chalkboard comic bubble above your daughter’s bed. Such a cute idea! So excited to be in the tour with you, friend!

  12. Hey Lauren….this might be my favorite post ever! Not only does it show your beautiful home filled with love and Christmas decor, but more importantly it shows your heart and your faith! What a blessing to read your story! Thank you for sharing and for the reminder of what’s truly important this holiday season.
    Blessings to you….

  13. I love your story. That is what Christmas is all about, living with faith. Reminders to live by faith are always appreciated by me. Sometime we get wrapped up in the worry and it’s just not necessary. Have a very blessed holiday season and thank you for you dedication it’s inspiring.

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