Comments : 51

Wow! Hard to believe its all over. That incredible build up, that frenzy we all work ourselves into, the stress, anxiety, the gift buying marathons, the present wrapping sessions, the hemming and hawing over what to cook, holiday outfit dilemmas, last minute doubts about gifts bought….its all over. I must admit it was ALL worth it…..Christmas day was exactly as I had hoped, it was above all else, relaxing, beautiful, enjoyable, and even therapeutic…. filled with great food, family togetherness, movie marathons….and doing a whole lot of nothing. Except the mounds of dishes, and cooking for hours
I wouldn’t  change a thing…it was a day of rest that we all needed. How about you? How was your special day? As you had hoped? Only thing not planned was husband getting sick…started feeling sick towards the end of the day and is in bed hopefully not with the flu! I managed to take a few pictures which are below………supposed to go away but now the trip is very questionable. 
I am kind of enjoying this second day of rest admittedly its a bit unexpected but wonderful.  Hit a few early sales at nearby local shops this morning to take advantage of stocking up some pretties for next year, that was fun! But nearly fainted when I saw, get this….VALENTINES DAY merchandise..I kid you not!!!!!!
Had an insanely great turkey sandwich and nibbled on a bunch of leftovers after which I polished off a few bites of some heavenly pies from a nearby farm. Yep….this is a great day! Just hard to believe its all over, we are having stormy weather right now,  so probably will be staying in though I had plans to go see Le Mis tonight, may have to wait a day or two. What’s cooking over there on your end? Do tell!

Here’s my table set for Christmas day dinner, elegant and understated was the theme and of course my darling napkin rings took center stage!

So how long do you keep your Christmas decor up? I like to keep mine around awhile, a week or two….why not enjoy and savor the season just a little longer? Its too pretty to not enjoy, and heck it keeps you feeling the spirit and magic of such a beautiful season! I actually learned a few things this season, some or all you might know but “revelations” for me…here it goes-

  • I WILL absolutely start planing out Christmas 2013 in NOVEMBER! You read it here first, please remind me of this next year!  I did  A LOT of last minute shopping, looking for hard to get items (case in point scoring an i Mac on Christmas eve) the stress o meter was in high gear, I would love to know all my gifts are purchased by Dec.4th. That’s my new deadline for 2013!
    • It really does pay to take advantage of those day after Christmas sales and stock up for next year, I had fun pulling out previous purchases from last year and to get half off of things like paper, ribbon, holiday decor (which can get very pricey) pays off in spades! I also picking up great little doo dads when on sale and adding them to gifts, such a pretty and inexpensive way to jazz up a gift!

    • I will be sure to get a great family picture or at least a picture of my three boys sometime in the summer or fall to avoid the last minute chaos and arguing that ensued trying to get them to take pics 5 days before Christmas! Wish I could say its a joke but it’s not….yes this year was way behind! Ended up only taking it of my youngest son and Teddy…at the rate we are going, Teddy will be the last man standing next year, LOL!  I WILL get those done early next year!

    • You know how at the  last minute..the UPS man or mail lady shows up, or there’s a teacher or garbageman you want to give a little something to but you forget and then frantically run inside rummaging through your wallet for change? Happens to me all the time! A little tip……this is the ONE thing I did in an organized fashion this year and it was so convenient!  I filled about 5 or 6 blank envelops with a generic holiday card and a twenty dollar bill in each. I kept them in a convenient drawer in the kitchen (easy access) It was so nice knowing this was taken care of and believe me I used up every single envelope! 
  • Love watching things grow from “the ground up”. I planted my paperwhites a little late this year but a great rule of thumb is to do this for Thanksgiving, that way you are guaranteed beautiful blooms a week or so before Christmas. Not to mention it is a very inexpensive alternative to buying things already in bloom.  I get such enjoyment out of watching something literally come to life, and the smell is heavenly!
My breakfast room
  •  Priceless things like great pictures and videos still make to me, one of the best gifts. Whats better than getting a treasured picture of those you love in a gorgeous silver frame? It’s a great gift and easy! I received such a gift and have to say it was quite possibly my favorite!
  • I think the most effective way to decorating is using nice quality fake greens with real greens. In nearly every one of my vignettes I did this, every single one is in fact a combination of good quality faux holiday greenery with real……less mess, more economical and longer lasting! 
  • Pinecones to me, remain one of the most inexpensive and elegant ways to decorate for the holidays. I have them everywhere, love filling urns with them adding them to vignettes, buying both big and small. They are in my living room, bathrooms, kitchen and dining room….get a glue gun and add them to just about anything, their impact is amazing!  They make perfect adornments to gifts as well. Super functional and multi purpose…I pack them up in big plastic bins and reuse them every year.
 My family room

    So that’s a recap of things I have learned this year…….what are your tips? Feel free to add them, I love sharing information and especially if its something we can all benefit from! So come on….it’s your turn to talk! Hope your holidays were super merry and very relaxing……cheers to the end of a great year and to the start of an even better year ahead!


