Calm for Christmas

By Kate Riley December 23, 2015

It’s been said that this is the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ and that’s true if the season itself doesn’t become too hectic or overwhelming. As much as I love holiday decorating (like this walk down Christmas memory lane) I felt this year it was more important to exercise restraint and instead of decorating every corner of the house, to spend time with friends and family.

I know myself. If I don’t allow plenty of time to decorate in November then decorating in December becomes a chore. After traveling in November for three weeks to the other side of the globe on my return I wanted more than ever to have a very calm Christmas. So I didn’t string lights outdoors or hang garland up the stairs, and (gasp) I even decided not to host a Christmas party this year. I kept the decor simple. I moved the white tree to the family room to make room for a fresh tree in the living room, turned on the fireplace, and watched a few favorite movies instead.

   kate family room christmas

Layering with winter white makes decorating easy and adds to the calm mood I purposefully created in my home.

censational girl living room christmas

After adding the new mirror and sconces earlier this year I didn’t feel the need to add much more to the mantel other than a few white ceramic trees and gold bulbs. I moved the gemstone garland to the white tree and hung the same quilted stockings on the mantel I do year after year. Once I was done I was satisfied, so I tucked all the extra bins and boxes of Christmas decor back into storage and decided that this year’s decorations, although simple, were enough.

kate christmas mantel

Last week the family picked a fir tree for the living room and I asked for it to be flocked at the lot like I’ve done in years past, this time just the tips of the boughs so the fragrance remains and the green shows through. (The festive banners I found on sale at my local Pottery Barn, and I made that fur tree skirt many years ago.)

kate christmas tree

 white tip flocked tree

It’s Christmas Eve Eve and on this night I drive around and deliver cookies and gifts to friends around town. I love the smiles on the faces of the children when I hand them the bag of homemade cookies and the hugs received from friends as we wish each other good cheer.

most wonderful time print

I have a “Best of 2015” round up post scheduled next week and some favorite links to share on New Year’s Eve, but other than that I am taking the rest of December off from blogging to enjoy this quiet time. I want to thank you all for stopping by. Words cannot express how grateful I am to you for reading along in my adventures in home improvement and design. I read all of your comments and love so much being a part of the blog community, and I owe so much to you for visiting and subscribing.

Wishing you all a calm and cozy Christmas.

~ Kate



  1. Such a sweet post and reminder that this time of year its better to spend with family & friends and do things or others that put smiles on faces. Rather then stressing over small things, decorations and if everything is perfect.

    Have a merry Christmas & happy new year! To you and your family :)

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Décor

  2. Seems to me that a lot of folk are scaling back this year. I drove by a nice local mall day after Thanksgiving and there were plenty of parking spots. Not sure if this idea of an uncomplicated Christmas is economic or a consequence of a genuine change in attitude to one of simplicity. So many people seem to be embracing the local, handmade, and fewer things/better quality idea.

    Regardless, house looks lovely. Enjoy it, your family, and yourself on break.

    • All over Bethany, two at Target this year, one at Z Gallerie a few years ago, and in local shops. I collect them now :)

  3. I love the idea of having a Calm Christmas. It’s helpful sometimes to relax and take a break from “noisy” chores.

  4. Beautiful, as always. Was wondering what having your tree “flocked” was though? Never heard of it, and wondering if I’m missing out on an awesome Christmas tree tip!

    • Hi Emily, here in California and in other states you can pay at the tree lot for them to spray a tree with faux snow, it’s called “flocking” – I love the whiteness since we don’t have snow outside we fake it inside :)

  5. Thank you for all your wonderful posts throughout the years. I have been a quiet reader of yours all the way in Singapore.

    Have a restful, peaceful time and may the new year brings happiness!

  6. Just now getting to look at this post and your decor was so beautiful and calming as you intended. I also love the sconces and mirror above the fireplace!

  7. A joyous New Year to you and yours, Kate! You are the friend we’ve never actually met–but still very much a friend and cohort in living a beautiful life with true meaning. Thanks for all you share, all year long!

  8. I scaled back a lot this year. Most peaceful Christmas that I’ve had in years. It was quite lovely. Your decor is gorgeous and you’ve achieved a very calm and peaceful look. Love it.

  9. Wow! This project is wonderful! Most times I am a traditionalist but even though the typical red and green colours are missing, I find your Christmas decoration amazing. The white and blue colours create a feeling of Winter but of cosiness too.

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