Christmas S’mores

candy cane christmas s'mores: 3 ways

For our recent home tour, I set up a Christmas-themed s’mores and hot chocolate bar in our backyard. The set-up was just for display – we didn’t make any s’mores as part of the tour. The idea of candy cane s’mores, however, stayed with me well after the weekend was over. Yesterday, I decided to test out my theory that s’mores, combined with a bit of peppermint, would yield a pretty awesome treat. My recipe included graham crackers and marshmallows (broiled in the oven for a couple of minutes) topped with a small piece of peppermint bark. It was pretty amazing.

We used Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark, but you could also use crushed candy canes and chocolate or pieces of a Hershey’s candy cane bar.

Here are a few photos of the s’mores and hot chocolate station in our backyard:

make christmas s'mores

Classroom Gift: Secret Santa Starter Kit

Great idea for classroom gifts or craft: create a santa beard

I signed up to bring gifts for the goody bags for my son’s Christmas party this year. I’m not a big fan of bags full of plastic toys, and I think most readers of this site know my policy on candy containing artificial dyes, so I mostly signed up for this task to provide an alternative to the usual goody bag fare.

As I walked the aisles of Target, I realized that non-plastic, non-candy goodies weren’t so easy to come by. But eventually the idea of creating a “Santa Disguise Kit” popped into my mind, and I set out to find materials for creating a santa beard.

These were super easy and inexpensive to make. Here are the materials I used:

make a santa beard: materials

The stretchy string was purchased at Michaels but everything else can be found at the grocery store. If you don’t have a hole punch, you can make a small incision with scissors to thread the string through.

Here are the steps to create the beards:

how to make a santa beard

I cut out the top section of the plate and then folded it in half to cut out the mouth shape. Next, I used the paper punch to cut small circles into each side of the beard and threaded the string though the holes, tying each end in a knot. I applied glue to the paper plate in sections and stretched each cotton ball a bit before gluing it to the plate.

Once the beards were complete, I packaged them up in lunch-sized bags and attached some instructions for playing “secret santa” at home.

secret santa starter kit: make a santa beard as a classroom gift or craft

Oh, and I also asked Jenna to model my design. She is one serious secret Santa:

secret jenna santa

A Christmas Tour with Williams-Sonoma

A Christmas Tour of our family and dining rooms styled by Williams-Sonoma

This weekend we participated in the annual Christmas Tour of Homes in our neighborhood. While we did quite a bit of decorating on our own, we were also very excited to work with Williams-Sonoma on our family and dining room. They came in and decked out our dining room table, console table and sofa in gorgeous products from both Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn.

A Christmas Tour of our family and dining rooms styled by Williams-Sonoma

My own style is very minimal, and our house tends to be a bit under-decorated as a result. It was fun to see the talented folks at Williams-Sonoma completely go to town in this space and work with our existing furniture and decor to create a styled and festive environment that also felt very warm and inviting.

A Christmas Tour of our family and dining rooms styled by Williams-Sonoma

Here are a few of the details:

A Christmas Tour of our family and dining rooms styled by Williams-Sonoma

Christmas at our house wouldn’t be complete without hot chocolate, so we also created a hot chocolate station in the kitchen:

hot chocolate bar for the holidays

Thank you so much, Williams-Sonoma, for helping make our home tour a success.

A Modern Rustic Christmas

A modern rustic Christmas decor inspired by our backyard

One of the things we love the most about our new home is our backyard – lots of trees and wide-open spaces. The recent snow has made it even more appealing, and we’ve spent the last couple of days pretty much stranded at home, making fires, baking and playing in our yard.

When I started decorating for the holidays this year, I was largely inspired by the view above (minus the recent addition of snow, of course) and a desire to bring some of the natural elements that we love into our home.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for Modern Parents, Messy Kids sharing our nature-inspired fireplace decor, and now that I’ve finished decorating for the holidays, I thought I would share a few more holiday decorations.

We have quite a few traditional and not-so-traditional trees in our house this year. My favorite is a driftwood tree that we purchased while on vacation in Fairhope, AL over Thanksgiving:

A driftwood Christmas tree in a modern rustic decor

I also love this tree that my husband made out of firewood:

a firewood Christmas tree

We also have quite a few traditional trees without decorations, except for the occasional strand of white lights. I think the trees are beautiful in themselves:

simple, natural Christmas trees

I haven’t shared much about our upcoming charity event, but as part of the event, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn have each decorated one room in our home. I’m super excited to share these rooms next week, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at the Pottery Barn room. I love these birch trees:

birch trees in a modern rustic holiday decor

And while the rustic theme doesn’t dominate every room, I have tried to incorporate a few elements of nature throughout:

a modern rustic holiday decor

DIY Tartan Plaid Wreath

Super simple diy tartan plaid wreath

I love tartan plaid this season, but haven’t seen many plaid Christmas decorations, so I decided to make my own using this tutorial for ribbon wreaths. As the post says, it’s almost too easy to have a tutorial. I wrapped the ribbon around a styrofoam wreath form, attached the final piece of ribbon with sewing pins, and, instead of making a bow, I added a small holly berry garland. That’s it.

Super simple diy tartan plaid wreath

tartan plaid wreaths

Decorating With Christmas Lights

This holiday season, we are decorating nearly every room in our home for an upcoming charity event. Nearly. Every. Room.

Not only is it a bit more work than I realized, it’s also pretty expensive to put up decorations in rooms that, in previous holiday seasons, had no trace of Christmas cheer. It’s caused me to get a bit creative in the decorations department, and, in a couple of rooms, I’ve turned to Christmas lights to bring a festive look without spending a lot of money.

Here are two ways I’ve incorporated Christmas lights in our house:

decorating with christmas lights - bedroom lights

This  is my favorite BY FAR, and I’m hoping we leave it up after the holidays. To create the bedroom lights, I purchased four sheer curtain panels from Target along with two sets of white Christmas lights. We used push pins to attach the lights to the wall behind the bed.

Decorating with lights: bedroom lights

decorating with christmas lights - wall tree lights

For the wall tree, I started by measuring the top center point of the tree and then measuring equal distances from the center for the outermost left and right points. I drew dots on these points in chalk and then attached striped burlap ribbon using pushpins. The white garland and battery-operated lights were purchased at Target.

Decorating with lights: tree lights

Paper Ornament Garland

Create an easy paper ornament garland for the holidays

This weekend I made a really simple paper garland to serve as a backdrop for a cookie party.

Create an easy paper ornament garland for the holidays

I started by creating a large batch of paper circles using a 3-inch paper punch.

Create an easy paper ornament garland for the holidays

To make each paper ornament, I folded the circles in half and glued the halves together, using 5 circles for each ornament (4 to 6 circles work the best).

Create an easy paper ornament garland for the holidays

I left one side of the ornament unglued until all of the paper ornaments were created. Then, I attached the ornaments to twine by gluing the twine inside of the remaining two sides.

Create an easy paper ornament garland for the holidays

And once the garland was complete, I placed in along our kitchen windows, behind the table where I’ll set up the cookie display.

Create an easy paper ornament garland for the holidays