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    It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas, Tina. We did, too. Lots of fun with all the little ones around here…and every present was WOW PERFECT for them. lol

    My daughter-in-law got really sick all of the sudden yesterday and the left for home. I just called and she just started feeling better. My friend also got sick on Christmas Eve Day but was feeling better this morning. Sounds like a quick little “bug” going around here. Blessings to you-xo Diana

    Stunning photos of your home Tina!!!
    Everything looks beautiful and I love all your tips for next Christmas too!!!
    Merry Christmas,



    Tina, so happy you had a great day! It looks absolutely beautiful, what a perfect home for Christmas! The dining room is so elegant. Love your centerpiece and the table with the acorns, just so beautiful.

    Your tips are great especially having the envelopes ready with money for those last minute people we like to think of during the holidays. Very smart! Will have to jot these down. Thank you and happy 2013.

    Your dining room looked fantastic! I love that chandelier hanging over the table with all the shades on it…the table settings were so lovely, you have such nice taste Tina!! So many things you spoke about I could relate to…trying to look for family photos for a card at the last minute, and just generally being behind this year. So with little hope and expectations, this year turned out to be one of our best! I thought maybe one of the silver water pitchers on your table might have come from my shop when you visited…it made me happy thinking it might have been one mine and now it is in your wonderful home. You are such a vivacious person and I can only imagine how fun it is to be part of your family at special times like this. xo

    Your home is so festive and inspirational! Thank you for sharing.

    I love to have pots of paperwhites as well…do you know the secret to keeping them from getting too tall and flopping over? Add a shotglass of gin (or any other alcohol you have on hand) to a cup of water and use that to water the paperwhites once they get a few inches tall. The alcohol inhibits their height, but not their flowering.

    Tina your tables are beautiful and as perfect as you are!

    Wishing you a wondrous Holiday and All the best in the year ahead!

    Love and Hugs,
    Art by Karena

    Tina….your table is beautiful and you have some great tips…We had a wonderful Christmas, simple, but sweet and I cherished every moment I had with my Dad.

    Hi Tina…thanks for sharing the lovely pics…I am happy your Christmas went well. I hope your husband feels better and you get to go on your trip!
    My gorgeous and delicious smelling candle arrived just in time! Thank you! xoxo

    I love your blog, just wanted to chime in about Christmas being “all over.” While most people think of the period leading up to Christmas day as the Christmas season, that period is actually Advent, the penitential period of preparing for Christmas. Christmas begins on December 25th and the Christmas season lasts for a few weeks (up to and including the Baptism of the Lord, I believe). Hence, the idea of the “12 days of Christmas” which leads up to the Epiphany. All this to say, no need for one to feel that it is all over when it has actually just begun, so celebrate away!!!

    Omgosh! I guess I wasn’t the only one last minute trying to buy something from the apple store! Ingot what I needed as well on the 23rd! Stressing was my middle name and my husband is like honey relax! In the end I enjoyed every minute and loved seeingbmybfamiky open up their gifts! We are blessed! Love your new thingsnto do next year! I’m with you! Dec 4th we will be done! I’ll remind you to remind me! Lol

    Merry Christmas! Your home looks beautiful all decked out. My holiday resolution for next year is to assemble any large toys waaaay in advance. My husband and I were both sick with the flu on Christmas Eve and the day before and we hadn’t yet assembled our son’s play kitchen that Santa was delivering. My dad and brother offered to do it for us, and it took them 5 hours (until 1:30am) to finish it. Let me tell you how happy they were with me πŸ™‚

    Hope your husband feels better soon. We are all passing around some sickness with high fever and congestion and cough…. not fun!

    Tina, your day sounds wonderful and much like mine, lots of eating, movies, fun and family.

    I love your decor and coukd not agree more about the pine cones, love them and have lots of them around the house.

    We always keep the tree up until January 6 th the feast of the ephany, then take it down.

    I hope your husband feels better and you are able to goon your trip, have a great week.


