Our Halls are Decked + Our Elf is back!

I don't know about you, but decorating my house for Christmas is something I look forward to every year. I just love the way that our home feels during December....twinkling lights, Christmas music playing 24/7, baking cookies, the smell of the Christmas tree...it's just a magical time.

Growing up, the day after Thanksgiving, our family would load up in the car and head to the Santa Cruz mountains to cut down our Christmas tree. It was one of my favorite traditions.
Kevin and I did this the first 5 years of our marriage (before we had kids) And we have have done it about 3 times since having kids. There is nothing like going into the mountains & chopping down your tree. So fun. 
We hadn't gone since 2010, but because of the California drought (and dry trees) and we are still in a drought this year (it's an even bigger drought) so we decided to postpone again (nothing worse than cutting down a tree that sheds tons and tons of pine needles)
When we don't go to the mountains to cut down a tree, we would go to Home Depot (ugh) but 2 years ago, we ended up getting a tree at Lucky (which is a grocery store) It was an awesome tree, so we went there again last year and again this year.
I can't tell you how much it pains me that we got our tree from a grocery store parking lot.
But, it is a huge, full, beautiful tree, so I ignore the fact that it is from a grocery store parking lot.
Next year (if we get some rain!) I am hoping to head back to the Santa Cruz mountains and cut down a tree!

Last year, I gave up "control" and let the girls decorate the entire tree by themselves.
Kevin and I put the lights on, but let the girls to all the ornaments.
They did a great job! The spacing of the ornaments are all clumped together & the top of the tree is a a little sparce, but it looks great. It feels good to "let it go" and just let them decorate how they want to. I remember my mom let my sisters and I decorate the tree how we wanted when we were kids.

So, here is a little tour of how our house looks decorated for the holidays!
(I love it so much more now that our little remodel is done! You can see Before + Afters HERE)
Christmas cards displayed on the window by our dining room table. I love seeing all my friends beautiful families!
 As you can tell, I love using ornaments as decorations :)
One of my favorite decorations is our Willow Tree Nativity Set that we got for a wedding gift 13 years ago. I love it.
For the kids, we have the Little People Nativity Set. They love playing with it!
Kevin's mom made this Advent Calendar for us when Kate was born. It is all handmade with felt & burlap. All the Larson kids/cousins had these growing up.
  Nighttime views....because Christmas decorations are so much prettier at night.
This family photo is 3 years old, I just ordered a new canvas from this years photo shoot...can't wait to get it!
Our staircase:
 Other Decorations around our house (I like to keep things very simple because I don't like a lot of clutter!)
In our family room, I just have a glass Christmas tree on a side table: 
 And some JOY letters above our TV:
In our kitchen, I have a Merry Christmas banner hanging up:
I have some ornaments on the kitchen table:
 I have a wreath on the kitchen window:
 Very simple decorations in the kitchen:
It's a fresh wreath, so it smells good. I added some lights to it so that it twinkles:
Front Porch:

 And, of course another main decoration we have in our house during Christmas is our Elf on the Shelf, named Candle.
Candle arrives every year the first Sunday of Advent.
That would have meant that he should have arrived over a week ago on November 29.  That was a really busy weekend for us, so for the first time ever, our elf didn't arrive that day.
The kids were SHOCKED. And, freaking out.  Kevin and I decided that this year, our Elf would come the first Sunday of December. One less week of moving the Elf? Yes, please! LOL!
The girls were scared that our Elf wasn't going to show up. All week they were panic mode. HA!
Kevin the great idea that we should leave a note saying that Candle was at an Elf Training Program.
So, on Thursday, I wrote this letter & left it for the kids to find:
 When the girls saw it in the morning, they got tears in their eyes because they were :
1) so excited that our elf would be returning to our house this year
2) so proud that our Elf was selected to train another elf.
It's so fun being a parent & creating holiday moments like this for your kids.

(A little background: Marshmallow the Elf is Candle's "sister". A few years ago, Claire wanted us to have a girl elf instead of a boy elf, so I bought an elf skirt at Target. One of the mornings that the Elf arrived, the Elf had the skirt on & a note saying that Candle was sick, but Marshmallow (his sister) would be filling in for a few days. So, since then, Marshmallow makes an appearance 1 or 2 times each December) 

So, this past Sunday, Candle the Elf arrived by the time we get home from church & he is always in the same spot on day 1....in the bowl of ornaments on the coffee table in the living room.   
Hi Candle!

 Candle brought their new Christmas jammies & a special treat..Christmas Crunch cereal! We don't buy sugar cereal in this house...good thing they have an Elf to bring it to them :)
Loving their new pj's! She is out of stock of the ones I ordered, but has these ones.

Candle also brought them a present...a new Family Advent Book {HERE}
Candle also brought our 24 Christmas books of Advent all wrapped up...1 to read each night (we will have to double up some nights because we started late!)
The kids were so excited to see that Candle had finally arrived!

Our elf  also brings the kids a note reminding them about the true reason for the season.

 We do Elf on the Shelf slightly different in our house. Our elf does not "watch" the girls and report back to Santa. That is just not our style. Our Elf just likes to move around each night & the girls look forward to finding his new hiding spots. It is the first thing they do each morning.

 And, I don't really do elaborate Elf ideas. Most of the places our Elf hides are simple. Maybe 1-2 times a week I will do something more elaborate, like a snow angel with flour, fill the sink with marshmallows in their bathroom like the Elf is taking a bath, but mostly we just move him around.
And, because I have forgotten to move him in years past, last year I started setting an alarm on my phone...anyone else have an alarm for their elf? Every night at 10:00 it goes off :)

Hope you liked the tour :)

Just a reminder: If you want to order the Microderm Paste and/or Sunless Tanner at my discounted price, send me an email!

Microdermabrasion Paste-$68
Foaming Tanner- $20
I will pay the tax & shipping.

And, if you haven't entered my $250 Target Giftcard Giveaway, make sure you enter {HERE}
 Giveaway ends this weekend!


  1. I love everything about this!! Your home looks so cozy and inviting!!

  2. You've got to move it, move it made me chuckle!! Love your tree and all your simple holiday touches. I'm not too much a fan of clutter myself :-)

  3. I love the red ornament tree on the end table and the stockings are fantastic! I like your views about the elf. We have not done the whole elf thing in our home yet but I'm glad to read about someone else not feeling like they must do elaborate ideas. Your home is lovely.

  4. Your house looks beautiful! I totally dread our elf every year and then he arrives and so does the magic and I muster up enough strength to do what I can to keep the spirit alive.

  5. Your house is beautiful! Sometimes I wish the Christmas season lasted longer just because it makes everything so cozy and warm. We are the same way with our elf too...nothing too elaborate, he mostly just moves from one place to another. One night he toilet papered our tree and dyed our milk green. That is about as fancy as we get. It's pretty fun though!

  6. Beautiful! I love how you display your Christmas cards! :)

  7. Your house is beautiful! And I love that you set the timer on your phone to move the Elf. Haha!

  8. Love the decorations and all of the goodies from Elf on the Shelf and the PJ's are adorable! :)

  9. You have a beautiful home. I love your Christmas decorations.

  10. this looked a beautiful home really and i hope you enjoy
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