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HOLIDAYS | Simple Woods + Whites Christmas Decor

Sunday, December 31

Merry Christmas + Happy New Year friends!!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and are excited about the approaching new year!

Christmas this year was very different for us.
We are in our new home, two hours away from family and my two older girls...
so I had to let go of some old Christmas traditions and try to start some new ones.

With that said, the biggest change I made this year as far as Christmas goes is I kept things REALLY simple when it came to decor: woods, whites and a little bit of greenery.

I didn't even open my boxes of ornaments. 
Nope. I purchased new ones: raw woods hearts, snowflakes and stars I randomly came across the month before Christmas.

I hung them on the new faux, pre-lit tree we bought this year - forgoing our annual tradition of picking one out together at Santa's Christmas Tree Forest back home. 

Everything just felt so new and different. I believe I subconsciously could not bring myself to open the flood of memories contained in all of the boxes of Christmas decor and ornaments.

I bought a new tree skirt (never even had one - previously used blankets or fabric scraps) and new stockings. I knew out of all of my kids Ema would disapprove of me not sticking with the stockings she grew up with...and it was literally one of the first questions she asked when she walked in the house. 

I wanted the house to feel like Christmas but I didn't want it cluttered. And I also wanted it to be easy to put up and easy to take down. And again...I think I subconsciously avoided unsolicited emotions by dodging anything that could conjure up a memory...big or small.

We also started a new tradition...the 25 days of Christ.
I wanted the season to be as chaos-free and as Christ-centered as possible. 
The new daily ritual of reading a passage of scripture and having Ella hang the corresponding ornament from December 1st all the way up to Christmas Day really added a spiritual + sacred element to our Christmas I had regretfully been looking past for far too long.

Even the cookies I made for our annual Christmas Cookie Baking Day matched my whole Christmas color scheme and vibe this year. I love them so much I may only use white royal icing from here on out. I LOVE the tone-on-tone.

The cookie baking was held at my mom's house this year instead of mine...even though when we bought the new house I immediately envisioned the new huge island covered in Christmas cookies. It's just too much to ask the rest of the family to travel so was easier for Ella and I to go. 

Yep. We traveled the two hours and turned it into a 2 day visit. It was nice.
Although truth be told, Ella didn't even participate because she was spending time with her bestie Elise...whom she misses terribly. And I was sad Clara only got to pop in for an hour after she got off of work. Ema was there though...and she even inspired me with a few of her designs.

I just had to include this giant sugar cookie tree cut-out my aunt Susan created by hand. She thought it looked wonky but I fell in love with it's rustic, authentic vibe and asked her if I could decorate it. I love how it turned out. And see...I even added a few splashes of green in the mix of cookies - but I still love the tone-on-tone. *wink*

This year was the first year I realized after all of these years of having my own home and decorating for Christmas I have NEVER had mistletoe as part of our Christmas decor!!
I'd honestly never even thought about it.

I came home with some unexpectedly this year while Ella and I were out shopping together one afternoon. She spotted a package of it and asked if we could buy it. I may have done an eye roll and almost said no and then all of a sudden a rush of memories about how my grandparents always had it hanging at their front door during the holidays came flooding my mind...and heart. And of course we had to bring some home. I find it peculiar after all of these years I hadn't even given it a thought and now I can't imagine not having it in our home.

The Willow Tree créche I've had for years blended perfectly with my simple Christmas decor. 
I intentionally found a place where it could be the centerpiece/focal point of our home - a daily reminder to me of what to keep my focus on. 

Do you like that fancy word "créche" I used? I recently learned it while reading a new Tasha Tudor book I purchased and it sounds so much more...well...fancy. *wink* "Créche" is just a word that also means nativity but apparently speaks more directly to the baby Jesus. You're welcome for that random information. *wink*

You know I love our Hot Cocoa Bars every year. This year's Snickerdoodle theme is one of my favorites. I love having it up during the holidays and beyond...warming our tummies and our hearts. 

I think that's a wrap friends!!
I hope you enjoyed a peek at what our Christmas looked like this year.
As different as it was due to our move six months ago and as hard as it was to let go of traditions I'd come to know and love through the years...I can truly say it was one of my favorite Christmases yet because it was one of the most simple.

I will be back soon with my recap of 2017 and the action word I've chosen to focus on for 2018!!
Also...I just had to share that tonight...New Year's Eve night...we are starting a new tradition!!

I've decided to have a candlelight dinner...using the battery operated flickering candlesticks we've had displayed in our windows this Christmas season. I think it's a brilliant way to transition from Christmas to New Year's. 

Love you guys so much. Thanks for being here.
Thanks for sharing. Thanks for supporting. 
Here's to a beautiful year ahead for us all!


Stuart, our elf, was back again this year. I think Ella has a crush on him. *wink*
She said she'd like to marry him. lol
And she cried the day he left...she always cries when he leaves.
It rips my heart out - for a plethora of reasons.

Clara and Ema drove up the day before Christmas Eve and stayed the night with us.
We had a nice dinner together and then exchanged gifts that night - including having all three of my girls open their annual Christmas pajamas together - typically done on Christmas Eve night.

The two older girls got to open their stockings as well...which left Ella a little bewildered as to how their stockings were already filled and hers wasn't...*hand slap to the forehead*

We all attended church on Christmas Eve morning and then enjoyed a nice lunch together at Carrabba's before Clara and Ema made the drive back home.

Although the visit was short, I'm so thankful to have been able to see them before Christmas.
Of course all of this change of Christmas traditions tugged at my heartstrings and I found myself in tears a couple of times. 

We even missed having our annual Christmas brunch with my mom and stepdad too. They decided to head to Ohio to make a surprise visit to his dad. That means I still have their gifts to give them.

Again...I will just need to get creative and come up with new traditions for our new life and more Christmases to come. I look forward to that.

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