    Your home was so beautiful for your first Christmas. I know you were so excited to entertain in it. It is so sad when it is all over. The trees always look prettier and the lights seem to twinkle more the minute you are starting to take it down-kinda reminds me of going to the doctor-always seem better after you get the appointment scheduled. Your packages were wrapped with much love. It is so much fun to have time to wrap; almost like painting a picture. I love going to the after Christmas sales too, especially the specialty shops and the florist who also sale merchandise. I love to save my Christmas cards and make gift tags from them the next year. There always seems to be that special card for the right person on your list, maybe even the person who sent you the card. I just punch a hole and add a pretty ribbon .I look forward to all your wonderful and entertaining blogs in 2013. Warm wishes to you and yours for 2013. Kathy

    your dining room table turned out gorgeous all decked for christmas!! loved all of your little tips and recap thoughts too… i ALWAYS say i’m going to be more prepared and on top of things every year… and i ALWAYS end up feeling all over the place! i made sure to buy/wrap my gifts early this year, but i still ended up buying last minute items here and there… always feel like i’m playing catch up with something! love the idea of stocking up on paper and little christmas doo-dads NOW, so i can use them in my wrapping next year. def doing this! marry christmas tina!! sounds like you guys had a wonderful time in the new house this year! hope the hubby starts feeling better soon!

    Looks pretty! Just a note… I made your chicken tortilla soup. It was delicious and hubby said it was the best thing I’ve made as long as we’ve been married!
    Now that’s just sad…LOL!

    I’m planning Christmas 2013 NOW! While it’s still fresh in my mind. The successes, the failures and a map of where-the-hey everything is stored. I was going crazy this year when I couldn’t find the extra decor I use to embellish my front door wreath (the first seasonal thing that goes up). For some reason I put it in a different place last year and that tripped me up a little. All is well that’s planned well! Plus it’s supposed to be a Merry Christmas, not Harried Christmas – Ha!

    Cheers Tina, it warms our hearts when we see you take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    Love the festive atmosphere in your home…
    We also did movie marathon after having eaten a lot of yummy goodies… a total day of rest and love and family togetherness.

    Good morning Tina dear! I knew your home would be the epitome of elegance during the holidays! I bet you are exhausted but happy, knowing that you had such fun. Wishing you a wonderful rest and new year my dear. Anita

    Glad to hear you had such a nice Christmas. Your home looks amazing all decorated up for the holidays and I love, love,love the plaid on your dining chairs. I always have my Christmas shopping done by September because my business gets swamped from then until December. I went out yesterday and stocked up Christmas wrap too for next year, love the sales. We’re now getting a big winter snowstorm and that means staying inside near the fire and enjoying the peace. I hope your husband is feeling better soon and next year flu shot!


    your tablescape looks gorgeous and elegant, and the wrapping paper with the crowns is killer. we hosted xmas eve with a dinner (filet, lobster mashed potatoes, shrimp)and then my sis hosted xmas with a traditional feast which meant i got to mainly relax which i needed. the quiet downtime i’m enjoying right now due to illness is fine by me!!!

    hope this finds you well, tina.


    I’m with you Tina, next Christmas I start early. I was at the Mall’s on Christmas Eve because I felt I just didn’t have enough for the kids and my Mom. I am thinking starting Christmas in November is a mighty fine plan! Your Christmas dinner setting was so very lovely my friend. Diane

    Your first real Christmas in the new house–how fun!! It all looks wonderful.
    Excellent idea about the $20 bill envelopes–I was scrambling this year and ended up making cookies & baked goods at 4 a.m. as a substitute.
    I also keep a year-round set of wrapped hostess & engagement party gifts on the shelf–beats the last minute scramble for a florist on your way out the door. Your soap dishes and frames are perfect for the purpose!
    For the first time in many years I was ready for the holiday well in advance as I took advantage of the Colombus Day sales, which were even better than Black Friday. That also allowed me to sit back with a nice glass of wine in front of the fire and watch news reports of insane shoppers tazing each other at Wal-Mart. Don’t know about you, but I am not going down over a $5 DVD player. If I drop on the floor you may be sure it will be Saks and they’ll have to pry the St. John out of my fingers!
    Thanks for the year of vicarious pleasure you have given all your loyal readers. Have a wonderful and successful New Year’s!!

    Tina, Everything looks great as always. We usually leave our decor up until after new years, then take it all down and do a little rearranging for the new year. We usually leave our mail “man” and UPS / FedEx, and garbage collectors a large box of candy with a card, but I like your idea of generic cards as well. I too think its always important to thank those that come to our homes almost every day, often unseen. Have a great day! – Tonya

    Tina, that is so thoughtful to have “mail lady” cards ready with a gift. I will have to borrow that for next year. One card that I enjoy getting every year is from our garbage man. Every year he leaves a signed card for us, & I just think it’s nice. Makes me smile. I’m glad your Christmas was everything you hoped. Best wishes for the new year!


