It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

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 busy schedule 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 have gone there the past 2 years. We went there again this year, but the trees they had there didn't look so good, so we went to Home Depot again. All those trees were too skinny, so we left and went to a local tree farm in our town, which is where we ended up getting our tree. It was almost double the price than we usually spend, but I am all about supporting a local business, so I didn't mind paying a little bit more.
Next year maybe we will head back to the Santa Cruz mountains and cut down a tree!

2 years ago, 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 do a great job! The first couple of years the spacing was a little off, but this year, the tree looks so 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!

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 14 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.

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:

Kate made this snowman with her Girl Scout troop (the other side is a pilgrim, it's so cute)

This year, Kevin's mom snuck into our house on December 1st and put mini trees in each of their rooms.

They were so excited & they think they are from our Elf on the shelf :)

Speaking of our Elf..... that is another main decoration we have in our house during Christmas! Our Elf on the Shelf is named Candle.
For the first 5 years that we had our elf, he arrived on the first Sunday of Advent which is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Last year we waited until the first Sunday in December because we wanted to have one less week of dealing with the Elf :)  We left this letter for them:
(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) 

The kids loved the letter last year (and Kevin & I loved the fact that we delayed the Elf by a week)  so we decided to leave them a similar one this year:
So, just like last year our elf left a letter saying he was asked to be a part of the "N.E.W.T" (New Elf Training Program) Our kids thought it was so special our elf was chosen to be a part of it.
 And, I loved that we only had to do the elf for a few weeks instead of a month.
You better believe our elf was asked to be a part of the N.E.W.T again this year.
Feel free to this idea :)

So, this past Sunday, Candle the Elf arrived...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 new DVD.

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.
 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 :)

Now that the girls can read (and sometimes play on my phone, I don't have the reminder set as Move the Elf.....I just put "You've got to move it, move it!" 
Remember that song?!? 

Thanks for taking a peek into our simply decorated house.
 I love the way our home feels during Christmas.
The twinkle lights, the warmth, the anticipation of Christ's birth.
December is just a magical month, don't you agree?

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  1. Your house looks beautiful!!! And I think the girls did an excellent job with the tree :).

  2. Your home looks beautiful. I also let my kids decorate the tree however they want and I hang a couple of balls a little higher for them. Our tree is definitely front heavy :). Have a wonderful day!

  3. Good idea about the phone reminders- we don't do the elf, but the tooth fairy has been a frequent visitor lately and she may have forgotten a time or two recently!

  4. Your house looks amazing! And I can't wait to have kiddos so that I can introduce the Elf on the Shelf!

  5. I have told all my friends about "you've got to move it move it" when the subject of moving the elf comes up. We all love it thanks for sharing!

  6. Love your decor! I also love the fresh wreath on the window! What did you use to hang your cards on the window? Have a great weekend!

  7. Everything looks beautiful! I love having my kids decorate the tree as well. It brings them so much joy. Random question - what color is your main floor painted? It's such a great color. We're doing some painting and I'm looking for the right shade.

  8. This just reminded me to move our elf... and set a reminder on my phone! Thanks!

  9. Love your Christmas decor. So pretty and festive. Hope you have a fantastic Christmas.



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