Minimalist Greenery

By Kate Riley December 5, 2016

I spent Friday tiling a backsplash for a kitchen at a transitional housing project for my local Committee on the Shelterless (COTS). Long time readers know I offer my services to that organization every year. Friday I had an assistant to help me. We had to tile around a window (like I did here) which is a challenge so it was important to have someone to help me line up the mosaic properly around the window before the adhesive dried. (I’ll be sharing that kitchen makeover later in the month.)

My assistant who helped me tile around the window was a recovering drug addict, and someone who is currently going through the stages of the program offered by COTS. He’s the kind of guy that had a rough upbringing, made a bunch of bad choices, ended up on drugs and in jail, but is now making his life better by staying clean and working odd jobs. I liked him. I liked his attitude of gratitude for just having a bed to sleep in at night. Then yesterday I spent an hour with another man who works as a janitor, currently he lives in a shack (no kidding) behind a restaurant because he can’t afford decent housing. Talking with people who live in those conditions really puts things in perspective, especially this time of year.

I love Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday but the focus on material goods can be overwhelming. All the stuff doesn’t really seem to matter so much when you spend time with those in real need of a decent roof over their head. I had plans to deck the halls around my own beautiful home but then found I wasn’t feeling it as much as in previous years. All I want now are a few evergreens around the house, just enough so it feels and smells like Christmas. These images of more minimalist holiday decor, simple evergreens and greenery placed here and there, feel just right today.


my scandinavian home


burke décor


odessa may society

 evergreens glass jars

free people blog


via liv sandvik Jacobsen




dreamy whites


west elm




12th and white


burke decor



  1. Thank you for this! A refreshing reminder of how blessed we are and what really matters.

  2. Thanks for this. A reminder to stop complaining/worrying about the state of the world and get out and start making it better. Also, less materialism – when you’re having a hard time figuring out what to give people for Christmas because they have everything, that is a light buld moment. Thanks again.

  3. This was so refreshing! I have been looking at all the holiday home tours online this week, and while they are beautiful, your roundup was what I was craving. The images also prove that sometimes the prettiest Christmas images are the simplest.

  4. You are so right. We are blessed. There are so many people in need in the U.S. and around the world. Christmas has become way too commercialized.

  5. I am totally feeling this! Right now in our home we have a fresh tree and wreath, a pinecone garland…and not much else (although stockings will of course be up soon). I love the natural, pared down look and scent…beautiful but not fussy.

  6. Thanks very much for this. I have been feeling such a disconnect with many blogs and their content lately. Portrayal of perfection in the way of new and many things has almost become distasteful to me. I’m happy to see your perspective.
    A peaceful holiday season to you!

  7. Beautiful Fresh decoration . love it it. and the story behind it we don’t appreciate what we have till we hear or see other people in worth condition

  8. I love these!! Love minimal and natural holiday decoration. It seems like that’s how it should be.

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