    So many great things in this post Tina but most importantly I was so happy to hear that you had a relaxing holiday (after the last minute shopping was done ;)). I am with you on the after Christmas sales – it has become a tradition to hit the sales on the 26th and it’s quite fun discovering the new shops around Seattle. We showed up at 9am for a shop that opened at 8am and the line for the cash register was 40 people deep already! It was fun though. πŸ™‚ Merry Belated Christmas to you and your family, and all the best in the new year!


    Everything looks lovely…of course! So glad to hear you and your family enjoyed Christmas. There is a flu bug going around my family was good we had one member who didn’t make it and did not want to bless the rest of us with it. Good thinking. I like your new rules for the the next big holiday and the envelopes for the elves that help us all year…perfect. Everyone deserves appreciation during the holiday.

    Family photos…take lots of photos when the house is full and your sons are there and create a collage for a holiday photo or photoshop them in for the perfect year end holiday shots. It works and it’s priceless.

    Now start planning for 2013 month by month takes all the stress off and the surprises are plentyful. After Christmas sales are the best and I advise my clients to scope out must haves, take a photo, and then that becomes your list. Then hit the stores on the 26th and pick up what you thought you’d missed.

    Season’s Best to you!


    What a stunning setting & a beautiful dining room – you are so lucky Tina! I just got back from holidays so wanted to pop by & wish you a Merry Xmas – hope you had a great Christmas and wishing you & your family a very Happy New Year!


    It was a wonderful Christmas at our house filled with great food, family, fun, laughter and waaaay too many calories. Your dining room looks fabulous – not sure I have seen the sideboard with the beautiful mirror and pictures above it – it’s wonderful!! I must confess to you that when I was out today, I noticed Valentine’s Day cards, and I did look around a little for Brach’s Conversation Hearts (a terrible guilty pleasure of mine) to no avail. Hope you’re enjoying your week ~

    Tina, as always, I enjoyed reading yourblog, as well as reader comments. Honestly, we must be kindred spirits! Our tastes are so similar! Still want to know your china pattern. Also, what is your flatware? Is that pewer? Beautiful tablesetting!
    Carol P.

    I saw valentine’s day at Target just before Christmas and since it is my favorite non-holiday I indulged myself with a couple of things all the time smiling to myself and thinking what a wonderful life this is when a day of love is celebrated right after Christmas.

    Your table was set beautifully and your presents wrapped stunningly as only you can do! I hope you had an amazing holiday! Have a wonderful weekend!

    It seems like so many people fell ill this Christmas! I hope that your husband is on the mend soon so you can take your little get-away–it is well-deserved!
    Bon Weekend,

    Tina, It looks like you had a perfect and happy Christmas! I love your breakfast table!!! Just gorgeous. I can’t wait for all you have to share in 2013! Happy New Year, dear friend! xo

    I cannot believe it is all but over… my flowers all need to be changed and re-done… but I’m not ready to let it all go yet… I do love this week between Christmas and New Year… there is a calm and quiet as if the whole world is poised ready to re-start their engines…
    Tina, your table looked gorgeous and I do hope that your husband is on the mend… Happy New Year… xv

    Hello Tina! I came from TG Interiors and your blog site was featured there. You have such a beautiful dining table set for Christmas dinner. It looks inviting! The presents are even neatly wrapped. Happy New Year to you and to your family! I hope your husband gets well soon.

    My blog: Easy Home Concepts –

    I don’t think I have any real tips… BUT I wanted to comment to say Happy New Year! Your Christmas table looked lovely. I hope you’re enjoying time with your family!

    I trying to think of tips…and you HAVE inspired me to start blogging again…after all of this chaos and “partying” and then getting extremely sick…I thought I might not ever blog or read a blog again! Let alone eat again! That’s the only plus to this thing going around! My pants all feel great! And just in time to head to the beach tomorrow! If only it was going to be warm enough for a bathing suit! LOL! Seriously, everything you said is true and I WILL hold you to those deadlines because I want them for myself! For the first time in probably 10 years I did not hire a professional to do my greenery, etc….and did it myself…I remembered you using pinecones and we ended up using them in several places at home and at my shop…I LOVED IT!!! And so did everyone else! I hope you have a wonderful New Year and that your husband is feeling better! Can’t wait to be able to be back to normal…whatever that may be for 2013!

    I remember every one of those fabulous posts first time around!!! What a great trip down memory lane!!! Hope your hubby feels better and you can take off your nurse’s cap and put your feet up!!! Have a very happy, healthy new year, Tina.

    everything looks lovely. i want to know how you service on the table and not ruin the wood, i often want to but i am afraid it would ruin my table.

    Everything is beautiful. I have the same “best good china” (as my mother would call it) that I inherited from my grandmother. I’ve not ever known of anyone else who had it. Do you use it often? I’m afraid to!

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